Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

Since riding his signature power metal vocals to a surprising fourth-place finish on American Idol in 2011, James Durbin has released four albums and fronted 80’s pop metal legends Quiet Riot for a short stint.  However, with his upcoming aptly titled release,  The Beast Awakens (available February 12th), Durbin has finally been unleashed to achieve his full potential.  Under the new moniker ‘Durbin’, The Beast Awakens is an impressive collection of energetic fantasy-themed metal that showcases Durbin’s booming high-pitched vocals and gifted melodic metal songwriting.  The 12-song album will undoubtedly evoke comparisons to classic metal acts such as Dio, Judas Priest, and Savatage.  Durbin’s commanding yet distinctive voice injects a level of authentic freshness to the genre and should certainly please hard rock and classic metal fans.   

After recently signing a new multi-album deal with Frontiers Music Srl, Durbin was clearly thrilled to have the label support and empowerment to make the album he wanted to make.  “I am awakened,” says Durbin, who’s renewed creative energy led to The Beast Awakens - an ambitious concept album taking listeners on an adventurous quest for glory.  Durbin created a fantasy realm for songs flowing with mythology, necromancy, malevolent beasts, and epic sword battles. The 32-year-old from Santa Cruz, CA wrote both the lyrics and music, explaining that every song was written with a specific purpose to tell the story.  

With Durbin also handling rhythm guitars, veteran drummer Mike Vanderhule (Y&T) and bass guitar extraordinaire Barry Sparks (Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Ted Nugent, B’z) were recruited to fuel a powerful rhythm section.  The first single “Kings Before You” features guest vocals from Fozzy vocalist and wrestling star Chris Jericho and a furious guitar solo by guest guitarist Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head)Jon Yadon Jr., Marc Putnam, Dylan Rose, and Nick Gallant also contribute guitar solos throughout the album. 

The opening track is the addicting anthem “The Prince of Metal”.  The verse is delivered in a theatrical style reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of the Opera” and transitions into a trademark Durbin-powered melodic chorus climaxing with a catchy triumphant battle cry, “Raise Thy Horns Bang Thy Heads The Prince Of Metal!” 

“Evil Eye” might be my favorite tune, a crunchy kickass spirited rock hit where Durbin’s vocal performance once again shines.  The fast-paced melodic “Calling Out for Midnight” and the power ballad “Battle Cry” will satisfy both hard rockers and those with more commercial tastes.  The album finishes strong with its most dynamic track “Rise to Valhalla”.  Exploding with a wicked tempo ala Priest’s “Ram It Down”, the song evolves into a slow gentle breakdown allowing bassist Sparks to deliver some sweet licks over a subtle beat drummer Vanderhule designs around a funky bass drum pattern.  Celebrating the blissful afterlife destination for valiant slain warriors in Norse mythology, the song revs back to breakneck speed for a well-executed crescendo – a rousing conclusion to the album and story. 

After taking this one around the block numerous times, it's clear that Durbin hit a grand-slam home run with The Beast Awakens.  It's fresh, powerful, and a much needed shot in the arm (no pun intended) during these precarious times and an album you won't want to miss.  Circle February 12 on your calendar today and download a copy from your favorite streaming service when it's released, you won't be disappointed in this all-out in-your-face,  metal extravaganza!


Be well and keep rocking!   Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  9.1 out of 10

Artist:  Durbin,  AlbumThe Beast Awakens  Release Date: February 12, 2021,   LabelFrontiers Music SRL



  • Twitter