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Thursday 26 September 2019

Reviews: Burnt Out Wreck, The Defiants, Holy Serpent, The Lumberjack Feedback (Matt, Paul & Lee)

Burnt Out Wreck: This Is Hell (Burt Out Wreckords/Cherry Red) [Matt Bladen]

Gary Moat formerly of Heavy Pettin and Mother's Ruin and his band Burnt Out Wreck return with their second album. Swallow was a great slab of feel good rock n roll, but This Is Hell ramps it all up especially with the incendiary opener Dead Or Alive which has the pace of a runaway train (running off the tracks). Now as you can probably guess from the last line Burnt Out Wreck have a similar blue collar 'pub rock' sound as AC/DC, but specifically the early Bon Scott years when the band were a raw and fronted by the charismatic Scott, Moat's vocals have that same whiskey soaked grit as Bon as the rest of the band Alex Carmichael (Bass), Paul Gray (Drums), Adrian Dunn (Lead Guitar) and Miles Goodman (Rhythm Guitar) bring those head banging riffs on the furious numbers such as Dead Or Alive, but also the walking mid-paced rockers such as Just A Dog and the title track, without sacrificing their blues base on songs such as Paddywack. It's as close as you're going to and AC/DC album for a while and it really fills the hole well, bringing to mind those days of Highway To Hell and TNT especially Headfuck, there are the shouted backing vocals, wild guitar solos and of course some filthy lyrics such as Rock Hard Sticky Sweet which if sung out loud may land you in trouble. Burnt Out Wreck have successfully made a hard rocking good time album perfect swigging a few beers (or the bands own brand whiskey) and playing out loud, if This Is Hell then I'll jump on the highway right now! 8/10

The Defiants: Zokusho (Frontiers Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Occasionally we drift back to the Frontiers avalanche of melodic rock which shows no sign of stopping. I suppose for those of us who steer clear of the AOR sound (apart from the odd throw back to the 1980s at some god-awful power ballad evening – yes, Richard Oliver, I’m looking at you squire!) it’s a surprise that there are so many bands out there peddling this heart warming soft rock but why should it be? There are about a million death metal bands so why not AOR? The Defiants formed around four years ago, the remnants of the New York hard rock outfit Danger Danger, or D2, and Zokusho (The Sequel or Next Chapter) is their sophomore release after their eponymous debut. D2 drummer Steve West guests on the album, alongside vocalist/guitarist Paul Laine, bassist Bruno Ravel and Rob Marello on guitar.

Opening with Love Is The Killer, a rocking Bon Jovi style hands in the air song, Zokusho is 60 minutes of classic thick harmonies, smooth melodies and jagged riffs. Standing On The Edge includes a deliberate Whitesnake breakdown in the middle, Laine’s emotive vocals soaring all over the song, whilst the lyrics in Hollywood In Headlights are ghastly and typical of the love-sick guff that this genre is so fond of. It doesn’t really change, Fallin’ For You, the inevitable ballad Hold On Tonight and U X’D My Heart are polished and well performed but the constant bravado, machismo and pompous style are a little tiresome, despite the quality of the music. If you like your music styled on the 1980s AOR sound then this will float your boat. It makes me just a little queasy. 6/10
Holy Serpent: Endless (RidingEasy Records) [Matt Bladen]

Health warning: Do not listen to this album while using heavy lifting machinery or driving a car, such is the mesmerizing effect it has many will think you are on a high does of mind altering drugs. These Aussie stoners are inspired heavily by the ocean and it's evident why with their wave after wave of droning, almost neverending heft, the songs bring repetitive riffs and dreamy vocals that create layered rhythms to nod your head too as you zone out of the conscious world. Inspired by those desert rock pioneers of California Holy Serpent have crafted their third album to create a loose lyrical theme of two lovers walking into the ocean to end their lives and all that sadness and elemental force is reckoned amongst the 6 tracks on this album. Its 40 minutes of down-tuned fuzz and reverb drenched vocals that could have you mistaking them for Sleep as tracks such as the pacey (for them) Into The Fire chug past before breaking into a final shimmer and fade out, the bass and drums bring you back kicking off the monolithic hammering of Daughter Of Light which is the second longest song on the record only beaten by the rumbling might of For No One. This is not an album for those who want million note flurries and sing along silliness, Endless is a hard riffing psychedelic rock album that is best enjoyed when you expand your mind. 7/10

The Lumberjack Feedback: Mere Mortals (Deadlight Records) [Lee Burgess]

The Lumberjack Feedback, well, this is tough. It has groove, it has anger, it has energy and man does it chug like hell. It also gives us something to think about in its harsh delivery. Yet another group under the banner of post-something, something, The Lumberjack do well to have an original sound that stands them just above the long queue of outfits that seems never-ending right now. They give us blistering tracks that sound crisp and yet raw. In a lot of ways, this feel like old music, from HIMSA era metal, often mixing an almost impossible array of metallic sub genres, but never slipping into a cheap carbon copy. We have Sludge, Hardcore, Thrash and even doom but all with a walloping post-metaledge that kicks and punches us almost non-stop through unrelenting killer tracks. It’s sometimes difficult to know when this lot are not just trying to outsmart the metal scene in its mix of styles. But, in asking why this has to matter, I think we hit the nail on the head. It doesn’t matter.

Whether they are storming through white hot riffage or battering our lugholes with whatever-core breakdowns, it’s clear that genre is not something that The Lumberjack Feedback gives a shit about. What is also very obvious is they are not actually trying to feel anyone. They have a clear mission, and that is simply to make crushing music which will probably leave you wanting more. In a record that is nothing short of audio chaos, we have a great collection of tunes that are rich and bombastic, but as I say raw and hefty. It’s the kind of brutality that also shows beauty and craftsmanship. Personal favourite tracks include Kobe, which is a lingering track, showing real skill but also Wind Last Blow, with it its thrashing attack of chugging riffage mixed with an industrial crunch and a prog-like sensibility. I really rate this lot. They challenge, but never vanish up their own chocolate boxes. It’s nice to know that sometimes metal can be epic and atmospheric without needing to be arrogant and ultra-arty. 9/10

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