We’ve brought you bands from all over the world in the last few months, but today sees our very first Spanish band in the form of River Crow, who hail from the town of Ciudad Real.
The quartet of the original creator of the project guitarist Chema Fernandez, vocalist Sergio Pozas, bassist Daniel Ruiz aka Zapa, and drummer Alex Sánchez have just launched the first taste of their excellent stoner rock with their Two Stories From Hell debut single – made up of two tracks, Shame On You and Nightmare.
Chema first began River Crow back in 2013, recruiting Alex and original bassist (also called Daniel) to begin rehearsals in the summer of 2014 then a singer in early 2015, before their debut in January 2016. A few gigs followed, along with their first EP Endless Road, which launched last May, which saw them begin to make strides on the Spanish music scene. The original Daniel left to be replaced by their friend Zapa, then Sergio completed the line-up in January.
We spoke to Chema to get the lowdown on our first Spanish band, and asked him to sum up the band’s sound and influences. He told us: “It’s difficult to say with precision because every member has his own likes and favorite bands, which goes from The Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Megadeth and Slayer. But when we talk to our friends, family and the people that listen to us they all think that we are a mix between Black Label Society and Black Sabbath.”
Shame On You kicks off with a fun, darting guitar riff that’s soon joined by driving drums in a big, heavy intro. Sergio’s clean, engaging vocals join with guitars that increase in intensity through the verse, followed by a catchy chorus. There’s more than a feeling of Black Sabbath about the track, especially when the chunky guitar chords give way to a melodic mini-guitar solo. Another, more protracted guitar section follows with funky high notes among heavy chords and big drums, flowing into a few repeats of “Reach for the truth” before exploding into a huge high-pitched guitar solo that brings the near six-minute track to a rocking end.
Nightmare kicks off with a repeated guitar riff, a drawn oiut reverb then an extended version of the same chunky riff. The vocals are big and brooding, with the intro riff returning between the two opening verses and a blistering guitar solo following the second. A moment of pause follows, with some spoken vocals, then a blitz of low-tuned guitar and cymbals feed into faster vocal delivery in a heavier closing section that’ll have you nodding your head along in appreciation.
Speaking about what inspires River Crow’s music, Chema told us: “I think that everything that happens in your life, everything you see, every song you listen to, every place you travel to… all these things get to your music because in the end music is a way in which we express everything we are on the inside. About the topics we like to talk about, there is a bit of everything. Shame on You talks about power and how money rules everything, or Self-Destruction talks about how time puts people in their place. We don’t have specific a topic that we like to go over and over again.”
We asked Chema for his thoughts on the Spanish rock scene, and he said: “For new bands, like us, sometimes it gets a little hard. On the local scene, it’s easier to get gigs and people give their support more, but when you want to play in a different city, which is far away from home it’s like throwing yourself into a pool without knowing if it’s full of water. If the gig goes well it’s perfect, but if not you can lose a lot of money because of gas, food, accommodation, etc…
“So that’s the main difficulty the new bands find when they start their musical career. The lack of support from people on gigs in towns in which you don’t live and know. People can spend 100€ on a Metallica show (with all our respects to Metallica) but they can’t spend 3€ to go to a new band’s gig. There is a lot of talent in new bands and luckily a lot of independent media help to develop that scene, and this is what is making that Spanish metal/rock scene become more and more interesting.”
The band is currently in the midst of a nine show tour in Spain ahead of putting together their first album in the summer, which will likely be recorded early next year, before setting off on another tour in September.