ARTIST: Shark Island
SHARK ISLAND: Undisputed Kings of the Sunset Strip
Hammer out inventive, engaging songs galore? Check. Rock the stages four times a night for six nights per week in the most famous venues on Sunset Blvd, and keep that insane shit up for years? Well, check! Unwittingly become the blueprint for the most iconic stage moves in contemporary hard rock? Of course, in god’s name! Contribute to the soundtracks of not just one, but two brilliant Keanu Reeves movies? Yeah done that, too.
No, SHARK ISLAND is not about a new creature feature to be ripping it’s funny teeth into the flesh of your cultural taste, but, on the contrary it’s about the return of one of LA’s most — if not the most — influential bands of all times that no one is talking about.
A glance back at the glorious times that brought us crazy hair, a hailstorm of colours and a sizzling shot of energy for the once again glamouring heavy side of rock, leads us straight into the blistering protoplasm that gave birth to a local scene on the brink to infusing hard rock all around the globe. And right in the middle of all this and at the roots of a cultural genesis: SHARK ISLAND, the powerhouse around band leader Richard Black...
...Now, quite some years and several albums later, these undisputed Kings of the Sunset Strip have returned once more to present a brand new album with a twist. Back then, they were shying away from the awful sellout that once weakened the type of hard rock SHARK ISLAND helped creating, only to see it fall prey to the already dawning grunge. Today, they are shying away from conventions of all sorts as they, the creators, see fit: their brand new, hard rockin’, heavy bridge of an album named Bloodline is available in digital form around the world as of today. Why today, you think, and not along with the physical release a couple of months from now? Because today is 11-11, stupid! Do you wanna wait until 11-11-2020? Exactly!
So enter the bridge now, follow the bloodline through a ballsy yet refined musical path across generations of stomping, rampaging and unshackling rock. It is danceable with a chance of good old headbang, just don’t expect SHARK ISLAND to throw all too child-oriented stuff at you, they leave that to others trying. This bridge is real, it’s solid enough to be trusted. You’re looking for the classic Sunset-Strip, raw energy blast in a mature form? Modernized but not sacrificed? Stop looking, dear stranger, and let’s get acquainted, this album states with a firm voice.
To make sure that the guts of their iconic signature style stay intact and don’t get butchered on the altar of modernization, two pairs of legendary ears had been invited to the island, and they did a fantastic job: all mixing was done by the amazing Sylvia Massy, who helped TOOL, SMASHING PUMPKINS, DANZIG, PRINCE and AEROSMITH to achieve fantastic goals. Maor Applebaum, who frequently added high-class refinement to the works of YES, FAITH NO MORE, CYNIC and SABATON, picked up the torch and delivered an outstanding job at mastering. And yes, even in 2019, a heavy rock album absolutely can sound thick yet airy, offering gorgeous stage and instrument separation and grant a brain behind two ears some room to process the listening impressions in. But this record is meant to be a manifest — of ideas, of claims to set standards and the mission of a band that has fought long and hard to earn their say in this thing called rock. So this is not about what an album can offer, it’s about what it should offer in 2019. The legend is back.