Released in April 2023 (ToneHouse Records)
Highly anticipated in classic rock circles and the brainchild of ex-Badlands bassist Greg Chaisson, Atomic Kings have finally released their debut album after delays presumably caused by the pandemic. The lead-off single “All I Want” kicks things off in a mid-tempo style that doesn’t deviate from the promised formula and even adds a neat harmonica solo toward the end. “Escape” is smoothly driven blues that even features a jazz influenced guitar solo. “Holding On” has that really authentic ’70s feel in production that only adds to the overall effect, and the swirling epic “Take My Hand” comes complete with a cool chorus and very nifty boogie break.
Halfway through the album and the classic ’70s stadium rock objective is in full swing and would appear to have been achieved, and this is only exemplified by the emotive ballad “Running Away” that features a genuinely touching and effective guitar solo from Ryan McKay. “Live” then pretty much explodes into life in a very welcome Come an’ Get It era Whitesnake vein that immediately makes it the stand-out track for me. The rather generic jam of “I Got Mine” leads into a very pretty Spanish styled, minute long instrumental “Jimi’s Page”, before the thumping stomp of “Bloodline” and the equally storming bonus track “Illusion” bring the album to a close. The songs are all – with the exception of “Jimi’s Page” – very heavy blues and all around the five minute mark, and the production is, as I mentioned earlier, authentic and even reverential in execution.
The band, led by Chaisson’s flawless bass and rhythm partner Jimi Taft’s expert drumming, are joined by ex-Crash Street Kids guitarist Ryan McKay whose expressive playing shines on every track; and newest member in singer Ken Rock, who has that perfectly suited Paul Rodgers vibe in a full on emotive way – particularly on “Running Away “ and “Live”.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of this style of rock, but if you are one of the legions lamenting its original demise and then celebrating its mini -revival over the past few years, then you should get yourself down to your nearest record store or streaming platform and check the Atomic Kings out as you may just have found your new favourite band!
01. All I Want
03. Holding On
04. Take My Hand
05. Running Away
07. I Got Mine
08. Jimi’s Page
Ken Ronk – vocals
Greg Chaisson – bass
Ryan McKay – guitar
Jimi Taft – drums
Reviewed by Rockney Colin for Sleaze Roxx, August 2023
Atomic Kings‘ “Live” video:
Atomic Kings‘ 90 Second Album Preview: