Review: KIND ‘Close Encounters’

Formed in 2013, KIND is a Boston-area sonic slab-lobbing supergroup of sorts. The quartet is made up of drummer Matt Couto (ex-Elder), bassist Tom Corino (ex-Rozamov), guitarist Darryl Shepard (ex-Black Pyramid) and vocalist Craig Riggs (Roadsaw, Sasquatch), and their previous releases have certainly turned heads. 2020’s Mental Nudge was one of the finer releases of a difficult year, and now the Bostoners have returned to display their thunderous aural attack on Close Encounters, courtesy of Ripple Music.

KIND 'Close Encounters' Artwork
KIND ‘Close Encounters’ Artwork

Burn Scar kicks into ferocious gear right off the bat, sounding very reminiscent of Karma To Burn’s work with vocals. Shepard tears into his fretboard while Riggs counters with a solid number of ‘Oooooo!’ before turning into a formidable bridge that recalls Facelift-era Alice In Chains. This is simple, direct, to-the-point heavy rock and we’re all for it.

Favorite One with its deceptively clean intro turns into an ominous looming number that makes greater use of the vocal harmonies. To be honest, it will be next to impossible to avoid Alice In Chains comparisons for a lot of KIND’s delivery, but I don’t view that as a bad thing in the slightest. There is no shame in inspiration and KIND clearly understands that power of unique coupling that Staley and Cantrell established so very long ago. However, the third track Black Yesterday pulls noticeable inspiration from the Palm Desert sound in a manner somewhat similar to early Big Scenic Nowhere.

a pedal-to-the-metal rocker that reminds me of the Swedish variety of stoner bands like Truckfighters and Lowrider…

Snag is one of the more upbeat songs, but slightly weaker in relation to the rest of the album. The chorus guitar parts are nice, but Riggs sounds somewhat obstructed by the mix. The Southern-tinged and aptly titled Massive fares better, as does the snarling Power Grab. It’s a pedal-to-the-metal rocker that reminds me of the Swedish variety of stoner bands like Truckfighters and Lowrider, and it ends with a suitably scronky and un-pretty guitar solo from Shepard.

Of The Ages is definitely my favorite number on the record, it definitely hits with a Helmet-like mid-tempo sway anchored by pummeling percussion from Couto. What It Is To Be Free is a solid wah pedal-inflicted rocker although I wasn’t crazy about the closing track Pacino. It also seems to pull from that Swedish sound but is somewhat less satisfying than Power Grab. Even so, it is a fun listen with a lot of energy.

Although Close Encounters doesn’t hit with quite as much bombast as Mental Nudge, it is a fine stoner rock record that just focuses on the meat instead of bells and whistles. The band’s individual talents are put to fine use and the songs are played with conviction. Just be careful about getting a speeding ticket should you find yourself blasting it out of your car.

Label: Ripple Music
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh