Exposé Online banner

Howlin' Sun — Howlin' Sun
(Apollon Records AP029, 2018, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-03-10

Howlin' Sun Cover art

For anyone who’s grown up on rock music, no matter how sophisticated taste may grow, it’s likely there’s a fondness that survives for a heavy guitar riff based on the blues. The kind of thing that made Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, and Thin Lizzy such enduring icons of rock. Bergen’s Howlin’ Sun are firmly in this tradition, with guitarist Magnus Gullachsen dishing out track after track of fuzz-drenched riffs untainted by the post-70s sounds of NWOBHM or Hair Metal. His solos scream in a Jimmy Page way, avoiding the flashy techniques of later eras of rock, as well as fancy effects devices. Lead vocals are handled by Tor-Erik Bjelde, who has a classic hard rock voice reminiscent of Robert Plant. He’s got the right amount of swagger to pull this kind of thing off, screaming and wailing expressively. Torgrin Nåmdal’s bass parts are busy when there’s a space to fill, simple when the riff needs emphasis, and always perfectly suited to the song. The last factor is drummer Pieter Ten Napel, who luckily doesn’t simply emulate John Bonham, instead bringing a somewhat subtler touch to the music, not quite jazzy, but in a style reminiscent of many players of the late 60s and early 70s. Although there aren’t any acoustic numbers, several tracks feature clean guitar tones, calling to mind once again Led Zeppelin, in such tunes as “The Rain Song.” There are even a few places where other instruments appear, such as the heavy organ on “Hitchhiker of Love.” On the less positive side, some of the lyrics are somewhat cliched, dealing with stock rock ‘n’ roll subjects, but to be fair, that’s part of the idiom, so it’s not a big minus. Howlin’ Sun are an unapologetic throwback to the days of big riffs, fuzzed-up blues, and presenting uncomplicated music with skill. And they do a bang-up job of it, joining the ranks of other quality modern bands killing it old school: Rotor, Blues Pills, Kingston Wall, and the like.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Howlin' Sun

More info
http://www.apollonrecords.no/product-page/howlin-sun-howlin-sun-lp

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Landberk - One Man Tell's Another – My first reaction to hearing this, the latest release from yet another of Sweden's newer bands, was, "What?" The opening chords sound all too similar to half a dozen or so U2 songs. However, this...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues