Keep your head down, you might can bitten by a carnivorous flower or by an angry giant cobra snake lurking around without noticing that a killer is watching and ready to get at him. I have to say that I liked this artwork, seems too simple, partially peaceful, yet deadly in the same time. The 70s Hard Rock / 60s Rock N’ Roll / Progressive Rock / Blues Rock maniacs from the US, RIVAL SONS, are back and nearly a year since their last successful album, “Pressure & Time” and now with “Head Down”, also released via Earache Records. Reviving the 70s Rock vibrations is a hard task when thinking about it, it is not just getting around on setting the tones right, it is about the feel generated by the musicians themselves. Over the years, many bands have tried to reach that old vintage magic that made bands like THE EAGLES, BAD COMPANY, KING CRIMSON, LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE among others to sound so big and so formidable. After I reviewed “Pressure & Time” I became certain that RIVAL SONS are one of the few rightful contenders to the title of the truest 70s Rock revivalists out there. “Head Down”, released after rather a short period of time since the previous, surprised me with its wits.
The material at first seemed rather common to the old Rock genre, and it also repeated itself quite a frequent rate. Yet only the second session I had with this album showed me that behind the sort of catchiness that RIVAL SONS tried to implement, merely following early composures similar to LED ZEPPELIN and early 70s DEEP PURPLE, there is a wide fortified wall of obscurity and progression that proved to me how dedicated these guys are to keep on composing and writing clever stuff without resting, especially after all the touring they had in the past year. Furthermore, there is also a vibe of funkiness and Blues deliveries along the way that enriched the material. In comparison to “Pressure & Time”, RIVAL SONS set their special tone with more mature material harbouring serious themes that were delivered with finesse. Though not punching it as their previous record with crunchy Hard Rock, RIVAL SONS’s means to an end with various of diversions of the common path brought a selection of great examples.
“Wild Animal” is a true 70s icon consisting of cool catchiness, great vocals that reminded me of early BLUE OYSTER CULT, chirpy and smooth music while displaying an attitude that is in a way fervent and joyful. “Until The Sun Comes Down” and “Keep On Swinging” are cool Rockers with low gained guitar displays, fine riffing, even while being rather common, and great beats. I swear that I imagined a dance floor filled with crazy youth partying to Rock N’ Roll without letting go off the Disco. “Jordan” and “True”, songs that would be considered by some of you as ballad, but these aren’t the ordinary type of your emotive showcases. I liked the calmness and the fine strokes of the rhythm section along with slight touches of guitars while letting the vocal work, including the great backup, distribute its magic. “The Heist” is one of the strongest tracks around. It flames with a pure sharp Rock N’ Roll vibe alongside a late 60s that felt so rich and powerful in the vein of THE DOORS. This song also includes well written lyrics about the necessity for minimal life that would resort to crime after a while. One of the band’s proudest possessions of this album, though not the great ones from, is the two acts of “Manifest Destiny” following a true progressive vibe and complex patterns. It might not stick, but it is still a hell of a work.
RIVAL SONS elevated themselves since their last release. Though it didn’t appeal to me as their previous, I share admiration for the material on this new album. Their journey through the worlds of the 70s Rock, along with a few stints around the Rock N’ Roll of the late 60s, ensured them followers from at least three generations. Their music should be appreciated because it is rare to listen to such vintage craftsmanship.