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Ross Harding – Chapter II EP
Release Date: 11/04/22
Running Time: 21:45
Review by Simon Black
Good old-fashioned, Blues-based Rock is very much out of vogue at the moment. This pisses me off no end, because the fact is every splintered sub-genre across the Rock and Metal pantheons owes a very strong debt to this influential music through which Elvis Presley crossed the racial lines of post-depression America’s darkly racist South and out into the big wide world. Without it we would have no Rock, Metal or the million genre splinters thereafter. And to be fair, it was first coming across Blues and Soul music via an unlikely exposure to The Blues Brothers movie in the early 80’s that opened my ears and mind, sent me diving into vinyl second-hand shops with a vengeance and started a long musical journey that brought me to the point where I am sitting writing this all these years later. These days here in the UK, Blues seems relegated to a niché pub-jam environment catering mostly to an older audience, which is a damn shame, as for me it’s just as relevant, influential and moving as it ever was when it’s done right. You certainly would not have had Grunge in the 90’s either, as that brought a lot of the Blues sentiments after Rock and Metal had almost over-polished themselves out of existence in the late 80’s, and with it a more down to earth, accessible and soulful way of expressing yourself through music heavy enough to rattle internal organs.
Enter Ross Harding, who hails from Johannesburg in South Africa and is living proof that this is far from just being music for old men in pubs in the UK (he’s half my age), with this five track EP being the second he has released this year. Musically the Blues vein runs deep, but that’s in equal proportion to a soulful Hard Rock vibe, and enough of a dollop of that honest Grunge-ethos and down-tuning to appeal to the heavier end of the spectrum. For a man writing, playing and singing everything himself this actually has a surprisingly tight and cohesive groove, and I was slightly surprised to find this was not in fact a full band.
These five tracks have a remarkable dark and moving depth to them, an experience that starts with his cracked, soulful and incredibly emotive voice which has a surprising turn of range to it. Add to that a remarkably heavy edge to the music, especially opener ‘Black Sun Blues’ which really evoked “Superunknown” era Soundgarden in terms of mood, tone and vocal timbre (he’s a dead ringer for Cornell as well). Musically this is underpinned perfectly, with bass work so deep, vibratory and heavy that my teenage daughter asked me to turn it down please. He’s also a rather talented guitarist, of the kind where controlled precise flow of sound carries you along the emotional path in a way that blistering shredding never will. One note held well can move hearts and mountains, as any Pink Floyd fan will tell you, and tracks like ‘Love And Time’ illustrates this perfectly.
With a crisp and clear production, the subtleties of guitar and vocals are beautifully balanced and the songs just flow leaving you wanting more. Sometimes you just need to go back to your musical roots, and it’s rather fantastic that it’s taken a gentleman half my age to remind me of that fact.
‘Rest’ Official Video
01. Black Sun Blues
02. Blood And Bones
03. Love And Time
04. Fire Away
05. Let It Go II (Return)
Ross – Harding – All Instruments
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of [user_login] and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.