PROWESS – Blacktop Therapy (2020) + EP
PROWESS hail from North Carolina U.S.A. and “Blacktop Therapy” is their first full length recording. With Classic Rock magazine voting the single ‘Looking for a Bullet’ ‘best track of the week’ already, and a growing American fan base, the world must surely be next for these hard rockin’ boys.
Enlisting the assistance of Tuk Smith, most notably known as the frontman for former Atlanta rockers Biters, to produce and co-write some of the tracks on ”Blacktop Therapy”, Pröwess have produced an album full of stellar hard hitting, blow your face off, rock anthems.
Formed more than eight years ago, Prowess is a band that has been working its ass off on the road for a while, and if you want to talk about paying dues, this band has paid theirs and then some. They pour all of that experience, all of the blood and the sweat and the miles on the road, into ”Blacktop Therapy”, and the result is an album that goes off like a barrel of rock’n’roll dynamite.
The title track, “Blacktop Therapy”, takes off with screeching tires (literally) and a bevy of tasty, heavy riffs. Like the entire album, this tune just bristles and crackles with energy and personality. The sound is brawny and catchy as hell, and you feel it, you can feel this music rumble in your bones, feel it tingle in your skin, and it is an absolute freaking delight.
From that first track, all you need to do is hop on and go for a ride with Prowess. Every tune here is a slamming good time, from the wild, irresistible, and slightly unhinged, strut and flair of “Lookin’ For A Bullet”; to the hooky rock and roll anthem “Every Right”, with singer Dalton Bowes telling us “I’ve got every right to piss my life away”; to the swaggering menace of “Eyes of the Hunter” with its blazing hot guitar work.
It’s not just that this album rocks hard and heavy. It rocks hard in style. The tunes are sharp-edged gems, the kind of rockers you want to listen to all over again once you’ve heard them the first time, and they are well-crafted from the lyrics to the riffs, to the vocals to the drums to the basslines.
Everything comes together just right, and I have to say that Bowes’s voice seems as if it were made for this kind of sound: a bit rough, a bit sweet, and with all the attitude you might desire.
Favourite tracks? How about all of them. There’s “Tombstone Blues” with its slightly slower rhythm and a lovely mournfulness to its sound. There’s “Heart’s Desire” with some beautifully howling guitar work — it’s an emotional tune that still holds on to that brash and brawny sound. And there’s the kick-ass “Bring Your Love”, a delicious wrecking/disco-ball of 70s vibes and hard rock heart, and definitely a track to remember.
The album closes out with a terrific one-two punch: the loud and rugged rock’n’roll grit of “Welcome Home”; followed by the rollicking, slip-sliding, speeding bullet train of a track that is “All Downhill”.
And the good thing is the guys in Prowess are young. And their fanbase is plenty of young listeners as well.
The thing is that today’s kids love the bands of the ’80s, the type of hard rocking music Prowess is creating, and this is something to be explained because it is the first time I see this movement.
It’s not that people didn’t praise the past in the past. The matter is that it is so strong and remarkable. As long as I know there has never been a revival like this. I guess it is the first time I see an organized and consistent movement into old sonances.
Prowess did a wonderful job recreating the classic Hard Rock features on “Blacktop Therapy”. The Hard Rock that was made famous by bands as Bad Company, Mountain, and a bit latter Guns N’ Roses. And which had its echoes in classic metal bands from the Eighties too.
01. Blacktop Therapy
02. Lookin’ For A Bullet
03. Every Right
04. Eyes of The Hunter
05. Tombstone Blue
06. Heart’s Desire
07. Bring Your Love
08. Welcome Home
09. All Downhill
Extra: Headfirst EP (2017)
01 – No Survivors
02 – Show Me
03 – Killing a Giant
04 – Shaker
05 – Overboard
Dalton Bowes – vocals
Scott Roby – guitar
Curly Staples – guitar
Kenny Mange – bass
Brandon Chinn – drums