Phonotonal
Ripchord

Ripchord
Choose Your War LP

Hailing from the suburbs of Sussex, Ripchord have been pushing their own brand of full-throttle rock in the pubs and clubs of their area for the last two years. After several successful demos and a string of well received live shows, ‘Choose Your War…’ combines all this experience into quite the little rocker of a debut album.

Kicking off with the sort hallucinogenic vocal intro I haven’t heard since that bad acid trip back in 1992, ‘What Can I Do?’ comes at you like a hoard of angry barbarians who have just missed their lunch. Punchy from the start, this is a tight and tidy tune, elevated by some great hard rocking guitars, which also manage to get slightly funky round the edges. The drums are solid and the bass is definitely a cut above the norm however, this aside, it is quite clear from the opening lyrics that its Ross Towner’s distinctive vocals that are Ripchord’s dominant factor.

Comparisons to Muse’s Mathew Bellamy are obvious as Towner’s vocal delivery effortlessly soars between growling melodic low notes and the sort of high pitched wailing Justin Hawkins would be proud of. However, the real danger here is that Ripchord are simply passed off a Muse copy band. To do so, though, would certainly be a great musical injustice to this band as ‘Choose Your War…’ displays roots that run far deeper then the latest student-orientated operatic rock band.

‘The Quibble’, being the first single from the album, is a good case in point. From the opening Thin Lizzy inspired guitar riff it is clearly apparent that these guys have listened to their fair share of those classic rock dinosaurs that once ruled the world. ‘She Ain’t No Lady’ furthers this with its Deep Purple-esque pace, Jimmy Page style riffing, and Towner’s almost Ian Gillian like vocals. In fact, pick any track on this album and the discerning of you out there will be able to spot a multitude of pre-90’s rock influences.

However, the influences do not entirely stop there because, as well as passing their basic classic rock exams, Ripchord have also tipped their hat to the worlds of both grunge and metal. Soundgarden and Metallica are certainly bands that immediately spring to mind when listening to the verse riffing from the cracking ‘Be Safe’, or the melodically thrashy ‘Hide The Knives’.

As a whole it would be fair to say that Ripchord have come up with an album that is greater then the sum of its parts. Far from being a simple regurgitation of all of that classic rock which has gone before, ‘Choose Your War…’ is an evolved record that offers something fresh to that familiar spin. Moreover it is the sort of long player that would certainly sit quite comfortably in any self-respecting hard-rocking record collection.

As to whether the album will cut the mustard in the fucked up world of the music business, well… in the immortal words of one Lemmy Kilmister, all you can do is just ‘run it up the flag pole and see who salutes it’ and this is exactly what Ripchord are doing.

Written by Habert on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.
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