Catfish Haven - Devastator
One of the better-known classic rock retro acts around, Catfish Haven are back with their 3rd dose of nostalgia on Devastator, an album who's title harkens back to ZZ Top's "Eliminator". Their sound isn't too far off from the bearded rockers at times, mostly utilizing bluesy licks and mid-paced grooves. The real focal point are the Seger-esque vocals of frontman George Hunter, who's fitting voice adds all the credibility music of this sort requires.
Opener "Are You Ready" begins with a faux-live fan-band interaction, lifting the proceedings off the ground quickly.The crowd joins in over the chorus, creating a romping good time. The title track is one of the album's best, which drives with distortion and some solid bass work. The anthemic nature of "Invitation to Love" sets it apart, while the old-school psychadelica of "Tripping in Memphis" brings early Pink Floyd to mind. The band even pays tribute to the early metal pioneers such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple on songs like "Full Speed" and the instrumental "Halftime Show". The playing is always spot-on, and the songs are all full of sharp hooks and grooves to get lost in.
While the sound is A-plus in it's old-school nature, it does grow somewhat flat by the time the album wraps up. Of course this comes down to a matter of taste, but I did find some of the closing tracks to be a bit weaker than the first half's worth. That being said, Devastator gets a definite nod of approval for it's staying true to the radio-friendly classic rock sounds and for some creative songwriting, but gets a mark down for some so-so filler. Worth a listen for all those still living in rock's past.
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