Album: Wakan Tanka Nici Un
Label: Dying Victims Productions
Release Date: 9 April, 2018
Here we have a strange thing: a German hard rock band that names itself after a native tribe in America, and then titles their record using the language of a totally different native tribe (Wakan Tanka is Lakota, I believe). We have a female singer who sings in broken English and a guitarist who is just brimming with fiery licks. It’s all an odd combination, but somehow, it works.
Hailing from Cologne, Germany, Cherokee brings us a four track EP that deftly shows off all the tricks of the trade, going from one scorching rocker to another, the band working in perfect sync on every track. From the gritty vocals to the fluid and melodic leads on the guitar, you have a band that would have fit perfectly in the mid-to-late-70’s, evoking the spirit of Thin Lizzy, The Outlaws, and Blue Oyster Cult. There’s not a bad track on here.
Opener “Ethelred Hero of Trist” sweeps the song in with some nice melodic build up, the power rising slowly until it explodes about one minute in. From there, it gallops along, reminding me a lot of early Riot in its fire and spit. The vocals are gruff and tough and yet still melodic. There’s lots of little fills here and there that buoy the song, keeping anything from getting stale. I think this is the best track on the EP, but that’s not a slight to the others, who all offer something of their own. This one just flat rocks.
“The Yellow King” follows and it has an almost flowery opening before settling into a summertime groove, all bright and mid-paced. I could totally hear this song on FM radio during the 70’s, following a Van Halen tune, keeping the party going. I don’t want to call this one a “beer drinker,” but it kind of is. This is the type of song that you’d blast from your car speakers, doors open, as you hang out with friends. Bright and cheery, despite the darker lyrical content.
“Blood Worth its Weight in Gold” opens with a nice, playful, rumbling bass, leading to a playful guitar lick, that runs headlong into “Bad Reputation” by Thin Lizzy. From there it races forward, always on the run but sprinting with a melodic precision. This isn’t a train about to jump the tracks, but rather one that moves so smoothly you don’t notice the jostles and jumps. All the songs on here owe a great debt to Thin Lizzy, this one more than the others, I think. But that’s a compliment, because Lizzy was an amazing band.
“Firewater” closes the album with some “Eruption” fireworks to open the song. I swear to God, it’s really close to the Eddie Van Halen instrumental. The song then rips into a bit of Southern Rock riffing, jumping forward with spring and vigor. There’s a little Skynyrd swing on display here, the band flexing muscles they’ve hinted at during other songs. It’s an excellent, rocking end to the collection they’ve put together.
This record by Cherokee certainly rocks, with both power and authority. If you’re into bands like Riot and Thin Lizzy, you’ll be thrilled with this. The songs are right on, with a perfect blend of scorching guitar, Joan Jett style vocals, sprightly bass playing, and propelling drums. This is a really good hard rock record, and the band should be proud of their work here. However, if you’re looking for something new or revolutionary, this isn’t for you. They do what they do, and they do it well.
Since they’ve brought back vinyl and cassettes, this album would make a perfect comeback for the 8-track.
1. Ethelred Hero of Trist
2. The Yellow King
3. Blood Worth its Weight in Gold
Total Playing Time: 17:25