I don’t care what era of Rock you come from, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or 2000’s, if you’re not listening to LA CHINGA you are missing out on of the greatest Hard Rock bands in decades. Strong words? Well, get their latest album “Primal Forces” and decide for yourself, I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.
The Vacouver 3-piece have been doing this for a little while, this being their fourth album, and the first on Ripple Music after the last two on Small Stone Records. They’ve been considered more of a “Stoner Rock” band, which Small Stone Records are a driving force in. I don’t particularly like calling them that since in puts them in a limited category. In reality LA CHINGA is simply put a Hard Rock band.
Perhaps a point of reference might be a band who has a similar vibe is CROBOT, who ironically also gets pigeon-holed to some degree. There are difference between the two bands of course, but if you love one you’ll love the other.
“Primal Forces” is the perfect title for the album. It’s very “Primal”, raw and real. There’s a 70’s AC/DC, Bon Scott era to the music. LA CHINGA tends to have more of a groove that leans towards Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. They also have an early KISS vibe too at times. But having mentioned the four of the biggest bands of all time as comparisons, you can’t say that LA CHINGA is a replica of any of them.
In MY opinion LA CHINGA represents a throw-back lifestyle more than anything. They’re “analog” and pre-internet warriors. They’re about the days when things were simpler and black and white. The days of three channels on TV and maybe you had “Pong” or an early version of an “Atari”. The days when you filled your trunk with cheap beer, got your friends together and cruised the streets cranking your car stereo to ridiculous levels.
“Primal Forces” has 10 tracks of sonic blasters starting with “Light It Up” an all out rocker and ending with the more laid back and chilled “Motorboogie”. These two songs themselves represent the band perfectly. “Light It Up” reminded me a bit of the Aussie band AIRBOURNE, while “Motorboogie” was almost like a SOUNDGARDEN meets CORROSION OF CONFORMITY grunged out track.
Those two songs are the bookends, in between are 8 cuts of pure high voltage rock ranging from strait up rock to a more psychedelic vibe. “Ride The Dragon”, “Bolt Of Lightning” and “Backs Against The Wall” punch you right in the face and you can’t help yourself from reaching for the volume to turn it louder.
“Witch’s Heart” and “The Call” let you catch your breath a little bit as they mix it up with a little more laid back vibe, but still keeping their edge. “Stars Fall” has a a little Skynyrd vibe going with the guitars, very nice groove and the perfect top-down driving song.
“Rings Of Horsepower” and “Electric Eliminator” are songs that do fit under the “Stoner Rock” category quite well. They have a bit more of a Sabbath feel and more of build up versus the first four cuts of the album that get right to the point.
Overall, “Primal Forces” is a true album that takes you on a journey and shows you multiple dimensions of the band. It’s right out of the 70’s when you could buy a Blue Oyster Cult album and hear many different styles. LA CHINGA is generally more focused than that era, but they still will journey outside the boundaries to some degree.
I’m giving this one a 9 out of 10 “Flaming Fists”. I want to give them a little bit of room for improvement by leaving it just short of a 10, but I can honestly say this is an extremely solid album from a band I hope we get to hear from for many many years to come.