Bare Bones – Rival Minds
Released: November 1st, 2019
Thomas Kennedy // Vocals
James Dean // Guitar
Scott Daniels // Guitar
James Clarke // Bass
Chris Blancato // Drums
My appreciation of Bare Bones extends back to a very awkward first encounter when their debut album Bad Habits sat in my inbox for about 6 weeks before I finally gave it a spin and it fucking changed my world. For the first time in a long time, I was completely blown away by an Australian band’s debut release, so much so, I became an unhealthy obsessor of the band following my review (here) and would try and convince anyone I could to check them out. That passion is still there going into album number two and after listening to it through a couple of times now, I’m adamant they’ve backed it u with yet another impressive offering.
‘New Low‘ kicks off the festivities this time around and it doesn’t waste a second setting up the pace and vibe of what’s to come. Distorted guitars bring us into frontman Tom Kennedy‘s now iconic screams/yells which to me are like a welcoming blanket on a cold winter’s day. Chris Blancato bashes away on his kit while the guitarists bounce off each other with precision. There’s a hardcore punk styled breakdown that rounds the song out and despite only being 90 seconds in length, it’s a worthy opener in my eyes. ‘Hollow Point‘ follows and the riffage continues loud and fast for what will no doubt become the band’s new moshpit inducing belter. It’s chuggy, heavy and in a way, feels like it could have sat nice and snug amongst songs on their last album. ‘Crawl The Night‘ is up next and this was our first taste of what the Bones’ boys had been working on. It blends some good old fashioned rock and roll with a catchy AF chorus that’ll no doubt get you singing along to the words at their upcoming live shows but, on a large scale, have you bashing into each other in a push pit.
‘Gold Leaf‘ continues the riff city vibes with both guitarists James Dean and Scott Daniels feeding off each other like two lovers caught in a rough sexual rampage (I personally can’t wait to see their almost duelling in a live setting) and goddamn that guitar solo is fuckign SEXY as hell. Tom really shines vocally with this song which I can not even fault (even if I tried hard). You love hardcore punk rock, that’s going to be your new anthem. ‘Axe to Grind‘ keeps the heaviness flowing fast and at times I could almost hear influences from the one and only Tom Morello in their playing but it’s the breakdown in this banger that really sells the song for me. My initial reaction to that drop was “that fucking guitar solo fuckkkkkkk” and I still stand by those words to this day. ‘Drag Me Down Below‘ is up next with what can only be described as the album’s driving song. You know those anthems you play when you hit the highway on a road trip (or a fast commute to work when you realise how late you are), this song best represents that feeling with the chorus combining both Tom’s screams and his alluring melodic vocals, but the punchiness of the song’s closing moments and that “money-shot” final scream will have you giving this one your full attention from start to climax. The split solo with James leading us in and Scotty finishing it off really prove just how well these guys gel together. It’s not often you find a band, this early into their careers playing like they’ve been doing it for decades, but that goes to show just how professional and “about the music” Bare Bones truly are.
‘Gravebound‘ and ‘Crooked Eye‘ roll into each other so well you’d almost be mistaken for thinking you were still trashing the same songs if you didn’t hear one finish, however, if you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Every Time I Die and Metallica teamed up together to create a song, I have no doubt in my mind that ‘Crooked Eye‘ would be the end result. It’s just such a fucking great offering that needs to be heard in full to really be appreciated. I can guarantee you’ll be hitting replay on that one when you finally land on it during your playthrough. ‘Rust‘ takes influence from the hardcore punk genre again with its fast pace, furious riffage and every single member bouncing off each other not to showcase their own personal talent, but that of the rest of the band. If one of these members were missing or not present during this song’s live appearance, it wouldn’t work. I have no doubt in my mind this will make its way to the band’s final song of their live shows in no time. It has everything from heavy screams, a melodic sing-a-long chorus, plenty of group vox opportunities, a solo, and the drums are flawless. This is Bare Bones at their absolute best. Wrapping up the album is the title track ‘Rival Minds‘ which has an old school rock sound that brings you in, slaps you in the face and gives you a big kiss on the lips in the process. As an album closer, I think the boys would have been better off with ‘Rust‘ leading us out and moving this somewhere around ‘Drag Me Down Below‘ and ‘Gravebound‘, which doesn’t at all mean it’s not a great song, I just personally feel they had the perfect closer with the aforementioned belter. But hey, that’s just me!
As a whole, Bare Bones have come back guns blazing and delivered a punchy AF album that blends heavy metal, hardcore, punk and hard rock together seamlessly with ease and precision. If you want an album that’s the music equivalent of a shot of adrenaline, go no further than Rival Minds. Yeah The Fucking Bones are Back Baby!!!
Bare Bones – Rival Minds tracklisting
1. New Low
2. Hollow Point
3. Crawl The Night
4. Gold Leaf
5. Axe to Grind
6. Drag Me Down Below
8. Crooked Eye
10. Rival Minds
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