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Blood of the Sun

Blood’s Thicker Than Love

Review by Mike Korn

In the last 10 to 15 years, it has seemed that many are trying to find inspiration in the rock music of the past to see if they can grab a little of the magic of those times. The “retro rock” movement has now veered dangerously close to trendy cliché but there are still those who can rekindle that spark. In 2018, you will not find any band doing a better job of that than Texas’ Blood of the Sun.

This is a new band to me, but they’ve put out some previous albums, and their lineup boasts quite a few veteran rockers. The most notable is drummer Henry Vasquez, who pounds the skins for doom metal titans Saint Vitus. But where Vitus is slow and doleful, Blood of the Sun has the energy of a thunderbolt and a joyful pleasure in just cranking it up and letting the music flow. This album is a constant attack of screaming guitar, juicy keyboard jams and smooth, tuneful vocals. There are no ballads here and no real “agenda” other than pure screaming rock music.

This one will really take you on a rocket fueled ride back to the best of the 70s and more. It's a wonderful surprise for 2018! This is an album you will want to slap on whenever things feel dull and grey and you need tooth-rattling hard rock in classic mode to snap out of it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Keep The Lemmys Comin’
Lemmy Kilminster, the beloved and departed voice of Motorhead, was fond of his Jack and Cokes. Following his death, many people started calling that boozy combo a “Lemmy." That’s where the title for this comes from. Well, the old boy would have been real happy with this song, which starts with a very Motorhead-ish rumble before screaming guitar and the cool 70s flavored organ of Dave Gryder come sliding in. This one smokes from the beginning! Sean Vargas’ vocals are a bit more smooth and radio-ready than Lemmy’s warty growls, but he still packs a lot of intensity into the song. There’s a great guitar-keyboard duel in the middle that will really get you going. This is a great introduction to Blood of the Sun.
My Time

That first track was no accident. If anything, this cut ups the ante. A rocking lick and the infamous cowbell start this off. This song reminds a bit of the harder Deep Purple and Captain Beyond with its organ-laced riffing. The two lead guitarists Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson really cut loose with blues-soaked jamming. The pace is driving and steady and never lets up, ending with a sizzling climax.

Livin’ For The Night
The longest song on the album, this continues the hard rock jamming, but is a bit more varied than the previous songs. Gryder’s organ work is more conspicuous here but never detracts from the heavy nature of the song. This one has more of a “boogie” feel that picks up even more as it rolls along and gives plenty of time for more guitar/key duels. The end run on this one is smoking all the way. and has a “false finish” that might take you by surprise.
Air Rises As You Drown

For the first time, synth is heard in the gradually building intro to this song. A steady drumbeat and keyboard give way to (you guessed it) another ripping guitar solo. This long jam might just be my favorite song here, although picking one is difficult. There’s a hint of Motorhead in the faster parts, and I detect a little Monster Magnet, as well. Sean Vargas nails that 70s hard rock style of vocal so well. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but it is. Parts of this song do sound pretty familiar, and I’m sure I’ve heard some of these riffs before, but you can’t do anything but rock when you hear music like this. The last half of this is just one awesome jam with every instrument kicking in and contributing.

Stained Glass Window

This one has a bit of a different approach with a kind of funky “rolling” riff that kind of reminds of something that Foghat or Head East might do. Then it switches to something that’s almost like “Mississippi Queen." The vocals here are markedly different and obviously not Sean Vargas but still really strong. By this point of the album, if you ain’t jumping around the room with a tennis racket, you must be made of stone. Dave Gryder plays a key solo with a vibraphone sound that feels to much like it came from 1973, you won’t believe it. This is another great song, with a kind of funk rock touch to it.

Blood of the Road
The last cut opens up quite differently from the rest, with a bit more of a jazzy, key-driven feel and more of those cool vibraphone tones. As a rubbery bass thumps along in the background, this picks up more intensity like a stone rolling down a hill until it explodes into fast and full blooded hard rock. The mid section with all the guitar jamming again sounds really familiar but damn, these guys do it so well, they surpass their influences.

 

 

 
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