The Liverpool-based band The Heavy North has not only graced my ears with their innate talent and chemistry as a band, but they’ve made me curious as to what else has come out of the Liverpool music scene these days.
Pioneering this five-piece rock band is Kenny Stuart (guitar, vocals) Jose Ibanez (guitar, vocals, producer) Andrew Horrocks (bass), Ste Penn (keys), and Mark Rice (drums), and it was Stuart that united these five talented musicians in 2018. Stuart told P3dro that he had known Jose for ten years prior to the formation of The Heavy North. After the last band that they were in together, Jacobi, ran its course, they bumped into Penn at a party. It was just the three of them making music until they invited Rice to begin creating together, and later, invited Horrocks to a jam session.
When asked about some of their favorite artists, Stuart shared that he’s “a blues and soul fanatic, and a big fan of The Rolling Stones”. Keyboardist Penn claims to be a disciple of 60s rock along with more modern blues rock pioneers like The Black Keys. Rice also told P3dro that he listens to, and really appreciates, a hi-fi, “slightly modernist” sound from drums, and he confessed to being the “resident goth” of the band.
Despite their varying tastes in music, the group displays a vibrant and passionate sound that is evident in their latest release “Darkness in Your Eyes”.
“Darkness in Your Eyes” begins with a smashing and inviting entrance from Rice. Stuart soon comes in on the electric guitar, and gifts the listener with some fantastic licks that set the gritty melody of the song.
In this song in particular, I found Stuart’s vocals to be reminiscent of none other than Hendrix himself; something about his vowels and the way his tone glides and rings for a moment after each phrase. The band then crescendos into the chorus and the backing vocals provide a killer harmony that makes for an amazing mini-climax to the song.
After a few powerful verses, Stuart delivers on a guitar solo, followed by a massive decrescendo which leaves Rice alone on the drums. Rice keeps a steady, fast-paced beat that one might even find when listening to a jazz standard. Stuart’s vocals creep back in, which is followed by his roaring guitar, and Penn on the beautifully resonating keys. The band then begins the chorus once again and slowly they increase their dynamic levels until they reach the ultimate climax of the song; the cherry on top of which is, once again, the stunning final harmony between Stuart and the backing vocals.
The Heavy North has received much attention for their undeniable and heavy-hitting sound, and rightfully so. These five gentlemen are a match made in sonic heaven, and I can’t wait to see what their special dynamic brings in the future.