These Wicked Rivers – Force Of Nature Review

These Wicked Rivers' Latest Album: A Masterful Fusion of Southern Rock, Blues, and Soul Elevating Them to Unprecedented Heights...

Rock

Fat Earth Records

Release Date – March 1st 2024

 

Line Up:

John Hartwell – Vocals/Guitar

Arran Day – Lead Guitar

Dale Tonks – Bass

Dan Southall – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1 – Force Of Nature

2 – The Family

3 – Black Gold

4 – Testify

5 – When The War Is Won

6 – The Riverboat Man

7 – Just To Be A Man

8 – Lord Knows

9 – Don’t Pray For Me

10 – Lonely Road

 

 

These Wicked Rivers unequivocally stand out as a band worthy of close attention. Skillfully amalgamating elements from southern rock, blues, and soul, they have cultivated a distinctive and recognizable musical identity. Having had the privilege of witnessing their live performances multiple times, it is evident that they consistently deliver a captivating experience. Presenting their ‘challenging’ second album, one can only wonder what they could achieve if faced with an ‘easy’ endeavor.

Commencing with the title track, a blues-infused romp featuring infectious ‘woooah’s, the album progressively intensifies with the formidable ‘The Family,’ showcasing intricate stop/start riffery. Transitioning into the fiery ‘Black Gold,’ the band effortlessly channels rock ‘n’ roll vibes, followed by the groove-laden southern ambiance of ‘Testify,’ where Hartwell skillfully displays his vocal range—an undoubtedly powerful live performance awaits.

The album takes a contemplative turn with the moody atmospheric piece ‘When The War Was Won,’ evoking images of the American Civil War. Arran Day’s prowess as a guitarist shines, characterized by a delicate touch and profound emotional resonance. ‘The Riverboat Man’ introduces a dynamic blend of big rolling riffs and a warm Hammond, complementing Hartwell’s commanding vocal presence. The acoustic nuances of the bluegrass/country-flavored ‘Just To Be A Man’ unveil another facet of Hartwell’s voice, delivering a dark, cinematic experience that burns low and slow before Arran Day unveils an exceptional solo.

‘Lord Knows’ introduces a substantial dose of fuzz and a heavy groove, courtesy of Dale Tonks’ bass line. The subsequent track, ‘Don’t Pray For Me,’ features a churchy organ, infusing soul into a narrative of redemption—an engaging tale, whether factual or fictional. Concluding with ‘Lonely Road,’ a brooding, country-picked acoustic ballad, the album maintains a consistent standard of quality. Each track is meticulously crafted and executed, making it challenging to single out a favorite. If this outstanding album does not propel These Wicked Rivers to greater heights, it would seem a disservice to justice itself. The cohesion of riffs, grooves, tempos, and vocals across every song exemplifies a level of precision that is truly commendable.

 

Written by: Smudge

Ratings: 9/10

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