HEAVY GLOW - Midnight Moan CD
Genre: Hard Rock
When this band's manager first emailed me on reviewing this San Diego trio's debut full length he included the usual promo snippets in order to spark my interest. Now for all of you who read SFM666 (and frankly who doesn't) you will remember that I don't put much stock in what accolades others lay upon bands. So if someone from Classic Rock Magazine says nice things about HEAVY GLOW I don't really care. It's all a matter of taste. If they've been featured in a variety of international magazines or nominated for multiple awards, so what. Have you watched the Grammys lately? But when I read that HEAVY GLOW was compared BLUE CHEER I was like "really"? Well that's something I really wanna hear. Now don't get all excited because after listening to Midnight Moan I'm here to tell you it's not the second coming of Vincebus Eruptum. Actually it falls more into the style which BLUE CHEER displayed on the three LPs after it or what is commonly known as "the ones the goddamn hippies like." Personally I'm kinda glad since Vincebus Eruptum has been mined for far too long. Also I've heard a lot of bands who've been compared to BLUE CHEER for decades now and there's one thing people seem to overlook. Unless your sound is psychedelic-blues-rock than you're no where near BLUE CHEER. Well not only is HEAVY GLOW worthy of the comparison but I'm sure somewhere in the universe Dickie Peterson is smiling. But I wouldn't pigeonhole this band as just BLUE CHEER influenced since these guys wear the complete 70's blues rock bandana.
Now sure sending this band's material (they've released two EPs prior to this) to Classic Rock Magazine is a no brainer. Sending it to SFM666 might seem off the wall but remember I was born in the 60's and started getting into music in the 70's. A lot of those bands are still favorites of mine so it really pisses me off when I read some new to Doom scribe instantly label all acts influenced by late 60's/ early seventies as "stoner rock" which I'm sure this will be. Look here sure we did bongs and played heavy music in black light lit rooms but we called music like this Hard Rock or Hard Fuckin Rock. It wasn't until 1979 when Creem Magazine told us it was Heavy Metal. So while I'm listening to Midnight Moan I'm thinking this sounds like an authentic 70's LP. I don't know if it's because of budget restraints, typical promo material lasse' or done on purpose but I love the way this release sounds. The only thing missing is the typical cracks and pops you hear when playing an LP. As far as the performance goes it's all spot on. Jared Mullins has a great vocal style which is part subtle white boy blues and part modern day grungy angst. He's not overpowering which would ruin everything but instead he's got an inviting tone to his voice. Also he's a damm good blues guitarist whose not trying to be Hendrix, Clapton or Winter. The guy also plays keyboards on here as well. Who does he think he is, Mark Farner/Joe Walsh? Hah! Of course with a power trio format guitar playing is nothing without a reliable rhythm section. Bassist Joe Brooks and drummer Dan Kurtz add the perfect cohesiveness which this music needs. When they start into the "jam portion" of certain cuts is where it really shows. Note to self check Youtube for live vids of this band.
As far as the songs go well I'm not gonna hold your hand and walk you through each one but I will point out the standouts. First off the song "All My Money" is what we would've called a "FM radio friendly hit" back in the day. It's got it all as in a repeated chorus, an upbeat vocal presence and the obligatory two guitar solos, one in the middle of the song and as a closer. "Collide" is a short sixties garage psych cut which could have sat well on Nuggets. The bluesy "Slave Dance" must be the song these guys play live to get the legs of the ladies in their audience all wobbly. (if you know what I mean and chances are you don't) It bleeds into "Today is Technicolor" (One Step Closer) which can best be described as chorus heavy 70's FM Rock. This could have been played on the radio back then in between GRAND FUNK and MC5. The opener "Lose My Mind" is where the BLUE CHEER psych blues really comes into play along with the melancholy of "Purgatory Blues". The final cut "Diggin' a Ditch" kinda reminds me of AUTOMAG with it's modern Southern Metal aggressive style. Well they are technically from the South as in Southern California. OK that's a joke but this isn't. So far in the past two years there's been an upswing in bands taking the 70's Hard Rock influence and retrofitting it to modern audiences. Right now they are all floating around in the Doom Metal pool because revisionist scribes keep calling them Stoner Rock. Sooner or later the "fad" will whine down and where will all of those bands go? There's not enough biker rallies and dive bars on the outstretches of town are becoming extinct. Trust me on that because I've got a friend in a blues rock band and he ain't getting booked into the so-called "hip" clubs. Be that as it may I believe a niche should be made for HEAVY GLOW because music like this which is very good should not be regulated to the used bin in some college town's record store.