“Chattanooga, Tennessee’s the Bohannons sound like what you’d get if you blended together Crazy Horse-era Neil Young, R.E.M., Southern rock, 13th Floor Elevators psychedelia, and a little Sabbath-style metal. In short, their sound is formidable, loud, and ferocious without sacrificing clarity or intelligence. Anyone who enjoyed 2012’s impressive Unaka Rising will be glad to know that the Bohannons use that disc as a springboard to this equally ambitious record. Black Cross, Black Shield acknowledges the darkness and hardships of life, but essentially says, “You know what? The best way to celebrate that struggle is as God intended: with slabs of electric guitars.” the Bohannons seem intent on making sure you’ll ponder the meaning that comes along with our mortality, but also that you’ll bang your head and sing along while you do it.” – POPMATTERS.COM
“Their newest release Black Cross, Black Shield doubles down on the ‘blues’ and the ‘metal’ in that recipe. It’s an ocean of a record: broad, in ceaseless motion, with depths as chilling as they are dark. The Bohannons’ sound is still unquestionably Southern, occasionally reminiscent of the Drive-By Truckers or Neil Young but most often a beast all its own. Guitars ring out just as clearly as the vocals, with the pitch and tenor of the Bohannons’ voices seeming to match their instruments exactly. The bass and drums lumber along methodically like a horror movie villain, never in a rush but always lurking. Black Cross, Black Shield isn’t a feel-good record, but rock’n’roll isn’t always a feel-good endeavor. The Bohannons put out a record taking an honest look at the hardships facing human beings on a daily basis, at the dueling despair and drive present in most people on most days. It may not be the easiest thing to face, but it sure does make for a good rock and
roll record.” – ninebullets.net
“… a monster of a record.” – FIRDAPOSTEN: NORWAY
From the mountains of southeast Tennessee come Chattanooga-based rockers Bohannons, who made a splash with their 2010 “Days of Echo” debut EP and built on that solid foundation with 2012’s first full-length “Unaka Rising.” Rockers Bohannons add to solid foundation with ‘Black Cross. Black Shield’. It’s an intense gathering of 10 tunes that incorporates elements of metal, Southern rock and punk into an effective sonic stew. The six-minute title track launches “Black Cross. Black Shield” and sets the tone for what’s to come. Bohannons additionally impress with “Eyewitness Blues,” “Dias De Los Muertas (Day of the Dead),” “Death and Texas,” “Cold Rag” and “Red, White, Black and Pale.” Rock on, fellas. – Pittsburgh In Tune
Bohannons are brothers Marty and Matt. Black Cross, Black Shield is an intense hard rock album with a lot of heart and style. It was released off This Is American Music on March 31st 2015. There is a running theme throughout this album that deals with a darkness within the human psyche although this is not a death and gloom album. Marty remarks “There is a theme to this album and it’s not death, it’s the beauty of death and memorialising the departed with electricity and force”. There is a hopefulness within with album and although the subject matter is dark and intense, Black Cross Black Shield finds that light at the end of the tunnel with breathtaking blues riffs, heroic vocal delivery and sludgy guitars reminiscent of the best seventies metal. Bohannons are defined as a modern southern rock band and although they are that, they are many other things. This album has a classic quality to it, without being a reenactment. It’s sincere and soulful and a pleasure to listen to. Black Cross, Black Shield is an album for listeners who are seeking something that rocks hard but rocks hard with a lot of heart and depth and well worth listening to for those who are disillusioned by a lot of contemporary rock. – LiveAndDieInMusic.com
“Black Cross. Black Shield is a bracing blast of post-punk guitar thunder, spiked with accents of country and blues. We dig the hell out of it.” – THE BIG TAKEVOVER
“Black Cross. Black Shield stomps out with thick Dixie riffs and moonshine barrel drums…there’s a British Sabbath slab of beef in its guts too, mainly via singer Marty Bohannon’s snide snarl. We’re not just talking trucks and shots of whiskey here. On the album, they can get faster and looser in turns. And the recording doesn’t get bogged down in any spoilsome tricks, so it feels fresh enough. But overall, yup, this is your morning cup of fringe ‘n’ long locks rock.” – CMJ
“Black Cross, Black Shield” beats strongly with a dark heart. The title track, which is also the opener to the album, is a classy, confident cut and one which sees the protagonist of the lyrics overcome with an unspecified illness “don’t tell mom I’m feeling down, don’t tell mom I’m sick” comes it’s plaintive cry. On “White Widow” which follows, the theme is regret: “who’s to say you’re satisfied, just because you’ve lived and died?” asks it’s chorus, not unreasonably. That song is typical of many on this superb work. It is “Dias De Los Meurtas that is the highlight amongst many, though, a glorious dark vignette with huge intentions, it’s a ballad to dream of. It is run close by the wonderful heavy blues of “Red, White, Black And Pale” which brings the curtain down. Harmonica wails, musicians seemingly do what they like and play independently of each other, and yet it all works outstandingly well. The same can be said for the album itself. “Black Cross, Black Shield” shines as something of a gem.
Rating 9.5/10 – Maximum Volume Music
“With Black Cross, Black Shield Bohannons have delivered an album that reaches people’s souls. The lyrics are well thought out touching on subjects that affect us all but many prefer to keep buried inside the deep recesses of the mind. Musically the record is brilliant using dark soundscapes to punctuate the lyrics. They harness the sounds of Sabbath, Crazy Horse and Deep Purple to create a musical landscape that is all Bohannons. The band is a leader in a new breed of bands to emerge from the South, respecting the heritage of the Southern rock bands past and creating music on the foundations they have laid. The music uses bigger bolder sounds wrapped around lyrics that touch on lingering social issues and stereotypes the South can’t seem to escape from. Available later this month on This Is American Music, Black Cross, Black shield is a record that will not only have you rocking out but it will make you think.” – Atlanta Music Examiner
“This brilliantly diverse album really reveals a group that doesn’t lack in quality when it comes to the types of songs that they choose to perform.
Album opener ‘Black Cross. Black Shield‘ may start off extremely subtle but builds into a great climax that the listener (well this one anyway) wasn’t expecting. ‘Love Stunt’ definitely has a very 1960’s vibe about it: stripped back and stylish, it is certainly one of the highlights of the album. Meanwhile ‘ Dias De Los Muertas’ is one of the most poignant and emotional tracks on the album.
It is certainly an album that is full contrasts that can’t be labelled under one particular genre – always flowing from one style to another that means it is fascinating from beginning to end. Another major plus on the album is the absolutely brilliant guitar solos on songs such as ‘Lightning and Thunder’ that made this particular listener sit up and pay attention throughout.” – The News Hub UK
“…. a beautiful mess of rock and roll that commands your attention.” – DIFFUSER.FM
“The Bohannons album, Unaka Rising is a real scorcher. It’s an odd thing to say about a band, but their approach to music makes so much sense that it’s difficult to understand why their particular cocktail of heavy Southern rock jangle hasn’t already been done to death by someone else. A little Two Gallants, a little Black Sabbath, they’re as heavy as they are twangy. They manage their heaviness without venturing into melodrama, which is difficult for many artists that venture into darker territory. Their music begs to serve as a soundtrack to a genre of film that doesn’t currently exist—some kind of violent, stylized-but-gritty (a la Tarantino) Southern road movie patterned after the classic Western model.” – OXFORD AMERICAN
“The Bohannons give a heavy, Southern-tinged rock n’ roll ass-kicking on their recent album Unaka Rising.” – SLUG MAGAZINE
“The Bohannons are a pedal-to-the-metal conflagration of strands including Southern boogie, grunge, classic ‘70s hard rock, punk a la the Clash, the Pogues, and Billy Bragg. Anyone who’s really into rock should check them out.” – MY OLD KENTUCKY BLOG
“This is not music that invites you to listen passively. This is music that attacks and forces you to engage from the very first notes. The lyrics delve into the rich mines of Southern mythology and are filled with the imagery of their native region. The sound here is anything but predictable. Yes, there are blues licks and high, lonesome, twangy sounds like the best of bluegrass, but there is also violently raucous guitar, emotionally charged vocals, more than a touch of metal, and above all else, rock and roll.If you like homegrown rock that defies the norm and demands a response, you owe it to yourself to give The Bohannons a listen. You just may find out that it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for.” – SEATTLE POST INTELLEGENCER
“So it is that Chattanooga’s the Bohannons throw one of their own on their latest album, Unaka Rising. A melange of all our favorite rocks–hard, southern, punk, garage–Unaka Rising is ten stomping tracks that deconstruct and interrogate America through the Bohannons’ loud and cracked prism. Musically, the Bohannons occupy a unique space somewhere between Skynard, The Pixies, and modern southern rockers like Jason Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers. Matt Bohannon’s vocals can evoke Frank Black piped through a PA at a demonstration. Lyrically, Unaka Rising concerns itself with the conflict and paranoia of our contemporary milieu, a hodgepodge of angry ideologues and frightened people tottering on the cusp of collective horror.” – threat+constraint
“This is American Music is continuously releasing great music. Bohannons, you give me too much rock, I can’t take it, I have to pass it on to someone else. Well not really. Even though this is not style-wise closest thing to my heart, it’s certainly pretty damn convincing stuff.”
“The Bohannons seemed to have tapped their fractions of Native American blood to carve out this gutsy, stark collection. Or maybe it seeped into them from the east Tennessee earth…or maybe they have listened one to many times to Crazy Horse , or been to one too many Braves games. Distinctly dirty and new, haunted and alive UNAKA RISING is for those who feel cheated by the offerings of rock music for the last decade. The scalps of the ‘singer songwriters’ have been pulled back again, fists are returning to the air. Where are the protest songs? Here they are.” – denverrockblog