Rival Sons: Hollow Bones (Earache)
There has been a lot of talk about the future of rock music recently, mainly about who will take the place of Maiden, Metallica, AC/DC etc as the headliners of festivals to come. In these conversations I usually just shout the words Rival Sons as loudly as possible and invariably I win the argument, the band are everything you need in a headliner, a glut of anthemic songs over four albums, a firebrand stage presence, virtuoso musicianship and a heady mix of modernism and nostalgia for a wide appeal. What the Californian band have over the many other bands vying for the title of future headliner is that they have managed to secure some huge support slots with some of rocks biggest acts, most recently they have been the opening act on all of Black Sabbath's The End tour.
This experience and outright passion for what they do is the major driving force behind what, why and how the band do what they do best. With a steady stream of albums building their set list the bands newest Hollow Bones is their fifth release and yet again it is a modern take on an old school theme packed to the brim with swaggering blues rock riffs, a thundering rhythm section and wild, wide-eyed vocals that see the band delivering their Zeppelin meets The Doors sound with same explosive power once again bolstered by Dave Cobb's shimmering production (he is to Rival Sons what George Martin was to The Beatles, even co-writing two of the tracks). The album is book-ended by the two part title track with part one kicking off the record with Scott Holiday's now trademark fuzz-laden guitar and the hollering echoed vocals of Jay Buchanan shouting the chorus with his natural power, while the second half is longer and more expansive.
The record once again has 9 blues anthems that show Rival Sons have a wealth of material that stands up against the classics of the past and a 37 minutes it leaves you wanting another hit, songs such as the bluesy, foot tapper Tied Up, the 60's inspired Pretty Face and Thundering Voices which is driven by an impressive rhythmic coda all have an almost primal nature to them with Dave Beste and Michael Miley hammering away with the groove as well as the added flesh from Todd E Ogren-Brooks and his keys/organs (Fade Out). Rival Sons yet again deliver like they always do, this is the future folks embrace it with your souls. 9/10
Dead Label: Throne Of Bones (Nuerra Records)
Imagine if you will that Machine Head and Gojira had a baby that came from Ireland and was a three piece, this is pretty much what Dead Label are in a nutshell. The trio of bassist/vocalist Dan O'Grady, drummer Claire Percival and guitarist Danny Hall have been making tremendous waves in the metal scene with a huge show at BOA and high profile supports of Fear Factory and Gojira the band have been playing their breed of aggressive, oppressive modern metal throughout Europe and have managed to level many venues on the back of their debut. Thankfully they now return with their second full length that from the opening chords beats you senseless with Claire's blastbeats, the down-tuned riffs and guttural growls from the frontman.
Stylised as a metalcore band, the band do have the breakdowns and heavy groove metalcore brought to the table especially on The Birth Of Suffering but much like that genre has died a bit of a death and the bands have all fleshed out their sound over the years Dead Label too are not rigidly stuck in the formula, as the Birth Of Suffering has an impressive dynamic sound and really technical guitar playing throughout. Ominous sounds a lot like Fear Factory in their prime, The Cleansing is an instrumental break from the heaviness with a clean guitar sound and laid back drum beat that screams Santana doing as the songs says an cleaning you off any aggression.
That is until Exhume The Venom hits you like sledgehammer with a hint of tourmates Gojira in the wall of noise riffage, the album ends with the epic djent inspired The Gates Of Hell which is an 8 minute finale with a piano cutting through the heaviness, as a very progressive track it shows possibly where Dead Label can go from here making it one of the most interesting and enjoyable songs on the record for me. It's actually surprising how heavy the three piece can be you can feel Claire's drumming and Dan's bass in your kidney's as Danny's guitars ring in your ears, Throne Of Bones is an accomplished, aggressive and most of all heavy as all hell release and one that will be used to increase the bands standing further in the future. 8/10
Devil Electric: The Gods Below
Doom from the sunnier climes of Australia will always be a bit of an odd one. How can a band that comes from one of the sunniest places in the world play songs about darkness, doom, gloom and ritualistically hailing Satan? The Devil Electric have challenged my opinion somewhat with a four track EP that has the droning distorted power of Iommi and co with massive riffage from Christos Athanasias (Guitar) Tom Hulse (Bass) Mark Van De Beek (Drums) that creeps on Devils Bells, and gets heads nodding on Confusion Of Mind. As the three men supply the doom, frontwoman Pierina O'Brien gathers the masses to the masses (to paraphrase Sabbath) with her bewitching vocals. There is not much else I can say about this EP four songs it gives a glimpse of what Devil Electric are capable of and it does seem to be very promising indeed. 7/10