Dax Riggs | We Sing of Only Blood or LoveHeard some Dax Riggs for the first time on Rollins’ radio show and it’s clear why Hank was going on about him.
Like some kind of powerful, highly versatile, modern day David Bowie, Riggs takes you to many different places in many different ways. This record slides seamlessly from deep blues to super saturated rock to a folksy, Tom Waits-ian singer/songwirter thing.
I feel like I’ve only just begun to experience this record. This is a damn epic long player and requires repeated listening sessions.
Black Sabbath | Mob RulesMy favorite Dio era Sabbath record. This one features some of Tony Iommi’s most incredible post Ozzy riffs. The complex groove of “Voodoo”, the sheer power of “Sign Of The Southern Cross”, “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”, the absolutely monstrous solo at the end of “Over And Over”, the title track! Aww man, it’s freaking triumphant!
And this could well be the finest recording of Dio’s vocals ever. If not it’s certainly one of the best. This one and Live Evil. Did I ever mention how much I love Black Sabbath? Right.
King Crimson | RedI don’t need to tell anyone about how awesome King Crimson is, but man this is one hell of a record. Speaking of experiencing a record, there is so much to take in. This record seriously rewards your attention.
One thing I hadn't noticed before is what has to be a direct influence on the original Rollins Band line up. I’m speculating of course, but I can just imagine Chris Haskett, Andrew Weiss and Sim Cain sitting and listening to this stuff very closely and taking copious notes. Some of the riff structures, the guitar tone, the heavy-duty bass fuzz when it really kicks in... It has to be. I half expect Rollins to roar in with some vocals on the title track.
Earth Crisis | Destroy the MachinesA delightfully heavy, mid 90s hardcore gem from one of the pioneers of that crushing crossover sound that denotes Victory Records’ early catalog.
In the late eighties and early nineties most straight edge HC had been fully absorbed into the one-dimensional, positive outlook, Champion hoodie, big sneaker stylee that Youth of Today had set forth. Earth Crisis came along and took a brutal, metallic sledgehammer to that posture.
Yeah, I had a hoodie and big sneakers for a while there too. I’m not knockin’ it, but ultimately I’m way too cynical for the whole positive outlook thing and I loves me some metal, so the darker approach on this record was/still is very welcome.
Rival Schools | PedalsA very welcome return indeed. After some time off, Rival Schools comes back with a very sophisticated sound that has evolved beyond the direct link to front man Walter Schreifels’ totally-awesome-post-hardcore-supergroup Quicksand (which was never a bad thing mind you).
Don’t think that Walter has forgotten his roots though. “Eyes Wide Open” and “Shot After Shot“ tear it up that way, but with much deeper layers. “69 Guns” and “Choose Your Adventure” showcase the bands’ maturity as a unit.
This is fantastic warm weather driving music and will be in heavy rotation for quite a while.