Riotgod – Driven Rise (Metalville)

Monday, 24th March 2014
Rating: 8/10

Deemed a worthy commodity not only because Monster Magnet skin-basher Bob Pantella is among the ranks, but also because the song “Crossfade” from 2011’s Invisible Empire ROCKS MONDO HARD, New Jersey’s Riotgod are back on the rock gravy train with their third album, Driven Rise. The band’s unpretentious, classic-minded blend of rock and metal swideswipes a lot of the more recent bands coming out of the woodwork; you know, the yahoos wearing bell-bottoms, with really long hair, whose wardrobe looks like it hasn’t been washed in years. Riotgod are just a bunch of dudes. And rockers.

As was the case with Invisible Empire, vocalist Mark Sunshine takes the reigns as the album’s focal point. Sunshine – who is like a more manly Chris Cornell – is placed high in the mix, showing off his sly, hopped-up vocals across intrepid jams such as the opening title track, the rock-de-force “Sidewinder,” and “Positronic,” which serves as the album’s most loose, albeit enjoyable moment. Plus, there’s no way something like “They Don’t Know” wouldn’t be single material if this were the mid-90s and active rock radio was still…active. You catch our drift.

Extra pops to the gents for exploring Game of Thrones themes via “Davos” and “Melinsandre,” proving that behind their rocker façade, are a bunch of geeks. But we digress. An album like Driven Rise is a bit of a lone commodity these days, for it doesn’t hitch its wagons to any one particular revival scene, nor does it have the stink of a band trying to cash in on the retro movement. Nay, this is the real deal, probably some of the best pure rock/metal one will hear all year.

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