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New Jersey quartet Riotgod champions a serious desert/stoner vibe with a smattering of 70’s classic rock on their eponymous 14-track debut. Formed by the colossal rhythm section of Jim Baglino and Bob Pantella from Monster Magnet, it’s no accident that this troupe’s hellacious hip-shaking bottom-end heavy swagger bears striking similarities to their main unit’s cosmic offerings, as sinewy grooves heard on cuts like “Love it or Leave It” carries a vibe that just may have been birthed during a Monster Magnet soundcheck while “Collapsing Stars” emits a Beatles-esque feel, “Rift” launches the attitude of Led Zeppelin into the galaxy and “The Time is Now” meshes arena rock enormity with an aura of cactus and tumbleweed employed by the likes of Hermano and Nebula. Bolstered by a plethora of deft fretwork that keeps grooves buoyant and riffs razor sharp as well as a stand up and take notice vocalist whose volatile versatility and chameleon-like pipes channel everyone from Chris Cornell to John Garcia while carving out his own whiskey-soaked and space truckin’ identity (“Grand Design”), Riotgod is not merely a vehicle that runs on Dave Wyndorf’s downtime but a fierce retroactive hard rock force to be reckoned with.
- Mike SOS