BLIND RIVER – Made Of Dirt (2020)
The New Wave of Classic Rock is a movement that has captured both old fans and new alike, its concentration on hard rock and traditional metal that’s full of power and melody says much about desire to enjoy and support bands who never lose sight of that balance.
Guildford, UK, five-piece BLIND RIVER are a key part of this and are one of the most exciting bands to come through in recent years, their visceral gigs building a hugely firm foundation.
This full-on, heads down excitement has now been translated into their debut album and ‘Made Of Dirt’ is as filthy and powerful as anyone could ever wish for.
They hit the ground not just running but at a speed that would leave Usain Bolt desperately spitting out dust and peering into the distance as ‘Waste of Life’ roars out of the speakers. It’s a big, dirty rocker with a feral attitude, the unholy lovechild of Motorhead and Guns N’ Roses full of blues tinged hard rock ‘n’ roll that will punch you in the face before you have the chance to blink.
The title track is a thick slab of 80s biker inspired hard rock that’s massively powerful as guitars grind and lope, vocalist Harry Armstrong in commanding form, his yell of ‘’Dig it!’’ before the solo comes in leaving absolutely no room for doubt.
There’s something of Vanilla Fudge in the heavy, funky blues of ‘Acid Tongue’, the rhythm section of William Hughes and Andrew Esson laying down a groove as thick and irresistible as molasses.
‘Slow Begins the Sickness’ gives another lesson in raw power as they capture the energy of classic arena band, and ‘Gone’ gives a chance to see Blind River at their swaggering best, slow paced, big and full of drama.
Guitarists Chris Charles and Dan Edwards twin six-string work echoes Thin Lizzy and Maiden in the intro to ‘Horsehead’ before it tears off into full chest-beating mode and those other giants Zep, Skynyrd and Aerosmith imbue the fractured 70’s hard rock of ‘Burn the Sky’ with a real touch of authenticity that both displays their influences and carves their own very definite path with skilled writing and playing.
‘Learning to Lose’ is another stylish heads down work out pummels and seduces in equal measure before they go back to the tension filled and dynamic ‘Psycho Sapien’, brooding like an oncoming storm and just as electric.
The album closes with another all-out wrecking ball in the shape of the boogie blues of ‘No Surprise’, it’s manic outro leaving you utterly spent, the band having given their all of a cornucopia of musical delights for your entertainment. It’s the bastard child of Molly Hatchet and early Guns N’ Roses when Axl was still angry.
There’s not a dull moment, and about the only thing that Blind River have “missed” is a ballad. There are faster tracks, and slower ones, but at no point does the groove or funk ever let up. This is a great collection of songs and deserves a place on the shelves, virtual or otherwise, of anyone who’s a fan of timeless, classic rock n’ roll.
People are concerned about what will happen when none of the biggest bands from the 70s and 80s are no longer around but Blind River have shown in ‘Made Of Dirt’ that the future is in very safe hands.
01 – Waste of Life
02 – Made of Dirt
03 – Acid Tongue
04 – Slow Begins the Sickness
05 – Gone
06 – Horsehead
07 – Burn the Sun
08 – Learning to Lose
09 – Psycho Sapien
10 – No Surprise
Harry Armstrong – vocals
Chris Charles, Dan Edwards – guitar
William Hughes – bass
Andrew Esson – drums