Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Album Review...The Judge - The Judge

The Judge are a new signing for the mighty Ripple Music. Formed in 2010, in Granite City (Yes, that’s right!) Illinois; the band were a trio until 2013 and the induction into the band of front man Tyler Swope.  This enigmatic singer has a vocal range straight out of 1974. The band  released an EP last year, and 2016 sees the release of their debut record. 
The album opens with 'The Witcher', and within a minute and the passing of the first weighty riff, we are reminded of Paul Rogers, Free, and Led Zeppelin, in one glorious package.  By the time we are in the throes of second track 'Heepster'  it’s reasonable to surmise that the band are influenced by an era, not an artist.  All the style and wonder, from a time when Plant and Co, Sabbath and Deep Purple reined supreme, is present and correct, and it’s a wonderful thing. 
The pace slows a little with 'Evil Woman', a slow burning riff and mid-tempo stomper, with a nice blues rock solo, and the following freeform instrumental 'Tartaurus'
The momentum picks up again with 'Movin’ and Groovin’,a great rocker that plays out like an adrenaline fuelled Misty Mountain Hop and showcases the bands talent as a solid unit. The epic 'Planet Doom' follows and unravels itself over seven minutes as a mammoth slab of stoner blues that throws in the occasional sonic freakout.  Following multiple listens, this remains the standout track for me. 

There’s a short interlude, in the form of 'Suite of Jam', with shades of Golden Earring, before the album continues with the brilliant ‘Desire'; a track that cements this record as one the best straight up 70s rock albums you’ll hear right now.  It follows an immense riff by guitarist Dylan Jarrett, before smashing into a solo, that gives Jimmy Pages work on Dazed and Confused, a run for its money.
The album closes with the aptly titled ‘Rock Kickin’ Blues’ and displays the forever evident talents of drummer  Evan Anderson, who alongside bass player Kevin Jones, keep the album focused and tight.
If you're looking for a contemporary comparison, The Judge has plenty in common with the magnificent 'Westing' by Slow Season (also released this month) and so, once more, we are left with another enjoyable slice of heavy rock’n’roll.  All the hallmarks of great British rock music from the early mid-seventies are apparent and The Judge clearly take their influences from them stylistically and make them their own. The music is engaging and on point, you’ll be hard pressed to find another piece of Psychedelic blues 70s rock this summer this good. The Judge have delivered something worthy of your attention.

Read the Rated Review on Midlands Rocks HERE

The Judge on Facebook

Ripple Music

The Judge on Bandcamp

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