Every once in a while you find that band that manages to blend the best of 70’s rock with a fresh sound from today, resulting in music that would sound equally at home on a record player in 1976, or an iPod in 2013. The last band to do it was Wolfmother, whose 2005 self-titled debut is still in heavy rotation in this household. After their implosion, I was uncertain of when the next great band who paid homage to their musical roots would emerge. As it happens, that time is now. Scorpion Child, from Austin, Texas is here, and their just-released Nuclear Blast Records debut shows that they mean business.
With killer cuts like “Polygon of Eyes”, “Liquor”, “The Secret Spots”, and “Salvation Slave” Scorpion Child straddle the line between yesterday and today with relative ease. You can hear the best of ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, up-tempo Black Sabbath, and even early Black Crowes in the twin guitar attack. The drums are big, loud, and upfront, where they should be, and the bass is thunderous. The best way to describe vocalist Aryn Jonathan Black is this: If Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio had a love child, he would be it. His voice, his energy, and his enthusiasm are all palpable, and they practically leap from the speakers.
“Kings Highway” opens up with just vocals and guitar, before everyone else comes crashing in, while “Antioch” is a slowed-down song that really shows how steeped in the past these guys are, and the guitar solo is fantastic! “In the Arms of Ecstasy” has a Cheap Trick feel to it on the verses, before turning up the jets on the choruses. Just a killer track. “Paradigm” should NOT be played in cars, as you will be tempted to do 80 in a 45 mph zone, and probably accrue a lot of tickets. This one’s gonna shred live on the Mayhem Fest for sure.
The only real weak link on the disc is “Red Blood (The River Flows)”. It borrows a little TOO heavily from Zeppelin’s closet, which is not to say it’s a bad song. It’s just not great. And at 13 minutes and change it kind of just meanders about, like a hybrid of “The Rain Song” and…well, I don’t know what.
The iTunes version comes with two bonus tracks, “Keep Goin'” and “Lover’s Leap”. The former starts off slow before building to a rat-a-tat-a-tat drum and guitar, then slowing again. It really keeps you guessing. The latter is another fast-paced rocker that tells you to get those shots lined up on the bar, because tonight we howl! Whatever you drink to, this is a song that is tailor-made for it. Bottom line? This is an album from a group of guys who know how to make music people want to hear. If they’re anywhere near as good live as on CD, then look out world. Scorpion Child is here to stay!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Polygon of Eyes”, “Liquor”, “Lover’s Leap”, “Antioch”, “Paradigm”