Riotmaker – Welcome to CaliRock
3.) A Lot Like Rain
4.) Busted Crown
5.) Everything Is Out (ft. Hennessy)
6.) Almost Over
8.) Ritalin Kit (ft. Melissa McGregor)
9.) To The Moon
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: February 20th, 2015
Official Website: Riotmaker Website
Riotmaker is a band from Northern California. The origins of this band are unique, given that their lead singer, Jeffry Valeiro, was once part of the band, Shakedown. Although that group disbanded in 2005, it would take Valeiro four years to come back to the music scene. Eventually, he started a new musical venture in 2009 called Riotmaker. After finally getting a whole band together, the group is going to release their first full-band album this month. This will be the second album by Riotmaker, the first being originally a solo project called, The Sun Has Set. Nevertheless, the new five-piece Reggae/Alternative Rock band brings an interesting sound to the table with their new album.
The album kicks off with the track, “Afterall,” and the introduction features a mildly distorted upbeat reggae riff with a complex bass line. Not very long after, however, the band transitions into a pre-chorus that’s more heavily hard rock oriented than anything. Overall, it’s a great short song that welcomes the listener and gives them a feel of what type of variance to expect for the rest of the album.
The theme of the album is a hybrid of reggae and hard rock in almost every song. “Forevernever,” is a prime example of that, since it starts off with a more pop-reggae feel to it. The bass lines in these sections are what you would expect to hear from a reggae-rock band. For the most part, they have a good groove to them. Near the end of the track, the band transitions into rock mode, and the reggae bass lines are traded in for a chugging of the guitars that are complemented by the bass. One of the features of the album is the omnipresence of held out vocal notes during the rock parts that, although similar in nature, make the end product of these sections to be very palatable.
The best introduction lies in track number three, which is called, “A Lot Like Rain,” and features a multitude of guitar tracks that complement each other to provide a melodic feel for the rest of the song. The theme is then perfectly transitioned to the reggae part where two guitars harmonize prior to the first verse. Valeiro’s voice delivers quite an outstanding amount of energy during the heavier sections of this tune. This is one of the reasons why the album was so pleasant to listen to.
The band had two collaborations for this album. One of them is with Hennessy in the track, “Everything Is Out,” and brings a bit of a hip-hop feel to the primarily reggae tune. The immediate transition between Valeiro on vocals directly to Hennessy is very commendable, as it is perfectly executed. This reflects the overall album, which was produced very well. “Ritalin Kit” features Melissa McGregor, and it’s a bit of a darker hard rock tune. The introduction would more aptly resemble what you would find in a song by a band like Three Days Grace. The highlight of this track is the collaboration between Valeiro and McGregor. The delay in the vocals that would generally be followed after a phrase is instead substituted by McGregor’s voice. The phrase, “leave us,” that is interchanged between vocalists is at times chilling to hear, and McGregor brings a voice that resembles that of the hard rock goddess, Amy Lee.
One track worthy of praise is “Almost Over,” for its Arena Rock qualities that features a delayed vocal experience and an overall heavy rock feel with killer drum fills.
Although this album has its qualities, I believe the band’s ability to kill it on their heavier rock-themed sections overshadows their efforts to blend in the reggae element to their songs. The band has something absolutely amazing going for it as far as rock goes, and fans should clamor at the opportunity to see this band live. That being said, this short album has some outstanding tunes in it, and very little fluff to worry about.
Written & Reviewed By: Juan Barragan
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]