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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Reviews: The Datsuns, Antemasque, Immortal Guardian

The Datsuns: Deep Sleep (Hellsquad Records)

The Datsuns have been peddling their high quality fuzzy garage rock since 2002 and their sixth record is yet another trippy, reverbed, fuzzed up slice of down and dirty rock. The album kicks off with Caught In The Silver which is driven by frontman Rudolf de Borst's rumbling low end and Phil Somervell and Christian Livingstone's distorted guitars, Bad Taste is a radio rocker that comes straight out of the QOTSA playbook, Claw Machine has a shuffle that the Hellacopters would love. The band merge classic hard rock, noisy garage rock That's What You Get, punk rock on Shaky Mirrors, all combined with huge slabs of psychedelia especially on 500 Eyes which has a 60's Jefferson Airplane vibe that with a gorgeous slide solo in the middle. For a band that have been around so long you can really hear the years of touring and recording have paid off as this album is slick and flawless in it's execution. The guitars sear, the bass rumbles, the drums tumble and they all come together brilliantly. As the album rounds off with the trippy title track, you've been taken on a journey into The Datsuns little world rock and roll that encompasses elements of 60's psych, the blues rock of The Black Keys and lashings of professionalism. A great album with broad appeal. 7/10

Antemasque: S/T (Nadie Sound)

So after the explosion of The Mars Volta. Thw two main men Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala had somewhat of a falling out leading many to believe that neither The Mars Volta or indeed At The Drive In would ever return and they in part are right as even though the two have buried the hatchet they have returned with a new band and a sound that seems to be an amalgamtion of their two bands as well as drawing from all of their other projects. Unlike The Mars Volta, Antemasque are a more straight up prospect as the songs like 4AM and I Got No Remorse are based more around driving punk rock mixed with Rodríguez-López's extremely talented guitar playing, so think progressive punk rock/hard rock and you wouldn't be far off. In fact as this album progresses it becomes clear that this is what The Mars Volta had been aiming for on their two final(?) albums. I've already mentioned about Rodríguez-López's excellent of kilter, noodling, jazz guitar which set this album out like an upbeat, progressive The Smiths see In The Lurch. Bixler-Zavala's vocals are also very good he keeps his caterwauling to a minimum on this project preferring to concentrate on his normal mid range meaning that he is a lot more listenable for those that found his vocals in The Mars Volta to be a little overbearing. Former TMV and Killer Be Killed drummer Dave Elitch provides the crazy percussion sometimes sounding like he is playing a completely separate song, think Stewart Copeland, the funk bottom comes from funk bass pioneer Flea (who notably contributed trumpet to TMV). Everything gets a little Zeppelin on Drown All Your Witches before making everything gets dark and fuzzy and in the finale heavy on Providence. I'll be honest I've always been a fan of The Mars Volta but they have always been a little too out there for many, Antemasque is the bridge between the gap, it's proggy enough for TMV fans but also mainstream friendly enough for fans of At The Drive In, RHCP's and accessible rock music. 8/10   

Immortal Guardian: Revolution Part 1 (Independent)

American extreme power metal band Immortal Guardian first came to my attention with their first EP Super Metal. I thought it was a hell of an album with the kind of speed metal riffs that wouldn't seem out of place on a Symphony X, Dragonforce or indeed any Japanese metal album. However the album was lacking vocally, that was until it was re-relased with their then new, now current vocalist Carlos Zema who has a hell of voice in the style of Russell Allen, gritty, powerful but also stratospheric. Revolution Part 1 is the precursor EP for their debut full length album and yet again it features some insane musicanship from these madmen the rhythm section of Thad Stevens bass and Cody Gilland's drums are insane with Steven's gallop having more horsepower than a Mazerati and Gilland's blast beating putting some black metal drummers to shame. To add the melodies and riffs we look to Gabriel Guardian who contributes guitars and keyboards (most of the time simultaneously) and Jyro Alejo who shreds like Malmsteen at lightspeed. Over these five tracks we have the two opening tracks the power metal rampage of Beyond The Skies, the heavier darker tone of Walk Alone before the middle of the album delivers one it's finest tracks, the excellent Immortal which features Roy Z who has contributed to both Rob Halford's and Bruce Dickinson's solo projects and also produces this EP, this track is phenomenal featuring lots of light and shade, a progressive nature and shit loads of guitar solos from the Guardian boys and Mr Z himself. Before we are treated to a huge ballad on Between Fire And Ice which has huge backing vocals and slows everything down fleshing out IG's sound a bit more before the finale of Victory Shore ends the album in true IG style. If this is an indication of what the album will sound like then it's guaranteed to be a real treat for metal fans!! 8/10


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