With the huge influx of derivative bands in the groove/"stoner rock" scene (read: Fu Manchu and Kyuss imitators), this genre has been facing a danger of having all its impact and importance suffocated away from within. However, there still remain leaders who forge ahead with distinct personalities, keeping the flame of groove-based rock shining. One of the most important bands in that group of leaders is Solarized. Their new album, Driven, is like a breath of new life for a form that has been getting stale as of late.
One of the most amazing things about Driven is how it showcases the improvement of Solarized since their last album, Neanderthal Speedway. What it really boils down to is a light-years jump in the quality of songwriting. Every song is a winner on Driven--from the opening groove of "Dig The Ride," through biker-rockers like "Born Of Fire." You simply can't go wrong.
That being said, the ultimate feat of Driven is that, from beginning to end, Solarized sounds like Solarized. That's not to say you won't find comparisons that can be drawn to other bands, like Monster Magnet, Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned, or Circus of Power--people do often share similar influences. However, Solarized seems to inject more soul into their music than anyone else in the genre. A great deal of the credit for that fact is owed to the amazing warmth of James Hogan's vocals and a sense that this band, as a whole, truly grasps the blues roots of rock.
Solarized have created a triumph of epic proportions in Driven. It is, without a doubt, the best groove/"stoner rock" album in ages and will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to that community. In fact, Driven is one of the best albums this year, regardless of genre. This one is a winner.
Score this CD directly from METEORCITY