Ryder’s Creed: Self Titled (Off Yer Rocka)
Winners of the HRH Highway To Hell 2017 competition, Ryder’s Creed is a five-piece from the Midlands who deliver classic hard rock in a style which is guaranteed to wow those who frequent Steelhouse, Rockstock, HRH, Winter’s End, oh, …, you get the picture. What I generally term the Planet Rock crowd. That’s not to say that the band aren’t any good, far from it. They have a bluesy stomp, a mix of Free, Zeppelin and The Black Crowes with a bit of Midlands Sabbath steel underneath. Hard riffs come fast, courtesy of guitar duo Lee Spencer and Myles Cooper, ala the crunch of Monster Truck. It’s well crafted, with tracks such as the anthemic On The Road, the AC/DC riff heavy of Set You Free, guaranteed to get the foot tapping. Of course, like any other classic rock band there is the inevitable Nickelback style ballad and it duly arrives half way through with The Only Thing I’m Good At, which at least features some neat guitar work, even if it is a bit limp wristed.
Things improve immensely with the groove of Ryder, featuring a Molly Hatchet riff and a superb UFO style delivery. It’s a cracker of a song and an instant earworm. The remaining tracks are solid, thumping hard rock very much as you’d expect, but when we get to the appalling Begging For More, which drags the knuckles across the floor and transports everything back to the 1970s with its dreadfully sexist lyrics, you have to question who thought this was a good idea. How to spoil a decent rock album. Bet all the ladies love this one though, with lines such as “Down on your knees, baby, you’re so used to taking it all, slurp it up, as it runs down your chin”. Ryder’s Creed have massive potential but a bit more of a measured approach on the material would probably get you more plaudits. 7/10 (but 0/10 for Begging For More)
Hatchet: Dying To Exist (Combat Records)
The opening minute of this album told me all I needed to know. Its thrash with all the trimmings. Cut off battle jacket, drainpipe jeans and Hi-tops. Get in. Add in the fact that Combat Records is under the wise tutelage of Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson and it all binds nicely. Hatchet is still a young band but already has a wealth of experience and three full length releases behind them, starting with 2008’s debut Awaiting Evil and latterly 2015’s Fear Beyond Lunacy. Dying To Exist amps up the heaviness and is a fresh approach blended with all the old school quality you’d expect.
The duel guitars of Julz Ramos and lead guitarist Clayton Cagle hit hard and fast, whilst the engine room of Devin Reiche’s pummelling bass lines and the battery of drummer Ben Smith make this an album well worth a listen. Ramos has a voice which couldn’t be any more suited to the fast thrashers that the band has created, tracks such as Final Sanctuary and the stomp of Descend Into Madness would incite a pit in the smallest venue, their underlying groove topped off by lacerating riffs and thunderously heavy breakdowns. A band that would be well worth a watch, should they pop up at a festival or at a local venue. 8/10
Dorian Sorriaux: Hungry Ghost (Soulseller Records)
A four-track EP from the immensely talented guitar wizard from Blues Pills, Sorriaux moves far away from the Blues filled soul and raucous psychedelic sound to deliver four acoustic folk tracks. With more than a passing resemblance to Neil Young in vocal delivery, this is a delicate and calming 14 minutes which demonstrates Sorriaux’s subtle guitar work in a separate context to the usual riff wielding approach of a frenetic BP show. Produced by band mate Zach Anderson and recorded at the Blues Pills studio in Sweden, this is a pleasant change from the usual thick power chord abuse. Certainly, worth a listen. 7/10
Mississippi Bones: Radio Free Conspiracy Theory (Self Released)
When Ohio based six-piece focus on the music, this album has smooth undertones of the mighty Clutch and is a fine listen. However, this concept release’s story is based around callers to a radio station, with callers contacting the host as the narrative progresses. It begins humorously enough, but by the third conversation you start to wonder how much music is contained in this album. I’m sure I’m missing the point to a certain extent, as the narrative contains some relevant social commentary, such as Cattle & Chattle, which tackles modified genetic foods, and is necessary for the overall story, before opening into a roaring foot stomper of a tune; Genetic Flashback. However, the constant switching between tracks and the additional radio chatter, despite the story line that develops as the album progresses is tiring and by halfway in I was bored and frustrated with it. It’s a shame because the actual music is superb, with tracks such as Ancient Astronauts and Alien Allegories impressive. 6/10