Edition: 60
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Album reviews:
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Reigning Heir

01. Warning
02. Lost redemption
03. Fragile
04. Selfish
05. Simply put
Do you like your metal served straight up, with a soulful singer, solid hooklines and with rhythms that you can bang your head to? Then Reigning Heir from St. Louis, Missouri may be just the ticket. Like other underground bands, Reigning Heir are going back to oldfashioned songwriting that made many (hard)rock songs of the late seventies and early eighties memorable.
The five tracks on the self-financed EP Break the curse (pressed disc and printed 4-page leaflet; kudos for that) are played in a style that is probably best described as hardrock/metal with distant blues roots. Reigning Heir are fronted by excellent female vocalist Nicole, who’s also responsible for the lyrics. Her distinctive voice marks the music clearly, fitting very well with the pure rock feeling that runs through the songs. This definitely is a band that you’d want to experience in a small, smoky club, with sweat dripping from the walls and the bartenders doing backflips to keep up with beer orders. Bands like Reigning Heir are the spice of the rock club scene, but all too rarely get credit for it outside of their city and state. No wonder, either, seeing what crap gets signed ever since Prozac-grunge, sissy alternative and that horrendous nu-thing got mistaken for rock music.
Anyway, things start off fine with Warning – clear vocallines, a simple but effective riff – after which things continue on the same quality level throughout the disc. Heaviest number by far is the excellent Lost redemption, that has a searing riff from guitarist Paul and a great performance by Nicole. She sometimes sings in that smoky voice that is more akin to the bluesrock style, but seldomly found in metal. The acoustic finale of the semi-ballad Fragile (still a full-blown rock song between the quieter verse parts) would get any listener’s attention, no matter what type of rock music they prefer.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the band really works as a unit. And whilst rock fans traditionally tend to narrow their focus on guitar and vocals, anyone listening to Reigning Heir should be impressed by the bass and drums. Dan and Steve know how to lay down that beat. Production on this EP is just what it should be, leaving out the often overrated effects and getting the powerful music across. Why embellish what’s already shining? It would be interesting to see the band trying their hand at a full-on uptempo/speed track.
So what’s this four-piece doing at the moment? Gigging, of course, and writing new material, that’s what. So go check them out at their MySpace here.

  Rating: 75 /100

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