Saturday, February 27, 2016

Stars That Move – No Riders

'No Riders' rides hot off the heels of Stars That Move's debut self-titled album released last year and recently on vinyl at Twin Earth Records available in various locations including here at The Heavy Ripples distro. For those who don't know about these guys (and gal) already, they are basically the new project with members of the classic doom band Starchild including Ric Bennett on guitar/bass, wife Elisa Maria with the vox, and Frank Sikes on drums. The new album takes what the S/T started and adds more retro classic rock touches to its doom roots with raw production mastery. 

‘The Devils Fountain’ sprays a spine tingling opening riff inspired by For Those About To Rock by AC/DC. That riff is one for the ages and what STM does with the entrance of their brand spanking new album is absolutely jaw dropping and it does not stop at the intro. The Devils Fountain slathers eerie melodies into your ears with doomy fuzzed out solos and demonic female vocals.

‘Witchtower’ continues on with a rumbling guitar lead assembling a feeling of horror and delight in unison. Crisply distorted and hook-laden to a T, the song circulates in your mind like tattered souls haunting a graveyard. Elisa's vocals hymn with occult intent while husband Ric rolls the stage with an outstanding display of riffs and solos. The driving tones on the album at song 2 are already proving to be a focal point.

‘Castles’ maintains yet another killer opening riff ringing in with a simplistic structural hook delivering an infectious wall of sound pleasing the ears like a barbican protects an enchanted castle’s wall. The rhythmic riffs are click bait to the ears demanding undivided attention while the lead guitar surrounds the atmosphere like a moat protects the Queen of the castle belting out her vocal dexterity.

No Riders continues on the doom and gloom on the next couple songs as ‘Lost Beyond The Stars’ and ‘Burning Village’ which pay homage to Iommi and company. Wicked riffage churns like frozen butter at the gates of hell while Pentagram worship floats amongst STM’s own quirky technique. 

'Oh Sharon' opens with a killer groove grasping your full awareness as Alisa's sexy moan adds a haunting touch. Ric follows up with his, now patented, bluesy solos interspersed with precision placement and just the right finesse. This one has a big time 70’s groove with a laid back and dire atmosphere. Warm melody backed by smooth rhythm and a virulent undercurrent of riffs.

'TV dinners' shows the band likes to have fun. A bit of a departure from the theme of the overall album, the song is a breath of fresh air with cheesy lyrics loaded with musical preservatives and fork ready instrumentation, all puns intended. Although the song is somewhat of a spoof, lyrically, the music is hard rocking. Like ZZ Top meets Pat Benatar singing about TV Fucking dinners! If anything it'll make you laugh while bobbing your head to a killer groove and spike your appetite. The solo alone is hot enough to nuke your Salisbury steak banquet plate to perfection. The song is protein for the soul and gut bomb of the album! Kick back your feet, crank up the volume while airing out your socks and push play on the album muting the TV while slurping that drippy sauce from the non-biodegradable container. It’s really begging that somebody do it. Be the first one!

Album closer 'People of the Sea' combines an insatiable groove with its modern doom meets retro blues. Overall No Riders is a welcome follow up to the recently released self-titled that helped put Twin Earth Records on the stoner/doom map! The album plays through rather quickly urging repeat listens and is best heard in complete form. The songs flow exceptionally well and play almost as if it was one long song, with several chorus lines.

Check it out on Twin Earth Bandcamp page and support by buying a CD. Who knows, it may become available on vinyl if enough interest is generated, buy them all. Be a man!

-The Huntsman

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