Hailing from South Africa, Son of Hawk’s self-titled, self-released debut is a visceral blast of hard rock, with the riffs of Rage Against the Machine, the energy of Clutch and the raucousness of the Dropkick Murphys. Here are twelve songs whose charms are obvious from the get-go.
The first two tracks, ‘Come Inside’ and ‘Trigger’, come at you at breakneck speed, explosive nuggets of rock n’ roll with delicious riffs and searing solos. These rocket-fuelled moments are scattered throughout the record and are a welcome treat. ‘Make Up Your Own Mind’ starts off at a saunter but this is merely the calm before the storm – the storm being a wickedly ferocious ending. The tail end of the record ‘Left Unsaid’ adds some melodrama and self-reproach to the fiery hard rock.
This raucous intensity is the perfect foil for the harsh, gravely tones of lead singer Heine Van Der Walt – who sounds like a potent mix of Ken Casey (Dropkick Murphys) and Udo Dirkschneider of (U.D.O and Accept). ‘Son of Hawk’ is the shortest such number, passing you by in an all too brief two and a half minutes. ‘Badman’ is a supercharged version of the blues the likes of which Clutch are well known for, it is simultaneously familiar yet fresh.
Differing elements make an appearance in an attempt to keep things fresh, and for the most part, they do – aside from ‘Closure’, forgetful blues-based ditty in the middle of the album. With cues taken from Alice In Chains ‘Worth It’ is indeed, ahem, worth it – a darker song with a subtle hint of melancholy. The most surprising moment here is ‘Motorway’, three minutes of ska nestled in amongst the heavy rock that, despite my reservations, works – it may feel out of place but it is a riotous bundle of fun.
Son of Hawk have delivered a visceral debut album filled with fiery hard rock, and it is a huge statement of intent from a band who only formed last year.