Heavy rock supercombo KIND returns strong with “Close Encounters”.

Written by Album Review, Chronique

“Close Encounters” (of) the third KIND… Is the title of this third album a reference to the 1977 Spielberg movie? Yet there’s nothing alien about KIND’s music, let alone inexplicable or indefinable… Matt Couto, Tom Corino, Darryl Shepard and Craig Riggs (that lineup, dammit) never stray from their basic mission: deliver high-flying Heavy Rock.

The foundations of their music are indeed to be found in the alternative but academic 90s rock the US has delivered to the world since, let’s say, Alice in Chains or Soundgarden. But KIND is different. Their previous effort “Mental Nudge” already gave us a foretaste of their heavy power, and the foursome has nothing in common with Martians. If anything, only their riffing omnipotence bears comparison. Rhythmic leviathan, sonic behemoth: synonyms are insufficient to describe the forces at work in this supergroup.

Matt and Tom make the Earth’s crust rumble, while Darryl makes riffic cinderblocks rain down at every opportunity. “Burn Scar” is exceptional in this respect, and the aptly titled “Massive” will do nothing but shake your backbone with its telluric grooves and wall of volcanic solos.

Once again recorded at Mad Oak Studios, “Close Encounters” sounds less wild as well as more polished than “Mental Nudge”. The songwriting is brilliantly highlighted with proggier and more melodic touches (“Black Yesterday”, “Snag”, “Of The Ages”), giving it a more consistent interest than a simple anvil thrown in the face.

Beyond all the aforementioned rhythmic and melodic structures, Craig Riggs really is the one taking center stage on the album. What he hinted on “Mental Nudge” fully comes to life on this new album. His vocals are wide-ranged and crystal-clear, and brighten each track with their variations. Hooks abound and perfectly highlight each bridge or melody (“Favorite One”, “Of The Ages”) the way Alice In Chains used to do, an influence that’s as enjoyable as it is unsettling, as you’d swear to hear Staley and Cantrell’s best moments at times. We’d rather see the band use their full potential to the benefit of their own vocal signature. But make no mistake: where “Mental Nudge” stood out for its ardor, “Close Encounters” shines through thanks to its gleaming melodic songwriting, all delivered with absolute heavy rock swagger.

KIND uses the full stoner genre palette without ever drifting away. Yet despite this classicism, KIND still manages to surprise us: the band outdoes itself stylistically without compromising the wall of sound they raised on “Mental Nudge”.

ALBUM: Close Encounters
RELEASED: 11th August 2023
GENRE: Heavy rock / stoner grunge
LABEL: Ripple Music
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Last modified: 26 August 2023