Question. Can four Krishna following vegetarians be the future of rock'n'roll? On the evidence of this album, and last years Pressure And Time, perhaps they can, but they're managing it by looking firmly to the past. Anyone who has heard Pressure And Time, or their debut, knows that there is more than a touch of Zeppelin and Free to their music. It's perhaps unfortunate that the lead singles off both this album and the previous one are amongst their most Zeppelinesque tracks. Unfortunate, because the Sons are not another Kingdom Come. Yes, the Zeps clearly influence the sound but there is so much more to their music. It is certainly firmly based in the late sixties, early seventies with nods to The Who, The Pretty Things and Grateful Dead but it is done with such enthusiasm that it somehow feels fresh. When they rock these guys certainly know how to rock, the guitar playing is excellent throughout and the rhythm section are tighter than than a strippers thong. There are a couple of beautiful acoustic tracks here that allow Jay Buchanan to show what an outstanding singer he is. Again more than just a Robert Plant clone. All in all this is a wonderful rock album that takes you back to a time when musicians knew how to play and followed their muse instead of the dictates of desperate record companies. So if you're unsure whether or not to buy this album, hesitate no longer it's a corker. If vegetarianism can get you to make music this good, it's time to drop the steaks and get on the mung beans!!!
on 26 September 2012
This album is a joy to listen to, there is so much pure emotion in the songs that you can't help but be moved. The bands confidence just shines out and the level of expertise in their playing is obvious even from their last album. I don't believe that any artist(s)have ever released music that has not been influenced by someone in the past, even John Cale's"Two Minutes Silence" was stolen from the power cut on Greasy Truckers (or vice versa). Sure you can tell who have influenced them but it is a huge list and they have never tried to slavishly copy those artist(s). I can only say that in my opinion this album does not have a duff track on it, some may be weaker than others but no one has yet created the perfect album. If anyone did what would there be to strive for? Well I've been listening to music since the early sixties and I can't remember being this excited since Hendrix, Gentle Giant, Tull, The Who and Free. Long Live Rock as someone once said.
I have listened to this a number of times this week and I think this is an excellent album for a number of reasons. The range of style of songs is wide from the rock 'keep on swinging' to progressive style ' manifest destiny' to beautiful 'Jordan' which is a lament/celebration.
When I first heard Jordan it reaised the hairs on the back of my neck as I thought it was so good - not sentimental but recognising sometimes you have to let go and in Manifest Destiny (Parts 1 and 2) its a longer song telling a story of what I think was the Native Americans.
But I think the song I like the most is Run from Revalation - a more honest view about 'i want to do it again' - and what I'm sure will be superb live
These guys are developing from the initial 'led zep alike' tag which is frankly now redundant
This is a huge step forward in my opinion - so much it displaced Clockwork Angels in the car stereo - now that is a recommendation !
on 17 September 2012
Good music should provoke some kind of an emotional response - sometimes this is sadness, reflection, or maybe even anger. Listening to this album however, evokes pure joy and I couldn't have kept the smile from my face even if I'd wanted to try. Somehow it never seems to take itself too seriously, while simultaneously veering far from the derivative self-parody of bands like The Darkness. There's a sense of determination about the album, from the opener 'Keep on swinging' with it's theme of fighting on against the odds and the pursuit of a dream in 'All the Way'. The band sound tight and focused, and yet the album buzzes with energy, bristles with power and blows you away in the sheer quality and diversity of music flowing into your ears. Whatever mood you are in, this will lift it, and although it's very early to say this, the light and shade and variety will keep it sounding fresh for months to come. Buy it. Buy it now.
on 17 September 2012
This third release from the LA classic rock combo is their best to date. It has all the big riffs that are expected, but it now crosses effortlessly across many different genre's and influences. The lead single, Keep On Swinging, and what is bound to become a live favourite, You Want To, keep the head nodding, while the beautiful vocals of Jay Buchanan on the gentle Jordan are so soulful and pure.
But the highlight has got to be Manifest Destiny. Part 1 is a long, trippy blues jam, that never gets bloated and captivates the listener. This gets chased down with Part 2, which brings back the riffs, but with haunting vocals, and drums being pounded in a way that will be familiar to L** Z*****in fans.
Head Down shows a great maturity in a young band, a stunning culmination of their previous efforts, from the psychedelic tinged Before The Fire, through the astonishing big riffing of EP from 2011, and the breakthrough Pressure and Time from last year.
I think we'll look back at this as a very important release, not just for Rival Sons, but for music in general.
on 26 January 2014
Heard a track from these guys on Planet Rock and therefor bought the album. Very diverse tracks and the style seems to be a snip of some of the best classic rock bands of the 60s and 70s. One of my favourite albums of recent years. A must listen for all Classic Rock fans.
on 17 September 2012
Rivals Sons' latest album 'Head Down' continues with the raunchy rockriff routine of last year's popular release 'Pressure & Time'. That said, it is a mature and varied third outing and doesn't adhere entirely to route one retro-rock, not that this is in any way a bad traverse - take new band Stone Machine's 'American Honey' as an excellent if singular example of this.
You'd be forgiven for wondering what I'm on about listening to the first two tracks on this album. Both 'Keep On Swinging' and 'You Want To' thunder to tight repeated beats, and the vocal on the latter is as close to the Robert Plant School of Emotional Howl as it could be. And all the better for it. By third 'Wild Animal', however, there is a West Coast harmonising and 60s pop drum rhythm that breaks the mould. Fourth 'Until The Sun Comes Up' continues that groove with an echo of Steve Miller - it is an upbeat, breezy number that is as much pop as it is rock.
But if you were getting worried about this direction, fifth 'Run From Revelation' returns with pumping drum and guitar and Jay Buchanan belting out that classic vocal. Sixth 'Jordan' is a requisite slow acoustic number, so well within the familiar template, but it does display the band's songwriting depth as well as Buchanan's superb voice. Eighth 'The Heist' has all the pomp of a late 60s pop-psyche anthem. Tenth 'Nova' is a two minute acoustic guitar interlude that slows and sooths before the double monument of the next two tracks 'Manifest Destiny'. Here in 'Part 1' there is a return to vocal harmony, with Buchanan refining his gruff norm to a higher register, and the guitar is expansive in its atmospheric use of effects rather than piledriving a catchy riff. Indeed, there is a wonderful extended psychedelic solo. 'Part 2', as if determined to remind us of the retro roots, is a gutsier echo of the former, the guitar distorted around thundering drums.
The album closes on the absolutely beautiful 'True', an acoustic ballad with Buchanan in almost operatic form - more Antony than Plant - birds tweeting in a bucolic background of a song that could have been utterly anachronistic but which here exemplifies the eclectic excellence of the band and this significant release.
All the boxes you'd expect from previous efforts are ticked; Zeppelinesque "Keep on swinging", and "You want to", late sixties Who influences on "Until the Sun comes" and "Three fingers", Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac on "Jordan" and "Nava", etc, etc. Other, newer influences are also apparent, a glam rock stomp infuses "Wild Animal", a funky bassline runs through the soul of "All the Way", "The Heist" has echoes of Phil Spector and the two headed "Manifest Destiny" is a sprawling, proggy, bluesy extended jam that could equally be on Led Zep 2 or early Grateful Dead albums. The album ends on a strange, acoustic number with echoes of Jeff Buckley. So yes this album is derivative, in the same way that the Beatles, The Stones and the Who were derivative. They wear their influences on their sleeves, add excellent singing and musicianship to the mix, and bring them bang up to date, re-introducing "proper" music to today's audience. The band are often cited as seventies influenced and to a certain extent this is true but I believe they've extended their reach back into the late sixties as well and taken the best of that era and given it new life. This album may not appeal to everyone but if you "get" what the band are trying to do then you will enjoy this album for the rock 'n' blues treat that it is.
on 3 March 2016
"Head down" is a very refreshing and modern rock record with it's fundaments in the blues. It's like the band have created an hommage to the great bluesrockband from the sixties and seventies, but without copying them. Yes, the listener can hear hints of Led Zeppelin, The Free, Ten Years After, but the band does not copy them.
With "Head Down" the Rival Sons have added a strong rock(blues) record to the catalog of great rock(blues)records. Great guitarrifs, strong vocals, heavy songs, slow songs, intimate songs.It's all collected on this one. For example: the record opens with a rocking swinging 'Keep on swinging", to be followed by the rocking 'Wild Animal' to be continued with a fuzzy-heavy "you want to", followed by a swinging, faster "Until the sun comes down". "Jordan" is the gentle, subtle, sweet song, "true" the very naked, pure and intimate one. I think those are the tunes were singer Buchanan show his quality of singing by keeping his voice total in control within the contaxt of the songs.
"Head down" is the rock(blues) record that is going to keep your head up. A good one!
on 21 February 2013
Head Down, in my opinion is Rival Sons' best work yet! It's on a completely different level than their previous albums and eps... To some extent it can even be considered as a concept album. Overall, this particular LP reminds me of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti...Also a double album, also has very diverse songs and instrumentals and ALSO has one epic killer song (Manifest Destiny part 1) that has that Monstrous Kashmir-like explosive sound and vibe...
I've ordered the vinyl edition, and I can say I am satisfied with it. Nice 180 gram audiophile pressings, sounding just great! Overall this band and this particular album deserves to be bought and listened to on vinyl! Trust me, you won't regret it, for the experience is similar to that of your father/mother's that would buy their very first (or second :p) Led Zeppelin LP and give it a spin for the very first time back in the 70s =)
If you love Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Dio, Joe Bonamassa, Black Country Communion then you MUST BUY THIS ALBUM!!! You cannot afford to miss this one, because Rival Sons might just become the New Led Zeppelin of our time!!!