The Riven – “The Riven” (The Sign Records)
Formed in London, recorded in Spain and now based in Sweden, The Riven are anything that their fractured name might suggest, but instead an ultra tight outfit whose youth belie the talents inherent in these amazing grooves! Playing classic 70s blues rock and comprised of Spanish guitarist Arnau Diaz and 3 Swedes in vocalist Totta Ekebergh, bassist Max Ternebring and drummer Olof Axegärd, The Riven recorded their “Blackbird” EP in 2016, then toured around the UK, Finland and Sweden, opening for a diverse range of acts like prog metal american legends Fates Warning, the British stoners Elephant Tree and the Swedish garage rockers The Dahmers. That’s not to say that the 9 tracks on this self titled debut are such a melting pot to make them undefinable – far from it in fact – but its the energy and outright funkiness that make this such an intense rock n roll experience which is the undoubted appeal here! With the likes of Jeff Beck and Janis Joplin stoking the band as musicians, their power and soul resonate across the material like they were playing on the numbers themselves, such are the fiery performances here thanks to the band’s decision to record with Ola Ersfjord at Holy Cuervo Studios in Madrid. From the absolutely raging ‘Leap Of Faith’ you won’t need to do the same as the funky grooves and teasing licks are contrasted by Ekebergh’s power and soul, as Ternebring rumbles away intensely on this highly catchy number that also has a hearty epic vibe as well as a balls out ending with Axegärd smashing 2 bells out’ve his kit – nicely done chap! Slowing things down on the deep but no less powerful ‘I Remember’, the slow blues on this song really allow Ekebergh’s vocal range and capability to shine as she reaches into your heart through a thoroughly emotive performance complemented by an equally moving solo from Daiz staying long into the mind. Even more stirring is the slightly melancholic classic rock of ‘Finnish Woods’, with Ekebergh’s singing towards the back of the mix during the quieter parts in favour of Axegärd’s more prominent drums, before bursting so heartbreakingly until the tempo kicks off with Daiz going into full boogie mode with his warbling guitar and wailing breaks to bring explosive culmination to this incredible song. Through solid songs and the talent to match, you will yourself irresistible to the pull of The Riven!