The funny thing about a debut record named Hear Me Out is how badly Reignwolf’s fans have been wanting to do just that. Request granted, at full volume, on repeat for hours because it rocks so fucking hard. It’s unconventional for a band to build up such ravenous hunger for recorded material on the strength of their live presence alone, then release their first album seven years into their history, but nothing about Reignwolf is conventional. The well-traveled blues rock outfit – comprised of songwriter/singer/guitarist Jordan Cook, bassist S.J. Kardash, and drummer Joseph Braley – have really delivered after all the suspense. Even so early into 2019, Hear Me Out peers down safely from its spot as one of the best albums of the year.
Having released just a handful of singles until now, Reignwolf began work on this scorching record during their 2014 tour with Black Sabbath – although some songs were actually penned just before its release last week, as frontman Jordan Cook told me (in an exciting in-depth interview coming soon to P&W). The ten searing songs that make up Hear Me Out are tear-the-sky-to-pieces good; packed with their sharply addictive hooks, the snap of Braley’s set and Kardash’s nimble basslines, all tied together with Cook’s ruggedly resonant vocals and vicious shredding.
“It means so much to me,” Cook told me yesterday as we discussed the album’s reception so far. “Watching people shout out the lyrics to some of the songs. That to me – because some of these songs are so new – is just the coolest part; to watch the crowd actually know them already. We’re only, what? Into week one right now?” He laughed incredulously, but I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that other fans are equally obsessed with this incendiary release.
There’s a perceptible feeling that great care was put into every facet of Hear Me Out, which is being released independently. If you’ve heard it once, you won’t be surprised to learn it was mixed by some serious talent, including Tony Hoffer (Beck, Depeche Mode, Silversun Pickups), Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys), Vance Powell (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Chris Stapleton) and Tchad Blake (Pearl Jam, U2), mastered by none other than Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Ramones, Cage The Elephant), and co-produced by Cook himself.
Ferocious rock impacts, blues-steeped melodies, and brutally honest lyrics fuel its many memorable highlights. It’s a record that makes you want to gather everyone you know and make them listen to it straight through with no distractions – and it’s daunting to try to choose favorite songs. Even so, we’d be remiss not to mention that “Keeper” is a perfect storm of pure-rock intensity. “Son of a Gun” is a new kind of beautiful altogether. “Black and Red” is a killer and well-placed opening track that feels like a lit fuse burning fast. “Over & Over” is so strong from the first few seconds, it’s almost terrifying to sense what’s coming next. “Alligator” is effortlessly cool. “Ritual” and “Fools Gold” are built on riffs that make the songs sound like classics in spite of them being new. Seductive peaks like “Wanna Don’t Wanna” and “I Want You” are dripping with energy and somehow delivered as if he’s inches away from your face – even from a studio as opposed to a stage.
That doesn’t begin to describe it all, but we’ll save the surprises buried within for your first satisfying spin. Hear Me Out is such a stunner that when you hear Cook gently croon, “Please just make it stop, the rhythm, the beat of your soul” over the pulse-resetting flow of the final song, “Wolf River,” it’s hard to cope with the idea of the music stopping, even for a moment.
Reignwolf will play a sold-out show tonight (3/9) at NYC’s Mercury Lounge. You can also catch them tomorrow night (3/10) at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right (tickets available here). Follow Reignwolf on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more updates about their tour, and of course, get ahold of Hear Me Out right here.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley