Album review – Kings of the Sun- Razed on Rock
By ANDREW McKAYSMITH
I STARTED writing this review after my beloved Cairns Taipans had suffered a loss at home to the Adelaide 36ers…so could Clifford Hoad and crew lift my ailing spirit (complemented by some amber ale??)
Of course Clifford could! After all, this is a seasoned performer and recording artist in which the DNA of Australian hard rock is embedded- in short… Clifford’s the man. From charting singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, supporting Guns N’ Roses at their prime to recruiting members of Ozzy Osbourne’s band, this is a man with a story to tell!
Razed on Rock as an album is a somewhat of a greatest hits of rock. Musically, the album is drawn using a canvas containing the Bon Scott fronted AC/DC at their gnarly best (supported by John Bonham behind the drum kit) then heavily contoured, painted and textured with rock music’s “best of the best” from 1968 to 1995. As far as I could tell Clifford wrote all the music and lyrics, as well as contributed vocals and drums. One talented fella!
“Black Dog” (ironic title!) starts the album with its Black Sabbath-esque guitars. Given this is the first song, Clifford’s Bonham inspired drumming is immediately apparent. “Braveheart” is a Deep Purple meets Janes Addiction inspired jam with a wonderful female vocal contribution. This is also the first song the female vocal appears throughout the album to great effect.
“Van Diemen’s Land” is the most interesting song on the album- From the creaking ships over Jon Lord (Deep Purple) style keyboard opening, to the Jack Bruce (Cream) Bass line. You’ll hear a Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) rhythm guitar buzz all complimented by the excellent J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr infamy) style guitar outro- this is a track that covers a lot of rock n roll history! (continued below)
There is a lot more detail that I could offer about the album, however I think you will catch my drift when I proclaim that Clifford has crafted a record that will appeal to the broad church that is rock music fandom. From the already mentioned 90’s influence, to 70’s Kiss (“Whips Me Like A Horse”) and the Paul Di’Anno fronted Iron Maiden (“Struck By Lightning”). The heroes of the 80‘s in Def Leppard and Bon Jovi (“Razed On Rock”), to the southern-flavoured Steve Earle and Lynyrd Skynyrd strains of “Shot Fired Out”… this is one of those albums that feels both familiar and comfortable but keeps you interested enough to warrant multiple listens.
The only issue with the album is that the Clifford’s vocals are a bit processed…but you get used to that through the album.