Band Members:

Derek Davis: vocals, Keyboard, Guitar

Ron Freschi: lead Lead Guitar, background vocals

John Mattews: Lead Guitar

Craig Pepe: bass, background vocals

Dylan Soto: drums and background vocals

Just released in May, I am all set to review “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day,” the fifth studio album by American rockers Babylon AD. For a very brief history, these guys were formed in 1987. Babylon A.D. hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. Their original members, Derek Davis vocalist/songwriter, guitarist’s and music writers John Mathews and Ron Freschi drummer James Pacheco, and bassist Rob Reid, met in high school before they began playing together as “The Persuaders,” making a name for themselves with their powerful live performances and catchy songwriting skills and becoming one of the top drawing original Hard Rock bands in Northern CA. They became Babylon AD in 1989. Success came with their debut album, “Babylon A.D.”, which was released in 1990. The album included their hard rock classic hits “Bang Go The Bells,”  “Hammer Swings Down,” and “The Kid Goes Wild,”  which featured screaming “Sam Kinison” and was the trailer song and promotional video for Orion Pictures (ROBO COP 2). The band scored three #1 songs at Metal Radio and reached gold status on their first release, which spent 38 weeks on the Billboard top 200, peaking at #46.

Three more albums and a long hiatus between 2008-2014 and we can fast-forward. We can, in fact, fast forward to 2023, when BABYLON A.D. announced new members Craig Pepe (bass) and Dylan Soto (drums) and a new live concert album, “Live Lightning,” from Perris Records. The new album included their top-ten rock-radio classic hits from their debut album as well as songs from “Nothing Sacred,”  “American Blitzkrieg,”  and “Revelation Highway.”

Speaking about this album, Derek Davis said:

“We are so excited about this release. “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” has really put the band back on the map. All the fan support, radio play and reviews we are getting from the album are so amazing. It really feels good to know we are back! We can’t wait to share this album on the road, and the shows we have lined up this year are going to be a blast for the band and the fans alike.”

“Wrecking Machine” opens up the album with this rocking-out drum sound, frantic and steady. In comes the bass, and the track pulses to the heartbeat of the album. Do you remember Cinderella? This has touches of their sound; it is heavy AOR, commercial in sound, has a solid chorus, and would be beloved by rock radio. It’s driving music if you have an open road.

 “Pain” is a heavier track, with a crunchy riff and a light harmony guitar break about halfway through. It’s one of those that you grab the air guitar for! It shows the band can rock out with the best.

“Sometimes Love Is Hell” is a slow, heavy ballad. The guitar breaks are well delivered, and the vocals are high in the mix to give them a real gutsy bite as the track speaks of the travails faced in the journey of love. It’s a decent rock ballad, but I think the mix doesn’t always do the track a favour; the drums seem a bit lost.

“Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” was one I liked. It returns to this slick rock sound, with a great sing-along feel to the chorus and some blistering guitar sounds. I gave it a couple of back-to-back plays, which is always a good sign.

“Looking for a Heartbeat” was my favourite song on the album; it does everything right, and it is the track that really shows what the guys can do. It had a feel of Whitesnake about it, and I will return to this number.

“I Will Never Break Again” is a ballad. Although a strong vocal performance, the track could have done with being a couple of minutes shorter, and in the days of the 45” singles, this one would have seen itself onto a ‘B’ side and, probably, be off the album.

“White Hot Bullet” produces a kicking riff, a rough-edged track and some gritty vocals. It has the vocals up to the fore, and the harmony is well delivered.

“Crashed Into The Sun” is an album track that has some nice vocal harmony touches, and the guitar fade-out is well delivered. It’s fine as a mid-album piece.

“Face of God” is one of those power ballads that I feel would work well live. Again, I really liked some of the guitar work and the chorus. The chorus kicks into a bigger sound, it’s one of those wave your hands and enjoy the moment songs.

“Shut Up” returns to the AOR vibe, a slick commercial rock with plenty of rhythm and strut. This one is giving a very decent nod to that latter-eighties, pre-grunge, sound. The band is comfortable with this one, clearly having fun and in the zone!

“Super Beast” is a solid and enjoyable instrumental stomp to close the album. It’s good to get those drums a bit higher in the mix; the track ends the album with an appropriate bang!


Speaking as a British reviewer, this album has a traditional American rock sound. I do notice that it was produced and engineered by vocalist Derek Davis, and I wonder if it may have benefited from an outside producer having a say. I didn’t know the band well before hearing this album (I only really knew a couple of the tracks off the first album), and there was a lot to like about it. I’m sure the big tracks will attract interest from rock radio on both sides of the Atlantic, and the band has managed to reinvent themselves with a commercial sound for 2024. When they nail it, and they do on the tracks I note below, they are damn good rockers delivering the goods.

Standout tracks: ‘Looking for a Heartbeat,” “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day,” and “Wrecking Machine.”

You can download the album and other material from the band here.

And we hope you liked the review, dear reader! If you did, please check out the other pages of the magazine; we have many great features, merchandise, editorials and even poetry! We work hard for you, and if you want to show some appreciation and support what we do, then do use the Support Us link below! Always appreciated.

By: Stevie Ritson

Album details:

Produced, Mixed, and engineered by Derek Davis 

The BADMOFO’s Recording Studio, Pleasanton, CA.

Drums were recorded by Gabriel Shepard at 25th Studios in Oakland, CA.

Mastered By David Donnelly, DNA Mastering Los Angeles CA.

Photos: Angela Probst, Studio A

Vintage Artwork Concept Design: Derek Davis

Upcoming Babylon A.D. Tour Dates:

June 7th – Whisky go Go – Hollywood CA

Aug 3rd – Fulton 55 – Fresno CA

Aug 9th – Liquid Joes – Salt Lake City UT
Aug 10th – Wild Goose Saloon – Parker CO
Aug 17th – The Boardwalk – Orangevale CA

Aug 25th – Monster On Mountain – Gatlinburg TN

Sept 20th – Feather Falls Casino – Oroville CA

Sept 21st – Horsefest – Newark CA