Unchained Music Blog

Unchained Music Blog

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Heavy America - ...Now (2017)

Written by Bradley Johnson, posted by blog admin

When it comes to stoned age rock, Massachusetts’ warriors Heavy America don’t reinvent the wheel but they are darn good at what they do.  They are still running on the Flintstone’s brand tire; stony grooves from another era, reverberating guitars pared down on the distortion and leathery rhythms the likes of which will bring any bar full of bikers to its knees.  All of this is apparent from the very first track “Proud Shame” and its brazen retro glory riffs trading shots with the bleary-eyed grunge of forgotten legends Love Battery and TAD.  A slightly less heavy TAD might actually be the most accurate comparison to make when reflecting on Heavy America’s style.  They’ve got that woodsy, weirdo feel in spades. 

That’s not to say that this trio isn’t capable of writing more anthemic fare, balancing rousing vocal mantras with flaming head on riffs and folky accoutrements that are pop enough to inspire sing-a-longs yet tough enough to instill fear (“Bleed Mary” and the lengthy, expansive “Casting Stones” being prime examples of this side of Heavy America’s songbook).  Sometimes the modest, head-kicking rockers prove to be a band’s best friend when executed properly and these guys are ready, willing and able to let dynamics take a backseat to a good beating on the steadfast thump of “Pray for Me,” the lumbering “Goliath” and endnote “Achilles Fail’s” reliance on feral, staccato riffing.  “Sweet Kisses” and “Heavy Eyes” are a showcase for the band’s careful hand at threading together songs that rock sweetly and swim with Mike Seguin’s high-powered vocals.  These tracks are bathed in blues, rinsed in muddy river water and plenty inviting like a homemade apple pie on a window ledge.  “I Can Take It” on the other hand is completely different than anything else on the record; being a formless, psychedelic visage of fuzzy, mouth-watering 70s rock that uses repetition of riffs, weird decaying signal frequencies and heavily processed delay/reverb/phasing washes akin to the heyday of Man’s Ruin Records and that label’s many quirky hard rock heroes. 

…Now is Heavy America’s first long-playing record; the band stepping out of the shadow of shorter single releases and an equally excellent EP.  There is no shortage of good tuneage to be had on this one.  Heavy America only falters in the sense that those looking for a completely cohesive experience might not get exactly that.  Though the songs are all rooted in old school influences, the number of structurally different tunes create more of a collection than a full-fledged seamless experience (with one or two tracks not quite fitting along with the rest), but overall you can’t ask for a much better debut. 

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