There are very few ethics to which I apply universal favor, and strong songwriting is one of them. Cortez make songwriting sound innate, effortless, like the “Helter Skelter”-referential chorus that immediately plasters “Johnny” on the lining of the cerebral cortex like it’s a gig flyer is just what the band does every day after work. As the opener, “Johnny” emphasizes many of the album’s best aspects. It is impeccably constructed, briskly performed and crisply presented, and that remains a thread that runs all the way through to pre-demo closer “Nice Try.” A lyrical narrative of dudely heartbreak is met by undeniable groove, and Harrington’s melodies are infectious alongside O’Dowd’s riffing.
-JJ, The Obelisk.net
Cortez’s eponymously named double vinyl release is a collection of hard-hitting, fuzz-drenched songwriting propelled by the nitro-fueled pistons of an especially heavy-handed drummer. Songs like “Johnny”, “All Hail”, “Northlander” and especially ‘going to a show’ anthem “Ride On” could result in fist-sized dents in the roof of your automobile as you rock along with the Cortez crew. They give their songs just enough standard rock n’ roll sensibilities to keep them from crossing the wire into Heavy Metal territory. Although to the latter point, “Satan” – a stylistic outlier for the band – could be this year’s best Doom Metal song. At least one as translated by a hard-stompin’ Stoner Rock band.
-Chris Barnes, Hellride Music
If you like your rock, mid-tempo, sabbathian, sometimes bluesy, but with many variations so to avoid any chance of boredom setting in; then Cortez are the band for you. The only other album with these kind of tempos that comes close to this is the last Orange Goblin release but holy pope on a rope, I think Cortez has the Goblin beat. I am not comparing them to Orange Goblin either but in the mid-tempo, riff-rock up your ass stakes, this is about as good as it gets right now in 2012. A complete band, a complete album - this is a stunning full length début from Cortez.
Lots of bands out there are playing in a heavily Sabbath influenced realm but Cortez is one of the few to utilize more than just the usual Master/Volume 4 riff rehash. For those of us who have spent decades analyzing the Sabbath family tree know just how much killer shit there is that people tend to overlook. The reason why all those Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple records are so classic is the variety. Cortez understands that and plays the music they want to hear. I wanna hear it ,too and have been playing the hell out of this!
-Woody, The Ripple Effect
Cortez is here to stomp around and scream. They will play dirty and loud. They will shred and lull you into a dark corner of your mind. They play insanely great heavy rock and roll doom that can not, nor will not be denied. This is one of best from 2012.
-The Soda Shop