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Friday 9 July 2021

Reviews: Ethyrfield, Laurenne/Louhimo, Lazy Man's Load, Kardinal X (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Ethyrfield - In Delirium (Self Released)

Brothers Zach (vocals/bass) and Ben Cornish (guitar) along with Dan Aston (drums) make-up Ethyrfield a progressive/alternative/grunge rock band from the West Country. They have toured the country and played at multiple HRH events, as well as winning the 2018 West Country M2TM to play Bloodstock festival that year. In Delirium is their first full length review following on from two EP's in 2017 and 2019. It was produced by Josiah Manning in Momentum Studios in Plymouth and it is a very accomplished record with influences drawn from bands such as Soundgarden, Muse and even Rush, creating a musical palette that belies their trio status, a song such as Delirium is multifaceted with acoustic layers, shifting riffs and lots of synth/organ from Josiah Manning. There's tonnes of scope on In Delirium every track adding or taking away influences to make them all sound different but inclusive to the overall style of the record.

He also contributes to the keening Laying On Of Hands which is a majestic prog metal piece with elements of Porcupine Tree and Opeth, the soaring leads of Ben, having a undulating heavy rhythm from Zach and Dan to work against with Hammonds expanding the musical horizon. It's that idea that seems to be rife through this record, moving on from their grunge sound of the EP's into a much more expressive progressive rock/metal sound that allows them to do things such as the haunting acoustic powered Overgrown or opening song River which is an auspicious (Von Hertzen Bros-like) beginning to what unfurls into a powerful record. The most emotional song being Remembering which is a harrowing but hopeful song about Dementia that carries itself like Steven Wilson's Raven That Refused To Sing, those classic prog soundscapes looming large before the thumping Bitter Wishbone returns to the grungy beginnings.

In Delirium is a brilliant album, from the psych/stoner of Sunstroke and Delirium, we get into the heavy Zep-like riff fests such as The Hunter and Serenity, with more stripped back moments such as Overgrown, that I previously talked about. Everything about it is slick, polished and full of promise of more to come. I'm really pleased I got to review this album as it's bloody brilliant, just go and listen to it! 9/10  

Laurenne/Louhimo - The Reckoning (Frontiers Music Srl)

Ah yet another collaboration album trying to recapture the popularity of Allen/Lande, this time though they have enlisted the vocal talents of Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast) and Netta Laurenne (Smackbound). Both women have unique vocals that work well together the powerful booming voice of Noora mixing well with the more gritty style of Netta. The songwriting was mainly done by Netta and her husband/guitarist/producer Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone) the tracks balanced to suit both of their voices so they are possibly a little lighter than either women's day jobs,, with the exception of Bitch Fire possibly. Nino plays the guitar on this record Sampo Haapaniemi on drums., and while the songs are slick and well composed they really don't recapture that Allen/Lande magic. Still from the PR around this album it seems that the two women from Tampere in Finland had a great time recording this album together calling each other long lost soul sisters, so who am I to criticize too much. It's decent hard rock/melodic metal but really only appealing to fans of each singer's own band and Frontiers completeists. 5/10 

Lazy Man's Load - All Hat, No Cattle (Sleazsy Rider Records)

Made up of Johnny Fixx (guitars), Chow (bass), Pani Blaster (drums) and Roxx Krash (vocals), Lazy Man's Load are a Southern/Stoner metal band from Greece. Their style is similar to that of NOLA bands such as Corrosion Of Conformity, Crowbar and Down along with heavy riffers like Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet and Clutch. All Hat, No Cattle is a concept record set in a post-apocalypse Western world but the music is strictly big riffing stoner metal tracks such as In For The Kill which leads in with a long intro before the choppy riff invokes desert rock as does the low groove of Start Breathing

The Down influence is brought to life on Influenza which comes from the percussive interludes that featured on their second album as well as Sabbath classic Planet Caravan. All Hat, No Cattle is a heavy stoner record that has all of the hallmarks from the bands mentioned earlier. The concept is a little unnecessary to be honest but I guess it's an excuse to link these tracks together an give the album an overall theme. If big Southern stoner riffs do it for you then grab a few beers (and your horse) and throw on Lazy Man's Load. 6/10

Kardinal X - The Revolution (Self Released)

Formed in London in 2019, Kardinal X are no young punks, frontman Jimi James is an experienced actor/singer, guitarist Shaun Dunne, bassist Ade Kiely and drummer John Kane all have similar levels of time served under their collective belts. The Revolution is their debut record and I realise that it may seem as if Kardinal X are one of the numerous NWOBHM bands that 'reactivated' later in life and to a point they are, especially as musically they have a NWOBHM sound with the darker tones of Dio-era Sabbath due to the melodic but still fuzzy riffage. The production on The Revolution is quite D.I.Y but it's supposed to be this way I guess. It never detracts from the record as a whole especially James' epic vocals which shine on The Plot and Saint Agony, he's got a great range that delivers the political lyricism of the band very well as the band crank out big riffs that also bring to mind bands like Metal Church but with some heavier progressive style that creeps in on the longer tracks such as Heretic and Scourge where there's lots of great guitar work. As a debut record The Revolution stands out from many bands who are on their first record as the experience level shines through from the off. Very much worth your time! 7/10  

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