When musicians step out from under the umbrella of their main band to initiate fresh collaborations, their efforts are often greeted with undue suspicion. Consider Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard’s Brad, or Steve Harris’s British Lion: fine bands doomed to be overshadowed and undervalued because of their lofty connections.
Such concerns are unlikely to trouble Riotgod, a low-key vehicle for Monster Magnet guitarist Garrett Sweeny and drummer Bob Pantella, but it’d be a shame if this New Jersey quartet’s excellent third album was overlooked.
Riotgod occupy a sonic space somewhere between Torche, Soundgarden and, perhaps inevitably, Monster Magnet, but their secret weapon is fabulously named frontman Mark Sunshine, a vocalist of rare ability, versatility and power.
From Positronic ’s punkish snap to the Eastern psychedelia of Prime Moment and on to the sweetly harmonic acoustic ballad You’re My Waste Of Time, Driven Rise is a wonderfully self-effacing and charming record, and a labour of love for all concerned. Alter Bridge fans, this could be your new favourite band.