When I was 11 and a half years old, I’d been taking guitar lessons for a few years, having been brought up in a very musical family. But none of my dad’s Joni Mitchell CDs or my moms recordings of Miguel Aceves Mejía could have prepared me for the sheer rock and roll force that was the first 30 seconds of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. 

As an aspiring rocker, I was fascinated with the intensity, the attitude, and the power of those four, simple, distorted chords. I was shook.

In the five years since first being exposed to the rock scene from my home city of Seattle, I have never come close to being struck by the same feeling of alternative rock-induced awe as I was upon hearing those overdriven chords … that is, until I listened to Reignwolf.

In late winter of 2019, just over four years after my initial experience with grunge, I opened the Seattle Times to find an article on a new up-and-coming band, Reignwolf. I like to know who is on the forefront of the music scene, so I decided to give them a listen. And let me just say …

Holy shit.

Their debut album Hear Me Out is comprised entirely of the rawest sounding rock guitar riffs and commanding vocals. This is the stuff of Jack White’s wet dreams. The garage rock sound hints at the bluesy heavy metal of Black Sabbath with a modern twist that implies the Black Keys. Some songs, such as Wanna Don’t Wanna, give a nod to British punk, while others, such as the slow trudging tune Son Of A Gun, all but scream post-grunge, switching from Radiohead to Chris Cornell influenced vocals on a dime. The album is filled with Beatles-esque ballads and gritty licks, but for me, the very best part is the first four songs. The sheer power of just what rock is all about … Jesus Christ.

This is an album that is extremely well produced. The tightness of professional musicians with the rawness of unfiltered rock are perfectly balanced. Hear Me Out maintains the gloomy-ness of the Pacific Northwest region with a Southern attitude. I am ecstatic to see what the mastermind frontman and guitarist Jordan Cook, as well as the rest of the Reignwolf crew, think of next. Until then, I’ll be patiently waiting, rocking out to their masterpiece of a debut album.