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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Reviews: Scorpion Child, Huntress, Monster Truck

Scorpion Child: Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast)

Rock bands come and rock bands go but some stay around forever, one of the main bands of this ilk are Britain's own Led Zeppelin whose influence you can still feel in music today. Well Scorpion Child follow this line of influence to a tee. Hailing from Texas the band sound an awful lot like Plant and co. Straight from the first bass riff of Kings Highway the Zeppelin influence is evident with the slow burning rocker before the relentless battering ram riff of Polygon Of Eyes reinforces the comparison while also bringing in elements of Free, Humble Pie and dripping with 70's psych evidenced on The Secret Spot. This band have many things going for them but the main thing is hooks, loads of them, with the clarion call of "I Come From The Mountain" (Dio influence?) in Polygon Of Eyes leading the battle cry. The band have a heavier sound than Page's as they feature two guitarists in the shape of Tom Frank's chunky rhythm and Chris Cowart's soaring leads, see Salvation Slave for the slower more expressive playing he possess, however guitarists are only as good as their backing and Shaun Avants and Shawn Alvear provide the Paul-Jones and Bonham rumble and smash of bass and drums respectively, witnessed on the very Boogie With Stu style Liquor where Alvear smashes the living hell out of his kit. However it's not all heavy rock bluster they can turn their hand to slower more folky passages with Antioch which is very LZ III. I think the Zep influence can be drawn mainly from vocalist Aryn Jonathan Black who has an uncannily Plant-like voice whiskey smoked mixed with honey, that matched with the power blues of the bands songs means that as I have said they sound an awful lot like Zeppelin, however rather than being just a rip-off merchants they add a modern style and bring in elements of other bands like American's Clutch seen on the groove sledgehammer riffs of Paradigm before returning to the acoustic strumming on the opening of the Zep-like Red Blood (The River Flows) before the album ends with the slow deliberate doom of Keep Goin'  which changes from Sabbath into Deep Purple in a matter of seconds. If you are following the retro rock revival featuring Rival Sons, graveyard and The Sword you will fall in love with Scorpion Child as they are so retro it hurts but they also write some amazing songs that will have you harking back to the days of bell bottoms and wild hair. 9/10

Huntress: Starbound Beast (Napalm)

So this is the second album from Californian thrashers with a taste for the occult. The band’s debut was a nonstop slice of head splitting metal with the twin shredding of guitarists Blake Meahl and Ian Alden which all act as a backbone for front-woman Jill Janus' expansive four octave vocal range. Well not much has changed on this sophomore release the riffs still coming thick and fast with a blend of classic thrash and NWOBHM present on all of the songs and each track has a commanding performance from Janus who exerts her range over the tracks moving from a doom howl on the title track to a demon-like scream on I Want To Fuck You To Death and everything between on Zenith. The occult overtones are still there with all of the songs all about the Wiccan culture and they all still have the mix between doom and thrash. Still despite the heavy riffs and Janus' vocals the band still don't really do it for me, yes they are talented but it all just sounds a bit samey and it does sound like a King Diamond tribute band in places which is not a bad thing however there really is only one King and he doesn't need replacing. Yes they also so a pretty good cover of Priest's Running Wild but other than that Huntress have just released another adequate album of fast paced metal. 5/10  

Monster Truck: Furiosity (Dine Alone/Universal)

Monster Truck hail from the shores of the Ontario and with a name like Monster Truck you probably have an expectation of their sound in your head, well the band sound like a bar fight at a truck stop with some heavy fuzzed guitars and big hitting riffage. Starting out as a side project for the members to just shut up tune in and play after their first two EP's and relentless touring the band finally have released their debut album. The band contains the massive pounding drums of Steve Kiely, some heavy Hammond from Brandon Bliss, fuzzy head banging riffage from Jeremy Wilderman and some voodoo bass lines and a mega blues howl from Jon Harvey. They truly wear their influences on their sleeves and they have a sound that encompasses Southern rockers Fireball Ministry who deal in the same style of riff centric hard rock as well as having some similar sounds to Black Stone Cherry, the RATM feel of Power Of The People a trippy Clutch-like blues stomp of Oh Lord which is followed by the bayou swing of For The Sun and they even have a riff that was surely pinched from Leslie West on Sweet Mountain River. You can hear that the years of touring have honed this band’s sound to the point where they can imitate Southern sloppiness while maintaining a tight delivery. These Northerners are one of the best Southern sounding bands I’ve heard for a while for fans of any of the bands previously mentioned this will stay on the stereo for a while. 8/10

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