Hooks: a musical idea or short riff, passage, or phrase that catches the ear of the listener. Some bands have ‘em, most don’t. Austin-based five-piece Scorpion Child have ‘em in spades. Whether it’s an extended blues jam or a short slice of bombastic heavy rock “The Child” lay a hook so tasty everyone bites. Scorpion Child come from lots of different places, not only logistically but musically. Their sound heralds back to early 70’s kraut and psych-rock with a modern twist and lists Pentagram, Hairy Chapter and Lucifer’s Friend as influences. They originally formed in 2006 and have spent the last few years perfecting both their songwriting and stage presence. Aryn Jonathan Black fronts the outfit with a siren-like voice reminiscent of a young Robert Plant. Guitarists Christopher Jay Cowart and Tom Frank layer high-energy twin-guitars over the band’s driving rhythm section fueled by Shaun Avants (bass) and Shawn Alvear (drums).
“Our influences are diversified as classic 80’s thrash metal to the old school southern blues of Blind Willie Johnson, Lemon Jefferson and Willie McTell,” says Black. “We came to Austin to form a band with a single vision and though we’ve played in different bands with a range of styles, after jamming together, we found our footing in what we do best.” Balancing full-time jobs at coffee shops and bars around town forced the group to be very disciplined. “Austin’s a great city to develop and hone your skills musically,” admits Black. “Every genre can be found here from blues and jazz to punk and hardcore.” In 2010, after years of slogging it out in the Austin scene, Scorpion Child gained peer recognition with critical praise from local and regional press while selling out high profile gigs at SXSW. The stage was set for the band’s recording debut.
After songwriting sessions in Nashville, the band spent last year recording their self-titled album with Grammy-nominated producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith known for his work with The Answer, Jet, And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Dax Riggs, and many others. The result is a hybrid of nine, hook-filled heavy-psych classics that breathe new life into a stale hard rock market. Their music erupts with big drums, thunderous guitar riffs and dangerous soul ridden bass lines. Black’s powerful rock vocals convey a sexiness and swagger not heard since the days of Free and Humble Pie. A surge of electricity bursts from the first notes of “Kings Highway” to the pummeling drive of “The Secret Spot” and the highly addictive open-chord “Liquor”. Built for the big stage is “Salvation Slave” which hearkens back to a time when guitar rock ruled the airwaves and made going to a concert the ultimate main event.
Building on dynamic tension comes the acid-infused “Antioch”, a progressive number with hypnotic beats and subtle shades of light that build into a blinding guitar duet. A galloping pulse distinguishes “In The Arms of Ecstasy” as a celebration of groove that is followed by the raw unchained riffage of “Paradigm.” The album concludes with the slow building “Red Blood (The River Flows)” which continues to attract comparisons to Led Zeppelin. “We do have this whole acoustic side that sounds very Zeppelin III with a lot of gospel,” says Black. “Zeppelin were very innovative and not afraid to go outside the usual confines of electric blues. I guess that’s where the comparison comes from.”
Recently signed to legendary metal label Nuclear Blast the band has pulled “Polygon of Eyes” as their lead single. A nod to Dio-era Rainbow, the song is four minutes of power-heavy rock plowing through an ancient storyline of swords and mystics and perfected by a massive chorus. Says Black, “I’ve always wanted to hear new musical ingredients within a classic heavy sound. We want to maintain spontaneity while putting special emphasis into integral hooks.”
As vinyl continues to gain momentum, Scorpion Child with Nuclear Blast have plans to release their debut in June 2013 as a glorious gatefold edition with different colored vinyl in each pressing. Building up to the debut release was a large-scale tour with Clutch and UK’s Orange Goblin the perfect event to introduce Scorpion Child to the masses. Several summer festivals are to follow including Rock The Range and Rocklahoma. The band join an elite few including The Sword, Graveyard, Wolfmother and Rival Sons who celebrate a warm Marshall and liquid feedback while still pushing boundaries.
The album "Scorpion Child" was released on 4 June (North America), 21 June (EU) and 24 June (UK) 2013.