CD Reviews

Riotgod - 'Invisible Empire' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 19, 2012    
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Bombastic, no nonsense hard rock album.

Riotgod is a stoner/heavy rock band from New Jersey, USA. Current Monster Magnet members Bob Pantella and Jim Baglino were touring with The Magnet back in 2006 when they both discussed a desire to express their own ideas. Once the tour finished, they decided to explore this further. Other members were needed and Psycho Daisy guitarist Garrett Sweeny agreed to join. The final piece was completed when local singer Mark Sunshine came onboard. After a lot of touring, the self titled debut was released in 2010. Whilst writing the follow up the band hit the road once again and at the end of 2011 this, their sophomore effort was released.

‘Invisible Empire’ is a clever infusion of stoner progressions and classic heavy rock melodies. The opener ‘Breed’ is one of the catchiest offerings; it is fuelled by a retro progression which is highly memorable along with a pounding beat. There is something about this track that brings to mind Queen but if they had come out in the mid 90’s. The first few bars of ‘Saving It Up’ screams heavy Status Quo. The chorus is a punchy, rasping affair vocally and delivered with plenty of attitude. Alternatively the likes of ‘Fool’ ‘Crossfade’ and ‘Firebrand’ all come straight out of the stoner era with powerful riffs in the verse and vocals delivered with guts and swagger. Riotgod show that they are not just about constant rocking as three differing ballads show. ‘Gas Station Roses’ is an acoustic guitar effort with a little slide guitar in the back ground whereas ‘Loosily Bound’ is a more electric powered slow burner, think a stoner power ballad. The final one closes out the release and is a real seventies styled psychedelic ballad with soaring harmonies and an acoustic melody on the guitar.

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To put it simply this album rocks! It is a quality hard rock release full of marauding riffs, thundering rhythms as well as vocals delivered with plenty of aplomb. With its mixture of modern takes on classic sounds this has the potential to appeal to plenty of listeners. Those that love old school hard rock such as Judas Priest, Rush or Led Zeppelin will find enough songs and content here to enjoy this record. But this retro foundation is all wrapped up in a stoner rock exterior that will appeal to those with a taste for things more modern; acts such as Soundgarden, Reef and Queens Of The Stone Age for example. With contributions from such established musicians there is no surprise that musically this album is of a high calibre. The guitar work is both impressively written and skilfully performed. Sunshine is a bright light as the front man and his vocal style is an excellent fit. The production is crisp but still retains a rawness that only adds to the authentic classic feel.

This is a bombastic, no nonsense hard rock album that ticks all the boxes and should provide plenty of entertainment to listeners of many genres.

Dave Scott

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