(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
Each one of us knows of at least a few bands that we think may be a well kept secret in the realm of underground rock, right?
Well, I have a handful (at least) of such acts, but one of the biggest of them is Augusta, Maine’s CATHEDRAL REIGN. The quartet – Bobby Whitebear (vocals), Rob Carlton (guitar), Shonn Perry (bass), and Aaron Nealy (drums) – recently released their ten song self-titled album. For the record, I’m willing to bet that at least 75% of you reading this have never heard of them and guess what? That’s your loss, buddy… BIG time!
In an age where every dime-a-dozen band is credited with combining this genre and that genre, CATHEDRAL REIGN are absolutely the real deal. With a sound that is very much a throwback to Seventies classic rock greats, from Deep Purple to Black Oak Arkansas, but with electrifying injections of proto-metal and modern hard rock, CATHEDRAL REIGN are music-melding wizards.
If you were to hear this S/T album and knew nothing of this band, it would be easy to mistake them for some lost gem that’s only now surfacing from some four decades passed. “Seven Thunders” is the first salvo of swagger rock to be rolled out after a brief intro, “Peace Pipe“*. A downright groovy affair full of incendiary guitar licks, pulsing rhythms, and killer vocals (reminiscent of Glenn Hughes at times), this scorcher immediately sets a fire.
From here, we get one fantastic tune after another, including the Grand Funk type blues of “Distance“*, the early Whitesnake vibes of “Gentleman’s Choice“*, or the kick ass smolder of “Wishing Well“*. For folks that like slower, more melodic tunes possessing heartfelt emotion both musically and vocally, there’s “Lonely Highway“* and “Reaching Out“*.
Of everything that is fired at us within the record, my favorite track – for various reasons – just might be “Bootleggin‘”. It’s a fiery scorcher of a song for sure, one with subject matter I am well familiar with. Yes, there are nods to my home state Kentucky in the lyrics so, what’s not to like?
Get hip to CATHEDRAL REIGN now (if you aren’t already) and discover this gritty, blue collar rock ‘n roll powerhouse for yourself. If you long for a modern act with a sound deeply rooted in the classic rock style of yesteryear then give these guys a shot.
*Click song title to stream