Riotgod: Driven Rise

Classic rock revivalism from Monster Magnet side-project

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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.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.