Review Date: August 2016
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
Australian band Buffalo Crows have been busy. August 2016 saw the release of their third album, entitled Bovonic Empire. This one features an array of guest vocalists.. Dave Tice, Otis Edgar, and Paul Mario Day. This old metalhead did a double-take when he heard the latter's name, recalling memories of Sweet, and of course, the pre-dawn of NWOBHM band Iron Maiden.
Bovonic Empire can be described as a compendium of variations upon stoner rock, with an assortment of influences to add to the variety on offer. Rasping vocals abound, laid over raging guitars and pounding rhythm.
Are you old enough to remember Captain Beefheart? The album opener, The Trog, may bring back some memories for you.
The Tempest is a great track, thumping metal in the style of early NHOBHM bands such as Maiden and Saxon, with guest vocalist Paul Mario Day delivering lyrics about recent events in the Middle East and Europe. It is good to find a band brave enough to tackle the subject.
Star Lord rocks hard, inspired, they say, by the movie Prometheus. This is good melodic metal, guitars wailing and vocals snarling. Buffalo Rising has a more blues based feel, telling the story of native Americans and the importance of the buffalo herds, and the tragedy of their decline in the wake of colonisation and over hunting. Probably my favourite track on Bovonic Empire, being a sucker for blues based rock, as I am. The harmonica solos work incredibly well, making Buffalo Rising a track you'll want to listen to over and over.
Move along to Crawling Off The Edge Of The World for more screaming guitar solos. Creative use of harmonica turns this from being a by-the-numbers psychedelic / stoner rock number into something special.
Love the guitar intro on Rivers Of Regret, Proper retro melodic goodness. PMD delivers the vocals again here; giving it his all and turning this into a RHR recommended listen for Maiden fans. The Maiden vibe is instantly recognisable, shining through here.
When it comes to Monte Cristo - wow. Will instantly appeal to old, established metal fans. Inspired by ghostly goings on in a haunted house, apparently, and paying tribute to King Diamond, AC/DC and others. Although guitar-wise, Defenders, feels more like AC/DC for the intro, before erupting into a full blown speed metal track.
Right from the start, Execution brings more variety with a quality keyboard intro leading into a strung out number. Bigger guitar riffs can be heard here, echoing Black Sabbath at times. Occasional keyboards gently add spice to the tune in places, contrasting with the full-on raging guitar solos, and emotive lyrics.
Lastly, we have Ashes To Ashes. Billed as a hidden track and tribute to the Starman, the band cover of one of Bowie's best songs.
Bovonic Empire is available from the usual outlets. It is going to appeal to fans of the genre. You can have a listen for free on Bandcamp, and if Buffalo Crows brand of rock is your bag, support them by purchasing a copy.
Track List (may vary)
- The Tempest
- Star Lord
- Buffalo Rising
- Crawling Off The Edge Of The World
- Rivers Of Regret
- Monte Cristo
- Ashes To Ashes