LA CHINGA BEYOND THE SKY: REVIEW BY BILL SPRUCE
La Chinga is a blues-based, hard rock trio out of Vancouver, Canada. There must be something in the water, or the beer, north of the border that produces great rock trios; while I would not place La Chinga in the pantheon of trio legends like Anvil, Rush and Triumph just yet, they are certainly on the right path with their third album “Beyond the Sky.”
The records first two tracks “Nothing That I Can’t Do” and “Wings of Fire” have a 70’s good-time, up-beat, rock and roll groove with a bit of an edgy guitar tone that is current with the times. If I were a DJ in an era of old fashioned radio, I could definitely see these tunes getting air-play. They have great, catchy, hooks, memorable harmony, ripping guitar and an immediately toe-tapping heavy beat.
The highlight of this record for me was the third track “Mama Boogie.” This song is “must hear” music and if you can’t dig it, I am afraid you may have no soul. It starts with a darker heavy power chord attack on the senses and melts in the middle with a beautiful bluesy guitar solo over a rumbling base-line that you just can’t get enough of, in almost “Stranglehold” like fashion. I told you this record has a 70’s flair! This is definitely a wonderfully crafted tune and should find its way onto play lists.
In the middle of the record are the tunes “Black River,” the title track “Beyond the Sky,” “Keep on Rolling” and “Killer Wizard.” These tunes say “Zeppelin” all the way, some a bit more than others but the influence is unmistakable. I am not sure any of these songs are truly remarkable; however, to be clear, this is very good music and the songs are original and certainly worth a listen.
As we approach the end, “Death Rider” has a great funky groove but then the closing three tracks “Feel It in My Bones” “H.O.W” and “Warlords” descend into a bit of the ordinary. Nothing about them is off in any way; they just didn’t stand out to my ears. Hey, not every song on a record is a hit, unless of course you are listening to Boston’s debut record.
The production of the record is outstanding and the only technical comment I will make, especially since I am not a recording engineer, is that the band is a three piece and a number of the songs that gathered more of my attention than others because of the depth of their arrangement, clearly had multiple guitar tracks. I am not sure how the band tackles this live, but I hope to find out someday. That’s not a knock; if Tony Iommi can multi-track anyone can, but Black Sabbath used Adam Wakeman as an offstage guitarist for the multi-tracked tunes and I doubt La Chinga has that luxury.
La Chinga’s “Beyond the Sky” rocks with a mix of extraordinary and somewhat ordinary tracks, it comes in like a lion and exits a bit like a lamb. They have a classic blues-based, heavy rock sound, with a classic metal vocal range reminiscent of Dan McCafferty (Nazerath), a Bonham-like beating of the skins, strong bass lines and catchy guitar riffs, that at times are reminiscent of 70’s Led Zeppelin. This record did not disappoint; there’s a lot to like here; I recommend a listen and I hope to catch them live someday.