A Bit Of Background:
Blind River are a UK band comprising members of various bands including Pig Iron, Godsized and Earls Of Mars. They formed back in 2017 and released their self-titled debut album in 2018. Since then they have gigged with bands such as Inglorious, Massive Wagons, Supersuckers and Anvil to name a few along with playing festivals like Bloodstock, Desertfest and Hard Rock Hell. Their second album Made Of Dirt was recorded in 4 days (yes FOUR days) and will be released on May 25 on their own label House Of Bones.
The album features 10 songs of hard-rocking, groovy bluesy metal with twin guitar work ala Thin Lizzy but with hints of early Black Sabbath groove rhythm wise. They sound dirty, fuzzy, punky and magnificent. They also have a Southern vibe in places making this a fun and interesting listen. This is music to dance to. It is a little funky at times and many of the tracks caused both headbanging and foot-stomping in this house, thankfully I didn’t need to call for medical assistance, I can only imagine how it should come over live. Probably cause mayhem.
“Waste Of Life” opens things up. A lively start with a solid guitar lick going on and a simple drum beat (reminded me a little of Lenny Kravitz’s “ Are You Gonna Go My Way?”) before heavying up when the whole band kick in. Opening lyric lines are “Don’t try to tell me this is civilized, you think we moved on from foreign tribes, yet I see you fighting over secret lines” before making the comment that we are “bleeding the planet just to make a cent”. This is rock and roll with a conscience. Like the aforementioned Kravitz, there is a touch of Jimi Hendrix guitar-wise at one point and the song has some very funky moments.
Title track “Made Of Dirt” has a thumping start with the song quickly reminding us we come from dirt and we are all going back there some point soon. “No one gets out of this alive” Harry Armstrong (Earls Of Mars, still one of the top 10 bands I ever witnessed at Bloodstock Metal Festival in my many years of attending) sings bringing out his inner Jim Morrison. Between some great screams, fun drum fills and a prominent bass sound from William Hughes this is a tasty number. I love the way he says “dig it” just before some explosive guitar soloing. “Acid Tongue” has that southern vibe going on with everything sounding nice and clear production-wise. It starts quieter but it does heavy up of course. I do love the lyric line “the loudest mouths belong to fools!” He rails against the liars and bullshitters in both authority and on social media. As it all gets more desperate he pleads “tell the fucking truth”. There are some nice changes in pace and style on show and of course it has a barrowful of groove.
There are quite a number of songs that seem to be social commentary. “Slow Begins The Sickness” has a throaty growl vocal, I am reminded of a blues preacher listening to this. The “sickness” could be as much about the world as personal health issues. They do make me think of Clutch due to the dirty blues gospel thing going on. This also has one of my favourite riffs going down.
“Gone” has plenty little drum fills and rolls from Andrew Esson. This takes around a minute and a half before it finally kicks in with the ending dropping back down again. Some mighty fine guitar soloing (as there is throughout) from both Chris Charles (Godsized) and Dan Edwards (Pig Iron). “Horsehead” is a punkier song, it never loses the all-important groove factor and the chorus of “way you move, way you groove” is a belter. “Burn The Sun” takes things down a little from previous and again the bass is lovely and prominent. It is funky southern grunge in a way. It works, that is all that matters.
“Learning To Lose” is a galloping beast of a song. Again some interesting or fun lyrics including “hands nailed to a tree, then it started to move” and “the unmistakable truth, the game is fixed, and there ain’t a goddam thing you can do”. One of those tracks that the foot moves automatically. It stomps you into submission. “Psycho Sapien” is the closest thing to a ballad. Hints of late 60s Fleetwood Mac and early 70s Pink Floyd this is the proggiest track and the most atmospheric. “What kind of lunatic paints god in his own image” and “is ignorance truly bliss” he asks. The line announcing “the voice of reason didn’t get her say” is sad and frustrating. It hits the mark though.
They close with an all-out assault called “No Surprise” which is punky thrashy rock and roll that is angry and visceral with lyrical content that remarks “Hey motherfucker, look up at the sun, it’s the last time, cause they’ll be dropping the bomb”. Despite the vitriol, they still have plenty of groove (that all-important word) with the chorus being more restrained (slightly made me think of The Cult). It finishes with Harry repeating “so long” over and over again over frenetic soloing. Well, we are “Made Of Dirt”.
The album that has everything a good rock album should have, dual guitars, thudding bass, drum fills and a singer that possibly gargles with marbles whilst drinking whisky. 10 songs that kick and groove throughout. The quicker the dreaded virus buggers off (and a vaccine is found) so that we can get to see these guys live the better. It is obvious they have good experience and here they are putting it to excellent use. Top-notch album!
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