It’s no secret that Australian band Wolfmother was, is and always will be the brainchild of frontman Andrew Stockdale. It’s also no secret that Stockdale has always worn his influences on his sleeve for the world to see and hear and the band’s newest album Victorious for Universal Music Enterprises (Ume) is no exception. What has changed though is that those said influences, which bleed into every aspect of the music, are even more varied than before and finds Stockdale dipping his toes into the classic rock waters of Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and even Foghat. Victorious is the band’s fourth album and was recorded at Henson recording Studios. It was produced and mixed by Brendan O’Brien and engineered by Tom Syrowski with help from Kyle Stevens. The album also sees Stockdale taking further control by handling all the vocals, guitars and bass on the album with drums being provided by Josh Freese and Joey Waronker and organ by bassist Ian Peres. Opener “Love That You Give,” “Happy Face” and bonus track “Remove Your Mask” recall the Black Sabbath laden sound of Canadian stoner rockers Sheavy. While the lead single and video for title track “Victorious” and closer “Eye of the Beholder” are more akin to the band’s classic sound established on their stunning self-titled debut. Elsewhere, “Baroness” and “Gypsy Caravan” are built upon fuzzy basslines and Deep Purplesque organs, while “Pretty Peggy” is a folksy number centered around a simple kick drum, tasty tom fills and a huge multi-layered chorus that brings to mind Imagine Dragons and winds up being one of the album’s best surprises. Cuts like “City Lights” and the second bonus track “Wedding” are instantly recognizable, leaving absolutely no doubt as to who is playing when you hear them, while “Simple Life” and “Best of A Bad Situation” finds them exploring all new facets of their already dynamic sound. Here’s the bottom line. If you enjoyed Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg or New Crown, Victorious is a no brainer that is sure to please. Rating: 8 out of 10 -Eric Hunker