Written by Shannon Cowden, posted by blog admin
Founded in 2015, Boston bruisers Heavy America cement their message from the wayward intro of their debut record’s first cut “Proud Shame” with American Gothic throat singing coming off like a Native American ritual. Beyond that mesa, the music delves into plaintive psychedelia anchored by Mike Seguin’s countrified guitar plucking, Dan Fried’s Jekyll n’ Hyde drumming (from punishing crunch to graceful fills to standard blues’ laments) and Budd Lapham’s deeply cut bass prowl. Then just when you think you’ve figured things out, they got for the throat with a pickaxe swipe of burly classic rock. Every melody hits the mark and every hook rings out like a gunshot proclamation at the Alamo. This is the opening track of …Now and it sets the tone for things to come.
“Bleed Mary” expands on the more vulnerable qualities of “Proud Shame” by stretching further the melodic verse qualities. Seguin’s lead vocals ripple like water, the contemplative guitar melodies utilize sparse notations, Fried softly ghosts the cymbals and Lapham’s bass endlessly roams in quiet thought. The chorus is shell shocked by louder vocals and harder guitar muscle but the rumble quickly reverts to restraint. Each verse also adds almost unnoticeable additions to the song composition that need to be listened to closely to even catch; for example, the snare joins the cymbals in the second run. It’s the mark of a band dedicated to fully exploring each song to the fullest. Dirty, palm-muted riffage and more aggressive singing cultivates the gentle rain of rock n’ roll into a full blown tempest culminating with a solo psychedelic bass line giving way to guitar licks and blown out riffs fully scorched by the desert heat…you could swear these guys have ties to the Palm Springs’ stoner rock movement spearheaded by Kyuss and Fatso Jetson. “Pray for Me” traverses the absolute opposite route of that sonic movement with attitudinal stoner riffs culling equally from 70s rock and grunge luminaries like Skin Yard and Soundgarden, valuing pure volume over subtleties.
There’s no limits or boundaries on the styles utilized, lending each song a unique identity; galloping blues goes indie on “Sweet Kisses,” “Casting Stones” is the big centerpiece epic where grandiose late 60s/early 70s hard rock takes its sweet ol’ time building up to the show-stopper Hammer of Thor riffs, “Goliath” tips the Texaco hat to the days when rock n’ roll filled up arenas, “I Can Take It” allows the cosmonauts a good musical incentive to light up that last joint, “Heavy Eyes” is the huge melodic number and only closer “Achilles Fail” seems to falter lacking a signature movement in a somewhat standard heavy groove send-off. “Achilles Fail” isn’t necessarily a bad tune, a little more filler than the rest; it just feels somewhat out of place in the track order. “Casting Stones” or “Heavy Eyes” would have fit much better as a curtain call.
Overall, Heavy America is a rock solid band that shows even greater hope for the future. This is a fine set of tunes with the only nitpicks being some flow problems in the track list and one tune that’s more average than great but …Now is a debut not to be sneezed at and with classic rock influenced bands experiencing a spirited revival, these guys are on their way to becoming leaders of the pack.