In 2012 I reviewed Canadian rockers One Bad Son’s self-titled album for Hard Rock Nights, calling it “unadulterated, hot-blooded, gutsy rock’n’roll”. It was a stellar release that garnered the band a lot of well-deserved attention, and now the guys are back with a brand new album: Black Buffalo. Knowing what a great album they put out two years ago, and having been blown away by the band’s live-show at Venue in Vancouver last year, I was a bit worried that my expectations might be set way too high, but no worries: Black Buffalo exceeds any and all expectations. Going heavier and harder while staying true to their classic rock core, the band pumps a whole lot of rock’n’roll power into the 11 tracks here, sounding strong, confident and all fired up.
Put simply, Black Buffalo is a full-on rock’n’roll attack, right from the ridiculously tasty opening track “Vinyl Spin Burner” – a tune that sets the tone for what’s to come with its screamingly good vocals, bone-heavy bass, wicked guitar work, and absolutely massive drums from KD (this album really showcases his skills).
One Bad Son has been together for about a decade now, touring relentlessly in the last few years, and all that experience and hard work comes blasting through the speakers here. They sound absolutely huge throughout the album, showing off exactly the kind of intensity and energy they have on stage. And yes, I can attest to that they really sing this good, rock this hard, and play this well in person.
Favourite tracks? How about I drag out the old cliché “all killer, no filler”? Because it’s true for this album: it pretty much slays me from beginning to end. Twist my arm, and I’ll give an extra gold star to the fierce “Year Of The Wolf” with its catchy hook, spinning and growling bass and guitar, and razor sharp vocals and lyrics. Same goes for the passionate and hard-hitting “Red Cloud” with the guitar and vocals feeding off each other beautifully; the fast and ferocious “Love/Sick/Love”; and the heavy swinging groove of “Wasting Bullets” with its monstrous guitar attack.
On the classic-flavoured rocker “Black Buffalo”, and the edgy “Satellite Hotel” (the first single off the album) you can hear just how good these guys are. The music, the lyrics, and the vocals are powerful in every sense of the word: packed with emotion, and delivered with skill and force.
There’s grit and power in the slower tracks as well: the bittersweet longing of “Decades” (another hit in the making for the band, surely), and the folk-rock tilt of “The Outlaw Josey Wales” with its moodier, darker vibe, and some shining angel wings provided by Shane’s vocals.
One Bad Son does not put a foot wrong on Black Buffalo, delivering a slayer of an album with lyrics that have a story to tell, and music that is bold, heavy, and hooky enough to satisfy any rock’n’roll craving. Pick up this album, and catch the band live if you can: One Bad Son is currently touring with Airbourne.
- Shane: vocals
- Hicks: guitar
- Granny: bass
- KD: drums
- Vinyl Spin Burner
- Year The World
- Red Cloud
- Satellite Hotel
- Wasting Bullets
- Land of the Saints
- Black Buffalo
- Psycho Killer
- The Outlaw Josey Wales