Review by Paul Sabin for MPM
Brighton based, Mike Ross’ new studio album Third Eye Open hits the ground running with album opener ‘I Swear’. A screaming feedbacking guitar intro morphs into a huge heavy riff that is then supported by a driven backbeat laying the groundwork for Ross’ hard, meaty vocal.
An earth-shaking bass line opens ‘Cool Water’ along with more monster guitar riffs and spine-tingling vocals set the main canvas here but do let up for some diametrically opposed sugary choruses.
The title track, ‘Third Eye Open’ is a giant eight-minute epic that is so heavy it can only move slowly due to the weighty, powerful grooves laid down here. We pause midway for a long, spoken word section which sits uneasily between a horror world and psychodelia until its tripping vibe slowly pulls the thunderous heaviness back in.
‘Born To Me’ is a complete change as this country-tinged track see banjo battling against crunchy guitars.
‘Fallen Down’ brings a lighter, singing guitar wail and rhythmic bass topped off with a soaring hopeful vocal. Smooth blues rock riff punctuates this great song throughout. We go old school as the semi acoustic country rocker, ‘Face By Your Window’ lays down its slow, sultry bluesy boogie that’s filled to the brim with superb slide guitar and Ross’ gritty vocal.
‘The Preacher’ sets the attitude dial to maximum as this stomping rocker snakes along dripping with grinding guitars and screaming, harmonic filled riffs that ZZ Top would be proud of. ‘Ugly Brain’ is sassy, adrenaline filled classy song that demands to be heard.
‘Eulogy’ takes a chaotic start which then merges into a haunting, beautiful heavy blues song before moving on to build the furious chaos back up again as the outro.
‘(Be With You) Tonight’ see shimmering guitar lines ring out as the beautiful, warm shared vocals of Mike Ross and Jess Hayes slink majestically over the top. All rounded off by another classic ending solo.
The powerful ‘Never No More’ plots Ross’ outlook on life and the way many songs are nothing more than a chorus! Some hauntingly beautiful guitar phrasings leap out of this track.
Album closer, ‘Kicks Like A Mule’ does exactly what it says on the tin! A dominating vocal means business here vie for time with sharp drumbeats and heavenly guitar solos.
Mike Ross has made an album full of uncompromising tracks that don’t bend or conform for the sake o commercialism but instead, live or die on their own musical merits. There is no denying that Ross has an awesome talent for creating thought provoking songs and lyrics that demand to be heard.
Check Mike’s website for full and further details of his touring and the album release options and offers. Digital pre-saves of the new album are available via https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/mikeross/third-eye-open
What’s more, for fans of physical media, pre-orders are now open for the ‘Third Eye Open’ CD and limited-run splatter 12” Vinyl, available from shop.mikerossmusic.co.uk, with these formats shipping in April.