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Rock - Released January 25, 2019 | Atlantic Records

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Do any of you miss Led Zeppelin? Don’t worry, Rival Sons are here to do more than just fill the void. That said, it’d be too simplistic to reduce the Long Beach gang to clones of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s group. Especially as over the past ten years these hairy Californians (who are led by Jay Buchanan) have done more than just dip their blues and heavy rock in molten lava. Rival Sons are here to celebrate eternal rock with a contemporary sound. Produced by Dave Cobb, this sixth album doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but instead makes it spin at a thousand miles per hour. Above all, Feral Roots proves that Buchanan is a great singer and Rival Sons are the best ambassadors for their style. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 25, 2019 | Atlantic Records

Do any of you miss Led Zeppelin? Don’t worry, Rival Sons are here to do more than just fill the void. That said, it’d be too simplistic to reduce the Long Beach gang to clones of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s group. Especially as over the past ten years these hairy Californians (who are led by Jay Buchanan) have done more than just dip their blues and heavy rock in molten lava. Rival Sons are here to celebrate eternal rock with a contemporary sound. Produced by Dave Cobb, this sixth album doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but instead makes it spin at a thousand miles per hour. Above all, Feral Roots proves that Buchanan is a great singer and Rival Sons are the best ambassadors for their style. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 16, 2015 | Earache Records

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Rock - Released June 9, 2014 | Earache Records Ltd

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Metal - Released September 17, 2012 | Earache Records

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Rock - Released September 17, 2012 | Earache Records

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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released September 17, 2012 | Earache Records

Earache Records is nominally a label devoted to death metal, but anyone who buys Rival Sons' Pressure & Time expecting an album in that style is likely to be disappointed, just as any rock fan who avoids it with the same expectation will be missing out. The Los Angeles quartet consisting of singer Jay Buchanan, guitarist Scott Holiday, bassist Robin Everhart, and drummer Mike Miley doesn't play death metal, though its music might be called early or pre-metal. Simply put, Rival Sons are a power trio plus singer in the traditional style, who might have made this album after listening to the first Led Zeppelin LP over and over for a day or two. Songs like the title track and "Gypsy Heart" find Buchanan wailing away in a piercing tenor reminiscent of Robert Plant, while Holiday plays Jimmy Page-like power chords, and even the closing power ballad "Face of Light" is a Zeppelin-esque change of pace. Rival Sons do exhibit some other influences on Pressure & Time (which is their first album for a proper record label following the self-released full-length Before the Fire and an EP called Rival Sons). "All Over the Road," for example, calls to mind Deep Purple's early days (the days of "Hush," not "Smoke on the Water"), while Buchanan, despite singing in a higher register, demonstrates an Eric Burdon-like swagger on "Young Love." Of course, the band also calls to mind groups of subsequent generations that built on the hard rock sound of the late '60s, such as the Cult, the Black Crowes, Jet, and the White Stripes. So, anyone who likes that kind of music should overlook the implications of the record label and check out Rival Sons. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released December 14, 2018 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released June 9, 2014 | Earache Records

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Robin Everhart, the Rival Sons' founding bassist, left in late October of 2013, deciding that the grueling rigors of touring weren't for him. The band replaced him with Dave Beste in time to record the band's fourth full-length. Once more they enlisted producer Dave Cobb (who helmed the Head Down sessions) and recorded at his Nashville studio. Rival Sons have doubled down on their worship of late-'60s psych, blues-rock, and hard rock because of the lockdown groove in drummer Michael Miley's interplay with Beste, a much more straight-ahead rock bassist. What's different is how the band combines these sounds, Led Zeppelin's pervasive guitar and vocal influence still a primary inspiration, but this is colored also by a love the Jimmy Page-era Yardbirds, the Nazz, the Doors, and the boogie of classic Status Quo. The group has manifested most of these before, but not in this way. In their songwriting and arrangements, they recombine these influences in sometimes startling new ways. Even the most sprawling, psych-oriented tracks have excellent riffs, while most of the hard rockers and boogies contain hooks and multiple textures. Force is never sacrificed. Opening single "Electric Man" is unabashed in its Led Zeppelin IV proclivities, but "Good Things" evokes the Zombies of Odessey and Oracle with harder-edged guitars and fatter drums. "Secret," led by Beste's bass throb and Scott Holiday's thundering guitar vamp, makes room for guest keyboardist Ikey Owens (Mars Volta) on organ. "Open My Eyes" opens with a vamp worthy of Black Sabbath, but it becomes a gritty, near country-rocker with phased drum kit. The transcendent Pete Townshend-esque guitar chords that serve as the intro to "Belle Starr" give way to a crunchy slide riff, then an open, spacious psychedelia. It changes shape several times before the close with a woolly, dirty-assed bassline and Zep-style rhythmic syncopations. The proggy blues in the intro to "Destination on Course" is a fine showcase for Jay Buchanan's croon atop brooding guitars and a swelling menace in the rhythm section. This holds sway until a female backing chorus (Kristen Rogers) enters, and things come completely off the rails in Wagnerian mind-melting psych. Great Western Valkyrie continues to revel in retro-rock, but it does so with fine songwriting, arrangements, and -- above all -- taste added to the instrumental firepower. Combined, these strengths make this a full step up from Head Down. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released September 17, 2012 | Earache Records

California blues-rock quartet Rival Sons bemoan the lack of danger in today's rock & roll generation on their Facebook page, a slightly hypocritical viewpoint considering that their third studio album, Head Down, could have been recorded at any point over the last 40 years. However, their clichéd soundbites aside, there's much to enjoy on this typically ballsy and no-nonsense follow-up to 2011 breakthrough Pressure & Time. Led Zeppelin fans disappointed by their recent denials of a reunion could do worse than check out the blistering opener "Keep on Swinging" and raucous "You Want To" to get their fix of Page-inspired classic rock riffs and Plant-esque wails. Their proggy tendencies also come to fruition on the sprawling "Manifest Destiny," a psychedelic two-part suite about the slaughter of Native Americans containing an epic four-minute solo from Scott Holiday. But with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb (Shooter Jennings) at the helm, their trademark swagger is now matched by a sense of adventure. "Wild Animal" sees frontman Jay Buchanan tone down his force-of-nature tones on a surprisingly chirpy slice of '60s West Coast pop, likewise on the hushed balladry of "Jordan," a vulnerable reflection on death that eventually builds up into a soaring "With a Little Help from My Friends" finale. "All the Way," a cheeky spoken-sung tale about a man's whiskey-based exploits, is backed by an infectious Motown groove, while there's even a Tim Buckley-ish acoustic folk ballad with the falsetto-led closer "True." Despite the band's "things ain't what they used to be" claims, Head Down is about as edgy as Status Quo ("Until the Sun Comes" could actually be mistaken for Francis Rossi and company's three-chord rock). But nevertheless, it's a record that proves Rival Sons do what they do very well. ~ Jon O'Brien
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Metal - Released September 17, 2012 | Earache Records

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Rock - Released June 6, 2014 | Earache Records

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Rock - Released September 14, 2018 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released January 18, 2019 | Atlantic Records

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Rival Sons in the magazine