Rival Sons



by Antonius USER (39 Reviews)
March 30th, 2024 | 3 replies

Release Date: 06/02/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Seventh studio release and the Californias are still convincing that we hear a great band.

Four years after Feral Roots and with the pandemic vanishing in the rearview mirror, Rival Sons return with their seventh album, Darkfighter. The Californians have been around since 2009 but it wasn't until the recent Feral Roots that their audience reached new levels. In their seventh studio release, the Californians do not re-invent the wheel. They recalibrate, revitalize and come out with vibe and energy. The Buchanan/Holiday collaboration remains strong, tight and efficient, while the rhythm section hits hard with intensity and sounds deeper and sharper.

The album enters with 'Mirrors' and soon its opening church organ notes transform into a massive, straight-out-from-the-70s classic rocker. It has a huge chorus and Jay Buchanan is sounding as focused and sharp as ever. Out of a sudden, the band hits the gas and the wild rock n roller 'Nobody Wants to Die' enters like a hurricane. It was the track that was introduced as a single and a good choice it was. A similar brisky moment is 'Horses Breath', a track that often goes unnoticed and does not get much praise despite its agonizingly vivid rhythm.

'Bright Light' talks about the inner battle with ourselves and the miss of positives that come around us. It is a fascinating track as it is one of the simplest compositions in the album yet it has probably the grooviest and catchiest chorus of the album. Speaking of choruses, the record's most contagious one is found in 'Guillotine', probably the most solid piece here. It is a track that contains all of the Californians' great characteristics: Buchanan's high-wire vocals, Holiday's fuzzy, shape-shifting riffs and Miley's strong and thunderous drum triplets.

However, Darkfighter is not all about power and force. Smartly placed at the beginning of the album, 'Bird in the Hand' is the lightest track and serves as an energy saver for what will follow. There is also the slow-burning 'Rapture', a strong and introspective ballad where Buchanan delivers some beautiful vocals.

The album closes with the epic 'Darkside', a song that addresses the struggle to keep afloat in a sea of adversity and loss. Inspired by his past and a certain 'Open My Eyes', Holiday delivers an enormous riff and the track slowly builds towards a wonderful and memorable climax where Jay soaringly sings that "there are no promises to keep anymore, now that you've gone to the dark side". It is a glorious ending.

With the album's end, Rival Sons put the listener in the most appropriate place to wait for Lighbringer, the follow-up album that has been announced and will complete this journey.

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user ratings (20)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2024


Well written review as always, pos.

I fancy this too.


March 30th 2024


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This can’t be separated from Lightbringer. It’s one album, Darkfighter/Lightbringer, released in two parts but recorded at once. To me as a whole was my favorite album I got last year.

March 31st 2024


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lightbringer indeed compliments this one, but of the two, it is Darkfighter that stands out. Thank you both for the pos!

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