Album Reviews

Ripchord – Choose Your War

(galaxy) UK release date: 7 February 2005

Choose Your War is so energetic that it sounds as though it was revved up to go even before it was conceived. Ripchord manage to unleash all their frustration and boredom that derives from their youth in the sleepy, green surroundings of Sussex and successfully implant it in their debut album.

After a stream of well-received gigs in their neck of the woods and various notable demos, Ripchord are ready to thrust their obvious knack for making honest, hard rock into a fully-fledged first album that will hopefully take them to the glorious heights of rockdom currently enjoyed by The Darkness and the like.

In fact, Ripchord are often compared to Muse and The Darkness but there is much more to Choose Your War than those simple, general comparisons. You can hear Ripchord”s passion for the great rock sounds of the old age as Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and other hard classic “60s and “70s rockers are unequivocal evoked with vehemence and a strong desire to produce some vintage pre-“90s sounds yet still retaining a contemporary texture.

It begins with What Can I Do, a sturdy, powerful song with enough oomph to be a potential classic. It hails back to the aforementioned rock glories of the 1970s. It”s helped by a recurring, strong riff courtesy of Dave Page that is aided by a tight rhythm section from guitarist/lead vocalist Ross Towner, bassist Chris Titherington and drummer Joe Ospalla.

Ross Towner”s powerful yet strangely melancholic vocals prove him to be a singer to look out for. There are different sides to his voice as he manages to convincingly shift tones and contrast. Be Safe, a punchy song with an instant hook, is a fine exemplification of Towner”s solid vocal management.

The Quibble, the first single from Choose Your War, is another terrific effort with enough strength to grab you until it wants to let you go and Hide The Knives belongs to the Seattle Grunge period of the late “80s/early “90s as it is much more aggressive and fearsome with a jagged riff and pounding drums.

Break You is another finely-produced number with a fast stream of chords while Jaded slows the pace yet still offering a layer of heaviness during the chorus. After such a rush the album finishes with These Four Walls, a thoughtful, provocative number that shows Ripchord are not just a simple one-dimensional rock quartet.

Choose Your War is a refreshing creation that proves British rock is certainly not spiraling into a void employed by record company dullards. If there is justice in this world, Ripchord will jump many leaps into the mainstream British rock press and then into the charts and record collections of music fans all over our tiny island.

It”s always great to hear such a vibrant and exciting album such as this debut opus – Choose Your War is the sound of things to come.

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Ripchord – Choose Your War