The Winery Dogs, the American hard rock trio comprised of Richie Kotzen (vocals/guitars), Billy Sheehan (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums), have returned with their third album, III, the long-awaited follow-up to their 2015 sophomore album Hot Streak. III features ten tracks of power-packed anthems each infused with the band’s unique and exciting blend of hard rock, melodic vocals, and progressive influences. With this trio’s impressive and legendary pedigree you always know you are up for some high quality musicianship, but how do the songs measure up?
At first glance you would not be out of line to wonder if this was a cover’s album simply by some of the titles. By now though, most fans have heard the first two singles, “Xanadu” and “Mad World”, and they certainly are not covers. In fact, the album opener, “Xanadu’, is a frenetic rocker that stands up as one of the group’s best and most energetic rock songs to date. Each member is playing out of his mind on this song, yet there is still a masterful chorus with a killer hook. The song has garnered the group a lot of renewed exposure and attention and it’s easy to see why. The second single and album track, “Mad World”, meanwhile has more of a groovy vibe to it, but again the focus is placed on the chorus which finds the band harmonizing, which they do exceptionally well, led by Kotzen’s effortless vocals.
The group hit another home run with the third track and likely single “Breakthrough” which is a slower tempo, almost ballad-type track, that has another fantastic chorus. This one would not have been out of place on the debut album and feels like one that will be a fan favorite. From there, the killer riffs and dazzling runs continue whether through the hard rocker ‘Rise’ or the Deep Purple-esque “Gaslight”, placed alongside some more mellower material like the heartbreaking blues ballad “Lorelai” or the haunting “Stars” which features another spectacular jam section.
From Sheehan’s emphatic bass lines, to Portnoy’s pounding drums, to Kotzen’s tastefully extravagant guitars and powerful vocals, there is something here for every rock fan. Nearly ten years since their stellar debut album, III cements the band’s legacy, proving they are a band with staying power.
Released on Feb 3rd, 2023 on Three Dog Music
2. Mad World
6. The Vengeance
10. The Red Wine
Available here: https://orcd.co/pakbwm9