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Head Down
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on 20 September 2012
I first heard this band when their EP was given away free with Classic Rock magazine a couple of years back. I thought the band had the potential to be the best "classic" rock group in many years- in fact I still do, if their songwriting evolves. The musicians are stunning and Jay Buchanon is a brilliant singer- but I find myself badly let down by the songs themselves. For me, there is far too much "filler" on this album. Keep On Swinging, Jordan, and You Want To get pass marks from me. The rest doesn't cut the mustard and those who are comparing this material to classic Led Zeppelin need a reality check.
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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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 September 2012
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.
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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!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 September 2012
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!!!
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on 20 February 2013
Not as good as their previous, but still a very good album. Rival Sons are building up a reputation as an awesome live act, and backing it up with two fine albums. This the second, lacks some of the grit of the previous 'time and pressure', but does have its moments. following in the style of the great acts from those heady days of the late 60s and early 70s like Led Zeppelin. Only time will tell how big a mark these guys will leave, but they have made a great start.
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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!!!
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on 17 July 2013
Beware if you try to use the locker service. The locker was broken and I couldn't get my goods. Have a look around the website and see if you can work out how to get help if you need it! It'll take you about an hour.
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on 12 September 2015
I bought this album after P&T and GWV, both of which I think are brilliant - best new classic rock I've heard in ages. Head down did not disappoint - this album has some softer tracks on it in contrast to their usual Zep inspired riff based material, which show a completely different side to the Rival Sons sound. Haunting vocals and great guitar-work - reminded me in parts of Reef's first album. Couple of guitar solo epics in there too which reminded me of the Jane's Addiction Three Days solo in terms of style and feel. Superb album - rapidly becoming my fave RS listen. Much more subtle than the later albums and definitely worth a listen.
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on 29 August 2013
Thought Pressure and Time was good but this is even better, this band are the next big thing, cross between Zeppelin, The Faces and The Doors, last track on the cd called True is one of the greatest vocal performances I have ever heard, one's to watch.
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