ASG – Survive Sunrise Review

Band: ASG
Album: Survive Sunrise
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Hard Rock
Country: USA
Release Date: 15 June, 2018

Run to your bongs, denizens of the riff! Your perfect summer album has arrived.

I know ASG originally stood for All Systems Go, but as far as I’m concerned, it might as well stand for Ass Shakin’ Grooves. This band knows its riffs and it knows its southern boogie, and it wraps them up tight in some alt-rock shoes before it shuffles down the road, strutting its stuff. These four dudes from North Carolina take everything that is good and right with southern-style rocking and adapt it to their Stoner grooves, creating a sound that is at once familiar yet still pretty original. Why this band has never broken on the radio or gotten out to bigger crowds is a mystery to me. They’re better than Foo Fighters or any of the other bands of that ilk. Maybe they’re too honest? Maybe they have a little too much grit for the mainstream? I can’t say. What I will say is, they’ve released another great album, and if you’re into hard rock at all, you should go grab yourself a copy.

Title track “Survive Sunrise” comes right out of the gates, slightly psychy, slightly funky, before barreling into some rifftastic action. That rhythm and those vocals work perfectly together, creating vivid images of bleary eyes facing the sunrise, worry and despair and yet some hope in there, too. This one rocks and it sets the table for what is to come.

Some tracks I adore:

“Execution Thirst” made me smile. That opening riff…Oh, yes. It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Straight ahead, no bullshit, headbanging stuff. The rest of the band kicks in and follows along, this song blasting forward, threatening to run off the rails, but never quite losing control.

“Lightning Song” is pure swagger. Lots of southern fried cooking to this one, and again, that riff…These guys know the exact way to blend power and swing. I cannot imagine how well this one will go over live. Crushing, melodic, and cruising at the same time. They make it feel effortless and it’s really easy to get swept up in the velocity of this lumbering monster.

“Kubrick Colors” might seem an odd choice, given that it’s only a couple minutes long, and feels a bit more like an intro track rather than a full song of its own. But man, it’s got that weird, tender feel these guys can do so well, and the atmospherics take it to the stratospherics, if you know what I mean. Love the vocal harmonies during the last minute of the song and the way they lead right into the heavy. This all, of course, butts right up against the following track.

“God Knows We” rumbles in right as “Kubrick” ends and it takes the emotion of the former song and welds it to what feels sort of like a Steve Miller Band song, if Steve Miller decided to stomp instead of rock. And yes, I know that sounds like a weird comparison, and most of it comes from those opening vocals, but it’s a compliment. This one continues the cosmic feel of “Kubrick” while maintaining an earthy core. This is another track that lumbers even as it shimmers.

“Weekend Money” has that 70’s swagger one could associate with the Nuge or any of those rocking bands from the era of Disco. The song has a bit of stutter to it, but the rhythm section holds it all together, the sharp riffs and hooks flowing like golden mountain water.

Finally, “Lamb Song” is epic without ever passing the five minute mark, heavy and durable and crushing, with lots of dynamics lifting this one up. I loved the acoustic intro and those sweet melodic leads as it winds down. This is a fusion of everything that makes ASG so good.

Also, kudos on that sweet album artwork.

This is a perfect album for the summer. Roll down your windows, let the hot air blow across your face, turn up the music, and blast on down the highway. By the end of your trip, your hair is in tangles, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and you’re probably sunburned. But you can’t wait to do it all again.

Rating: 8/10

1. Survive Sunrise
2. Execution Thirst
3. Up From My Dreams
4. Lightning Song
5. Hawks on the Run
6. The Heaven Moon
7. Kubrick Colors
8. God Knows We
9. Heavy Scars
10. Weekend Money
11. Lamb Song
12. Florida Sleep On
13. Tied Tongues (Digital Bonus Track)

Total Playing Time: 50:29

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