DENIZEN – Troubled Waters
Stoner hard rock from France, Denizen on their fourth full-length album "Troubled Waters" have their addictive, bluesy-oriented style down pat. Honing in on key riffs/grooves and building out songs from there, "Whore Smoker" and "Heavy Rider" are two of the 10 cuts that keep the quartet in line with acts like Soundgarden, Clutch, and possibly the current Swedish darlings Graveyard. Guitarist Ludovic Barbiero often leads the charge, his licks and smooth delivery sets up a lot of the push and pull vocal action from Fabien Aletto – especially evident on the jam-worthy "Jocelyne" or deeper, Southern-oriented closer "Moonwalk Blues".
This is a genre that can be hit or miss for me – too many bands seem stuck in making more of an attitude impression rather than honing in on the art of strong, memorable material and individual songs. Fortunately Denizen place the focus where it needs to be – never really meandering endlessly and keeping the arrangements on a tighter 3-5 minute leash. Probably working on their style for 12 years now has a lot to do with it, and as such "Troubled Waters" will be a record that gains a healthy amount of repetitive airplay far after the last keystrokes of this review for me.
They could even get some decent radio action with "Glassie Lovely Glassie" as it features that heart-pumping riff/ groove combination that pulls people out of their seats for sure- almost in a "Ram Jam" / Black Betty way from the 70’s. 39 minutes of stoner hard rock works for me, and I predict will go down a storm for a multitude of others.