Rival Sons band photo

RIVAL SONS – Head Down

Rival Sons - Head DownI know I’m a bit (lots) late with writing this review. It’s not like I have never heard about the band or haven’t heard them, it’s only that sometimes when a certain artist is totally hyped, way over the edge, I can sometimes get obstinate and simply turn my back and refuse to give it a go, especially when the small parts I have heard haven’t really rocked my world. It’s stupid, I know, but that’s how I roll. Sometimes. But after a great deal of nagging from both friends and other people around me, my curiosity finally took the best of me and I gave in. It took me only one listen to their debut album Pressure And Time to made me realise what I numb nut I had been because that album totally blew me off the map and all of a sudden I had gone from not interested to having huge expectations before giving their latest effort a go.

On Head Down they more or less continue where they left off. Rival Sons isn’t original in any way and there really isn’t that much new under the sun, but they play their brand of late 60’s / early 70’s rock and roll with power, conviction, passion and a burning love for the music. They are also raw, uncompromising and even though they wear their influences on their sleeves, the sound you hear is THEIR sound and they do what they do well – very well. They open the album with “Keep On Swinging” and boy, does the title match the song, because swinging is a key word here, not only for this song, but for the whole album. They mix Free with Led Zeppelin, but without making it sound dated at all and the 70’s comes blowing through like hurricane in the brilliant “Wild Animal”. They almost goes a bit too far with their Zep influences in “You Want To”, but the song is such a killer that it doesn’t matter, in “Run From Revelation” Zep is still present, but we also get a good dose of Deep Purple’s Come Taste The Band era, mixing the two together obviously makes for some great Rival Sons and “Jordan” is just one of those goosebumps ballads that almost makes you cry, with some 70’s Stones, Led Zep and Janis Joplin in a musical threesome marriage. “All The Way” is just a crazy jam, made into a fantastic song and “The Heist” could be one lost The Doors track with a good rock ‘n’ roll attack added. “Manifest Destiny” comes in two parts that doesn’t really sounds like it’s the same song, half psychedelic jams that runs riot into a blistering tune. When “True” finally ends the record, I’m lost for breath, almost gasping for air. This is what I get for being a stubborn moron, thank you very much…

When I write this, I notice that I name drop a lot of the band’s influences, maybe to the point where it might sound like this band is some kind of rip off. They are not. Of course, it’s impossible to play this kind of music without showing your influences, but the fact is, Rival Sons really sound only like Rival Sons. And their songs on both of their records are bloody brilliant, all of them. There really aren’t any bad songs to be found. Also, the production is really down to earth and raw but at the same time polished enough to not sound like it was recorded in somebody’s living room with a cassette player. So, for anyone out there who likes their music rootsy, groovy and with some huge 70’s vibes and still haven’t heard their records (I doubt there are that many left out there), you’d be a fool not to give these guys a go. They are totally worth the hype! Just sayin’…

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Track list:
01. Keep On Swinging
02. Wild Animal
03. You Want To
04. Until The Sun Comes
05. Run From Revelation
06. Jordan
07. All The War
08. The Heist
09. Three Fingers
10. Nava
11. Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12. Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13. True

Until The Sun Comes

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