Black Water Rising: Pissed and Driven

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Black Water Rising: Pissed and Driven
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Black Water Rising: Pissed and Driven
Hard Rock
Metalville Records
August 13th, 2013
Release length: 45:57
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Back in 2008, Hard Rockers Black Water Rising released their self-titled debut album themselves. The release was met with plenty of praise, and found a good deal of air time in various major and college radio markets. It’s been about five years since that independent recording, and they now find themselves signed with Metalville Records to unleash their long awaited follow-up, Pissed and Driven. So far, there’s a great deal of hype about it thanks to the lead single “Show No Mercy,” but does this no-frills Rock album crush the competition, or is this nothing more than generic mainstream Alternative Rock with an edge?

Pissed and Driven spans a good deal of Rock styles, ranging from catchy anthems of aggression and energy, all the way to sombre and reflective pieces. The successful “Show No Mercy” kicks the album off with a solid dose of hook-filled enthusiasm and rougher vocal harmonization, all of which is hard to not get wrapped up in, especially with how the bass gives a little more boom to the riffs throughout. “Pissed N Driven,” however, is easily the heaviest track the release carries, and shows traits of some Heavy Metal influence as well. The lower vocals accentuate the aggression one can feel in the guitar work, and help to keep the incredibly simple drumming relevant and engaging enough to hold your attention. The guitar solo here is one of the more intricate ones as well, but ends up being rather short when it clearly still has life to it that could have been explored to give the closing some additional bite.

But, once “Pissed N Driver” ends, so does the upbeat and fun material, allowing the harsher reality to set in. “Dance With the Devil” is a grittier track in the vein of Alice in Chains, largely focusing on downtrodden individuals with hints at drug use being part of the reason, utilizing some riffs that bring in a slightly psychedelic vibe around the chorus and in some bridges to push a dark and twisted environment that matches the lyrical concept. The leads do show a little complexity in the chords despite the slower pace, and the restrained rhythmic drumming really makes this track stand out the most. This atmosphere can also be felt in “All Gone.” The sixties-era lighter Rock verses sound like something you might expect off The Beatles, leaving you feeling good almost immediately. The underwater-like distortions quickly fade when shifting into the chorus, bringing in a gloomier world, as if being washed over by a storm, destroying the natural sunlight other passages had.

Admittedly, some tracks do end up a bit on the safer, radio friendly side, but none as obvious as “Last Man Standing.” Simpler riffs and hooks do incorporate a slightly Alternative presence with a hint of blues in the lyrics and softer vocal performance in the main verses. The chorus, however, drops the singing for a louder, layered approach that accentuates the additional melody, as well as the lead up to it. The slower pace really does help the overall infectious nature of the performance, and stands as a relaxing Rock offering you can kick back and drown some sorrows with.

Pissed and Driven is a tighter, darker performance from Black Water Rising, and one that fans will definitely embrace. There isn’t really a single bad track, though some do come off a bit more mainstream than their attitude will let on. Venturing various interpretations of Rock over the years, but still managing to give it a unique and identifiable quality, Black Water Rising greatly stands out from the crowd with an album that shows a great of growth over that period of time, leaving us with a recording that was well worth the five year wait.

01. Show No Mercy – 4:17
02. Last Man Standing – 5:20
03. Pissed N Driven – 3:58
04. Dance With the Devil – 4:05
05. Along for the Ride – 4:28
06. Fire It Up – 4:54
07. All Gone – 4:27
08. The Allure of Self Destruction – 3:30
09. Broken Man – 4:57
10. We Are the Authority – 6:11
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Black Water Rising (band)
Black Water Rising

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metalville Records via Freeman Promotions.