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Tuesday 29 November 2022

Reviews: Nickelback, Gaupa, League Of Distortion, Doctor Doom (Reviews By Matt Bladen & Rich Piva)

Nickelback - Get Rollin (Nickelback Records/BMG) [Matt Bladen]

Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger and Daniel Adair have been the metal/rock worlds whipping boys for a long time now. Is what they do serious? Is it a joke? To be honest they probably couldn't give a flying shit what people think of them as they sell tens of thousands of albums play to hundreds of thousands of people and are all millionaires having had massive chatting singles in the past, cementing their place as Canada's biggest and probably most successful musical export. 

Get Rollin' is their tenth studio album and was born out Mike Kroger's want to get heavier with their sound, recorded with no time limits in place as they have their own record labels so basically do what they want, it's been in the works since 2019 at their studio in Canada but Get Rollin' with it's very un metal album cover has finally arrived. Preceded by a cover of Charlie Daniels Band The Devil Went Down To Georgia and the first single from this record being the riffy San Quentin, perhaps doubling down on the band wanting to focus on being heavier, though I've always thought that when they want to be Nickelback are able to get some really metal grooves. 

The heavy riffs continue on Skinny Little Missy, another Nickelback trope of having a lot of innuendo, followed by a reflective, nostalgia driven ballad in Those Days. So far it's same dog, same tricks, High Time with country meets Cheech & Chong being the one song that doesn't stick to the tried and tested Nickelback formula. Despite being one of the most divisive bands in the rock world Nickelback have brought another solid album of music that isn't as heavy as you'd expect from the preamble before it. Still it'll sell shit loads and the singles will be lodged on the radio for weeks. 7/10

Gaupa - Myriad (Nuclear Blast) [Rich Piva]

We are blessed by the music gods to have such excellent stoner/doom bands with killer female vocals these days. Gaupa is another great example. I have heard some comments regarding the band that they sound like a stoner band with Bjork on vocals. This really shortchanges how excellent the band and their new album, Myriad, is. Yes, there is some truth to that comment, but the crew from Falun, Sweden brings so much more to the table with their latest offering.

The title track, Exoskeleton is an excellent blend of stoner and heavy blues vibes with some proggy bits. This is the theme throughout Myriad. Diametrical Enchantress has a killer low end and some nice riffs, and is way more on the stoner tip, reminding me of something from the killer Wytch record from last year. Moloken brings some of the psych/prog vibes as well as the vocal style that reminds us of the lead singer of the Sugarcubes, but vocalist Emma Näslund has a more soulful voice compared to the Icelandic one.

The tracks Ra and Elden are more of slow burners with more of the same excellent vocal performance that is evident thought the record. One of the song names of the year, My Sister Is A Very Angry Man, has another great riff and goes all out prog on us creating my favorite song on the record; frantic, unique, and super fun. The folky acoustic track Somnen sung in their native language is a nice lead into the killer closer, Mammon that incorporates all the goodness throughout Myriad with some especially cool guitar work.

Gaupa has gifted us with not just another female lead stoner record to throw in with the rest of them. The band brings all their bag of tricks to the table, leveraging the unique (well…except for that one) vocal stylings, their riffs, but also some psych and prog vibes to make this a fun and different offering from most of what you will hear this year. 8/10

League Of Distortion - League Of Distortion (Napalm Records) [Matt Bladen]

Formed as a union between Exit Eden's Anna Brunner and Kissin' Dynamite's Jim Müller, League Of Distortion is a chorus driven modern metal band with throbbing electronic pulses. Having formed as a way to express their frustration and fear of the pandemic, a way of channeling that through some dark music. 

This debut album is a fast paced, extremely modern style of metal, but it does seem to taking a similar route as a lot of bands, relying on electronics to create an atmosphere, tracks such as It Hurts So Good pairing those pulsating synths with some huge riffs and Brunner's gritty vocals, raw vocals. Influences of In This Moment, Stitched Up Heart and New Year's Day hang heavy, but unfortunately League Of Distortion don't add anything more than these bands have been doing for a long time now. 

From the goth creeping of I'm A Bitch, the alt country of Rebel By Choice and the slithering The Bitter End, it's all very angsty and hot right now, but as much as I can say that they are just a new addition to a very large contingent of bands that use this style but to paraphrase their song of the same name Do You Think They Fucking Care? 7/10

DoctoR DooM - A Shadow Called Danger (Black Farm Records/Ripple Music) [Rich Piva]

DoctoR DooM is back after seven years with their second full length, A Shadow Called Danger. I absolutely loved their debut and thought maybe it would be a one off and disappear situation, but the French band is back and as good as ever with their latest.

DoctoR DooM are firmly rooted in the 70s proto arena, but A Shadow Called Danger has more proggy bits and is heavier than their debut. By heavy I am not talking riffs to knock your head off, but a more urgent and darker vibe. The killer opener Comeback To Yourself is some killer heavy proto, but the tempo changes and different directions bring more prog and maybe even a bit of a jazzy feel to the record. Songs like What Are They Trying To Sell and Connected By The Worst are firmly rooted in 1975 in the best kind of way. 

The former has a heavy, doomy breakdown (you may expect this more given their name, but…) that is that next level of heavy that you didn’t get from their debut while also bringing some killer keys along for the ride. The latter a proto ripper that may be my favorite track on the record. These songs and the whole record sound amazing; the production is spot on for what these guys are bringing. This album goes in many different directions, but never sounds too scattered, case in point Ride On, a slow burner with its acoustic opening and almost bluesy feel that once again is firmly rooted in 70s influence. All eight tracks on A Shadow Called Danger are keepers and flow perfectly over the entire 45 minutes that flies by on each listen.

I am so happy to have a new DoctoR DooM record, and you will be too if you dig the proto with some prog and even jazzy vibes that these guys bring. A Shadow Called Danger is a must listen for anyone who wants to hear a perfectly produced unique rock album that will be a keeper for years to come. 8/10

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