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UGLY KID JOE Rad Wings Of Destiny

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Saturday, January 28, 2023 @ 9:37 AM

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Red Wings Of Destiny

Metalville/UKJ Records

There was an era in music that bridged the death of grunge with the reinvigoration of rock. The bands that helped keep rock alive were responsible for preventing a detrimental change in music. Post-grunge bands who had a hint of the un-caring grunge sound blended with a more aggressive modernized attitude, made rock interesting again for the music listener for the later half of the 90’s. While the video era was both helpful and cancerous, it helped many bands achieve some success, especially with the help from a couple of bumbling animated idiots and their hilarious banter and commentary. From the 90’s came this tongue-in-cheek group out of California named UGLY KID JOE with a hit that essentially summed up what everyone was thinking and feeling at the time but weren’t sure if it was ok to be vocal about it. At the time, they made ‘hate’ fun again with their single "Everything About You" that basically spoke for everyone who had an attitude problem and needed some good ol’ fashion rock to pull us out of the whiney and complacent stagnation of 90’s music. UGLY KID JOE returns with what is only the fifth album, and their second since their reunion in 2010. Their new album titled Rad Wings Of Destiny looks to re-establish UKJ as the face of the attitude era of the 90’s.

With traditional Rock gaining a bit of steam and holding steady, there’s no reason why this album shouldn’t get constant play and some love. The opening track is just that, good old fashioned rock. The second track is one I can totally imagine hearing at a sports arena during a game or a wrestling event that would get the crowd chanting and rooting. The third and fourth track seem to try and hit that nerve they hit back in the day with that other hit they had, their rendition of the Harry Chapin classic "Cats In The Cradle". Coincidentally, the proceeding track happens to be a cover of another classic, Ray Davies"Lola". Whether this one would help them regain some of that 90’s nostalgia, is anyone’s guess.

Flipping it back to Rock n Roll, the 6th track is an interesting tune in that it is a bit of an homage to many great bands and musicians that have passed on, and some still rocking it. Lyrically, singer Whitfield Crane, who’s voice has always been second-to-none - verbally credits many of his inspirations from the world of Rock and Metal. From Lemmy and MOTORHEAD, Bonham and ZEP’, JUDAS PRIEST, Eddie Van Halen, SABBATH and numerous others. It’s a feel good tune that you can’t help but gravitate to because again, it’s how we’ve all felt about our favorite musicians.

UGLY KID JOE broke up in 1997 and then reunited in 2010 and 5 years later resulted in their comeback album Uglier Than They Used Ta Be that was received pretty well. For this follow-up in Rad Wings Of Destiny to prove the same may not seem likely as it is not as edgy and heavy as its predecessor. That’s not to say that the songs on this album aren’t catchy, because they totally are and have some marketability if someone will bite. With the slew of talent that had been involved with them, there’s no reason why this one couldn’t be a successful album for them. Along with previous drummer Shannon Larkin (AMEN, GODSMACK) contributing, new guy Zac Morris (no, not the guy from Saved By The Bell) is also holding down the beat on this new record. The album was produced by Mark Dodson who helped them achieve multi-platinum status with their debut America’s Least Wanted. The 90’s were a great time for music and in some unfortunate sense, a lot of the bands who still carry that sound are banking on that nostalgia. After all, it worked for Nu-Metal, why wouldn’t it for Post-Grunge?

3.5 Out Of 5.0

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