Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
TRIDENT WATERS – Opus Armada
Release Date – 15th October
I have always had a thing for hard rock trios, from the earlier days of Rush and their excellent Canadian compatriots Triumph, through the likes of Motorhead and Budgie to ZZ Top, Everclear, Tracer, The Winery Dogs, The Cadillac Three and California Breed to name a diverse selection of powerful rock trios.
London Blues-Rock band Trident Waters released their third EP back in June 2019 which included 5 tracks to provide a real taste of bluesy hard rock, with that extra groove and energy that you often get from a three-piece.
2 years on, and we now have a full-length album in Opus Armada, with 10 new tracks that definitely span the broader dimensions of “classic blues-rock” if a genre is needed to describe them. Produced by one George Donoghue and mixed by legendary Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley, the band has been given a solid production and immense sound from the bass and drums, allowing the guitar to shine, with the lead vocals providing some additional sonic textures to complement the guitars.
The band formed in 2015, and has done a fair chunk of groundwork in terms of touring hard to support their three EPs with club shows and tours with Michael Schenker, Shark Island and Hawkwind, and are about to launch this record in to the post-COVID world on Oct 15th in London.
Wrecking Ball opens the show with a solid blast from the guitars and then drops into a superb bluesy groove, with what sounds like a brass section behind the guitars which just makes it irresistible! The first time I heard Control The Animal I knew this was a band to get excited about – pounding toms, crushing riff, rowdy backing vocals and hooks-a-plenty. This is really driven by Andrew Knightley’s colossal riffs that bracket the powerful lead vocals in the verse, and then provide the power under the chorus lines, and drive into the middle-eight, where the bass and drums take a lead while the guitars add the texture amongst the white noise, before it all kicks off again.
That deliberate groove is back with Change The Future, and a guitar-break melody from Knightley that supports the vocals through the verse while Wilson Zaidan sits hard on the bassline. Greg Zaka takes prominence in the pre-chorus on the kit, before bass and drums goes right back to the basics for the Led-Zep’ish feel to the back-end of the track. The bass opens up Six Feet Under with an Eastern feel to the guitars that echoes another three-piece in The Tea Party, before the sparser sound to the verse, although the drums have the most enormous power from the production, which I love. There are some great vocal harmonies in the chorus, and then Knightley delivers a great set of chunky power chords before launching into a tasty little solo, full of dexterity and harmonics and an overdose of atmosphere before the final chorus and some more riffage before the close.
A classic guitar intro to Major League which sees a couple of contrasting guitar styles from verse to chorus, and sounds as retro as anything, without sounding dated. The mid-section sees the guitars deliver a range of riffs and solos over the straight-up bass and drums in the background, before Knightley shows off the power of his voice – not the clearest purest tones, but a strong and classic blues-rock sound that fits the music perfectly.
There is a great groove to the riffs that open up Pack You Up, which might tip the hat to early ZZ Top in the verses, but has the catchiest chorus on the record. This is three-piece blues rock at it’s most basic, and radio-friendly as well! A slight change of feel with the solo happening over pounding toms before sliding back into a stripped-back chorus that leads off to the end. Be There has a sparse intro of just voice and acoustic guitar for the opening verse, before the whole band powers in with a riff and drums combo that offers a different side to the sound, before a mid-section that immediately reminds me of some of those classic live rock albums from the 1970s and 1980s….not at all self-indulgent, but where the musicians really show their dexterity in the delivery of a track. This one is a real grower on me the more I listen to the album.
Another simple guitar intro gives us the basic melody line of Wings of Love before it becomes a full-band blues-rock ballad, with Knightley really showing off a cleaner side to his voice which fits the tone beautifully, while he also shows an understated skill on the guitar weaving patterns behind the vocals. There is an epic feel to the riffs in the track, and a piercing solo that soars above the heavy bass and drum line beneath, before mayhem ensues in the lead up to the final couple of choruses, and another solo slips in through the final 40 seconds before the reprise of the intro to close!
Good Time Roller does what it says on the tin – upbeat heavy blues rock, all guitars, simple tune, crushing backbeat, lively shouty vocals, and just what you need to get the party started! There is an obvious section for crowd-participation in the “let the good time roll tonight” piece which will work well in the live setting. The album closes with a real blues rocker, with hints of early Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher in Vengeful Vulture which shows off a different angle to Knightley’s guitar skills, in both the verse/chorus as well as in the clean and bright solo section. These two closing tracks are both high-energy and straight-up blues rock delivered in the band’s pretty classical style, and they leave the listener feeling enthused and satiated after a cracking 10-song set.
Website : http://www.tridentwaters.com/
Trident Waters are;
Andrew Knightley (Guitar and Vocals)
Wilson Zaidan (Bass)
Greg Zaka (Drums)