Dario Mollo has had a rich and varied history in the music industry. He has guitared with the likes of Tony Martin and Glenn Hughes, as well as with his own band, and also worked behind the scenes by mixing and mastering albums by UK metal legends Satan.
The first Crossbones album was released in 1989 and this latest effort, Rock The Cradle, out on Frontiers Music srl, is an excellent showpiece for Mollo’s undoubted talent.
This talent is there for all to hear on the opening track “Red” which is a great way to start. It begins with Mollo riffing and soloing for the first 40 seconds until the appearance of vocalist Carl Sentance, who has associations with Nazareth, Persian Risk, and Krokus. Sentance definitely has the pipes to complement Mollo and the band, which is completed by Ezio Secomandi on drums and Dario Patti on bass.
A Ritchie Blackmore influence is evident on “Take Me High” with sweeping riffs and precise solo work giving this melodic rocker the edge. Onwards and upwards!
There are, however, a few run of the mill fillers on Rock The Cradle, the first being “Navigation”. On the up side, these fillers all have top solos which bale them out to some degree.
The title track once again contains quality guitaring but also has some interesting vocal work by our man Sentance. He does not so much sing his way through this but kind of pseudo-raps. If that’s a thing. It’s not unpleasant but doesn’t really do him any favors. Fortunately, he reverts to singing towards the end of the song.
If you like Rainbow’s “Catch The Rainbow”, you’ll love the opening to “Gates Of Time”. Considered, flowing work from Mollo begins this track which does not follow the “Catch The Rainbow” template further but is still a quality slower song. Filled with emotion and ample production, this may well be filed under “epic” for this band.
It’s back to rock basics with “I Got This Feeling”, which is really filler number 2, saved once again by Dario Mollo.
I feel my interest waning in the album with another average track, “In My Blood”, which doesn’t set the world on fire, unlike the solo, which does. It’s messing with my head………
“Running From The Shadow” follows which improves things and is an enjoyable track with, yes, you guessed it, another good solo.
The penultimate track “Speed” gives us just that. Pace and melody are on show here along with a super-quick solo which shows Dario Mollo has it all. Ritchie B’s influence is also in evidence once again.
To top proceedings off is “Fright”, which is a nice way to end. Slow yet melodic, this atmospheric track leaves me with pleasant memories of this record.
Overall, the band has all the constituent parts. Great vocalist and guitarist and a rhythm section that could belt it out with the best. Dario Mollo’s Crossbones is, however, not greater than the sum of its parts and whilst being a strong album, Rock The Cradle is all too often rescued by Mollo’s outstanding guitar work.