Album Reviews

Rainbows Are Free – Waves Ahead of the Ocean Review


Genre:  Classic Metal/Stoner Rock

Record Label: Guestroom Records

Release Date: Out now



Line Up:

Brandon Kistler – Vocals

Richie Tarver – Guitar

Chad Hogue – Bass

Bobby Onspaugh – Drums


Track Listing:

Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place Beyond Hell
The Botanist
Waves Ahead of the Ocean
Sonic Demon
Snake Bitten By Love
Burn and Die


Rainbows Are Free are a “psychedelic proto-metal” band according to their website with influences including Hawkwind, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath.  All sounds good so far and on second album, “Waves Ahead of the Ocean”, some of those influences are more evident than others.  I’m not sure I noticed much in the way of Priest but there is a definite ‘feel’ of Hawkwind and the end of the title track showed me what “Child in Time” would sound like if Tony Iommi was playing on it instead of Ritchie Blackmore.  In fact, the spirit of Sabbath is prevalent throughout the album but particularly in some of the guitar playing of Richie Tarver.  But, and this is the important bit, it is only some of the playing, not all the time, showing he is not a copy-cat but uses the sound and style of Iommi where appropriate and has the skill to have his own style too.

The album starts with “Speed God…” which creates a great atmosphere from the off, with a bass guitar intro accompanied by soft percussion and keyboards before Tarver jumps in with an excellent solo that really shows what he’s capable of.  The ever-changing vocals of Brandon Kistler are a joy throughout the album and at times sound like Ian Astbury, sometimes like Serj Tankian (a bit) and even Ian Gillan at times. With great riffs, solos and atmosphere this is one of my favourites from the album and will definitely remain on my computer for a long time.

“The Botanist” has another great riff and some lyrics that really made me chuckle but I’ll let you hear that for yourselves so as not to spoil it.  Great guitar work again and the track is nicely written so it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

“Sonic Demon” is another track that has the by now familiar mix of influences and with it’s very few vocals is nearly an instrumental, which gives the rhythm section space to shine with a great part in the middle before more guitar finishes the track nicely.

“Cadillac” is probably the catchiest track here and will be a great track live I’m sure – I can definitely see the hair flying to this one!  An unusual song structure makes this all the more appealing and is another that I’ll be playing again and again.

The dirty guitar sound at the start of “Burn and Die” is great and gives way to what is probably the closest to an early Judas Priest sounding riff on display.  The last song on the album, “Comet”, acts as an excellent way to sum up the previous tracks and in fact the first and last songs bookend the album nicely.

While I must admit Rainbows Are Free play the sort of music I don’t listen to very often, they do it very, very well and this album has many highlights to make it worth keeping for those moments when you want a bit of “psychedelic proto-metal”!  Clearly they are top musicians that enjoy what they are doing and don’t take things too seriously but can Rock out when they want to.  Very enjoyable.



Written by Duncan Everson

Ratings    Duncan   8/10

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