Friday 14 April 2023


James Wallwork (guitar/vocals), Kyle Hulgus (guitar), Alex Wallwork (bass) and Joey Rhew (drums) hail from Evansville, Indiana and make music under the collective name of Faerie Ring. Some of you might remember Faerie Ring making somewhat of a splash with their 2019 debut "The Clearing", a riff heavy collection of "weedian" flavoured heavy rock/stoner doom that along with obvious influences like Sleep and Black Sabbath also drew inspiration from desert rock giants like Fu Manchu and Kyuss. The band return this year with a new album, "Weary Traveler" (King Volume Records), a blistering follow up that finds the band still "following the smoke to the riff filled land" but taking full advantage of a modern studio to refine and polish their "weedian" tomes.

 Let's be honest here, for most of us fans of heavy rock music, and especially underground heavy rock music, it is all about "the riffs", you can dress things up by talking about atmospherics, textures, tones and lyrical imagery but if "the riffs" ain't cutting it then you are probably going to see us moving on to a band whose riffs do. Now that might sound shallow but unfortunately it is true, how many budding axe heroes will pick up a guitar for the first time just so they can play a shimmering arpeggio, the answer is not many, the majority will want to crunch out the iconic riffs from songs like "Smoke On The Water", "Sunshine Of Your Love" or "Highway To Hell" and only then move on to more complicated things. Now we are not trying to paint Faerie Ring as a band whose whole sound is solely reliant on the strength of their riffs, they have far more going for them than that, but their riffs are an important element of their sound and boy do they have some beauties, thick crunchy ones, dank dark reverberating ones and some so heavy they are in danger of collapsing under their own weight. Riffs aside Faerie Ring also have some other things working in their favour, firstly the vocals, which are clean powerful and possess a mournful edginess, secondly the relentless intensity of the bands rhythm section, which at times is breath-taking, and thirdly the subtle colours and textures the two guitarist bring into play when they are not banging out a gnarly refrain, check out the sublime "Endless Color/Dope Purple" for proof of that last statement. It is these extra elements, working in conjunction with those aforementioned riffs, that takes Faerie Ring's "Weary Traveler" from being just another run of the mill gnarly riff fest to being something quite special indeed. 

Fans of Sleep, The Sword and Black Sabbath will love what Faerie Ring bring to the table with "Weary Traveler" but lets be clear about something and that is these guys are no bandwagon jumping doomsters trying to clone a sound that has proved fruitful for others. Faerie Ring are their own animal, their sound might bear similarities to those band mentioned but it is a sound that has its own unique flavour, its own characteristics, its own signature and most importantly its own RIFFS!
Check it out .... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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