Sound studio

ALBUM REVIEW: Better Days…and Nights – Smith/Kotzen

As many in the UK are hoping for things to return to normal after recent events, it’s only fitting that the hybrid album Better days and nights by dynamic duo SMITH/KOTZEN drops this Friday. Richie Kotzen and Adrian Smith are both rock heavyweights, with Black-smith best known for being a metal icon guitarist IRON MAIDENand some of Kotzenthe endless catalog of, including POISON, Mr. BIG and supergroup CELLAR DOGS earning him a solid reputation in the industry. Together, the duo form a tour de force of talent with classic rock charm.

Better days and nights follows the release of their self-titled debut album and their Better days EP released in 2021. Predictably, the Days side of the album includes all four songs from the EP, with the Nights side with live recordings of two songs from their EP and three from their album. Even the track list of the Days side is the same as the EP, offering no variation. It would have been much more interesting to see how the EP could be performed in a different order now that the previous release has had time to sink in and receive responses from the public.

While none of the songs are technically new releases, the addition of hearing them live is a great bonus, giving fans the chance to get a taste of the live experience if they haven’t. unable to attend their UK and US tour. With bassist backup Julia Lage and drummer Bruno Valerde, the live versions are fully fleshed out performances with heartbreaking solos and eerily soothing vocals to sound as good, if not better, than their recorded counterparts. With the quality of their live sound, it wouldn’t be surprising to see their upcoming tours sell out even more than before.

Without surprise, Better days and nights acts as a love letter to classic rock, with expected nods to Kotzen and Black-smith‘s, and both use the spotlight to showcase and show off their technical prowess and show how talented they are as a duo. The highlight of the album is I have a hold on me in studio and live versions; it’s funnier and fresher than the other singles and has a little more technicality – that and the insane guitar solo that Black-smith unleashed on the audience.

Although the album as a whole is an easy listening addition to SMITH/KOTZEN, he adds nothing new to their discography other than live versions of their pre-existing songs. The live intros, adlibs, and crowd interactions are fun, but they don’t add enough to the record to warrant a torrent of hype in their own way. As such, it’s probably best viewed more as a remaster than a new release, with the ultimate conclusion that it’s more for record collectors than anyone hoping for genuinely new music.

Rating: 6/10

Better Days…And Nights is now available through self-publishing.

As BLACK-SMITH and KOTZEN on their respective Facebook pages.