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River Black Album Review

One of the Popular Metallic Bands “Burnt by the Sun” Released Their Final Album ‘Heart of Darkness’ In 2009 & Parted Ways

This breakup led to many fans mourning over the fact that they will not be able to listen to their favorite band again. After nearly a decade, three of their members have reunited to form River Black. River Black is one of the latest metal bands to hit the scene. The band comprises of Vocalist Mike Olender, guitarist John Adubato, and drummer Dave Witte who are joined forces by Revocation’s bassist Brett Bamberger. The band has released their album River Black – same name as of their band name.

When asked about why they chose a different moniker, Olender says, “River Black is much more rhythm oriented and relatively straight forward and so forth. I think it’s just got a very different feel to it. Plus, with Brett in the band, he has a very different style and energy than Ted Patterson from Burnt By the Sun did. Some people, they may hear similarities in it, but to us, it sounds totally different.”

The album starts with a brilliant song “Jaws,” having some great guitar riffs and giant grooves by Olender. The album picks up the pace with the start of “Honor,” dial it back in the middle and crank it back up for the duration. Metallic albums are known and admired for their aggressive feel and hardcore music, and now that the band members are a bit older, they are able to focus and enhance those emotions into something that lands straight into the hearts.

The album also has songs that are slow and have a mesmerizing feel to them. “Low” is the perfect example of it as compared to songs having some wild riffing and arpeggios such as “Boat” and “Move.” Producer Eric Rachel gives the low end plenty of volumes, displaying Bamberger and Witte’s rhythmic chops. Adubato’s guitar tone is right on the money, and for having been away from the industry for a while, Olender doesn’t miss a beat, delivering a passionate and powerful performance which was needed and expected from him.

The transition in Olender’s lyrical approach according to him is because of his child

He believes that he discovered many instincts that he never knew they existed. “It made it much more personal; more personal and more of a primal response to things, more instinctual as opposed to intellectual or academic, which is kind of what I tried to aim for with other records I’ve done over the years.”

With the song “Haunt” the album starts to offer some versatility in vocals but it isn’t coming from Olender. River Black brought in Mastodon’s Brann Dailor to lend his melodic tones to the track. The mix of aggression and melody makes it one of the album’s more captivating songs. You should give it a listen no matter what and it will surely top your playlist.

River Black still has some genes of Burnt By The Sun and fans of the band will take a dig at the new album for all the obvious reasons. However, River Black is carving its own path and it will take some time for them to cement their place amongst the best metal bands of all time. For now, River Black is great as a debut album and it is being admired by fans of metal and hardcore music. With loud drum beats, killing guitar riffs and arpeggios, and legato kind of song progressions, River Black is definitely worth listening.


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