I am sure that all the die hard KISS fans are familiar with the name of Four By Fate as this is the band that was created by two former Frehley’s Comet members: Tod Howarth and John Regan. The quartet is completed with the addition of the original Skid Row drummer Ron Affuso and guitarist Patrick James. I first found out about Four By Fate in 2014 so “Relentless” was an album that I was eagerly (and impatiently, I must add) waiting in 2016. The main reason was pure and simple: this would be the first time where Howarth and Regan would record together after 28 long years!
Having followed Howarth’s solo career after his departure from Frehley’s Comet I knew more or less what to expect from a compositional standpoint: a bunch of melodic hard rock songs with a slight (yet identifiable) touch of alternative 90s sound that is so beloved to Howarth’s overall songwriting style. There were indeed such moments on the album (like for instance “I Give” or “On My Own” which personally reminded me of latter Dokken) but the one thing that stands out on “Relentless” is the first half of the album as Four By Fate really takes us by storm with the first four songs! “These Times Are Hard For Lovers” (which we first listened to it in the 80s by John Waite) is the ideal opening track, the follow up “Moonshine” is by far the best moment on the album as it’s a hard rock dynamite quite reminiscent of Motley Crue’s self titled effort in 1994 while “Hangin’ On” and “Levee Breach” took off sonically with Tod Howarth’s magnificent vocals. We must also point down that we are treated with two more cover tunes that remain truthful to the original versions: “It’s Over Now” (Frehley’s Comet) and “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo (Johnny Winter).
As a closing note, I’d say that we got more than we bargained for with “Relentless” which is really a great piece of hard rock music that so much is missed nowadays. I cannot wait for what the guys have in store for us in the near future!
Highlight: The late A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister) plays drums on 6 songs on the album. Most likely, these are his last ever recordings.