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Doomriders - Black Thunder Review

by Mark Hensch

In a subculture dominated by tiring scene posturing and boring repetition, I can't begin to tell you just how refreshing an album like Black Thunder (composed by a group with a name as badass as the Doomriders naturally) truly is. This supergroup storm cloud on the hardcore horizon features members of Converge, Old Man Gloom, There Were Wires, Disappearer, Cast Iron Hike, and Hallraker, and simply rules. Maybe it is my continued fascination with anything even remotely relating to Converge (this CD was produced by Kurt Ballou, and featuring Nate Newton in the band itself) or maybe it is just how utterly sincere this band sounds. At the end of the day, the Doomriders are here to end the last few decades or so of heavy music and return it to the lively, spirited sense of fun rock has always been meant to radiate. Picture the spirit and ethos of 1980's punk ala Black Flag perhaps played over deep-fried groove rock that recalls a mixture of Stockholm grittiness ala Entombed and the blue-collar ballads penned by hard rock legends Thin Lizzy. The end result is muscular, short-but-sweet rock that reeks of sweat, passion, integrity, and all-around dedication.

"Black Thunder" will provide an excellent intro, the band's broad melodic chops being put to the test with galloping melodic hooks and chunky hard rock riffs. "The Long Walk" breezes in on churning percussion and bass before the band launches into a mudslide of dirty, engulfing riffs. "Ride or Die" is the proverbial haymaker punch, its confidence shining through layer after layer of soil-caked riffage, not unlike the graceful harmonics which sprout from the mix as well.

"Deathbox" kicks so much ass it isn't even funny; I am not even going to bother describing this song as anything but straight-up death 'n punk 'n roll. The righteously oldschool "Listen Up!" will make you do just that, it's catchy Thin Lizzy worship practiced in a church dedicated to gruff, barking vocals spawned in the hardcore scene. It makes for a jarring experience, but a great one nonetheless. "Midnight Eye" is possibly the best rock song I've heard in years, and a sick puppy like this would spread like a rabies infection in a kennel if it ever wormed its way onto the radio. The singing is spaced out, surprisingly sinister and clear, and maybe even a little depressing.

Soft power strums lead into a rock ballad so intense and a howling climax so liberating you can't help but jump for joy that something like this even exists. Three cheers for sure! "f*** This s***" is feedback drenched hardcore punk with a case of the Wolverine Blues perhaps. Again, it is an odd combination but a welcome change from more conventional music.

"Worthless" attacks with retro riffs worthy of any 1980's skatepunk band out of Southern Cali, just with a little extra bite. This one will latch itself into your brain for days on end. "The Chase" sways in on boozy feedback washes before a riff that simply slays enters the fray and massacres everything and everyone. The majestic "Voice of Fire" starts off with some glum notes that made me vaguely recall my doom idols in Sleep, all before the blistering holocaust that is the track's closing firestorm of sludge-y, morose chords and wicked atmospherics.

"Drag Them Down" sounds like Akimbo with a bit more sonic depth, whereas "The Whipcrack" is a quick paper-cut of a song with tons of raw emotion and trashed distortions. "Sirens" finished the platter with an introspective clean passage, the likes of which get mauled by brawny filth 'n roll, all replete with flaming hot guitar solos and caustic yelps. It is a great end to a great album, and well worth checking out.

The Doomriders have talent in spades, a definitive sound, and swank cover art that can only be christened "100% rad." Unlike Every Time I Die, who have frequently been lauded for their "raw rockcore" sound, the Doomriders capture the mood a lot better with hooks, solos, and nothing but simple, catchy music. Dare I saw a slowed down Motorhead with more melody amidst the extra amp sludge? Not sure, but the point remains that this release is a killer. I'd highly recommend this, so stop reading and pick it up right away!

1. Black Thunder
2. The Long Walk
3. Ride or Die
4. Deathbox
5. Listen Up!
6. Midnight Eye
7. f*** This s***
8. Worthless
9. The Chase
10. Voice of Fire
11. Drag Them Down
12. The Whipcrack
13. Sirens

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Doomriders - Black Thunder


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