Times in the music business are changing rapidly, so it's no surprise to see a metal specialized label as Nuclear Blast signing Austin, Texas based retro-rockers SCORPION CHILD. Seventies Classic Rock is definitely making a big comeback and a band like this basks in the glory of utilizing analog recording technology for their lofty efforts.
Better yet, the group evokes institutionalized acts like Led Zeppelin, Rainbow and Uriah Heep as inspiration for their hard driven style, so this should appease fans into the retro '70s hard rock craze. In fact, their self-titled debut disc goes for the gusto, filtering the vocal talents of Aryn Jonathan Black and the twin guitar attack of Chris Cowart and David Finner into a framework for a very classic hard rock sound.
The easiest comparison to make for Scorpion Child would definitely be Led Zeppelin. With their blues influenced heavy psych-rock and Aryn Jonathan Black’s Robert Plant-like vocals, they are an extension of their influences but not an imitation. They are accomplished songwriters and for a debut album, these guys have assembled a cornucopia of great rockin' songs.
Starting with "Kings Highway" one of the first sounds listeners will hear is the wail of lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black fading in. With a blues-based groove for the verses and some powerful energy on the chorus, the track offers Black plenty of opportunities to showcase his soulful and spirited sides.
While that was a great opening track for an album, you can't go past "Polygon Of Eyes" as an introduction to this band. Massive riffs, John Bonham-esque drumming and a giant chorus with the line 'I live on the mountain' showcasing this time a vocal approach like a harsher Ronnie James Dio, immediately Rainbow’s 'Man on the Silver Mountain' comes to mind, but the backing instrumentation is actually a lot more aggressive. With a memorable melody and huge riffs, it's no wonder why "Polygon Of Eyes" was named the album's first single.
Other album highlights include "The Secret Spot" and "Paradigm", two of the fastest paced selections on the entire record. The latter is easily one of my favs, with some meaty hard rock riffage and a middle part where the melody line follows the guitars in a way which sounds fantastic. As a part of the album, this track is perfectly placed as it is followed by "Red Blood (The River Flows)", a great psych-prog ballad opening with acoustic guitars and progressing into huge soaring melodies and a massive wall of sound.
The twin guitar attack are used to great effect throughout "Liquor" and Shawn Alvear provides a very solid drumming all over, helped by the earthy production allowing the rhythm section to sound crisp amongst the rest of the instruments.
Another remarkable moment arrives with "Salvation Slave" which coalesces into a satisfying moment of ultra heaviness and is one such number to display the brilliance of the band’s overall sound.
One impressive debut filled with heavy riffs, powerful bass lines and furious drumming, all led by a vocalist who is destined to become a major star. Scorpion Child strives to breathe new life into the lasting legacy of psych hard rock and there's nothing stopping them from carving out a musical legacy all their own.
This recording is a great example of a young band doing something new with such classic sounds. It's very easy to the ears and at the same time juicy and meaty allowing you to discover new sensations after repeated listens. Ah, of course, "Scorpion Child" is also available on vinyl, a format that truly deserves.
01. Kings Highway
02. Polygon Of Eyes
03. The Secret Spot
04. Salvation Slave
07. In The Arms Of Ecstasy
09. Red Blood (The River Flows)
10. Keep Goin' [Hidden Bonus Track]
Aryn Jonathan Black - Vocals
Shaun Diettrick Avants - Bass
Christopher Jay Cowart - Lead Guitar
Tom "The Mole" Frank - Rhythm Guitar
Shawn Paul Alvear - Drums, Percussion
BUY IT !