Tuesday, September 5, 2017

War Cloud - War Cloud

Record Label : Ripple Music

Bay Area band War Cloud are a new band having only formed in 2014. The band are made up of Alex Wein on guitar and vocal duties, Joaquin Ridgell,on drums,Sean Nishi on bass and Tony Campos also handling guitar. War Cloud took their name from a song from the UK band Wicked Lady, which will inform some readers that the band are influenced by hard rock from the late 60's and 70's.

There's a definite 70's influence coming through the fuzzed up guitar that leaves little doubt that Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and UFO feature prominently in the collective listening diet of War Cloud. There's a hard rock boogie feel to "Chopper Wired"that forces a listener to not just listen but to also move their buttocks. With the band based in the Bay Area and lyrics about four horsemen in "Divide and Conquer", it's impossible not to think that within their musical stew, War Cloud are not only taking in and spitting out early hard rock and traditional metal but also early speed metal. The suspicion of an early speed metal influence is confirmed in "Hurricane" as it harks back to the first couple of Metallica albums but the vocals are more in the hard rock singing style than than the near punkish shouting style of early James Hetfeild. Wein can really sing but doesn't venture outside his range, which helps give the band their sound.

The guitar leads on "No Man's Land" are attention grabbing as it's apparent that both Wein and Campos are highly accomplished musicians. "Red Witch" sounds like it would have been a hit on the radio if it had been released in the 70's. It's a really catchy number due to the chorus, tempo and distorted guitar all shining from the speakers. It's easy to imagine people hearing the song on the airwaves and then seeking out the 45 rpm vinyl. "Speed Demon" is so full of punk'n'roll grittiness, you'll need to wash your hands after hearing the track. The album closer, which you can listen to below, has a NWOBM but War Cloud manage to stamp their own identity on the track.

At first I didn't really think much of this album but after listening to it a number of times, there are many things to discover and like about War Cloud's debut. An obvious criticism could be that with their retro style War Cloud look too much to the past however it's clear that the band have a genuine passion for hard rock from the past and their passion boils over in their songwriting and musicianship. Standout songs are "Speed Demon", "Red Witch"and "No Man's Land" however no song on the album is weak.

Release Date: 8 September 2017


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