Maxime by Howlin' Sun

Release date: May 5, 2023
Label: Apollon Records

Five years. Five years it’s been since Howlin’ Sun unleashed their sole self-titled debut. This was like an atom bomb, waiting to explode at the right place, at the right time. Coming all the way from Bergen, Norway, they’re a band that bring in the bluesy hard rock, late ‘60s and ‘70s attitude, and crunchy guitar roars that’ll shiver you down to the bone.

Now in 2023, the band are back with enough ammunition to reign fire with their second album, Maxime. They brought in enough kegs of Beer to last them throughout the night with the attitude that’s needed, top to bottom.

The soulful ‘60s R&B ballad with its Stones-y approach to a dedication over a loss loved one with sweet ‘Jayne’ is a mournful walk across the Arizona landscape that has the Stax horn section, and Farfisa Organ midsections while power riffs and footstomping drum work raises enough hell for a bar fight, waiting to happen on ‘Be Mine’.

I can hear elements of Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’, followed by Frijid Pink’s DERAM years, and the Zeppelin-sque textures that’ll make you want to head bang before obeying to a goddess with the call-and-response riff intro on the opening title-track before the massive tidal waves hit.

‘All Night Long’ sees Howlin’ Sun heading deep in the heart of Texas, sharing some hot and spicy Mexican food with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and continuing where ‘Balinese’ had left off from the Fandango sessions.

On ‘Last Time’ they go into a massive throttle on yo’ ass by revving their engines, channeling Little Feat’s ‘Easy to Slip’ and Slaughter’s rocking sound ‘Shout It Out’ from the 1991 soundtrack, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Closing track is a ride home to their Norway roots with an acoustic gospel while bringing in that country-tinged organ arrangement for the ‘Bittersweet Morning Sun’.

Finally, Howlin’ Sun has brought in the groceries to cook our listeners, a delicious meal that is an encore like no other as Maxime arrives, front and centre. And is it worth checking out? Oh, hell yeah! You won’t be disappointed.

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