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Blind River


Joe Bonamassa ROYAL TEA.jpg

This is not so much an album, as more an onslaught. Instead of recording a record that is carefully honed in the production studio, Blind River have decided to capture something of the essence of their live performances without the outtakes but with a rock-out feel. Most of the ten tracks are dispensed at breakneck pace with the lyrical content as raw and nihilistic as one can get, all thunder and drums leaving the listener thoroughly energised.

'Punkstarter' introduces the furious overall rhythm (which has led the band to be compared quite favourably to Motorhead) where vocalist Harry Armstrong has the frenetic delivery of Lemmy, but his phrasing less constantly raspy and more in line with Southern Hard Rock. This seems more apparent on the following track, 'Second-Hand Soul', where his ability to project through the chest spearheads the whole album, allowing the other members (Dan Edwards and Chris Charles on guitars, Will Hughes on bass and Andrew Esson on drums) to join in with the offensive.

'Out Of Time', tricks the listener into catching one’s breath for a few seconds, with a slightly lowered tempo, but there is no let-up in the crunching guitar grooves and the insistence of Esson’s drumming. This serves as a prelude to the centre-piece of the album: with an opening that bears a striking resemblance to early Oasis, 'Skeleton Thief' starts to develop along more melodic metal lines, this time Armstrong is in more of a plaintive mood but the overall mood suggests a storm is brewing: the dynamics rhythmically interchange building up to an all-out assault of primal screams and Blues-Metal riffs.

'Unwind' reminded me of a souped-up Lenny Kravitz intro before it broke into a blistering, but no less, funky baseline recalling Flea out of the Red-Hot Chili Peppers when they were a crude but visceral band starting out. The finale, 'Bad God', played homage to Led Zep leaving me with the impression that I had just been smashed over the head with a gold-plated sonic brick.

Beware this record can break your stereo.

Ivan De Mello

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