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Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Reviews: Michael Monroe, Indus Valley Kings, Sabotør, Chasin Voorhees (Reviews By Finn O'Dell, Quinn Mattfeld, Rich P & Matt Cook)

Michael Monroe - I Live Too Fast To Die Young (Silver Lining Music) [Finn O'Dell]

So, who hasn't at least heard of this artist or his band from the 80's, Hanoi Rocks? This man is a legend of rock and this is his 10th solo album, the last being in the fall of 2019. The new album title is interesting as Michael will be 60 on June 17. 3 of these songs have recently been released prior to the June 10 release of the full album. So, let's dig in. The answer to the inevitable question is , yes he still has it. The album opens with Murder The Summer Of Love and it rocks. His musical style has not changed too much over the years, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The next song, Young Drunks & Old Alcoholics, has more of the punk oriented rock sound prevalent. Derelict Palace slows things down a touch. Everybody's Nobody has Michael playing some harmonica. Pagan Prayer is a fast paced more punk type tune. The title track has Slash contributing a guitar solo & additional guitars. The album ends with a slower song, Dearly Departed. There is never a dull moment on this release. Overall, 11 tracks that provide a good mix of bangers and ballads. It does my heart good to hear a legend like this still putting out great quality music in their older years. Quite inspiring. 9/10

Indus Valley Kings - Origin (Self Released) [Quinn Mattfeld]

I hope he won't take this the wrong way, but sometimes I'm so grateful that Tony Iommi lost the tips of two fingers in an industrial accident. Had that fateful event not occurred, causing him to tune down his guitar to make playing less painful, so much of the music I love might not exist. The Indus Valley Kings are under no illusions about their influences. Like so many others of their generation, they are the inheritors of Iommi’s earth; the Bastards Of Reality.

On their sophomore release, Origin, Indus Valley Kings bring the full promise of Iommi's musical vision to light, roaring out of the gate with Clown, an unholy hybrid of 70’s era Sabbath and Acid Bath without the abject nihilism. Following closely on its heels is ...And The Dead Shall Rise, which, titular Metallica references aside, feels like a Lord Of This World-Doom worship standard (as if such things could ever be standard) until deep into the 3 minute mark, when the bands slides expertly into one of the album’s many surprising and welcome tempo shifts. Suddenly, it's a jazzy, palette-cleansing shredder barreling toward the third and final chorus with new life!

And so the remainder of the record goes, luring us into a fuzzy, doomy, head-bob before slapping us out of our metal perma-snarl with musical verfremdungseffekt including Melvins inspired sludge-riffs and jazzy drum breakdowns. Origin builds masterfully toward its crown-jewel: the soaring, anthemic Sky King which lets us know that the Indus Valley has even more creative territory yet to explore. Sabbath worship is replete in these darkened corners of the metal world, what sets these Kings apart is that Iommi's tone isn't the be all and the end all; it's merely the starting point for the Indus Valley King's unique brand of mythic, revelatory Desert-Doom. 9/10

Sabotør - Skyggekæmper (HQ REC/Pudsige Herrer Musik Aps) [Rich P]

There is a lot going on here. I am already behind the eight ball because I don’t speak Danish, which is what Sabotør’s new and debut album, Skyggekæmper, is sung in. What I can tell you about these guys is that they seem to be ultra-political, wear masks, have the bass turned way up (all songs have “three-part fuzz-octave bass” according to their presser), and can bring the riffs. There is a lot going on here from a style a genre standpoint, something that it seems Sabotør strives for in their output. But is it any good? Yes, it is, but there are a few things we need to discuss. 

First, the record is full of energy, mostly in a good way. But sometimes we head off in directions that makes the album feel a bit all over the place. The opening track, Robot, reminds me a lot of Faith No More. To me, that is the closest comparison I have for these guys. There are some stoner vibes going on as well, but a song like Robot is almost like a punk version of FNM sung in Danish. Interesting to say the least. The second track is straight up funky, with the bass leading the way and an almost heavy Chili Peppers vibe going on. The track King Diamond does not sound like its namesake but brings more of the stoner side of the band I mentioned earlier with some great riffs and that heavy bass leading the way. My favorite track is the also funky/heavy Sabbatår, which has a catchy chorus that if I spoke Danish I may try to sing along to.
The kind of spastic back and forth makes this record unique and interesting, but also a bit much, often having the fifty-minute runtime feel about twenty minutes more than it is. I do applaud the creativity and the funky heaviness these guys are brining. Plus, if I say you remind me of Faith No More that is always going to be a compliment coming from me. So, maybe start with a track like Robot or Sabbatår and see if it grabs you then investigate from there. If you have the attention span to spend some time all over the map and you are OK with lyrics not in your native language (unless it is), this may be for you. I dug it in parts for sure, but I would have to be in the right mood for a full album sit down again. 6/10

Chasin’ Voorhees – Crystal Lake (Molotov Bat Recordings) [Matt Cook]

The pandemic era wouldn’t be complete without the debut work of a painfully on-the-nose, Friday The 13th-inspired band releasing a rip-roaring record rife with grit, tenacity and pugilistic tendencies. That’s precisely what Chasin’ Voorhees (get it?) put together with Crystal Lake, a self-released anthology which confidently discredits the notion that this Welsh group is nothing but a side show act. Each of the – ahem – 13 tracks coalesce as separate entities, owing to a larger display of diversity felt throughout. Down Underneath for example is a cacophonous barrage of drums, guitar and growls. The riffs are thick and dense. Packanack is an equally pernicious undertaking, invoking satisfactorily harsh vocals which, as the song progresses, maintains its bite while also spattering in some groove for good measure.

Zany guitar fills encapsulate Haven and Kill Or Be Killed appropriately wields a hammering riff. There is no shortage of heaviness. Aside from the musical ins and outs, Crystal Lake deserves a pat on the back simply because it isn’t riddled with excessive, distracting sound clips. A cop out would have been including a dozen or so snippets from past movies within the franchise, but Chasin’ Voorhees are cautious with this, and it allows for the band to better refine the vicious brand of death metal that’s been whipped up. If you take the theme out of this record, it still stands nose-to-nose with any other serviceable release within the genre. 

It checks all the boxes: the rhythm section is clearly talented, but there isn’t an abundance of arrogant fluff; the inherent individuality of each composition is a testament to the band’s effort and consistency; and the vocals blend effortlessly with the music, instead of emulating mixing oil with water. 7/10

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