(Tee Pee Records)
It’s been two years since these San Diego riff bashers turned out their auspicious debut Under The Spell Of…, and since then they have logged countless miles on the road, and have also found time to record this follow up, which shows no signs of a sophomore slump and is quite excellent in its own right.
Joy has always been a band steeped in the fine art of proto metal, like a modern take on Blue Cheer. There are also elements of blues and psychedelic music in their loud and proud jams, which gives it an extra kick.
On album number two, all those elements are present, but the band trims out some of the jammier aspects of their sound and gets down to rocking and getting more in your face. The songs are a bit more concise and hit much harder. They also swing mightily.
Guitarist/vocalist Zachary Oakley is in fine form, as he unleashes more memorable riffs and slashing solos, but also drummer Thomas DiBenedetto’s powerful bashing helps push the band with their more aggressive agenda this time around.
The album also features some guest contributions from their friends in other bands, such as drummer Mario Rubacala (Earthless, OFF!), guitarist Parker Griggs (Radio Moscow) and guitarist Brendan Dellar (Sacri Monti) which just adds to its powerful jams.
“I’ve Been Down” opens with a swath of feedback, and hits hard from the get go. “Misunderstood” continues the momentum of the opening track and features one of many ripping solos, found on the album. “Going Down” really slams, while “Help Me” swings mightily. They mellow at the beginning of “Peyote Blues” with some acoustic guitars, and some bongos, but that soon takes off into more amplified heavy blues. They also include a cover of ZZ Top’s “Certified Blues” that just rips.
Ride Along! finds Joy firing on all cylinders. This album flat out rocks, in a most primal way. Definitely go for the ride. (Thomas Pizzola)