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Monday 27 January 2014

Reviews: Skindred, BlackWolf, Mustasch

Skindred: Kill The Power (BMG)

Benji and the boyos bring the noise again with their fifth album, with the dub infected title track starting things off nicely promising a "Resident Evil attack" which it delivers along with a Kanye West sample. This moves into Ruling Force which is heavy at the beginning but breaks down into electro throughout. The dub (step) is here with Playing With The Devil as is the rock with World's On Fire and Ninja which is heavy as hell and very tongue in cheek.  So have the band created an album better than their world beating effort Union Black, the album that saw them elevated in status and even festival headliners. In a word no, yes that album is good but is doesn't seem very cohesive, yes the album has the reggae, ska and rock all fusing brilliantly once again to create some unique rock/metal but it does start with a bang and then burn out towards the end. The band have created to ballads with The Kids Are Right Now which is good but We Live does sound a bit too much like 30 seconds To Mars for my liking. The albums latter half just tends to fade out a little bit towards the end with the duet Opened Eyed being one of the better tracks. Benji's voice is still cracking he can growl, shout, croon and rap with the rhythm section of Pugsley and Goggin driving things along and the guitar of Mikey Demus bringing the odd off kilter riffs. This is Skindred doing what they do but yet again a studio album fails to capture the bands fierce live performance, maybe one day an album will but Kill The Power is not that album, still it does add a few more tracks to the Skindred showcase. 7/10

BlackWolf: The Hunt (Self Release)

BlackWolf fly the flak for real rock n roll, having witnessed their stuff live a few times, and they have always impressed and with tours supporting The Temperance Movement, The Union and Voodoo Six. Their EP was a small slice of the bands talent so it was with great to hear they were working on a full length debut. So The Hunt has arrived and it's pretty damn good. things start strong with the funky blues bluster of Mr Maker (the first single) which features the bands trademark modern hard rock with Jason Cronin's riffs cranking out like Acca Dacca on a very good day and John Greenhill's solos screeching and crying over the songs with aplomb, things keep rocking through Keep Moving On, Moving Mountains before things slow down with the laid back blues filled Zep alike Faith In Me. Ben Webb and Thomas Lennox-Brown keep the rhythm fast and furious on tracks like Trouble with the Webb's bass providing the anchor and Lennox-Brown's drums brimming with fury and lots of Cowbell! When brought together with modern retro riffs and solos the instrumental part of this band is pretty flawless so it takes a pretty special vocalist to finish things off thankfully Scott Sharp has the pipes to do so equally soulful and powerful thundering on Only Said In Silence. Blackwolf are a band that has a lot of similarities to The Answer (a band they tour with this year) with enough classic sounds to keep the old-school pounding their fists and nodding their heads but has a distinctly modern flavour too. This is a storming debut album that will (hopefully) set BlackWolf on the path to greatness, bluesy, ballsy and rocking!! 9/10 

Mustasch: Thank You For The Demon (Gain Music/Sony)

Mustasch are somewhat of an odd band hailing from Sweden they play heavy stoner metal full of massive truck rolling riffs and huge shouted choruses. I have always maintained that Mustasch sound like Metallica stuck in their black album period and after the slow intro to Feared And Hated the riffs kick in with force, the down stroking is prime Hetfield with Ralph Gyllenhammar driving the song with both the rhythm guitar and his powerful vocals, the powerhouse drumming of new boy Jejo Perkovic and the always rumbling bass of Mats Stam Johansson providing the big metal riffage that David Johannesson can solo over. Like I said Mustasch have always been a bit of an enigma merging stoner metal (Lowlife Highlights) with doom (The Mauler), some hard rock and also a weird electronic dance mix on the suitably named I Hate To Dance, to build their sound before adding some intelligent lyrics and lots of classical backing tracks that add an extra dimension to the tracks, see the title track. This album is a marked improvement on their last album it sounds more like their earlier works with lots of hard hitting songs that clobber you around the head with their full pelt riffing, the tracks on this record make you want to raise your fist in the air and moves you on All My Life. Mustasch have again released a strong metal album that will be ignored en masse but for those that seek it out will be rewarded. 8/10

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