Since forming at the start of 2017 it’s clear Blind River have no intention of hanging about. Eschewing the multiple EP route favoured by many current artists to build up a fan base and to develop their sound, Blind River have instead decided to leap straight to their debut album and on this evidence it seems to be a damn fine plan.
Having already racked up a pretty impressive live CV having played Hard Rock Hell, Desertfest and Bloodstock, as well as opening for Grand Magus, Anvil and Warrior Soul, it is clear Blind River are a band full of confidence with big ideas and they have the songs to back it up. The opening triumvirate of ‘Going Nowhere’, ‘Bonehouse’ and ‘Can’t Sleep Sober’ is more than a match for anything else released this year and would grace any album, let alone the debut from a band formed less than two years ago. They are original and exciting blues rock bangers that are individually excellent but when combined together produce the sort of exhilarating opening that most bands – regardless of their experience – would kill for.
The classic-sounding blues rock market is hardly under-represented in the current UK scene, but Blind River certainly do enough to stand out. They play a raging, raucous version of the blues that feels a million miles away from many of the more sanitised bands currently plying their trade, Blind River’s often strange rhythms and phrasings bring to mind the esoteric excellence of Clutch albeit with a snap and a snarl in place of Neil Fallon’s arch wit. Amongst this, Blind River throw in huge soaring vocals and dirty, sludgy riffs to produce a swaggering, attention grabbing sound. It is big, bold and often brilliant.
It would be nigh on impossible for them to maintain the quality of the first three tracks for an entire album – although they give it a damn good try – but there are moments when the songs blend into each other a tad too much. While none of the songs fall into the obvious filler bracket it does feel a little bit one-paced at some points. It would be nice to see a little more variety thrown into the mix but that’s something that can be developed on later albums, for now this is a full on and solid set that is never less than good and quite frequently great.
Songs like ‘Peacemaker’, ‘Resurrection Sister’ and album closer ‘Sunset of Miles’ all prove that the opening songs were no flukes and Blind River certainly aren’t shy in creating big, gutsy rock and roll. This is one of the boldest debut albums of the year so far and if you’re on the lookout for some passionate, aggressive hard rock then look no further because this ticks all the boxes and more. It may be early days in Blind River’s career but if they can keep this sort of quality up these guys are going to be around for a long time to come, and that can only be a good thing.
Can’t Sleep Sober
Life Got Lost
Unto The Creature
Sunset of Miles
Harry Armstrong – Vocals
Chris Charles – Guitar
Dan Edwards – Guitar
Will Hughes – Bass
Andrew Esson – Drums
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