Album Review: Ron Coolen – Rise

Ron Coolen has done it all. Over the years, the Dutch musician has played in cover bands, raised funds for guitar legend Jason Becker, and hosted a regional radio show in Netherlands. Now, he has gone ahead to release his debut solo album RISE, and it is safe to say that hard rock has gained a star.

Not one for words? Just take a listen to Big Devil Data, the perfect first single to unleash upon unsuspecting audiophiles:

This brilliant opening track sums up the album’s merits, and a little more. The multi-instrumentalist rocks steadily on bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and keyboard, flaunting his flair for rousing riffs and catchy choruses.

It is more than musicality alone that pleases the ear. Penned by Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Lynch Mob) and Francoise Vaal, its lyrical content has something to say, tackling anxieties in a modern world that relinquishes privacy for convenience with no regard for consequence.

If that is not enough to draw you in, the song also features St John on vocals and Thorsten Koehne (Eden’s Curse) on solo guitar. This multi-talent involvement is just an indication of more to come. From hosting a regional radio show to co-organising a Jason Becker tribute festival, all of Coolen’s past work has paid off in varied connections and culminated in a massive guest list for the record.

Cited as one of his musical heroes, the peerless George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) gets to have his time in glam-inspired Sin City. Steve Lamb (Tygers of Pan Tang) lends his stunning solo to Shoot your Devils Down. There is no room for monotony as the album veers into thrash territory seven tracks in. Christopher Amott of Arch Enemy guests on Kill Kill Kill, a stellar anthem led by the aptly aggressive vocal of Sam Walters (Driven Mad).

Accompanied by these big names, Ron Coolen risks being cast in their shadows. But all of RISE lays that unnecessary worry to eternal rest. The man who works the hardest behind the scenes comes up top with every note, giving his all to not only live his dream, but to share his gift with the world.


A huge thanks to Ron Coolen for sharing his debut with this site. RISE will be released through RC Music on March 1, 2020 and can be preordered here in physical CD format. Part of the proceeds will go to the Jason Becker Charity.

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