Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night: Knock ‘Em All Down

Posted in Reviews on June 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadsaw tinnitus the night

If you believe in ‘due,’ Roadsaw were most certainly that. The Boston heavy rock kingpins have been somewhat limited in their activity over the last half-decade or so, as their core members Tim CatzIan Ross and Craig Riggs explored other projects like White DynomiteMurcielago and Kind, but with Tinnitus the Night, the band’s signing to Ripple Music back in 2016 bears long-awaited fruit and they give their 2011 self-titled (review here) the follow-up it so much deserved, even eight years after the fact. Their sixth full-length overall in a span of 24 years going back to 1995’s One Million Dollars (discussed here), it finds this pared-down version of the band with Riggs handling frontman and drum duties alike while Catz, as ever, is on bass and some background vocals and Ross turns in a you-should-be-talking-about-IanRoss-when-you-talk-about-heavy-rock-guitarists-style performance. As a three- or four-piece, Roadsaw are an absolute powerhouse, and the luster of their work has not dulled with time away.

Tinnitus the Night, which earns immediate charm points for its title alone, comprises 10 tracks and 45 minutes of high-quality songwriting and hooks, the band essentially serving their fanbase a reminder of why they’ve been missing Roadsaw all these years. Cuts like the opener “Along for the Ride,” the extra-scorching “Final Phase” and side B’s “Find What You Need” are barn-burners in classic Roadsaw fashion, though the latter features a slowdown in its second half mirrored in its lyrics as well, while the more extended “Peel” (6:40) and “Midazolam” (7:03) — a sedative; I guess somebody had surgery? — are more spacious, touching on psychedelia while also emphasizing the vinyl construction of the album as a whole, the former positioned as the finale of side A led to by the catchy “Along for the Ride,” “Shake,” “Fat Rats” and “Final Phase” while the latter pushes outward on a solo-topped drift until its sudden stop that brings about the acoustic-based closer “Silence,” so not the actual finish of the record, but clearly the apex just the same. The sense of variety and depth that these songs add to the two sides of Tinnitus the Night isn’t to be taken for granted.

And still, one gets the sense that Roadsaw could just sit down for five minutes and bang out a tune like “Shake” whenever they felt like it. The middle component of the opening salvo is a bruiser riff with an echoing vocal melody and harmonized layers that is air-tight in its structure — nothing wasted, nothing without purpose — and RiggsRoss and Catz make it sound like just another day at the office. That’s not a comment on their performance — far from it; throughout the entire offering, they sound awfully driven for a band who haven’t released an LP in eight years — but on just how easy and natural they make what they do sound. Part of that is experience, obviously, but it goes to the heart as well of who they are as a band. They’ve never been overly flashy or indulgent — they’re punks as much as classic heavy rockers — but they’re a band who will step on stage and blow everyone else out of the room, and that’s also what’s happening with Tinnitus the Night.

roadsaw

“Along for the Ride” brings the audience into the creation of forward momentum, “Shake” pushes deeper and “Fat Rats” cuts the tempo but draws out the melody and makes them three-for-three on memorable choruses. Much the same happens on side B, with “Knock ‘Em All Down” — the chorus, “I’ve seen ’em come, I’ve seen ’em go/But none of that matters now/I’ve had enough, more than enough/You wanna set ’em up I’ll knock ’em downs” feels purely autobiographical — “Find What You Need” (likewise) and “Under the Devil’s Thumb.” If we’re picking highlights, the latter might be mine, at least for today, as it answers back the vocal layering of “Shake” while holding an upbeat rhythm and makes tradtionalist fare sound fresh as only truly great songcraft can. But again, Roadsaw make it all sound easy, fluid, natural. Ain’t no thing to just toss out six or seven flawless slabs of heavy rock, then, you know, maybe space out a bit or kick into the next gear, whichever suits the moment. I’m not in a band, but I imagine that if I was, Roadsaw would be infuriating to listen to.

So if “Along for the Ride,” “Shake,” “Fat Rats,” “Knock ‘Em All Down,” “Find What You Need” and “Under the Devil’s Thumb” serve as the root of Tinnitus the Night‘s impact, the moments where the band branches out are no less pivotal. After the rush of “Final Phase,” “Peel” rolls forth on a slower, thicker-feeling progression that pushes the vocals deeper to give a sense of largesse and seems to pull the punch of Catz‘s bass forward for the same reason, even as Ross solos into oblivion, seeming to crunch as the track winds its way toward the five-minute mark, but they were right to leave it. A mellower stretch follows but the nod resumes and takes its time fading. “Midazolam” feels even bigger in its melody, and its crescendo tops Ross‘ solo with the chorus in such a way as to unquestionably be the payoff for the album as a whole, but cuts short at 6:48, perhaps to convey the moment of losing consciousness. Its transition to “Silence” is stark and clearly meant to be that. Keys, drums, acoustic guitar, effects wash and a quiet distorted riff back Riggs in “Silence” and the feeling is very much one of epilogue to Tinnitus the Night; the party is over and they know it. Fair enough.

Even that swapping position — “Final Phase” before the longer track on side A, “Silence” after the longer track on side B — and the fact that those two songs are more or less opposites, should give the audience some idea of the range with which Roadsaw are ultimately working while still basically keeping to verse/chorus patterning. They don’t need to do otherwise. The only question as regards Tinnitus the Night is what it might lead to. Is it the last Roadsaw album? One final blowout? They certainly sound like they have more to say, but that’s never stopped bands from stopping before. When in 2008 they released See You in Hell! after an eight-year absence, they followed three years after that with the self-titled. They had three records out between 1995 and 2000. So maybe Roadsaw do things in bunches. I don’t know. What feels more important in listening to Tinnitus the Night is appreciating the level of accomplishment Roadsaw bring to what they do. It is a majestic execution of a purposefully un-majestic form.

Maybe it leads to something, maybe it leads to nothing. The point is that after eight long years and a shift in lineup, Roadsaw came back to stake their claim on their legacy and add to it with one more round of their nigh-unmatched execution. It’s a gift to their listenership and should be received as such.

Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night (2019)

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Roadsaw Announce June 7 Release for New Album Tinnitus the Night

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadsaw

I’m gonna try real hard not to take it personally that I’m leaving the Boston area and Roadsaw FINALLY decide to release a new album. And, actually, after eight years since their self-titled (review here) on Small Stone, they’re kind of doing it on the quick. June 7 is like three weeks from now. “Oh, by the way, we haven’t done a record in the better part of a decade, but so here’s one.” Whatever, I’ll take it as it comes.

To that end, they’re streaming “Shake” now and it’s a fitting reminder of why you’ve been missing Roadsaw all this time even as members have embarked on developing other projects like White DynomiteMurcielago or Kind — oh yeah, then there’s that whole thing about Riggs joining Sasquatch — all of which are most certainly welcome ways for them to spend their time. Still, there’s only one Roadsaw, and the reaffirmation is welcome.

Preorders are up now from Ripple, so have at it:

roadsaw tinnitus the night

ROADSAW: Boston’s Hard Rock Bruisers Are Back, Louder and Heavier Than Ever! | New Album Out Next Month, Share New Song ‘Shake’

Tinnitus the Night by Roadsaw is officially released on 7th June 2019

It’s been a long time coming but the wait is finally over. Boston legends Roadsaw return this June with their eighth full-length album, Tinnitus the Night, a record that’s sure to please their faithful followers, while pulling in plenty of new ones along the way.

With a sound as searing and sleazy today as it was eighteen years ago, the heart and soul of the classic Roadsaw line-up has remained intact with Ian Ross on guitar, Tim Catz on bass and Craig Riggs doubling up on vocal and drum duties. Once again the band holed up in familiar digs at Mad Oak Studios in Allston with Benny Grotto on production. Packed front to back with rippers, trippers, killers and thrillers, from opener ‘Along for The Ride’ through to the stoner opus ‘Peel’, and weighty epic of ‘Midazolam’, Roadsaw dig deep to deliver the goods.

With every tour and new record released, their fans and friends come back for more. On the road, they’ve shared stages big and small on both sides of the Atlantic with the likes of Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Queens of The Stone Age, Nebula, Karma To Burn, Black Label Society and many others. They’ve also been regular guests at CMJ and SXSW events and played every metal and stoner festival that would have them.

Tinnitus the Night by Roadsaw is officially released on 7th June 2019 via Ripple Music, www.ripple-music.com

TRACK LISTING:
1. Along For The Ride
2. Shake
3. Fat Rats
4. Final Phase
5. Peel
6. Knock Em All Down
7. Find What You Need
8. Under The Devil’s Thumb
9. Midazolam
10. Silence

Roadsaw:
Ian Ross – Guitar
Craig Riggs – Vocals
Tim Catz – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/ROADSAW-106440249390336/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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