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Riotgod

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Album Review

Bassist Jim Baglino and drummer Bob Pantella are best known for their association with Monster Magnet, but this self-titled CD by Riotgod demonstrates that there is life outside of Monster Magnet for the two headbangers. Just as Baglino and Pantella have comprised half of Monster Magnet, they also comprise half of Riotgod; rounding out Riotgod's four-man lineup are lead singer Mark Sunshine and guitarist Garrett Sweeny. And while Riotgod have some things in common with Monster Magnet (including a healthy passion for 1970s metal and hard rock), it is evident that Riotgod are an exciting band in their own right. Riotgod's specialty is stoner rock, and like other stoner rock combos, they combine their ‘70s inspirations with a strong appreciation of ‘90s grunge and alternative metal. But unlike so many stoner bands, Riotgod aren't overly obsessed with Black Sabbath. Riotgod have a little Sabbath influence, but as far as the ‘70s go, Led Zeppelin is a much more prominent influence. Sunshine definitely gets in his share of Robert Plant-isms, which is not to say that this 69-minute CD sounds like a bunch of outtakes from Physical Graffiti and Presence. Rather, Riotgod's sound draws on different metal/hard rock eras and is best described as Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, and a touch of Sabbath by way of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, and Seattle grunge. It's an appealing bunch of influences that yields solid results on the band's melodic yet hard-driving material. Riotgod aren't terribly original; anyone who has spent a lot of time listening to stoner rock has heard quite a few similar bands. But even so, die-hard stoner enthusiasts will find that this is a very easy album to like.

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