By Mike Delano
Whatever happened to the days when a little swagger and some pure rock fury could win over the masses? Alas, those days are gone, ’cause nowadays, you’ll likely either need to obsess over style or homogenize your sound to fit into modern rock radio if you want a chance to rise above obscurity. True warriors of rock do still roam the plains, neglected by the mainstream but secure in the knowledge that they’re still the bad-ass kids in class. Riotgod play their hand immediately: 30 seconds into their self-titled debut, singer Mark Sunshine has already belted out a “whoo” and a “yeeaah,” signaling the coming flood of big, fuzzy riffs, sky-tearing solos, and songs about saving the world with rock ‘n’ roll (and, as one would expect from a band with Monster Magnet players Bob Pantella and Jim Baglino in it, a trippy Buddha break called “Omega”). Sunshine’s voice is an enviable combination of John Garcia and Chris Cornell, but since it doesn’t have that intangible edge that makes Dave Wyndorf or Pepper Keenan so intriguing, it’s for the best that the band, for the most part, stick to straight ahead bashers like “Pinata” and “High Time.” And they bash well.