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| 11 October 2016 | Reply

August 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10


It’s hard to believe that Buffalo Crows, New South Wales’ leaders of the Buffalo revivalist movement, released their last album two full years ago – it seems like only a few months ago since Primitive Grind tore stampeded through our speakers.

For third album Bovonic Empire, Richard Crowfoot, Russ Redford, Joe Barton, Nik Crowfoot and Paul Scarabelli have enlisted the help of some very special guests and crafted an album so diverse, so immense sounding, that it feels more like a compilation of greatness than a studio record.

A frantic harmonica vies with dense guitars and pounding drums to create a vibe that marries the heavy boogie of Buffalo with the intense assault of protometal champions Vanilla Fudge on opener Trog, a track which the band say is a homage to captain beefheart and a ‘70s B-movie called Trog.

It’s a sound which works perfectly: part sweaty pub rock, part cromagnon jam room riffage, part Viking battle metal.

Ex-Sweet, More, Wildfire and original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Mario Day appears on The Tempest and Rivers Of Regret, and he positively roars, Why haven’t we heard more from him in recent years? Wow!

StarLord and Crawling Off The Edge Of The World are as close to spaceprog as wailing harmonica-heavy boogie has ever got, while legendary Buffalo frontman Dave Tice himself (Leader of the Bovonic Empire, if ever there was one) takes the lead on the heavy buffalo shuffle Buffalo Rising.

The band cite New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden as influences up there with Rose Tattoo and Buffalo, and the end result is a heavy melange that proves hard n’ heavy music, blues and psyche rock can live in harmony together.

Monte Christo, inspired by a visit to “Australia’s most haunted house,” is a horror mental epic with ‘ghost vocals’ from indie rocker Otis Edgar. Alice or Rob Zombie would be proud to call this one their own.

Defenders is pure pounding metal, while a hidden bonus cover of Ashes To Ashes is a totally out-of-left-centre homage to the late, great David Bowie.

Proof that in these enlightened (?) times music lovers can dig different genres without fear or forfeit, Bovonic Empire is an instant favourite and a cult gem.

Category: CD Reviews

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