This album is a testimony to the prison life in Sonora, a state in the North of Mexico. It's a dark, uneasy album that represents not only the violence and the harsh conditions but also the loneliness and solitude of life in prison. The band, Mallory, hails from Paris, France and formed in 2012. I'm not sure if they have been in those Mexican prisons but still, they wrote a pretty good rock album about it.
Yes, that's what you get on 'Sonora Rf Part 1', damn good rock, including some grunge rock inspired anthems and some heart shattering ballads. In fact, one of those ballads opens the album. 'On The Shelf' reminds me of bands like Anathema and even Pink Floyd, which obviously aren't bad references to start an album. 'Zero' and 'Overwhelmed' are heavier, incorporate some clawing guitars and grungy vocals, reminding me a bit of Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam.
Yet, Mallory isn't just a copy of some of your favorite rock bands. No, these guys are French and that gives the whole an extra touch. 'Cellule 7' is another one of those ballads, but with French vocals. That combination is brilliant, as if Aznavour or Gainsbourg hit the studio with Jimi Hendrix or some of the earlier mentioned bands. Most of these songs are emotional chansons like only the French can.
Another artist that often comes to mind, is Arno, the Belgian alternative troubadour. I'm not sure why I'm often reminded of him. Perhaps because of the rough edge of some of these vocals (on 'Shh' they even take on a bit of hardcore screaming), or because of the language (even though some songs are sung in English). Anyhow, like Arno, these guys simply know how to make strong songs, regardless of genre limitations.
Finally, it wouldn't be an album about prison life without the searing hot desert rock sound, perhaps even inspired by rough country music. In that aspect, Johnny Cash is rarely far away in Mallory's sound. I guess that's a compliment too, but this entire review is a compliment. I don't often listen to this kind of rock music but I really dig this album and I wouldn't be surprised to see these guys on one or two festivals this summer...