Sunday, November 22, 2015

Burning Metal

Rockaway Drive – We Live

Independent – 2012

Muthas, I’m not normally in the habit of reviewing three year old albums, but I was listening to an episode of the always awesome Rock And Metal Combat Podcast, and cohost Ian Wadley recommended a band by the name of Rockaway Drive.  He played a couple of their songs and I was completely blown away by the quality of the cuts.  I immediately began searching for information on them and I found their Facebook page and ReverbNation account.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate any of their CDs for sale, and there only appeared to be a couple of their tracks for sale as downloads.  I then contacted the band and they quickly responded with information and a link to their whole album on Youtube. Thanks guys!  

Rockaway Drive is from the same city that’s home to half of my family - Louisville, Kentucky - and they play rock solid, traditional heavy metal.  In fact, if their debut album We Live had been released back in 1984, it would slot right in with other U.S. Power Metal like Shok Paris, Ded Engine, Breaker, and Riot. There’s a ton of mid-80s Judas Priest to many of these songs too, which is always a good thing.   

We Live features ten tracks and is 39 minutes long, which is the perfect length for an album – not so much material that you lose interest, but rather they leave you wanting more.  The songs themselves are mostly straight-up traditional metal with tasteful guitars and a solid rhythm section.  There are a couple of slightly more commercial tracks, and by that I mean commercial for 1984 because they sure as aren’t commercial for 2015!  The vocalist on the album is very good and he sounds like one part Rhett Forrester, one part Harry Conklin, with a dash of Midnight and a pinch of Mandy Lion’s rough edge.  Basically, he’s got the perfect voice for this type of material – melodic with a rough edge.  

Check out the songs “We Live” and “Black Witch” which are great examples of what they do.  In fact, just listen to the whole album below:

The band was nice enough to provide me with the following bio which should answer most of your questions: 

“Rockaway Drive was formed in August of 2009 with one goal in mind and that was to bring back the sounds of 70s and 80s Heavy Metal. In the six years of the band’s existence they have played countless local shows in the Louisville, KY area, and they have opened for such acts as Metal Legends Accept, Quiet Riot, and most recently, Sanctuary.  They released their debut album, We Live in 2012 to much critical acclaim.  Over the years there have been a few line-up changes and other challenges, but the band continues to march forward!  The current line-up are led by the twin axe attack of Mick Watkins and Wes Rogers, vocalist Dani O’Dea, bassist Brad Rogers and drummer Nigel Paul.  They are currently writing material for their sophomore release and aiming for a 2016 release date.”

Also, check out the following live videos featuring the current lineup:

I am looking forward to their new album and I hope they make We Live available in its entirety either digitally or in a physical format.  Pro tip - a Bandcamp page is always a good way to sell some downloads and merch!

The Bottom Line: Do you like U.S.P.M. and traditional heavy metal and do you like supporting independent bands?  If so, check out Rockaway Drive and throw them some coin when their new album is released.  I know I will. 


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