8 Dec 2022

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Sidewinder - Album Review: Vines

05 Mar 2022 // A review by Kris Raven

Wellington's Sidewinder have just dropped their debut album Vines and coinciding NZ tour. The five-piece formed in 2020, have already made a mark on the rock NZ scene, releasing three singles (featuring on the Vines), along with national and international radio play and playing extensively in their home town and beyond.

A strong album opener is key to any album, it gives us the direction, flow and vibe of things to come. Sometimes we are taken all over the map but that first song needs to catch our attention quickly. The first single Sirens is certainly a great choice, I was instantly feeling the fire in the neck muscles and the headbanging ensued rather quickly. This is solid, heavy and raw track. I was instantly taken back to the early 90’s Soundgarden Badmotorfinger era. That sludgy, grungy, groovy sound that always hits you so good. The heavy blues riffs, complemented by a solid rhythm section pave the path for the powerfully emotive vocals of Jason Curtis.

Mississippi’s Fire follows suit and while it starts a tad slower, it really brings the heat and is damn catchy. A similar feel musically to Sirens but some of the guitar melodies have a more modern metal approach and the two styles embrace so well together. Another super hooky song with plenty of flavour and punch. Badlands begins with the sounds of rapid water with a tasteful guitar piece that work together nicely, mood feels, but soon enough we are shot gunned into those crunchy heavy riffs courtesy of Ben Sargent and Thomas Rousell.

99 MPH changes direction with some very 70’s inspired guitar and bass synchronized leads which is then hit with slabs of Alice in Chains beat down. Then, a BASS SOLO! There is not enough bass solos anymore! Sean Fitzpatrick's bass licks certainly shine throughout the album. Then we hit Depths. Now that is some serious distortion. Doomy, heavy sludge, slow and it hits like bricks. There is some Clutch and Baroness vibes throughout the guitar work, tonnes of melody, hard hitting and an impressively long vocal scream, this song takes your ears on a massive journey through the desert sessions of hard rock.

I must say, I am big fan of interludes. They have become more of a thing it seems, Tempus (Ghosts Interlude) is just a really cool piece of music, breaking up the album in two but keeping the flow and also showing another side of creativity. Then... come down southern country with Red Moon, what a jam. As you make your way through Vines, you will find yourself sidewinded by all these interesting paths they take you down musically. The southern blues country rock introduction morphs into their signature big riff rock onslaught, the composition on this track and many others introduces all these great genres and ideas that keep you guessing with all its twists and turns.

Under The Sun takes a similar course to the earlier tracks on the album but the stand out was the proggy outro, reminding me of Tool's Undertow album framework with the hammer on riff and tom tom syncopation. Corey's drums are understated but shine when needed and he finds space to elevate the song to the next level. The third single released, Walk of Ishi once again highlights the huge vocal powerhouse vocalist Jason Curtis. He has a distinct, charismatic voice and while it carries a sound from a certain era, he has imprinted his own unique sound to it.

What I like about these songs is the subtle additions that each instrument adds along the way, highlights that elevate the song but keep the song grooving and flowing. The final track Ghosts is a radio banger and very strong track to end the album. The bridge breakdown features guest female vocals before going instrumental, double kicks, momentous guitar lead and bass fills and it ascends with a bang.

The production is so well suited to the music and overall feel of the album. It's clean in the fact every instrument stands out but also has this raw live feel sound and vibe which really works with the songs. There are no filler tracks, each song had its own energy and embraces different aspects of the rock bible but they all came back to the core Sidewinder sound. Be sure to go pick up a copy of their album, crank it loud and listen start to finish, listen for all those intricacies and support NZ music!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Sidewinder

Formed in October 2020, Sidewinder are a new combination of experienced Wellington based musicians. They play a groove laden brand of bluesy desert rock with a grungy, southern rock twist.

Hitting the stage for their debut just six weeks after forming, the band received a rousing response from a large crowd. Since then the band had not kept still, clocking in numerous live shows as well as heading into the studio to record their first singles with top local engineer James Goldsmith.

Sirens, the bands first single was duly released April 2021 and was enthusiastically picked up by local rock radio, overseas bloggers and podcasters. That same month the band hit the road for concert dates in Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland to promote the single before returning to a triumphant homecoming show in Wellington.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sidewinder


Year: 2022
Type: Album

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