The bands that fall through the cracks

It’s easy to fall through the cracks when a large part of the music industry conforms strictly to public demand in order to reap the financial benefits. However, the only thing more dry and exhausted than mainstream rock is talking about its decline. Most labels sell the idea that rock is dying in order to keep us waiting for a resurrection.

When one looks at music festivals packed with fans, one can still see the desire for screeching guitars and powerful drum fills. Rock is no longer at the heart of popular demand, but there will always be room for it. Real fans know the sound hasn’t died, but there are only so many bands we can still believe in.  

Royal Blood is an up-and-coming band that will soon reach super stardom as they continue to revitalize the hard rock sound.  Formed in West Sussex, UK, they have caught the attention of true rock fans with their unnaturally catchy melodies with an ominous and visceral sound. Their debut album, “Royal Blood” was released in late 2014.   

Their most impressive aspect is their raw, powerful sound that comes from only a two-piece band. They possess the energy and style that rock has been missing. Bands that receive the most air time such as Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, and fellow two piece band, The Black Keys, all possess very similar sounds and styles.

It’s easy to compare them to other bands with two members, but Royal Blood doesn’t have to sugar coat their lyrics or style. Lead singer/guitarist, Mike Kerr’s lyricism takes you back with a captivating, post-grunge attitude.

Along with drummer, Ben Thatcher, their intensity comes from striking hooks and melodies with a stage presence and musical wisdom that breaks through any opposing sounds.

The singles off their first album include “Out of the Black,” “Little Monster,” “Come On Over,” and “Figure It Out”. The unique, garage-rock style has been noticed by other bands as they were asked to perform with Arctic Monkeys and open for the Foo Fighters on their latest U.K., U.S. and Canada tours. Their debut album was confirmed by the Official Charts Company as the fastest selling British rock debut album in three years.

The next group is almost hard to call a band as lead singer Jordan Cook performs most of the time as a one man band. Whether a band or a solo act, Reignwolf is becoming one of rock’s most entertaining acts. Originally from Canada, but performing out of Seattle, Cook is quickly being compared to Jack White of the The White Stripes.

As a Blues-Rock musician, he incorporates an older style, but his guitar riffs, with raw and tormenting vocals are a new touch on a classic style. From his long, greasy hair and mutton chops, to the vigorous style he plays guitar, Cook is definitely a throwback rocker, appearing like he could have fronted Blue Oyster Cult in the 70s. With so many similar sounds, Reignwolf isn’t trying to appeal to all audiences, he is simply making music. His songs, “Electric Love,” “In The Dark,” “The Chain,” and “Are You Satisfied?” incorporate his fast-paced riffs and edgy solos.

As a one man band, Cook has no problem singing and playing while keeping rhythm, as one foot plays along a single kick drum. He possesses a thrashing on stage performance; frequently ripping solos atop of nearly overblown amps and rolling around on the stage.

This fierce demeanor evokes the classic rocker persona. This style has not gone completely unnoticed as he was previously an opening act for Black Sabbath. Cook has described his one man band style “as raw and bare-bones as you can get,” and you certainly cannot deny his prowess.

As these young bands are still defining their own sounds, their musical expectations can only evolve. They are not the first of their kind, but they are the next in line.

As both groups are currently taking time off, it will be interesting to see what sound they come back with and if they can truly bring rock back from “Out of the Black”.