Hollywood Cowboys is the first studio album from Quiet Riot since 2017’s Road Rage, and the second studio album featuring vocalist James Durbin. Whereas Durbin was a last-minute replacement on Road Rage for their vocalist at the time, on Hollywood Cowboys he seems quite comfortable settling into the role of Quiet Riot’s frontman.
Original member and drummer Frankie Banali produced the album and the result is a very competent heavy metal record. Chuck Wright, who has been with the band off and on since 1982, returns with his heavy bass, and Alex Grossi, who has been with the band since 2006, rounds out the band on guitar. From listening to Hollywood Cowboys, it is evident that this lineup has gelled to form a tight group.
The music is exactly what you would expect from Quiet Riot – there’s no mystery in this package. The album kicks off with grinding guitars, heavy beats from Banali, and eventually Durbin comes in with the perfect vocals. The album tends to roll along in that fashion from beginning to end, and to be honest there is not a lot of variety. Then again, variety is not what fans are looking for from this band or album. Of course, there is the obligatory ballad, “Roll On”, to show their more sentimental side, but for the most part, the album is pure rock.
In some respects, this is a sophomore album of a new lineup. It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing this to earlier albums, but with the recent addition of Durbin,this is an updated version of Quiet Riot,and the album should be listened to in that way.
This is a band who knows what they do, and they do it well. It is well-produced, and they are a tight unit. Their musical skills are top notch, but if heavy metal is not your cup of tea, you would be better off checking out other bands. There are, however, some fine songs on Hollywood Cowboys, including “Wild Horses”, which is probably the most commercially appealing song on the album. More of a power song than heavy metal, it also allows band members to show off their talent, especially Durbin.
Quiet Riot – Hollywood Cowboys (Frontier Music)