Genre: Post Grunge Riff Metal
Release Date: Out Now
Nikki Smash – Vocals & Guitar
Tommy K – Bass & Backing Vocals
Ben Knopfler – Drums & Backing Vocals
Can’t Keep Him Down
The Rope Pulls Sins
Burning Up The Skies
I Can’t Go Back
I’m Just Too Weak
Gotta Get A Grip
Across The Night
I’ve hadn’t come across The Rocket Dolls before this release landed in my inbox and so I had no idea what to expect, which is a good way to approach new music. This 3 piece band hail from Brighton, UK and cite such diverse influences as Nirvana, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Alice In Chains, so it did make me wonder quite what I was going to be in for!
First track, “Poisoned Speech” gets things started with a lovely down-tuned guitar riff and Nikki’s rough-edged vocals perfectly match the song to produce something truly great. The chorus has a hook which is infectious and will have you singing/shouting along after the first listen with no trouble at all. A terrific start to the album.
Next up is “Can’t Keep Him Down”, which has a riff that reminds me of some of Nickelback’s (who I love so that’s not an insult!) best. The backing vocals help to fill out the sound during the chorus and provide another string to the excellent rhythm sections bow. I can see this being a fan favourite live and would make a good single, with the language cleaned up!
“Delirium (Reprise)” shows a bit of the Nirvana feel coming through and has elements of King’s X to it as well. Definitely a 3-piece’s song! Nikki uses slightly cleaner vocals on this song and shows he has a great voice, as they work well with this style too. Nice riffing completes the job for me too.
A good stompy riff starts off “The Rope Pulls Sins” and again Nikki’s vocals are a highlight. Alter Bridge come to mind with the chorus and riff working so well together – it really is that good a song. Throw in a few of Kurt’s “Hey’s” and it’s another winner!
“Burning Up The Skies” starts off slowly in tried and tested rock ballad style before the catchy choruses lift the tempo before resuming the more thoughtful pace of the verses. Nikki shows he’s no slouch on the guitar either with one of the best solos on the album and I can see this being one of my favourites.
The title track is next up and starts with a lovely driving riff before slowing down for a more gentle verse. That dirty riff is back for the chorus though and makes a great backdrop for the lyrics, which I can see being another that’s very easy to sing along to. Great ending too.
“Waste” has more of those great riffs that just need to be turn up that little bit more. Another nice solo and a great guitar sound are the icing on the cake for this song, which features another easy to sing chorus that will have you singing along later without you realising it.
A bouncy riff that’s sure to get crowds moving starts “I Can’t Go Back” and with its changes of tone it’s sure to keep them on their toes throughout its short running time. An up-tempo tune but with some almost pop punk elements to it show another side to the bands writing skills.
“I’m Just Too Weak” was probably my least favourite track as it just doesn’t stand out like the other tracks. That being said, the standard is so consistently high with the other material that this would probably be a highlight on some albums but left me a little cold I’m afraid.
“Gotta Get A Grip” – another killer riff that will have you humming along the first time you hear it. Catchy chorus and a bit of a Nirvana feel to the drumming at the end, perhaps? ANOTHER great track that will have you hitting repeat.
Final track, “Across The Night”, is a bit of change of pace. At times there is a definite Nirvana vibe again, with both guitar sound and vocal reminding me of Kurt but then the next moment vintage Sabbath is in your ears! A doomy riff and screamed vocals that are a real surprise (or would have been if I hadn’t just tipped you off!) A totally different song structure too, make this track unlike any other on the album and it’s a great testament to the band that they have such a depth of talent to draw from.
This is a really strong album that has many great riffs, some excellent vocals and lots of all-round great songs to recommend it. There’s great musicianship all round and I think that The Rocket Dolls are definitely ones to watch for the future. I look forward to seeing them live sometime soon. Highly recommended.
Written by Duncan Everson