SUN RED SUN: Sun Red Sun (1st, debut, s.t) CD 1995 Original, 1st press. Badlands, Rainbow, Black Sabbath members. Check samples.


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Sun Red Sun was an American heavy metal supergroup active from 1992 to 1993. It featured former Rondinelli band-mates Ray Gillen and Bobby Rondinelli. Sun Red Sun was an American heavy metal project created by guitarist Al B. Romano. It also featured several prominent musicians: vocalists Ray Gillen of Badlands and Black Sabbath, and John West of Artension and Royal Hunt; drummer Bobby Rondinelli of Rainbow; bassists Mike Starr of Alice in Chains and John McCoy of Gillan; and lead guitarist Chris Caffery of Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The group was formed by Al B. Romano after his split from former Anthrax lead singer Joey Belladonna’s eponymous solo band. Sun Red Sun consisted of Romano on guitar, former Badlands and Black Sabbath singer Ray Gillen, Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, and Bobby Rondinelli (formerly of Rainbow and Black Sabbath, and later of Blue Öyster Cult) on drums. Gillen named the band after a Badlands song.
Their self-titled debut album was recorded at Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studio in New York City and produced by Romano and Lief Mases, who had produced albums for Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Black Sabbath. The album also featured guest appearances from Gillan bassist John McCoy, Chris Caffery of Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, John West on vocals and Mike Sciotto on drums.
Gillen died of AIDS-related causes on December 1, 1993, and the band split up shortly thereafter, following the completion of their final recordings with Badlands vocalist John West.

Ray Gillen vocals
Al B. Romano guitar
Mike Starr bass guitar
Bobby Rondinelli drums

Sun Red Sun is the self-titled debut album of the short-lived heavy metal group from the 1990s. It came two years after lead singer Ray Gillen died from AIDS-related complications.

Track listing:
I Know a Place (McCoy): 4:21) (Ray Gillen – vocals)
Hard Life (Romano, Belladonna): 3:21 (Ray Gillen – vocals)
Outrageous (McCoy, Smith) : 3:13 (Ray Gillen – vocals)
Lock Me Up (Romano, Belladonna, Rondinelli): 3:26 (Ray Gillen – vocals)
Final Curtain (Romano, McCoy): 3:58 (Ray Gillen – vocals)  EXTRA SONG
Responsible (Romano, Rondinelli): 2:58 (John West – vocals, Chris Caffery – lead guitar)
Deadly Nightshade (McCoy, Romano, Belladonna): 4:54 (Al Romano – vocals)
Big Misunderstanding (McCoy, Sciotto, Romano, Belladonna): 3:29 (Al Romano – vocals)
Intoxication (Romano, Rondinelli): 2:16 (John West – vocals)
How Do You Like Those? (Four King Bananas Missus) (McCoy, Romano): 1:07
Outrageous [Alternative Version] (McCoy, Smith): 3:28

Total length: 36:31

Ray Gillen – vocals
Al B. Romano – guitar, vocals
Mike Starr – bass guitar
Bobby Rondinelli – drums

John McCoy – bass guitar, guitar
John West – vocals
Chris Caffery – guitar
Arthur Guitar – guitar, vocals
Mike Sciotto – drums

Very first press, self released by Al Romano, © by Ⓟ Al Romano
12 page booklet,
but no barcode or catalog number

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Voice Taken Too Soon,
This is a rare recording that features a couple of amazing musicians. Mike Starr who was the bass player for Alice in Chains and then later appeared on Celebrity Rehab on Vh1 and Ray Gillen. Gillen was best known for his group Badlands that featured Jake E Lee of Ozzy Osbourne fame. Gillen later went on to perform with Black Sabbath he recorded a album with them that until recently was unreleased. This recording is a great moment that captures him at his best with powerful soul drenched vocals. If you are a fan of hard rock or a fan of Rays this is a great piece to have.If not a fan but looking for some straight forward in your face rock this one is for you.

5.0 out of 5 stars this must be heard,
as a big fan of Ray Gillen, i highly recommend this CD. This is a CD that needs to be heard, it is great rock n roll, not unlike Badlands, one of the best bands ever in my humble opinion, the previous reviewer doesn’t even state if hes heard the record, i have and love it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Recording!!!,
If your a fan of Rays this is a cool album. Mike Starr of Alice in Chains also played on this. Ray never got his due. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Ray was one of the great singers of his time but that was the problem, his time was to short. R.I.P and God Bless you Ray, you and your voice are sadly missed………

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it Now!,
I never heard of Ray Gillen until years after his death. Now I can’t stop listening to him. His voice was up there with all the rest of best. If you grew up as a teen in the 80s metal scene you will wish you made it as a rock star with Rays talent yourself.

The period spanning the early to mid 1990s will likely be best remembered as a desert-like graveyard of overlooked swansongs and otherwise ignored last-ditch offerings of the old ways, at least from the perspective of the heavy metal trustee. The proverbial well that was interest in the conventions of the 80s had all but run completely dry, and any oasis that laid in its wake would be missed by most of the famished and the thirsty, despite some auspicious attempts at incorporating the newer trends of the day into the older template. Nevertheless, in 1991 when a relatively unknown guitarist in Al Romano, being a hard rock protege of Mountain guitarist Leslie West, saw an opportunity to make his own way in the still present heavy metal world after a brief recording stint with ex-Ian Gillian bassist John McCoy that resulted in the Heavy Metal Cowboys album and a few waves made in the U.K. market. This early association with a number of big names in the hard rock world, combined with a natural ability to scout talent and self-produce, would pave the way for a project that flirted with greatness yet due to unforeseen circumstances, fell just shy of closing the deal.

The resulting project in Sun Red Sun and its eponymous debut, which many mistake for a continuation of Ray Gillen’s outfit Badlands due to his involvement and the name matching one of said project’s songs, wouldn’t full take shape until after Romano had a brief stint with former Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna’s solo project. This exposure to one of thrash metal’s Big 4 icons at a time when the style in question was transitioning into a slower, more groove-oriented character, would further hone his songwriting and playing style into a sort of hybrid expression that could be best described as a missing link between the rock-based 80s phenomenon of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot, and the darker world of 90s groove metal. Add into the mix ex-Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, fresh off recording Dirt and now a free agent, the resulting mixture of 80s party metal and an almost grungy 90s hangover becomes all but the auditory equivalent of a speedball. Nevertheless, while the resulting synergy of clashing elements results in a heavier guitar sound and a darker overall feel, the scales tip a tad bit more in the 80s direction, due in no small part to drummer Bobby Rondinelli’s nimble and often speedy drum work, and the array of vocal talent involved.

Although a cohesive package in terms of both instrumentation and production quality, Sun Red Sun might easily be mistaken for a various artists compilation due to the presence of three very different lead vocalists being featured at various points. The central character is the soaring, Robert Plant-like pipes of Ray Gillen, who was originally meant to be the sole helmsman of this super group, yet due to his ongoing and soon to be lost battle with AIDS, only lends his talent to an EP’s worth of material on here. The curious blend of his throw-back vocal style with a then modernized, deep and bordering on thrashing metallic riff assault provides a very effective foil to the then dominant grunge sound, sharing some degree of similarity with Alice In Chain’s Facelift and even Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love, yet leans back in more of a late 80s rock/metal direction when Romano’s leads chime in. Of the four songs that feature this now fallen vocal icon, opener “Hard Life” and “Lock Me Up” kick up the tempo considerably and function fairly close to simplified outtakes from a follow up to Anthrax’s Persistence Of Timethat never materialized, while “Outrageous” creeps at a slower tempo and listens more like a droning grunge anthem.

As previously noted, Gillen’s inability to complete this album left Romano in a quandary as to how this project would be finalized, and his ultimate solution would be to handle some of the vocal duties himself and tap the man who ironically ended up replacing Gillen in Badlands for a spell following his departure in John West. Romano had originally mused over the idea of handling vocals for this project himself prior to bringing Gillen on board, and surprisingly enough, he manages to pull off a full blown impersonation of Vince Neil that is so convincing that one is tempted to question why he never started a Motley Crue tribute band. The two songs that he reserved for his own vocal talents are the most rock-based and guitar oriented offerings found on here, with “Big Misunderstanding” having a cruising speed character to it that occasionally sounds like a nod to Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song”, while “Deadly Nightshade” sports a shred-happy Middle Eastern vibe that could almost pass for a Joe Satriani tune. The two song contribution of John West sadly functions as more of an afterthought, which is a shame given his gritty, powerful rendition of Roger Daltrey on steroids, but the thrashing heaviness of “Intoxication” and the chunky grooves of “Responsible” are well-realized and do play well to his more aggressive vocal approach.

In retrospect, this album stands as a triumph against adversity in just about every respect imaginable, from the logistics of completing a work that suffered numerous setbacks during production to the ingrained hostility at the time towards a band mostly made up of 80s rock and metal stars putting out music that somewhat caters to present trends. Sadly, this album ultimately never saw the light of day until a year after the band had folded tent and two years after Ray Gillen’s untimely death, which spelled doom for it as a commercial force. If there is any comparable album of note from the mid-90s that it could be compared to, it would be Dokken’s comeback and stylistically compromised 1995 offering Dysfunctional, but said album ultimately lacked cohesion and didn’t really deliver the hooks as well as this does. Moreover, what much of the last ditch efforts of the 90s would ultimately lack was a true classic of an anthem to give the days of old a proper send off, which this album ultimately delivers in “I Know A Place”, a speed metal infused and catchy as hell masterpiece, and also the last thing that Ray Gillen would commit to recording. Though it is an album mired by a crisis of identity given the lack of a unifying vocal personality, this is one of those missing link albums that works extremely well within its hybrid niche and stands as one of the few things that metal heads and grunge fans might agree upon.

Additional information

Weight 0.1 kg


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