River Black are an angry band, and they are truly bringing the metal hard on their self-titled release, and it’s packed with all the power groove that bands like Pantera brought us in all its glory. These American metalheads are no strangers in this art, with vocalist Mike Olender and guitarist John Adubato (previously in Burnt by the Sun), and featuring David Witte (Municipal Waste) and bassist Brett Bamberger (Revocation), River Black is doing it just fine on this impressive and unapologetic release. When you get smashed by tracks like Honor that just pummel the senses at force-ten, and then pull out the sweet groove in the chorus, you just know you’re in for a hell of a ride, and this album will get those heads banging in approval. Opening with Jaws, this shows an unrelenting approach straight away and Olender unleashes with a fury that holds his own very impressively. With many twists and intricate turns, Low serves as one of many tracks that opens with all the right bottom end, low-chugging rumble that sits nicely in the mix of styles noticeable upon listening to this album, before a track like Shipwreck just changes the profile completely with its abrasive, hardcore vibe that just smashes your skull, ’nuff said! The title track sits oddly on the track listing, as the eye-of-the-storm moment, before South by South resumes the intense activity ahead. The thrash-heavy Boat gets my double thumbs up as an absolute gem of a highlight on this release, and Move will create a circle pit or else people are insane to think otherwise. These guys are bringing the mosh with anthems like #Victim that just get the blood pumping. It’s great to hear metal like this and River Black deserve a pat on the back. Whilst admittedly, there are moments that may confuse some, these guys have all the bases pretty much covered, and then you hear Haunt with its clean vocal chorus that surprised the hell out of me and it works just damn fine! The track is an absolute pumper and possibly a favourite for many as a safe bet, filled with just the right amount of heavy to keep it juicy. Sink just shows no mercy, and these American metal pioneers are showing us how it’s done. Everywhere wraps things up with a brutal slam dunk, and by golly, if you cannot bang your head along to this, go see a doctor to get that thumb out your ass. The production on “River Black” is meaty and bold, complementing the heavy bottom end these guys effortlessly bring to their sound. Recorded in New Jersey with Eric Rachel (Skid Row, Municipal Waste, God Forbid), every track has been crafted to a level of excellence. It’s a real joy to hear an album like this, and it truly keeps the faith alive that metal is alive and well, and that, unlike every fad and trend coming and going, bands like River Black maintains the standard and keeps it very real.
Album Review: River Black – River Black
Score 80%Score 80%
In Short Angry as f**k metal with all the groove!