Radiator King releases “The Guns You Pawned” today. Radiator King is the musical project of Adam Silvestri. The song is from Radiator King’s latest album A Hollow Triumph After All, which Silvestri describes as “A sacred and profound attempt to transcend pain, loss and suffering by celebrating a life well-lived, while at once acknowledging the darkly tragicomic catch 22 of existence—that we’re born to die.”
A former punk rocker, Silvestri matured and retired from the punk scene, but not from music. His present style of music combines blues rock thick with the effluvium of punk into a heady new sound highlighted by his working class frankness and authenticity, a sound that’s raw and catchy.
“The Guns You Pawned” begins with a dark bluesy guitar and a powerful groove provided by a solid measured bass and heavy thumping drums. The blues melody resonates with deep evocative colors, giving the music a stridently unforgiving and severe flavor akin to desperadoes ready for a showdown. Dirty guitars infuse the music with a wickedly murky frisson that’s dynamically credible, like walking through a shadowy cemetery at night. A fluid, crying guitar adds supercharged incandescent tones of sadness, while a quavering organ provides knotted hues of sonic friction.
Silvestri’s voice is proximate, oozing intensity and passionate woe. It’s a muscular voice, smoke-filled and full of a rough grating texture, like old scraped velvet, that chaffs the skin raw on your body.
The video, shot in black and white, is chilling. It opens with a guitar swaying and creaking in a barn, then cuts to Silvestri standing near a hangman’s noose, playing his guitar. A young woman walks through the night carrying a torch, as if searching for something. Silvestri digs a grave in soft earth outside a wooden church, as the young woman continues her torchlight journey through the woods. Images of Silvestri standing in the woods, and then sitting at a poker table while drinking and fondling cards, looking over his shoulder, add tension. Meanwhile, the young woman whirls her torch into a spray of sparks, filling the blackness with burning embers. In the end, she stands next to Silvestri as he digs the grave. As he shovels dirt, she jets fire from her mouth.
“The Guns You Pawned” exudes an opaque alchemy that’s starkly overpowering. The bluesy melody infects the listener with rumbling emotions and the rhythm pulses with visceral impact. And Silvestri’s voice, with its too-many-cigarettes and too-much-whiskey rasp is marvelously impressive. Put simply, “The Guns You Pawned” is outstanding!
Download “The Guns You Pawned” here.