By Jason Wellwood
I try to avoid comparisons to other bands in my reviews but in this case it’s almost unavoidable. Riotgod sounds to me like a cross between really good Soundgarden and really good Hater (anyone remember them? Anyone?). Riotgod was formed by the current rhythm section of Monster Magnet, and of course the funny thing about the comparison is that Hater was formed by a former guitar player for Monster Magnet and the rhythm section for Soundgarden. One of the immediate issues that people have with a comparison is that they think it means the band is ripping off the band they are being compared to. In Riotgod’s case, there is no ripping off; it’s more like a channeling of the spirit. Mysterious vocalist Sunshine wails like a young Chris Cornell and takes the songs into trippy territory with his amazing intonation and a few vocal effects. And by effects, I mean techniques, not studio trickery. One of the obvious comparisons back to Monster Magnet for most people will be the 70’s sound to all of the songs. For me though, it’s the groove. Much like what the duo of Bob Pantella and Jim Baglino brought to Monster Magnet’s latest record Mastermind, the groove on this album is killer. You’ll find yourself nodding along, grooving in your seat when you didn’t even realize you were paying attention.
Regardless of the comparisons, Riotgod (the album) is solid from beginning to end. It’s obvious that the band paid as much attention to the running order of the album as they did the creation of the songs. Starting with nodding, sing-a-long rocker ‘Light of the Sun’ through the slower eastern groove of ‘Omega’ into the hard rocking, groove laden ‘Drone Station’ and into ‘Mind’s Eye’ which revisits the eastern influence but keeps it upbeat and slightly psychedelic, Riotgod (the band) have made sure that you will not get bored listening to their album. Riotgod is super catchy and tracks like the cowbell heavy ‘High Time’ will be stuck in your head for days. In fact, ‘High Time’ encompasses a lot of what Riotgod seem to be about: fun, groovy songs with a heavy, hook laden feel.