Rival Sons are a band whose work I am always quick to steer people toward if they're looking for something fresh but familiar. I'm thinking of calling it "New Old," and it goes in a category with The Sheepdogs and Monster Truck. On Head Down, they hit all the major hallmarks of a classic rock album, to the point where no classic album might actually sound just like this. There are pummeling party anthems like "Until The Sun Comes" and "Wild Animal," soaring anthems like "Run From The Revelation," and George Thorogood-like bar rock like "All The Way." Beyond being competent imitators, they find their way to some of the more eccentric corners of their chosen era, like "The Heist," which has the most classic of choruses, the Led Zeppelin III style campfire psych jam "TRUE" or my personal favourite track on the album, "Jordan," which calls up the kind of spirituality not typically used in rock music anymore and almost on its own validates the whole deal. An album like this at first feels comfortable and recognizable, then it's impressive that they got it "so right," then at last it just has all the same pleasures as the actual old music. It strikes that balance between repetitive/consistent and wild/energetic.
The common denominator to both these albums is that they cut the bullshit that's piled up in rock over the last few decades: the accumulated cultural memory of hair metal, post-grunge, and rap-metal. They use pulverizing riffs and power-fantasy lyrics to assert a huge sound that is completely carefree and escapist. This is headbanger paradise.