Mr. Big meets Iron Maiden – or at least one member each of their former lineups. On 26th March 2021, two big names of the rock and metal business join forces for a remarkable album project: Adrian Smith, the legendary guitarist of Iron Maiden, and Richie Kotzen do nine songs togetehr. The album name is not that creative – Smith / Kotzen. This could not prevent me from having a listen.
Adrian Smith – About The Artist
Adrian Smith was born on 27th February 1957 in Hackney, East London. He joined Iron Maiden in 1981. He left the hard rock legends in 1990, but came back in 1999. He is still one of the band’s three guitar players.
Richie Kotzen – About The Artist
This is already the second Flyctory.com review of a Richie Kotzen album. In February 2020, I reviewed his amazing album 50 for 50, which he released to his 50th birthday. I already did some bio information about the Pennsylvania artist. Kotzen became majorly famous as a guitar player at Mr. Big and Poison.
Smith & Kotzen – Smith/Kotzen – Track by Track
The nine song album lasts 47 minutes.
1. Taking My Chances
Taking My Chances was one the singles before the album release – and it is a clear statement: these guys deliver just what you expect them. How could the guitar riffs be bad with this combined talent? But they also cooperate well on the vocal side. A really powerful hard rock song.
Running is an amazing rock track. One fun fact about this one: Richie Kotzen is drumming this track on his own – he is not just a great one on the strings. Catching vocals and amazing work on the guitars as well.
And in the end I guess I’m running, yeah I’m running from myself So I can feel alive Yeah in the end I guess I’m running, yeah I’m running down myself Until I feel alive
These guys are real die-hard rockers. You can see it not only by the sound of their songs, the tracks also come with a certain rock duration. The predecessor of Scars, Running was the shortie on the album (with express 4:19 minutes) – song number three is giving you over three minutes of rock enjoyment. The song is a bit softer, comes with the spirit of the ballad and a touch of the blues. When there is a nice solo towards the end of this track, you feel that Scars is still too short.
4. Some People
Some People comes with a nice bass vibe. The song feels very easy and slack. These guys spread the spirit of a rising, motivated late-teenage duo, who want to conquer the world of music with their precise riffs. Mr Kotzen, Mr Smith – you are at the top already!
5. Glory Road
Glory Road is a nice fusion of blues sound and spirit and hard rock elements. Just when you are into the song’s groove, these guys finally blast you with a melodic chorus. Love it!
6. Solar Fire
Iron Maiden support at the Solar Fire: For this song, Smith and Kotzen acquired Nicko McBrain at the drums. Crashing, powerful riffs and a nice vocal collaboration in this song, which is pure rock and does not touch other genres.
7. You Don’t Know Me
You may bang your head to You Don’t Know Me, but you have to do it smoothly and slow. The seventh song is the extremely emotional and touching power ballad on Smith/Kotzen. Not too bad to don’t be too wild with your upper fur and your skull – the song will give you a seven minute enjoyment – too heavy movements would leave severe neck pain here. The song is magical.
8. I Wanna Stay
Stay emotional: I Wanna Stay is significantly shorter than You Don’t Know Me, but the song is sad and touching. Two hard rockers with a good heart. Lovely track.
9. ‘Til Tomorrow
‘Til Tomorrow has a dark touch and even has a slight does of Alternative spirit to me. A great way to finish this album.
Smith & Kotzen – Smith/Kotzen – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Smith & Kotzen – Smith/Kotzen – My View
Not too surprisingly, likely: I love Smith/Kotzen. I expected these guys to be extremely good on their guitars, but the way they plot their songs, the harmony, the way they complement their strengths is amazing. The result is a nine song album, which has a touch of a real masterpiece. I want more! Please don’t let this project be a one-album show.