“Winter’s Call” showcases the best the late ’80s had to offer in musicianship and melodic songwriting, combining a kick ass guitar riff with vocals Robert Plant would be proud of.
Badlands was the late ’80s Led Zepplin that never was to be, despite having all the ingredients of an absolute monster band. This is no more apparent than on their track “Winter’s Call” from the 1988 album Badlands. Between Ray Gillen’s soaring vocals and raspy whispers along with Jake E. Lee’s wall-of-sound blues rock licks, “Winter’s Call” would be right at home beside such legendary tracks as “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway To Heaven”.
The song itself is fairly common ’80s fare – a crooning semi-ballad about love, or more accurately lust, made all the more seductive by Gillen’s voice. Jake E. Lee in particular shows just how versatile a guitarist he really is, as his work here is a radical departure from the over-the-top writing on Bark At The Moon.
“Winter’s Call” is also reminiscient of another song Ray was involved with, though this happened after Badlands was established. “Strange Wings” by Savatage featured Ray Gillen on backing vocals, and in fact the song almost seems like the reply to this one (“she flies strange wings, still tears she cries”) when you listen to the two of them back to back. It’s almost as though the request made here went unheard or unfulfilled (“you hear her cry out in the cold, baby, hold me, hold me, don’t fly away”).
Regardless, “Winter’s Call” showcases the best the late ’80s had to offer in musicianship and melodic songwriting, combining a kick ass guitar riff with vocals Robert Plant would be proud of. Check out Badlands and crank it up! \m/
Editor’s Note: Ray Gillen died as a result of AIDS-related complications in 1993.
Ray Gillen – Vocals
Jake E. Lee – Guitar
Greg Chaisson – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums