Rival Sons are deservingly climbing up the ladder of musical legends. With each release their reputation for a class musical act widens and with it their fanbase grows. Where just a few years ago they were the support act for the likes of Judas Priest and fellow growers Black Stone Cherry they are now playing in front of a great many people. With regular spots at the UK’s summer festivals and British Rock radios acting as surrogate parents they are being nurtured into the next great rock band.
Album cover alone “Great Western Valkyrie” it’s obvious the sound will have evolved the musical is simpler and stripped down when compared to their last albums. Their tendency for catchiness has not waned, ‘Electric Man’ is a brother track to ‘Pressure & Time’ and ‘Keep on Swinging’. ‘Good Luck’ follows weaning in the rawer blues sounds without blunting it’s sharpness and groove. The album still has many upbeat raging rock songs that encompass the first half of the album, changing with ‘Good Things’, exploring a more subtle focus point. It does not slow the album negatively but the pace gentles before ‘Open My Eyes’ storms in with it’s ‘Kasmir’-esque drum introduction and badass guitar riff. Where the first half is a collection of hard rock songs the latter half is a more intellectual and dynamic approach. ‘Rich and the Poor’ incorporates a multitude of different sections but this is all small talk when standing next to ‘Belle Starr’ and ‘Destination on Course’, which are easily the gems of the album. ‘Where I’ve Been’ is one of the band’s softer numbers which is easily remembered, being at the back end of the album suits it too as it does not detract from the pace of album, but rather soothes the listener after such a heavy album whilst still lifting the emotions and displaying the vocal talent of Mr. Buchanan
You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this is their greatest work. Though it faces tough competition the overall course of “Great Western Valkyrie” feels a lot stronger than the previous releases with a more mature and clearer direction than before. Providing this new chapter is planned carefully they can make their way up the stairway easily, “Great Wester Valkyrie” is their next step to greatness – cue ‘Ride of the Valkyries’
Verdict – 9/10