Rook Road is a five-piece German Hard Rock band that uses the term Diversity Rock to describe themselves, and that phrase is about as accurate as any you will ever hear. Running the gamut from Hammond and synth-driven 70s classic rock to AOR-friendly guitar riffs to progressive rock elements, they cover a wide swath of musical genres. The vocals are clean but tend to go gritty in all the right places, and the keys and organ waver between Jon Lord and Tuomas Holopainen. Add to that bluesy, progressive, and classic rock rhythms, and you have a wild ride of a debut album from an excellent new band.
- Patrik Jost – Vocals
- Uwe Angel – Guitars
- Hannes Luy – Hammond/Keys
- Sebastian Mitzel (Hantz) – Bass
- Thomas Luther – Drums
November 11, 2022
- Talk Too Much
- Sick To The Bone
- Paradox Master
- Kinda Glow
- Sam Rogers
- Celebration/Feels Like
- Egyptian Girl
The album opens with “Talk Too Much,” a hard rock anthem with great interaction from the guitar and the Hammond organ. This has an 80s vibe for the most part, though the Hammond seems to be a 70s Deep Purple heyday tone mixed in. Although Jon Lord used those tones throughout his career, this feels like his earlier works. The guitar solo, over those Hammond tones, really works well together. Rook Road definitely knows how to fuse genres and showcase all their influences in one track!
“Sick To The Bone” has more of a groove rock feel, leaning towards 80s power pop with a glam metal edge. Right behind that is “Sometimes,” a moody power ballad that really gives Patrik room to show off his pipes. The vocals on this one are stunning. The strained notes through the chorus have a depth of emotion you rarely hear anymore, though many a vocalist tries. The little bit of grit added to the belted vocals is reasonably unique. The follow-up with the strings building the tune through the bridge makes this one of the best songs on the album.
A slower, darker track is “Paradox Master.” The intro lets you know this will not be an upbeat piece meant to get you dancing in the aisles. The drums move through the song low and slow, never getting in a hurry, acting like a pace car, not a race car driver. I really like the tempo of this one. It’s got a sludge metal tempo with AOR tuning, giving a stark contrast in feels for the song. And the solos from Uwe and Hannes cement the piece as a hard rock anthem.
“Deny” has a killer, heavy Hammond intro that has some delicious tonality to it. When the Hammond drops out, and the vocals come in with nothing but muted tones and percussion strikes, almost totally covering the understated bass line, it shows yet another facet of how these guys write their music. This is not a bunch of notes slapped together to make a pretty noise; the compositions are well-thought-out and executed.
For a bit of a bluesy feel, turn to “Celebration/Feels Like.” There is a killer vibe to this track, from the blues-rock guitars to the somber vocals to the subdued rhythm, with the bass moving out front in some places to shift the song’s tone a bit. The song’s tenor does not sound like a celebration; the melody is not upbeat and happy, as you would expect. It is, however, quite a catchy song. The guitar work, coupled with the keys in all their permutations, again work so well together that it seems they are one and the same, coming from the same headspace, conjoined in harmony.
The album concludes with an 80s-style ballad, “Egyptian Girl.” Turn that organ track into a rhythm guitar, and this could be Aerosmith in the mid-late 80s. This track highlights more of the band’s influences you may not have noticed yet. Rook Road brings a lot of different elements to bear on the record as a whole, and this song in particular.
These guys definitely fit the bill of diversity rock. They write songs that sound like crossovers from the 70s and 80s rock to blues influenced AOR to glam metal. They have different tones and textures in almost every song without ever really shifting their tunings. It’s refreshing to hear this record because you know the past will never indeed die. It will continue to be immortalized by bands like this as they honor their roots and heroes with killer offerings like this.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.00