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Moonbow - War Bear Award winner

Moonbow
War Bear
by Stew Metallion Taylor at 02 August 2017, 1:16 PM

MOONBOW return with “War Bear” a follow up to 2015 album “Volto Del Demone”. This one is more Boogie/Stoner than its Country tinged predecessor and closer to debut album “The End Of Time”. The band is now on Ripple Music, which is ideally suited to their current sound with Ripple declaring themselves as the “leading purveyors of Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Psych”. MOONBOW are certainly leading purveyors themselves being an underground Doom/ Boogie sensation. In fact, main man, singer and songwriter Matt Bischoff is recognized as one of the best Heavy Rock voices outside the mainstream scene. Hailing from Kentucky this band have a warm Classic Rock glow like they’ve been banging out their tunes without any big city glitz interference, jamming in peace out in the country. Their tunes have a natural feel and open style with great vocals.

The album opens with the bass and drum roll of “Alone Eyes” and a laid-back verse before breaking into a crunching riff. Sort of an “upbeat Doom” like a FU MANCHU style. The song slows down and shows off some wah-wah guitar. “Bloodwash” follows in a chilled-out way creating a far-off land feel. Ideal for headphone listening. It breaks into some Heavy Rock riffing and a Boogie swing with a slight ALICE IN CHAINS feel. The guitars break off with a warm glow like Southern Rock.

The last four tracks are standout even compared to the quality of the balance of the album. “Sword In The Storm” is a great riff in itself but there is awesome bass work from Ryan McAllister through-out. In fact, he goes the full-on bass distortion in this one. “The Road” is a good lyrical story and the ride is worth it. Good distinctive bass, again, drives the song on to a chugging riff half way in and a Boogie swagger. There’s a nice riff breakdown near the end and rolling guitars like a Doomy SKYNYRD. Then unexpectedly in the last minute it breaks down to a banjo and acapella vocal for a nice finish.

The album finishes with two great tracks. “Toward The Sun” starts in SABBATH style, slow and kicks in with a Doomy riff and with lyrics that could have been delivered by OZZY. The guitars are perfect on this. With just the right amount of distortion but with warm solo licks. The mid-section is a bassy interlude with string bending guitar work. Final track “War Bear” has nice drum work and straight-ahead Rock pace. You could almost see Ian Astbury singing this around the time of the “Electric” album by the CULT. Again, this track finishes off nicely in the last minute with fiddles like an American Civil War folk song.

MOONBOW are fine purveyors of up-beat Doom if there is such a thing. Their sound is Doomy but with a Boogie swagger. Matt Bischoffs vocals are a real asset making the songs stand out. The songwriting is always interesting and the bass and guitars are excellent thoughout. The band also add in interesting Folk and Country interludes which also make the the songs memorable. “War Bear” is one of my favourite releases of the year.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Alone Eyes
2. Bloodwash
3. California King
4. Death of Giants
5. Drinkin Alone
6. Son of Moses
7. Sword in the Storm
8. The Road
9. Toward the Sun
10. War Bear 
Lineup:
Matt Bischoff - Vocals
David McElfresh - Guitars
Ryan McAllister - Bass
Steve Earle - Drums
Record Label: Ripple Music
     


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