Music Review: Black Water Rising’s ‘Pissed and Driven.’

It was blind luck that first led me to Black Water Rising a few years back. I was listening to XM Radio while on a long road trip from Dallas to Baton Rouge, and I had it on a station I didn’t normally leave on very long. I was concentrating harder on staying awake than the radio when I heard a blistering hard rock band blasting through my speakers that shot my adrenaline high enough to make it through that nasty drive

The song was “Brother Go On,” and I was immediately hooked. I became a huge fan after repeatedly listening to their self-titled debut, so I was pumped when I found out they had a new record coming out this summer.

“Pissed and Driven” is a perfect follow-up, as they’ve added a little polish to their sound, but it’s still raw and crunchy enough to be cool. As far as vocals go, singer Rob Traynor has risen to another level on this record. He goes from deep and melodic one minute to pissed off and screaming the next, and everything he does suits the music masterfully.

Songs like “Fire It Up” and “Broken Man” show off Dennis Kimak’s superior guitar skills, while bassist Oddie McLaughlin and drummer Mike Meselsohn showcase their abilities on the rhythm-driven title track.

The lead single “Show No Mercy” is heavy enough to please the metal crowd, but has a good enough hook to do well on the radio, and I could see “The Allure of Self Destruction” and the Soundgarden-ish “Along for the Ride” becoming commercial successes as well.

The only thing that is keeping Black Water Rising from becoming a huge deal in the music world is lack of exposure. Rock stations are playing a lot of garbage these days while real, hard-working rock bands like this get overlooked. “Pissed and Driven” is aggressive, energetic hard rock at its finest. Ignore the trash on the radio, and give these New Yorkers a shot. You’ll be glad you did!


Tim Taylor is a writer for Zoiks! Online, and is based in Dallas, TX. Follow him on Twitter at @nutgoat. Email Tim at

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