Austin, TX trio Valiant have shown great courage, bravery and boldness, crafting the raging, relentless guitar attack of debut album Recognize. First of all, the trio of Donald Lipinski, Keith Clark and Brian Ramsey kick out a surprising amount of volume for only having three members. Donald Lipinski's multi-tracked guitars are largely responsible for the presence with monolithic stoner grooves and riffs being overlaid by flying saucer atmospheric leads, laden with reverb and delay. The truly titanic onslaught is held together by Brian Ramsey's propulsive drumming and Keith Clark's driving bass lines. The rhythm section keeps everything thrumming along like a Sherman tank floating on a cushion of air.
Valiant also showed great determination in capturing their live sound and laying it straight to reel-to-reel tape at Austin's BBQ Shack. The band live tracked the instrumentals, then handling the overdubs. This approach captures Valiant at their most primal and raw, expressing the organic interplay that is the hallmark of a truly great rock n’ roll band. The live recording is impressive with none of the lo-fi murk that typically comes from straight-to-tape recording.
Valiant play an insanely infectious stoner/doomy garage rock with razorsharp whip smart guitar riffs and Ozzy/Wino worshipping vocals. Valiant are also performing a heroic feat, in revitalizing the stoner rock template, which so often sounds so same-y-same. Valiant constantly switches up the tempo, like with the barn burning "Like I Do," which truly slays with its rave-up drum fills and slamming guitars. They also play outside the pentatonic box, bringing in some Celtic-sounding scales on "Hear It Up" updating stoner rock's motorcycle gang on speed association, making it a more widescreen and global affair, like an extraterrestrial road trip of Planet Earth.
For anybody despairing of rock's ability to say something unique and distinctive, let Valiant restore your faith. While other styles of music dominate the charts, NOTHING captures the primal power and intensity of a group of people belting it out at top volume through a pyramid of powerful amplifiers. There is a ritualistic intensity that comes from people gathering together to kick out the jams for the sole purpose of making a room sweat.
For anybody that likes The Black Keys, but question their authenticity, or wishes Them Crooked Vultures could've lived up to their insane potential, Recognize will jangle your nerves, sweat beading on your upper lip. For anybody that believes that rock n’ roll can be more than a corpse-worshipping nostalgia act, let Valiant reassure you and restore your faith!
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