These Wicked Rivers rock the preacher hats and grizzled beards, but it's the songwriting on second album Force Of Nature that's turned them into real contenders

The songs on These Wicker Rivers' Force Of Nature are well-crafted and designed for maximum live effect

These Wicked Rivers: Force Of Nature cover art
(Image: © Fat Earth)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Looking the part means nothing if you don’t have the tunes; fortunately, while Derby’s These Wicked Rivers absolutely rock the preacher hats and grizzled beards thing, it’s their songwriting chops that’s turned them into real contenders. 

Force Of Nature, the follow-up to debut Eden (2020), is an ambitious, achingly classic rock-inflected showcase of great songs, all of them well-crafted and designed for maximum live effect. 

For potent, riff-led tunes look no further than the blazing title track, The Family, Black Gold and Testify, but the band’s real strength lies in the mellow and soulful, with vocalist John Hartwell as world-weary, heart-on-sleeve troubadour. 

When The War Is Won, Just To Be A Man and Don’t Pray For Me build expertly from quiet beginnings to intensely dynamic climaxes, while emotional closer Lonely Road finds Hartwell in solo acoustic soul-searching mode. Force Of Nature couldn’t be more aptly titled.

Physical copies of Force Of Nature are available from Eyesore Merch

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.