The Winery Dogs – The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs – The Winery Dogs
Loud & Proud Records
Putting a dream rhythm section consisting of Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan together seems wild enough. Then you add in journeyman axe slinger Ritchie Kotzen, and your first thoughts are, well, what is it going to sound like? Dream Theater without the keys? Intricate prog-tilted rock, or hair metal of the type produced by Mr. Big of which Billy and Ritchie were both a part of? The answer is simple after one listen to The Winery Dogs debut; this trio just wants to flat out rock. Yes, there are some insane bass licks, thunderously intricate drumming, and wicked guitar shredding. It is obvious though that these guys wanted to just do an album of fat-hooked rock and roll where their individual prowess is just an extra touch of flavor and is not flaunted for flaunting’s sake, but fits in superbly with the songs they create. You could call them a modern day Cream because they drive that kind of a potent rock engine. The lead track “Damaged” has a more emotive feel with a tempered rock vibe. “The Dying” is a power ballad that stunningly exemplifying the word “power,” far more intense than anything most 80’s rock purveyors could dream of for the most part. There are plenty of scorching rockers as well, from the rowdy feel of “Not Hopeless” to the full throttle vibrance of “The Other Side” and pounding growl of “Time Machine,” the latter coming the closest as any track to exhibiting prog influences. Ritchie’s dusky vocals, with harmonic flourishes from both Billy and Mike, take the thought-provoking lyrics over the top. This CD could have easily just been an ego stroker for some of the top players in the biz. Instead, it is a wonderful display of three guys who just love to rock, and fuse their talents into a rock machine that does not let up from start to finish. Hopefully, this is not merely a project and will be a band that will continue to produce more great music for years to come. – MW



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