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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Reviews: Rival Sons, Vader, Seprevation

Rival Sons: Great Western Valkyrie (Earache)

Four albums into their career and the trajectory of Rival Sons is going through the roof, the band are possibly the most authentic of any of the 'retro' style bands currently doing the rounds. They have been compared to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and various others but for the most part they are blues based hard rock full of fuzzy garage riffage, funk, soul and dust bowl Americana so much so that to my ears they sound more like The Black Keys meets Jim Morrison than Zep and the like. So what about album four does it reach the heady heights of Pressure And Time or Head Down? Well the answer is yes...and then some!! Things start off with the surging (sorry) thrust of Electric Man and we are back on the rocking ride again ready to be brought through the booty shaking analogue rock n roll of the Rival Sons. With Rival Sons they have always been more focussed on the 60's style or rock than say bands like The Answer meaning that they have a huge amount of soul much of that coming from the new bassist; David Beste who brings a thick, funky bottom end to the album he is the perfect foil for Scott Holliday's razor sharp guitar lines, Mike Miley's shuffling drums and Jay Buchanan's perfect blues holler, witnessed at its best on the Belle Star which channels Mr Page and Mr Plant with it's stop-start riffage. The fuzzed up Good Luck has all the hand-clapping rhythm of a Vintage Trouble track, while Secret has the same bass-led intro and huge keyboard riffage as Deep Purple's Burn (replete with mid-section scream). Play The Fool is a Zep moment fresh from Physical Graffiti where as Rich And The Poor is a Springsteen-like tale of young love, popping the cherry and a femme fatales with a massive chorus and it is quickly followed with the soulful, country lament of Where I've Been which is a break before the album is rounded out by the progressive guitar freak out of Destination On Course which has a huge final section full of Holiday's guitars and Mike Miley's drums. Can Rival Sons get any better? I don't think so but then I said that about their last album. Buy.This.Now 10/10

Vader – Tibi et Igni (Nuclear Blast) [Review By Paul]

Polish Death Metal veterans Vader return with their 10th album Tibi et Igni, which means For You and Fire in Latin. It is a fine example of death metal, with the expected powerful drumming, riffs dropping from the sky and smashing you in the face and a pounding rhythm section. Opener Go to Hell commences in classical style before the band blast away the cobwebs with four minutes of brutal assault. Frontman and original member Piotr Wiwczarek delivers trademark death metal vocals throughout whilst the guitar and drum work of Marek Pajak and James Stuart is top drawer. Armada on Fire leaves the listener with blood dripping from the ears, such is the intensity. Triumph of Death continues in a similar vein with a huge riff and hook that is going to incite many a pit in years to come.  This is a thrasher which would sit comfortably on any Lamb Of God release. It rocks! Hexenkessel has a more dramatic intro, sweeping synths and the tolling of bells conjuring images of ancient Rome before dropping into a stomping march with driving rhythm, massive riffs from the twin guitars. The track then expands into all out death with Wiwczarek’s vocals snarling and guttural. Abandon all Hope and Worms of Eden continue the in-your-face attack. The album’s stand out track, The Eye of the Abyss follows. A choral vocal with synth backing to start, organ chords and the sound of thunder build an atmosphere which reaches a crescendo as Vader crash in with a hook so large you could catch Moby Dick with it. The choral parts continue as the band riff their way through the intro. The Wiwczarek’s vocal cut in and it is all out war. Blast beats aplenty with more driving riffs to propel the listener deep into the track. The hook continues and if you close your eyes you can visualise the pit at BOA should these guys get a slot again in the near future.  Finishing the album is the appropriately titled The End, which is a slow burning thrasher with old school Metallica and Slayer  flavourings, clean vocals and narrative. A massive head banger, this has to be a set closer as Wiwczarek growls “Is this the end now?” In a year of some impressive death and thrash releases, Tibi et Igni can rightly sit alongside the best. 8/10

Seprevation – Consumed (Self Released) [Review By Paul]

Youthful Bristol outfit Seprevation’s debut album combines old school death metal with the melody of the newer school outfits such as Bloodshot Dawn. The result is a slab of metal that really should be changed with ABH. This is infectious and groove laden, but retaining the all-out attack that differentiates Death from other genres. First track Divine Devastation starts with the customary instrumental acoustic style, stopping as the guitars and drums kick in. Lluc Tupman’s vocals are delivered with gusto and the typical gargling with gravel style that you would expect. The twin axe attack of Ian Aston and Joss Farrington provide the riffs, with several time changes and some meaty hooks to get your teeth into. Jamie Wintle’s drums batter the fuck out of you.  The production level for a new band is excellent with Stefan Morabito having done an excellent job in the Roman studios where the album was mixed. The album won't provide anything particularly new but then again it’s pretty difficult to do so in the Death scene. However, there is plenty on offer here for the listener and it is a stompingly good album. Sarcophagal Chamber drips with hooks, inviting you to loosen your head from your neck with a good old bang of the head (Warning: Don't listen to this on the tube. I almost started moshing with the other suits!) whilst Slave to the Grave powers along and featured in the recent Metal Hammer thrash CD.  Ten songs in total and by the end you will need a lie down with a cold beer to get your breath back. The final track Between Two Worlds concludes the album nicely, with a blasting punch in the face as the wall of sound engulfs all in its path along with some excellent Maidenesque breakdowns and soloing.  Another stonking release in a year of stunning music and a debut to be proud of. 8/10

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