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Tuesday 9 July 2019

Reviews: Bokassa, Black Sheep, Lone Gunmen, Ole English (Paul H & Liam)

Bokassa: Crimson Riders (MVKA) [Liam True]

I'll be honest, until the band were announced as the opener support slot for Metallica on their recent stadium tour, I'd never heard of them before. But the record itself is just a showcase of their abilities and what they're capable of. And they were more than deserving of that slot. The Norwegian metal outfit are somewhat of a marmalade band. You either like them, or not. Simple. Me? I love them. With a unique crossover sound, blending both Stoner Rock and Hardcore Punk elements to create a sound like no other band around right now. It's the second album from the band so they have a general idea of what they're doing and the sound they're trying to encapsulate for the masses. And if they keep this momentum up, who knows where they'll be within the next 4-5 years. I can definitely see them being on the festival circuit and being a hit on their own headliners. But only time will tell. But right now, let's just let this record sink in. 8/10 

Black Sheep: State Of Mind (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

Not exactly an unusual choice of name in the world of music, a quick Google reveals that Black Sheep were the band that Lou Gramm sang in before he joined Foreigner, a punk band from Belgium, a hip-hop duo from Queens and Dorset’s most popular barn dance band. This however, is a four-piece stoner outfit from Lanaudière, Quebec. With a typically fuzzy dirty sound, what appeals about Black Sheep is their blues backbone which complements the usual influences of Sabbath, Orange Goblin, Sasquatch, Down and Clutch. Anthony Savard’s gravel-soaked vocals are perfectly suited to the gritty heavy sound that is produced by Gabriel Bellerose’s filthy guitar, Marc-André Dubrule’s doom soaked bass and the Bill Ward style drumming of Dave Labbé. It’s perfect for summer driving, summer drinking or just summer. Which is great because I’ve listened to it doing both (not at the same time kids, remember, drinking and driving kills). Time Is Mine, the Sabbath induced riffage of On The Highway and the Southern swagger of closing track Wasted Love are all fine tunes that demonstrate that Black Sheep have a quality well worth listening to. 7/10

Lone Gunmen: Lead Skies (Self Released) [Liam True]

I don't know what i was expecting from this record. With the name of the band I guess I was expecting a Black Stone Cherry and Blackberry Smoke crossover, but I was not expecting a German Groove Metal band. Being the band’s first full length (after releasing an EP back in 2016) it's full of riffs and an aggressive sound. The band themselves just plough through the record at a grueling pace with face melting riffs, ear shattering drums and throat ripping vocals with almost a demonic feel. Vocalist Hendrik Noack leads the band as they journey through the dark depths of Lead Skies, providing a musical backdrop that would fit in perfectly with a Mad Max movie or just any apocalyptic scene.

Back to front the record keeps you glued as you have no idea how the next song with start. You could have the furious finger work of Robin Görss ripping you to shreds, then the next moment you could have the deep dark tones of bassist Stefan Riesz pounding you until you're begging for more. Even though the vocals feel like it, it's not a Death Metal or standard Heavy Metal record. It's a pure adrenaline rush of aggressive Groove Metal madness. Get these guys on the road with Lamb Of God and they'll fit in perfectly. 7/10

Ole English: Ole English (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

26 minutes of throbbing, pulsating stoner rock from Lafayette, Louisiana. This is right up there with the usual balls out rock that you’d expect from a band that soaks up the best of the 70s vintage rock and desert rock. It powers from start to finish, kicks your ass and then heads off down the high street whistling. Ferocious riffage, thundering bass and drumming and the gravel-soaked vocals that all good stoner bands possess. Definitely one for summer driving and whiskey drinking. 7/10

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