Since their debut in 2009, Long Beach four-piece Rival Sons have been cranking out seventies-influenced rock records at regular intervals. Since Feral Roots in 2019, COVID forced them to take their time on the follow-up – it turned out to be time well spent as they have two albums due for release this year, Darkfighter and Lightbringer (Elektra/Low Country Sound). Darkfighter is the first one to be released and it is a tight, eight-song offering that continues their accomplished rock n’ roll – marrying Free, Led Zeppelin, and Black Keys influences to Dave Cobb’s rich production values.
The history of thrash metal got another ring on the world-tree in 1984 with the release of Ride the Lightning (Megaforce/Elektra Records), the second album by Metallica. With better songwriting, tight production, and more originality than their debut Kill Em All (Megaforce), Ride moved the needle forward for the entire genre and cemented Metallica as the premiere band in the genre. Continue reading →
Thirty-five years ago, 1980s glam rock and heavy metal leaders Mötley Crüe released their excellent second album Shout At The Devil (Elektra). Following up from their solid debut Too Fast For Love, this album has gone on to legend status over the years for breaking the band through to bigger audiences. It was definitely a commercial breakthrough and fan-favorite, although it was critically drubbed by some at the time. The next step in band mastermind Nikki Sixx’s plan for world domination (and to be the next KISS), it’s full of classic Crüe songs, memorable choruses, and some killer musical performances from the band. Continue reading →
At the peak of their power in the late 1970s, Queen released News Of The Day (EMI/Elektra) to only solid reviews at the time. The band was riding high on a string of mid-70s chart-topping albums, with already some of the biggest hits of all time, that established them as one of the biggest bands in the world. Becoming of those bands changed Queen, a group of highly accomplished master musicians and live performers. Their concerts were already the stuff of legend since they were the first band in the world to book sold-out gigs at sports stadiums worldwide when arenas could not contain the scope of their shows. So as a response, the band began writing with the crowd in mind even more, creating entire passages meant for audience participation, not just the choruses. Critics at the time dissed them for this, but in hindsight, they presaged Metallica, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Guns ‘N Roses, Judas Priest, Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse and just about every other arena rock band since in this regard. Continue reading →