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Pistols at Dawn - Ascension

Pistols at Dawn
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 29 August 2022, 7:47 PM

PISTOLS AT DAWN, were launched in 2015 from The Big Peach, The Emerald City, of Atlanta, Georgia by the original members Adam Jaffe, Devin White, Billy Sullivan, and guitarist Mike Buffa, but tragedy struck this upcoming young band in 2018 when Buffa passed away from cancer. Despite this unthinkable set back, the band regrouped in 2019 bringing in guitarist Tommy Richardson and in 2020 released three new singles “Cold”, “All You Offer” and “Gauntlet”, followed by the EP “Nocturnal Youth” released in 2021. “All our influences come out in our music, but with our own stamp” Jaffe characterizes PISTOLS AT DAWN and the debut album release of “Ascension” in August 2022. Band’s press releases are always understandably “sugar coated” with terms like “high energy”, “heavy hitting” or “heart pumping” in describing the band’s sound and this PR department is no different, so as I put the CD in, turn the volume to eleven, warn my neighbors and lock the kids in the basement, I’m ready to ROCK.

“Dictator” is the lead off song and hits with muzzled, gritty vocals, a slower but thumping riff gives way to a slight tease with a quick guitar solo that felt like it may take this song heavier, but the pace remained constant. A nice mix of fuzzy and growling vocals give a dark edge to “Fly”, and the distorted guitar does work well within the structure of the song. Throwing a little curve ball at me on “For You” with a more mainstream rock hook, with an orchestral backdrop give a nice diverse nuance. Now the first solid rocking song is “Get Away” with the first real sustained guitar solo, it works well and could be the twin brother of the FOO FIGHTERS classic song “The Pretender”. An infectious riff on “Keep me Guessing” with good melody and tempo. The album ends furiously with “Under the Surface”, heavy, pounding riffs companions with clean, rapid vocals with a sprinkle of piercing screams, all around true rocker leaves me wanting more.

I came away with the band reminding me of LIGHT THE TORCH with a hint of GODSMACK. Most songs were promising, but all the guitar solos were pretty short and direct, I think a few hard-core solos would have enhanced the overall flavor of this album. The album gets better and heavier from the first song to the last, this is a very intoxicating band with driving riffs, edgy and raw vocals blended with superb lyrics. A well-done debut effort. PISTOLS AT DAWN will be in concert in my hometown early next year and I will make sure to attend that show, can’t wait to see them live.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Dictator
2. Fly
3. For You
4.Get Away
6. Keep me Guessing
7. The Truth
8. Under the Surface
Adam Jaffe – drums
Devin White – guitar
Tommy Richardson - guitar
Billy Sullivan – bass
Cris Hodges – vocals
Record Label: Megaforce Records/MRI Entertainment


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