Personnel: Richie Kotzen (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Billy Sheehan (bass guitar, background vocals); Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Jay Ruston.
Recording information: Serenity West, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Jamel Toppin.
The sophomore studio long player from the stalwart hard rock trio featuring vocalist/guitarist Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big), bass player Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Steve Vai), and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), the Loud and Proud-issued Hot Streak doubles down on the instinctive riffage, submarine-hatch-tight rhythms, and pure vintage metal mayhem of the Winery Dogs' 2013 debut. As would be expected from such an accomplished group of players, the musicianship is top-notch, with Portnoy and Sheehan finishing each other's musical sentences like long lost siblings; Kotzen's seasoned croon, which falls somewhere in between Sammy Hagar, David Coverdale, and Paul Rodgers, and deft guitar work providing numerous fireworks throughout. Opener "Oblivion," like much of the album, is both mathy and accessible; a tech-heavy, prog-tinged barn burner delivered in a classic rock wrapper. The groove-heavy, slide-driven "Empire," the propulsive, Van Halen-esque "Devil You Know" and the soaring "Ghost Town" and "The Bridge" follow suit, fluidly pairing meaty hooks with offbeat tempo shifts, but it's not all just pick slides and breakdowns. The melancholic ballad "Fire," with its flourishes of flamenco guitar, and the soulful, electric piano-led "Think It Over" show that the band can hold back when it needs to. The atmospheric closer "The Lamb" proves that they can juggle both predilections without breaking a sweat. With Hot Streak, the Winery Dogs sound more like a hardened band than they do a one-off studio project, and while what they're doing may not be exactly revolutionary, it's being done with a lethal combination of fearlessness and finesse. ~ James Christopher Monger