Just like I hope most of you do, I listen to every single episode of the Decibel Geek podcast. The podcast is a great way to hear interesting interviews and conversations, but most of all, it is the best way to find new music from hard rock/heavy metal artists. On Fresh Blood Volume 4 – Episode 239, Aaron Camaro introduced us to a band from Atlanta, GA called Kickin Valentina. I loved the song he played so much that I immediately bought the album. So you can guess how much I have been anticipating the release of their new album, Imaginary Creatures – and it has been worth the wait!
From the moment they pop the clutch in the lead up to the first track, “Eyes”, to the final note of the title track, the band takes you on a high-speed adventure of down and dirty hard rock that you won’t want to end. The songwriting is superb throughout the album with lyrics you cannot help but sing along with as you listen. In songs like “Turns Me On”, “Street”, “Heartbreak” and “Imaginary Creatures”, your body just wants to dance to the beat. Others, such as “Eyes” and “Devil’s Hand”, feature scorching guitar solos from guitarist Heber Papillon. Drummer Jimmy Berdine expertly keeps things chugging along at a steady pace. As I would expect from a bluesy, sleaze rock type band, the bass from Chris Taylor is exceptionally well done and very prominent in the mix. In fact, it really helps hold together the other instruments. Let’s take a brief moment here to appreciate the vocals of Joe Edwards. His rough, husky voice sets the tone for the band, evoking the appropriate emotion for each tune. No more apparent is this than in the semi-power ballad “Crazy”, an ode to that part of us that is just a little bit out of control and reckless. Maybe it says too much about me that I can relate to it, but I just adore the song.
I do love almost everything about Imaginary Creatures, but I would not be doing my job if I did not mention the one thing I did not like about it. Kickin Valentina includes a cover of Elvis‘ “Burning Love” on this album that I felt was unnecessary. Sure, they do a very good cover of the song but so have millions of other performers in the last 50 years. I don’t think they did anything new or groundbreaking with it. It doesn’t seem to fit that well with the rest of the songs on the album and I would not have missed it if it weren’t on here. Can it really be a bad thing, though, if I prefer their original music over a cover song?
You can hear many of their influences on Imaginary Creatures from Buckcherry to Guns N Roses and everything in between. This album has been on constant repeat in my car for over a month now and I have yet to tire of it. Kickin Valentina‘s sound is reminiscent of the glory days of 80’s Glam Metal with their own raw edge. I recommend you purchase Imaginary Creatures immediately so that you can put a little more hard rock in your life. There is no doubt in my mind that this album is one of the best of 2017.
~~ Metal Mama