If the metal and sludge underground wasn't already stacked with a hundred cowbell-smacking, fuzz-bombing seventies rawk revivalists, BLOOD OF THE SUN certainly would've made a bigger impact upon the scene by now. A decade through and a series of lineup shuffles that looks on paper like a twisted game of Twister cast-outs, it's quite possible this amalgam of the Allmans, SKYNYRD, the Nuge, CACTUS, KISS, DEEP PURPLE, MOUNTAIN and the Winter brothers might finally reap a broader audience. They'll snag your attention with juicy nudity on the front and back of the packaging for their fourth album "Burning On the Wings of Desire", but there's far more than just T&A worship to this band. Rocking your stations with more than a few good feelings, "Burning On the Wings of Desire" is high on jack action and it will boogie your butt to death in only forty minutes.
If you kept tabs on SAINT VITUS last year, you'll observe a little family matter spillover into BLOOD OF THE SUN. Drummer Henry Vasquez and keyboardist Dave Gryder are the remaining principals in this band, yet Vasquez's venture over to VITUS on their recent album "Lillie: F-65" brought forth ramifications even Vasquez likely never saw coming. Wrangling Scott "Wino" Weinrich's guitars and gruffs for the last track, "Good and Evil" was enough to call his alliance with SAINT VITUS a worthwhile affair. Even better that STONE AXE/MOS GENERATOR ringleader Tony Reed (producer of "Lillie: F-65") was lured to sling bass and lay down the eight sweat-slinging tracks for "Burning On the Wings of Desire".
All of the aforementioned should be enough to bait you into checking out BLOOD OF THE SUN. It doesn't hurt that vocalist John O' Daniel and guitarist Rusty Burns from POINT BLANK represents the X-factors fueling the testosterone-laced bar rock mindset of this ensemble. Collectively, this incarnation of BLOOD OF THE SUN equates into a superior quality nu-freebird with one half of their creative minds stuck inside their Orange stacks, the other half in Hustler magazine.
It's easy to compare BLOOD OF THE SUN to THE SWORD and to some latitudes, FU MANCHU and CLUTCH on the trip-skipping boogie tempos of "Can't Stop My Heart", "The Snitch" and "Let it Roll". There's more of an Edgar Winter panache at play, though, and Rusty Burns plays rabid foil to Dave Gryder in a smooth succession of swapped solos straight out of the long-ago jams when the Midnight Special catered to live presentation. Not so much contemporaries of THE SWORD, et.al. as they are shitkicking purists, BLOOD OF THE SUN recreates the glory years of distortion rock with a deeper bass plunge courtesy of Tony Reed. "Bring Me Down" is a slow rider with nods to SKYNYRD and the Allmans plus the barest whisper of Seventies' HEART. John O' Daniel by all means has Ann Wilson on the brain in his lovesick swills through the final stanza.
"Rock Your Station" lives up to its namesake, driving itself unapologetically on ramming speed through verses that yak about whacking off, then opting for money shot shucks and jives through the choruses and bridges. Bring on the cowbell and the prog-minded succession of thundering solos and walloping signature shifts. The perspiration and the musk carries right into "Good Feeling", complete with raunchy felt, KISS-esque choruses. Reed lays down some sicko Simmons licks before the tone-drenched, organ blasting bridge and solo section, more in line with DEEP PURPLE and Edgar Winter.
"Good and Evil" changes the mood of the album with Weinrich's contributions, not so much in full doom measures, but for certain the cut feels bred of THE OBSESSED and a sliver of SAINT VITUS. The difference here is its delivery by a well-astute bunch in the studio, all intent on shaking a tailfeather before sliding into menacing skulk modes.
You might have to be from the old school to delight in Dave Gryder's constantly dripping organs, but "Burning On the Wings of Desire" is the not-so-little engine that must. There's an omnipresent obligation to toast a crucial era of heavy rock to BLOOD OF THE SUN's motives they shove it all out like a mission statement etched in tablet form. This stuff is creed to them. While the players in BLOOD OF THE SUN all have other ports to dock their wares, this unification of their talents is more than just a boy's club side project.
- Ray Van Horn, Jr.