Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie – Review

Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie – 2014


Production: 9.0 – Highlights what each instrument does best.

Songwriting: 9.5 – Near perfect songwriting from cock-rock “Electric Man” to story-telling with “Good Things” and “Destination On Course.”

Musicianship: 9.5 – Rival Sons return with everything being better, and this time they bring an organist along.

Overall: 9.5

Rival Sons have been around since 2009 and have risen through the ranks like no other modern band. Having toured with Deep Purple, Aerosmith, and now the honor of opening for Black Sabbath’s final tour, this 4-piece has a lot to live up to.

“Electric Man” is the first single from the album and begins the album on an extra fuzzy and fun note. The quick single features all the things Rival Sons has to offer. Jay Buchanan’s voice rises to the point of screaming, Michael Miley’s drums boom with a powerful kick drum as well as his signature use of the bell on the ride cymbal. Newcomer on bass – David Beste immediately shows that he belongs in the band, especially with his basslines and licks in “Good Luck.”

Rival Sons are recordoholics. They have released albums in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Each record is different and displays the evolution of a rock band doing different things, remaining relevant, and kicking ass each time.

In addition to the mysterious name of Great Western Valkyrie, the album gives a very distinct western feel. The use the organ helps with that ambient feel. Ikey Owens (rest in peace) played organ for most of the album and it added a new flare to the sound Rival Sons produces. In fact, the bass and organ make pure magic in “Good Things.”

Beste’s bass walks with a groove and Owens’ organ works evenly with the guitar in the verses. Keeping on with “Good Things” which is arguably the most memorable song on the album, Buchanan throws his name in the hat of storytellers in music. The lyrics seem as if they come from a cryptic fiction novel or an old movie. “Good Things” just furthers the old western feel of the album.

Scott Holiday shows off his best work on “Secret” and “Destination On Course.” The former song shows off the best studio performance from Buchanan to date and the heaviest riff from Holiday. “Destination On Course” ends the album on a strange but good note. The first half of the song is an epic story that seems like a more well thought out and produced “Manifest Destiny Pt. 1.” The track builds and builds to a final climax and guitar solo that sends shivers. Another notable performance on the song is the use of an angelic yet eery choir. After the heaviness is over, the song just follows a wandering riff and some distant and peculiar sound effects.

Great Western Valkyrie is the fourth full length album from Rival Sons and proved once again that they aren’t a one, two, or three hit wonder. They’re here to stay and they’re showing each year that true rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead, and will never be dead.

Notable tracks: Secret, Good Things, Belle Star, Open My Eyes, Destination On Course


Release Date: June 6, 2014



  1. Electric Man
  2. Good Luck
  3. Secret
  4. Play The Fool
  5. Good Things
  6. Open My Eyes
  7. Rich And The Poor
  8. Belle Star
  9. Where I’ve Been
  10. Destination On Course

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