When Doug Aldrich left Whitesnake in 2013 after an on-off seven year stint, it was potentially a huge blow to the band. For Doug, though, it was the definitely right thing to do, since the ‘Snake had been trading on goodwill for years and by the time of the ‘Forevermore’ tour in 2011, to suggest David Coverdale’s voice wasn’t…quite up to scratch would be putting it very politely. Since then, as an in demand musician, Aldrich has hardly kept a low profile: he’s recorded with melodic rock supergroup Revolution Saints, had success with hard rockers The Dead Daisies and latterly resurrected his hard rock outfit Burning Rain.
On their debut EP ‘Blackbird’, The Riven showed a lot of promise. With a fusion of hard rock and blues, the EP presented five songs with an old fashioned spirit and some great vocals, but was rather let down by its recording budget. Sadly, tunes that deserved a huge crunch were all too often left feeling a little muddy.
A lot happened over the next couple of years. The band relocated from London to Sweden, played live shows, gained a recording deal with The Sign Records [home to Wheel In The Sky, Highrider and Grande Royale] and then decamped to Spain to record a full length album.
Swedish retro rockers The Riven are set to return on March 1st with their new self-titled opus. ‘The Riven’ follows 2017’s ‘Blackbird’ EP and is better in almost every respect.
Fans of the EP can expect similar 70s influenced sounds on the upcoming full-length, only this time, the great riffs are complimented with better songwriting and much better production values. The album is a hard rock highlight of 2019’s first quarter.
Chas West will be familiar to most listeners as having been the vocalist for Bonham, as well as fronting Craig Goldy’s short lived band Resurrection Kings. With regards to the latter, West always felt like the weak link. A band that included Goldy and drummer Vinny Appice could never be all bad, but West’s tendencies to sing everything at full volume made the album hard going in places.
Two years on, West Bound finds Chas working with cult hero Roy Z, a man best known for his work with Bruce Dickinson in the 90s as well as being a key member of Tribe of Gypsies. Throughout this debut, West still approaches many of the songs at full pelt and with maximum metal theatrics, but with much better material to hand and with Z’s having a more sympathetic style, it’s more obvious why he’s been in demand as a session vocalist in the past. In this case, West’s overblown style combined with Z’s vast array of riffs actually results in a great album.
Plane Groovy Records were well ahead of the curve with regards to any kind of vinyl revival. Long before the retro format had a huge presence in HMV and before Record Store Day became a cash-cow on the record buyers’ calendar, the UK label was championing the format with high quality pressings of cult titles. They provided the only physical format for the first Strange Majik album and were responsible for bespoke, limited pressings of Big Big Train albums and more besides.