Riff clad and groove shoed, Banishment Ritual is one of those albums which is so hard to tear yourself away from once it has its eager and rapacious hooks deeply entrenched within the ears and passions. Sculpted by Oregon trio Sons of Huns, the eleven track release is as virulently contagious and thrillingly magnetic as any stoner/heavy metal confrontation to come along over recent months and though its originality can be argued and debated the album is a ridiculously easy to devour magnetic treat. Since 2009, The Portland band has been firing up and building a keen and potent home fanbase since forming but now with the release via EasyRider Records of the riotous Banishment Ritual, expectations are simply rife with the expectation that the band will soon be recognised and cooed much further afield.
Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Peter Hughes, drummer Ryan Northrop, and bassist/vocalist Shoki Tanabe (who has recently departed the band to be replaced as touring bassist by Aaron Powell of Belt of Vapor), Sons of Huns has already earned a major reputation for their live performances which has seen them grace numerous Portland festivals and stages supporting the likes of Red Fang, Andrew W.K., Danava, and also comedian Brian Posehn. The band’s 2011 self-titled EP drew potent acclaim as did the 7” single Leaving Your Body, but you feel as debut album Banishment Ritual stomps and ravages through the ears like a sonic terrier on heat that everything before was mere foreplay for the real thing.
The title track opens up the storming exercise in persistent dramatic riffery and rhythmic entrapment with an eager swagger and fiery breath if not the rabidity and aggressive attention grabbing shown in later tracks. A warm blues squall wraps the guitar enterprise whilst the vocals have a strength and expression which matches the sonic intensity and melodic tantalising veining the track. It is a compelling accomplished start which lays down the appealing canvas for greater things to play upon starting with the following Argenteum Astrum.
The second track is a delicious flame of sci-fi inspired adrenaline coaxed stoner rock ‘n’ roll, a merger of Motorhead and Red Fang with the sinews of Black Tusk rippling throughout its contagious charge. The band is equally unafraid to twist and shift things around within the charge, a slow melodic croon teasing the senses midway in for a mesmeric enticement that tempers and compliments the sturdy riffery and thumping rhythms. It is the first of a few pinnacles closely followed by the mighty seduction of Heliolith, a track where grooves entice places which should never be felt up in public and riffs cage thoughts of escape with resourcefulness and irresistible addictiveness.
The dual assault of Horror In Clay and I’m Your Dad bring the album to another peak, the first with a blues crafted energy and rampancy which flirts with the passions through evolving gaits and inquiring sonic imagination whilst its successor, the best track on the album is pure undiluted bruising rock ‘n’ roll. Part early Queens Of The Stone Age and part Black Sabbath with a spattering of Trucker Diablo, the song emerges as a unique and exhilarating blaze of voracious enterprise to ignite a greater rabidity to the already spawned hunger for the album.
Following the decent but out of place amongst the other tracks instrumental Waking Sleep, Sons of Huns unleashes another incendiary device for the passions with the intensive infection of Planet No. 9, another track where grooves are as epidemically inciting as the riffs and rhythmic confrontation. With strong vocal harmonies to aid the always enjoyable delivery of Hughes and Tanabe, the track storms the barricades with charm and insatiable energy aligned to aggressive endeavour and addiction forging adventure. Seriously challenging for best song on Banishment Ritual it gives a tall order for the rest of the album to live up to.
Both the smouldering lure of Lord of Illusion and the garage rock escapade of instrumental Rollin’ the Dice make a fine if unsuccessful attempt, the pair as many of the tracks breeding a psychedelic air to their stoner and blues emissions, whilst Super Kanpai Rainbow steps up to the plate with an impossibly infectious temptation of garage punk and metal merged into a psychedelic psyche taunting with sonic colour as vibrant and transfixing as the imagination spawning its intriguing and thrilling offering.
Completed by final stoneresque fire of Oroboros, The Sword meets Led Zeppelin to give a whiff of its heat, Banishment Ritual is an outstanding release which makes a stronger persuasion with every encounter. Maybe not strong on originality but towering in every other aspect, it is an outstanding full length debut placing Sons of Huns towards the frontline of stoner/blues metal.
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