I’ve always pictured the Stockholm-bound The Riven as the Swedish version of Thulsa Doom – similar vibes, similar undertones, and similar upbeat resonances. The RIven, as far as I observe, has always been influenced by the sounds from the golden age of classic rock; the 1970s and 1980s. Their sounds are genuinely hard-hitting, sharp-shooting, and they appear to be the kind of sounds that would make you want to headbang as the exciting memories in your head replay themselves in retrospect whilst you listen to them. In terms of genre classification, they might pass as heavy blues rock with progressive, psychedelic, and classical influences and a strong emphasis on menacing riffs as well as vigorous vocals.
The opening strains of Ballad of a Misspent Youth (MRG Records) by Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts reminds me of old KISS. It’s the sound of the guitars. There is a bit of The Black Crowes thrown in for good measure. It’s hard driving and pop-ish with a punk tinge. The guitars are simple yet sonically pleasing. The album continues this stylistic choice with savage awesomeness. Be prepared, Ballad of a Misspent Youth is solid from start to finish with plenty of songs that will get stuck on constant rotation.
Throwback Thursday can now be every day if you believe hard enough. With Crobot’s latest release Feel This (Mascot Label Group), you can headbang and air guitar like it was the 1990s, early aught’s all over again.
In the new “post-covid” era I have been hearing some awesome cuts coming from all kinds of artists. It makes me wonder how many took advantage of the downtime to hone skills and really dig into some songwriting.
For the most part, the fourth album from Jess And The Ancient Ones continues down the low-key approach to Occult Rock that was established on 2017’s The Horse And Other Weird Tales. Just about every song on Vertigo (Svart Records) is driven by a short length, an upbeat structure, and extensive layers of psychedelic instrumentation. Aside from the eleven minutes of the closing ‘Strange Earth Illusion,’ the first two albums’ more drawn-out runtimes seem to be a thing of the past.
Deftones’ fan video archive channel Deftones Live on YouTub has shared a long-lost concert performance of the band from their 1996 opening slot on the now legendary Pantera/White Zombie Tour. Deftones were promoting their debut album Adrenaline (Maverick Records) and the concert was shot for a promo that was never released. Watch the video now!
The reignited interest in distinctly eighties-sounding metal styles, and more specifically, the thrash revival of the 2000s, has brought with it a handful of blistering new acts, alongside a slew of respectable releases from its originators. However, as a general scene, it has also suffered from a lack of innovation and compositional creativity. Often bands of this scene are perfectly content to just emulate classic sounds long-established by Sodom, Kreator, Venom, Bathory, and Slayer. Oftentimes, I find it a dull guessing game of which thrash bands are being ripped off whenever I listen to these bands. But there are nevertheless a handful of acts that in addition to paying tribute to the old guard’s sound manage to capture that fury, excitement, and blasphemous spirit of heavy music during the proto-extreme metal era. James McBain, the singular creative force behind Hellripper, clearly loves the style of first wave black metal and Teutonic thrash but is also creative enough to blend them to create something that sounds completely fresh. The result here is The Affair of the Poisons (Peaceville Records), a sophomore effort to the more straightforward Coagulating Darkness, and a release of blackened thrash/speed metal fury that will leave you yearning even more for a destructive live experience in 2020.Continue reading
Rising Australian rock stars Starcrazy have teamed up with Ghost Cult to stream the first single from their debut EP, due in early 2021. “Long Way Home” calls it back to a simpler time of spazzed out licks, breezy hooks, catchy verses, great vocals, and real rock n roll swagger. A song like this is the polar opposite of today’s fake everything and too clean substitute for pop pulp. The band already counts legends such as Alice Cooper and Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore, and chances are you are next!
Relative newcomers to the scene, Detroit’s Plague Years follow up their independently released 2018 debut EP with their first full-length offering, Circle of Darkness (eOne Music). Continue reading
Music fans love a good supergroup. However, a lot of times the results may vary and the resultant music that felt like it would rule on paper doesn’t translate in the end. Well, that sure isn’t the case with Disciples of Verity. Not only does the band boast a who’s who of dynamic talents from across Rock and Metal (Living Colour, God Forbid, Negative Sky, Sekond Skyn), their debut release Pragmatic Sanction (The Label Group/InGrooves) has a ton of memorable songs; heavy enough for the real headbangers, but catchy enough for the masses. Continue reading