Who better to revisit classic heavy stoner rock, and breathe new life into it, than Bob Pantella and Jim Baglino, both of Monster Magnet fame. Their 2009 self-titled debut was quite monolithic, baby, all punning aside. Now signed to Metalville Records, Riotgod offers another crush of heavy rock with Invisible Empire.
Invisible Empire finds Riotgod in their groove, mature and comfortable in their chosen style. While the stoner style is evident, there's a richer depth to the music. By example, Firebrand offers heaviness yet seems to turn more on a post-grunge melodic stride. Having said that, listening again this tune or to Crossfade, Riotgod appears to embrace more early, think late Seventies, heavy rock. The latter song could be Zep gone stoner. Alternatively, Breed is simply a heavy, quite catchy, rocker. Now throw in the first acoustic twist of Gas Station Roses, and Riotgod fancies a bit of laconic blues. Loosely Bound offers something similar, but makes it more electric. The acoustic Rebirth sounds nearly like a lullaby. Finally, Riotgod becomes their epic best on the heavy psychedelic rumbling of the nine minute Hollow Mirror.
Riotgod's Invisible Empire suggests a band at the height of their collective creativity and power. This isn't your conventional 'stoner' rock; it's better, much better. Very recommended.