Do you miss the days where bands like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Heart ruled the earth? Do you miss those old school vibes with distorted fuzzy guitars, thumping hot bass, and heavy footed drums beating your face into the ground? While Rock and Roll is not the mainstream, there is still popular classic rock styled music being created to this day. If this is what you crave than look no further than Rival Sons. They are one of the heaviest hitters (if not the heaviest) that the classic rock revival scene has to offer.
Its old school meets new school. Head Down is an absolutely killer record. Proof that Rival Sons are Juggernauts of Rock. Every fucking song is just stellar. From beginning to end, it is the true quintessential LP experience in this day and age. With a wide direction of styles with twists and turns Head Down can be an unpredictable ride at first. The unique and original modern twists fused with such familiar old school sounds will have the rock and roll fans feeling right at home.
“Keep on Swinging” the first song on the album grooving with power. It’s funky, memorable, and the chorus is absolutely addicting and one should be careful before listening to it, for it is bound to get stuck in your head. “Wild Animal” is infectious with its chaotic yet tame feel. Instrumentally it kicks you in the face but the calm sensational vocals of Jay Buchanan keep it calmly grounded while kicking you in the shin. This track also has a very appealing chorus and as a whole just makes the listener want to dance. “Until the Sun Comes” is another track filled with dance vibes and is written with a very catchy melodic hook in the chorus.
“Run From Revelation” is one of the more powerful songs on the album. It contains religious undertones but by no means preaches anything about faith. Beginning with an eerie riff with a very eerie tone played by guitarist Scott holiday, it eases you in and explodes with incredible intensity as Jay Buchanan blows everything away with his monstrous voice. Rival Sons wears their influences on their sleeves and nods off to them to a great degree while maintaining their own sound. You can hear the Zeppelin influence on this track quite strongly.
Every great rock band arguably writes a beautiful ballad. “Jordan” is a touching track with emotional vocal display and very personal lyrics. Influenced strongly by gospel music it is a truly captivating track filled with sadness and compassion. “All The Way” is a throw-back to the 70’s and it sounds instrumentally similar to Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky”. Jay has some very enthusiastic talking lines telling a story about his child hood and growing up with a dream. Very empowering.
Ever wonder what Led Zeppelin would sound like if they had a love child with The Doors? Look no further than “The Heist”. This song tells a story of a desperate man who is going to attempt to rob a bank and set his family up with everything they could want and more. Drummer Michael Miley and bassist Robin Everhart connect with such ferocity during the chorus and Jay belts with a strong baritone voice that sounds so much like the late great Jim Morrison.
“Three Fingers” is another example of Rival Sons combining instrumentals with extreme force and tender sweet vocals. Guitarist Scott Holiday sounds like he’s having a blast on this track. He is truly a magnificent guitarist with a sense of flash and style while keeping his playing to an almost minimalist approach. He can solo like a mad man but he knows exactly how to do just enough to make a song perfect.
“Nava” is a short but beautiful guitar interlude with Scott showing us a more sensitive side to his playing right before busting out into a fiery roar on “Manifest Destiny Part 1”. Michael Miley captures the feeling of Bonzo with a slow but giant sounding drum beat. It has a “No Quarter” and “Levee Breaks” vibe that sounds open, spacious and thunders with acute riffs and solos. It’s the darkest track on the album with a repeating haunting line “You know we’re dealing with godless men”.
“Manifest Destiny Part 2” has a killer riff with awesome harmonica action. Jay chants “we’re taking lives at dawn” as the band is just wreaking havoc with high energy. “True” the closing track picks up where “Nava” left off. “True” is a song that stands out on its own. It is so tenderly pure and entangled with beauty. Jay’s voice is like a wonderful mesh between Steve Tyler and Jeff Buckley seamlessly drifting in and out of falsetto.
Head Down is magnificent and if you love rock and roll chances are you’ll love Head Down.