Sleeping Bag Studios - April 2, 2019

Review of "Afternoon in Bloom"

"Note the grammar here people…we’re not talking about a singular king rising here…not the King’s Rising, but The Kings Rising…as in multiple kings!  In this particular scenario, I assume we’re talking about Stone Mason, James Lippert, Ryan Mason, and Josh Fritschle – those specific kings, busting out of Chicago. 

With a heavy & gripping combination of some Funk, Blues, and good ol’ Rock’n’Roll, The Kings Rising absolutely attack the groove on their new single 'Afternoon In Bloom' – immediately giving your ears an entire smorgasbord of wicked sound to chew on.  I ain’t even kidding – what else could you possibly want other than what this band will give ya?  You want musicianship & instrumentation?  BOOM.  You got it.  You want structure and innovation?  CHEERS.  Raise a glass and pour us another – you’ll want to sit & enjoy this 'Afternoon In Bloom' with a frosty cold one to go down with the killer sound you’ll find.  You want vocals that have the commitment, energy, & spark you KNOW you want?  MIC DROP.  The Kings Rising literally & audibly has it all – I’m massively impressed by this single & the band’s sound. 

Just keep in mind, while a whole bunch of meatheads out there are fawning over Greta Van Fleet right now, those SAME PEOPLE could be listening to something REAL like The Kings Rising that furthers the story of that sound.  Sure you’re going to feel the Led Zeppelin-esque vibes coming through 'Afternoon In Bloom' – that’s there for certain – but so is the more modern-day twist on the stop/start sound, more akin to something like an Audioslave or Tom Morello inspired groove.  And THEN you add on the fact that like, Stone Mason can sing & howl like a Cornell in his prime…like I said man, this band has got it ALL goin’ on.  Incidentally, the Zep influence probably comes more naturally to this tune, given that the lyrics will actually reference Page & Plant directly as well…so there you go, another tie-in for those hunting for clues & those that dig on clever music that focuses right in on attention to even the smallest details.  All these kind of threads stack up…these are the moves that make the difference to us as listeners and create multiple access points of interest into an artist’s/band’s material – The Kings Rising seems to leave no stone unturned here in making sure they’ve maximized every second of this single’s potential. 

And this is coming to ya from a dude that’s pretty much decidedly outside of the Blues-Rock-anything for the most part…I’ve got my favorites like anyone else, but it’s SUPER RARE for this genre to really ignite the excitement in me like The Kings Rising is doing with this new single of theirs.  Production & performance ON-POINT here y’all…like for real, it just makes the entire difference when the balance of power & strength is equal caliber on all-fronts like it is here in this band…I mean, I’ve already mentioned Mason’s killer capabilities – and he’s MIND-BLOWING in this supercharged performance – but the band is TOO.  James Lippert…like, good lord…give this dude an award because he plays the living daylights out of a bass guitar – but ALSO give the mixer some serious credit as well, because you can really HEAR the essential contributions he makes to this cut breaking through as clear as day.  Everyone gets a solid turn in the spotlight here…the drums from Josh are freakin’ incredible, straight-up, full-stop…dude’s an absolute machine & a beast on the kit, providing wild beats at all times throughout the inventive twists & turns in the structure of 'Afternoon In Bloom' – and Ryan’s guitar work combined with Stone’s have the tubes of their amps blazing hot with that good-good distortion and gritty tone we truly wanna hear. 

So…umm…I mean…like…you all know me well enough to know if I had anything to say or point out something that could be improved, that I’d do it – that’s just not the case here at all.  I wouldn’t change a single damn thing about The Kings Rising after what I’ve heard in this single – this band has got the JUICE…you fans of Rock-anything out there should be flocking to this crew, cause they’re CRUSHIN’ it.  'Afternoon In Bloom' is a pure riot from beginning to end, structured to freakin’ astonish, and delivered with powerfully confident, stunningly skillful, and intensely innovative instrumentation & vocals. 

Like I was saying earlier dear readers, dear friends – what more than that could you possibly want?  They wowed us with their album Pistolero Americana last year, and The Kings Rising seem ready to outdo themselves in 2019 once again with the scorching 100% single-worthy sounds of 'Afternoon In Bloom.'"

Band Camp Diaries - March 5, 2018

Pistolero Americana Album Review

“'The Kings Rising' is a driven rock band hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Recently, they set out to release a brand new studio album, an effort titled 'Pistolero Americana'. 

This release marks a very important milestone for this band because it is a true showcase of artistry, passion and even discipline. It might sound strange to talk about discipline when describing the music of a bunch of rock’n’rollers, but make no mistake: being in a band is really hard work, and it is not easy to get different brains in a room and create the synergy necessary to make a wonderful piece of music together. Obviously, The Kings Rising set out to overcome this particular challenge, because the songs on 'Pistolero Americana' showcase a lot of chemistry, artistic integrity, and vision. 

Inspired by artists as diverse as Soundgarden, Neil Young, The Doors and Alice In Chains, The Kings Rising set out to create a very personal sound, which feels hard-edged and aggressive, yet retaining a particularly earthy nature, typical of the best folk and Americana songwriters. 

On these tracks, the band members bounce off each other, converging into a very cohesive and aesthetically pleasing sound, with a lot of layers and pleasant nuances. Ultimately, 'Pistolero Americana' stands out as a really clever release - a combination of different influences, which really capture the imagination of listeners in a unique way. 

On songs such as 'Mr. Gasoline Indian', the band set out to create a really unique compromise of rock with a jam-like feel. The members of the band are absolute masters at complementing each other’s work with phenomenal grooves. Another great example? Their explosive track 'Sweet Water', is perhaps one of my favorite compositions in the band’s catalog. This song has a highly improvisational feel, although it also showcases a clever arrangement. The drumbeat is powerful, pounding and steady. The drumming is technical and skillful, yet it does not overcrowd the arrangements with too many frills and embellishments…it hits right in the guts! The bass line is more articulate in many of the band’s songs, often allowing the groove to stand out and highlighting the phenomenal balance in the rhythm section. Oftentimes, the bass is often quite saturated, showcasing healthy doses of distortion, which make for a truly phenomenal feel and a stunning positive vibe, adding a lot of energy to the tracks on this album. Last but not least, the guitars also play a fundamental role in the arrangements. The songs performed by the band are highly energetic and direct, and the bark of the Les Paul is certainly one of the fundamental components of the sound of this group. The band matches groovy rhythm sections with heavy riffing, inspired by blues, psychedelic rock, alternative, Americana and many other sources. The lead work is also outstanding, with engaging solos making their way through the mix. Everything serves as a phenomenal backdrop for the vocals to unfold. The vocal sound of The Kings Rising makes me think of a cross between Eddie Vedder, Scott Weiland and Axl Rose. In other words, you’ve got the grit and instinct of the tried-and-true rock and roll frontman, but you also get the idea of a technically proficient vocalist who knows how to run the show…quite literally! 

With such a combination of talented individuals making music together, the possibilities are truly endless. As they say, the sky is the limit. With Pistolero Americana, The Kings Rises set out to strongly reaffirm their passion for real rock music, as well as the natural chemistry of the band."

Beach Sloth - March 3, 2018

Band Review

"The Kings Rising taps into rock n’ roll’s heart with their soulful take on classic rock’s bluesy core. Reminiscent of a time long since passed, the way they let everything build up gives them a timeless quality. Reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and their ilk, the sound has a raw, visceral quality to it. Everything about the album has a physicality to it from the heavy riffs to the gargantuan beats. By far the true highlight of the album comes from the passion vocal delivery, that embraces a slight nod to Southern rock. Stylistically, the Kings Rising draw from a wide variety of genres, ranging from punk to metal with even a little bit of psychedelic rock added in for good measure. 

Rolling into a wonderful rhythm is the fiery “Black Powder”. Downright infectious, the whole of the work possesses such grit, from the wild guitar work to the lumbering bass. On “Sweet Water” everything rushes by in a glorious blaze. From the loose drums that have almost a jazz-like quality to the intensity of the guitar solos, the whole thing careens wildly. Aptly named, “I’ve Gone Mad” goes for a manic sort of approach, with the vocals adding to the overall feeling of being fully unhinged. Going for a defiant, confrontational approach is the fuzzed-out haze of “Three Piece Suit”. 

An absolute blast of an album referencing everything from Jim Morrison’s acid-laced poetry to Black Sabbath’s slowed down jams, the Kings Rising create something so unbelievably inviting."

Stereo Stickman - February 21, 2018

 Band Review

'Pistolero Americana is the aptly titled, explosive and attention capturing new album from Chicago blues-rock troubadours The Kings Rising. Mr Gasoline Indian fires things up with its infectious rhythm and striking progression, complete with grit, weight and intensity, not to mention an immediately intriguing and memorable hook. Bottle Of Champagne follows, a more spacious song, within which the passion and power of this classic rock vocalist stands incredibly tall. Your focus is on the story-telling here, the lines lead you through the tale, the instrumentation keeps your heart beating at the right kind of pace. The music is high energy, the project surrounds you with thick, partly organic, partly heavy and distorted, chaotically yet effectively arranged musicianship, and it works. 

Colgate Joe continues down the road of unexpected, untold stories. The music has the swagger and style of a classic blues-rock anthem, bringing a touch of both nostalgia and freshness to the stage. Molotov Cocktail follows, the underlying themes of the album start to connect a little more. This classic, passionate Americana core seems to come through with everything we tend to consider when the term appears. Times are hard and these songs face the world in a bold and unapologetic way. 

Black Powder opens up with an instantly appealing guitar riff, the likes of which most commonly lead into something of an indie-rock anthem for the disenchanted. The heaviness falls away, laying bare a blues-rock essence that rides out confidently alongside of a rhythmic and characterful bass line. You hear the story more clearly hear, as well as the various intonations and traits of the leading voice. The song’s hook works well, the changing ambiance backs up the movement brilliantly, then things continue to evolve from here on in. 

The pace rises up again for I’ve Gone Mad, manic guitars and crashing symbols surround a deeply personal song, rather poetically reflective of inner turmoil. At this point there seemed to be a touch of the great Chris Cornell, though later on this returns to more of an Iron Maiden style of theatrical rock performance. There are numerous hints of influence throughout this collection, for the most part though, the band’s natural eclecticism leads you to comfortably familiarise yourself with this being simply their sound. The musicianship is skillful and creative, the leading voice throughout maintains that passion and grit to carry each song with authenticity and strength. A live show would likely work wonders. 

The Hunter takes the dramatic rock stage show style a little further, a higher key and a chorus of voices deliver the song and its sentiment with almighty presence, vibrant instrumentation supports and enhances the vibe every step of the way – the guitar work is superb. Sweetwater follows, offering up a casually stylish, calmly confident sense of swagger. A classic country rock edge comes through, the melody works brilliantly, contrast is well utilized – the gentle verses lead powerfully up towards the absolute intensity of the hook section. Still Talking seems close to settling things down afterwards, but this is due to a misleading touch of atmospheric stillness. The song explodes into life, the energy is sky high, the passion seemingly at its peak from the offset (another misconception). The drama and build up of this one makes for something immensely satisfying and interesting from start to finish. 

Three Piece Suit brings about a notably creative soundscape, upon which each moment of instrumentation appears to have been genuinely crafted and incorporated with care. That Audioslave, grunge-esque verse style returns, then the blues rock rhythm and hypnotic progression of the hook takes over, and once again the entire song surprises and entrances you. A definite highlight, contrast effectively keeps you captivated, a quirky and intriguing concept makes certain you remember it. Then things come to a striking close with a piece simply titled Pistol. Stunning guitar work lays out the ambiance, meandering performances craft a colourful and reflective ambiance, upon which the melody and the story-line can really work their magic. The songwriting is top notch, the progression through the notes and the various sections works incredibly well, and so, as expected now, the hook hits hard. 

This project is well worth exploring if you’re a fan of the raw edge and entertainment of unforgiving hard rock and blues. The Kings Rising are a band you’ll want to check out at a live show should the opportunity arise.'