Album Review

Cavalen's "Viva Adore" is intoxicating rock and roll.

Cavalen - Viva Adore




Join us in celebrating what Birmingham, Alabama’s Cavalen is bringing to the table, Rock that stands the test of time. After getting wind of their masterful first single ‘Viva Adore’ we were searching to find more. These rockers have more trust me I have heard it and it is chalked full of bluesy, distorted, garage-tested riffs. It is unclear on when they will be dropping “Delicate Side” and “Talk Talk”, however I do know you can get all three tracks on cassette soon. Until then we suggest you check out the power throbbing debut “Viva Adore” which is out on Itunes and other platforms now.

Singer Shellina has her own style for sure, however I find it impossible to not hear L7 and Brody Dalle in her soulful rock grit voice. She also says she finds deep inspiration in revolutionary talents like Bjork, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, and AC/DC.

The hellraisers in Cavalen spent years individually honing their craft, before coming together more or less unexpectedly in 2014. Vocalist, Shellina Ryals calls them "an accidental rock band," the first inklings for which came from a set of lyrics she posted on Myspace years prior. When her now-husband Steven spotted them, he sent over a few songwriting suggestions, and their musical (and personal) partnership was soon off and running. Years of happy collaboration followed, with the Ryals playing host to numerous musical gatherings in their home in Birmingham. Shellina also loved singing in a band at their church with guitarist Jesslyn Parmley and drummer Issac Mixon.

One day, motivated by a health scare, Shellina called Jesslyn and said, "Want to be in a band?" The latter's enthusiastic answer led to the quick formation of a cover band, The Red Shakes, which made its debut at a local open mic event. After a freak winter storm in 2014, in which the city froze in ice for four days, Shellina and Jesslyn barricaded themselves indoors, cranked up the heat, and lost themselves in an impromptu songwriting session. The fruits of this ultimately resulted in the formation of Cavalen. Guitarist Steven Ryals, and new drummer Will Drake round out the current lineup, with Shellina also handling all of the lyrics.

As Shellina says, "We make music that represents our honesty about life; some days we feel shitty about love, or want to wreck someone's face for their insulting ignorance about gender and race. What we talk about is real—real life," Shellina explains, nothing that Cavalen aims to "be tender, without being weak."

As Steven sees it, "Our music is about celebrating a strong female personality instead of fearing it." That sentiment echoes especially strongly in songs like "Delicate Side," which finds Shellina sneering lustily, "I'm more woman than you'll ever be a man / How can you think that you're man enough, if you can't recognize your equal?"

We are fans of Cavalen and hope they keep pumping out timeless music. Better yet we hope they take this show on the road. Everyone would benefit from hearing these emotionally rich lyrics from such a dynamic group. 


-Lou Flesh