PAUL SABU came on the scene in 1984 with Kidd Glove and in addition to being an Emmy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist, his list of credits is stunning.
"Bangkok Rules" is the title of Sabu's latest solo album, his first on Z Records and after 5 years of recording hiatus.
Part of the material in this new effort was written with Vince O'Regan (Bob Catley), while Paul's support band in the studio is more than capable.
The album opens with title track "Bangkok Rules", a stompin' hard rocker with a modern Whitesnake vibe. Sabu puts forth a good array of vocal ranges and screams that highlights the track plus the guitar work here is killer.
It's followed by the CD stand out track "Rock Don't Run", featuring Frankie Banali (ex- Quiet Riot) stepping in to handle drumming duties. This one should be a crowd pleaser. Love the keys in the middle section which gives a heavier sound to the overall effect.
Although there's plenty of other impressive tracks ("Live Or Die Trying" has an awesome chorus) are these two first songs that stick in the mind the most.
It's hard not to enjoy a song called "Rocked & Loaded", especially when Sabu is singing it. A pure power rock to the fullest with tantalizing melodies and strong chords.
"Race To Nowhere" is another good kickin' track. Paul really turns it up a notch on this one, in his way of singing and on the heavy tone of this piece.
I also liked a lot the ballad "Read My Eyes", a midtempo in the classic Paul Sabu style, with nice guitars and orchestration in the background.
So yes, there's plenty of good stuff here for Sabu and melodic hard rock fans, but it's not all plain sailing, as there's some weak moments. "Black Star" is pretty boring, while "Back The Jacks" is dreadful in its growls.
"Bangkok Rules" isn't going to shatter anyone's preconceptions of Paul Sabu, and stays true to the brand with big choruses, skyscraper riffs and the man himself's throaty vocals.
Talking about his vocals, 'em have turned more raspy with the years, not powerful as used to be. The songwriting is solid for the most part, and so the musicianship. But I don't like production. To my ears it's muddy and confusing, and the mix does not help as well.
Out of the ten tracks, only three don't do much to move me, with the rest more than making up for it with their energy and fun.
I can't see Sabu fans being disappointed with the overall product, but would have preferred a few more bouncy anthems.
01 - Bangkok Rules
02 - Rock Don't Run
03 - Race To Nowhere
04 - Live Or Die Tryin'
05 - Love's Got a Mind Of Her Own
06 - Read My Eyes
07 - Rocked & Loaded
08 - Black Star
09 - Code Blue
10 - Back The Jacks
Paul Sabu - Vocals, Guitars
Linkan Andersson - Guitars
Martin Karlsson - Bass
Lee Morris - Drums
Frankie Banali - Drums on "Rock Don't Run"
BUY IT !