Driver - Sons of Thunder (Metal Heaven) 2008
1. Return to the Sky (4:58)
2. Rising Son (4:12)
3. Countdown (4:14)
4. Hollywood Shooting Star (3:37)
5. Thief in the Night (4:49)
6. Cry of the Wounded (4:13)
7. Always on my Mind (4:31)
8. Feel the Fire (4:09)
9. Destiny (6:06)
10. Running From The Darkness (4:02)
11. Babylon [Bonus Track] (5:03)
Driver reformed back in 2008 and re-recorded some of their classic tracks from their 1990 demo and released it as "Sons of Thunder". Many assumed the project, which included Rob Rock and Roy Z would be a one off. Well, four years later and Driver returns with another full-length album of original material. Back again is vocalist Rob Rock, guitarist Roy Z, keyboardist Ed Roth, bassist Aaron Samson and drummer Reynold "Butch" Carlson.
What was so enjoyable about "Sons of Thunder" was the mix of very 80's styled heavy metal with a lean and mean modern production, courtesy of Roy Z. With "Countdown" the band doesn't deviate from that formula at all. Rob Rock's smooth powerhouse voice is at the forefront of the band's sound, but is equally matched by Roy's heavy riffs and tasty licks. Unlike Rob Rock's solo material, which has a very European-flavored power metal sound, Driver's sound is well-crafted and highly enjoyable US melodic heavy metal.
"Return to the Sky" opens up the CD and is an incredibly catchy with solid hooks and memorable riffs. It is easily one of the most immediately like-able songs on the album. Likewise the fiery "Feel the Fire" is an upbeat number with grab-you-by-the-jugular hooks and a smokin' lead break. "Thief in the Night" starts off with one of those driving, head banging riffs before giving way to a more melodic verse. The song ebbs and flows between the clean, melodic verses and the head-banging main riff of the song. Roy Z also lets out a nice guitar solo, one of those that will have most rivet-heads playing along on air guitar. "Destiny" is the longest clocking in at just over six minutes long and is a melodic rocker that would have fit well on one of Rob's early solo albums. "Always on My Mind" is a power-ballad that is very typical of Rob Rock. As usual Rock's lyrics are positive, reflective and have leanings of his faith, though nothing overtly preachy.
I do confess to being a total Rob Rock fan-boy. That being said, I find "Countdown" to be a solid and completely enjoyable American heavy metal release. No sophomore slumps for these vets. This is unadulterated 1980’s style Heavy Metal! Get it and bang your head!