Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Crotals - Fuel! Flames! Blast! (Album Review)

Fuel! Flames! Blast! cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: April 3rd 2015
Label: Tenacity Music

Fuel! Flames! Blast! - Track Listing

1.Lipstick On A Pig
2.Never Sorry
3.Black Blizzard
4.Slave Of Damnation
5.Wrath
6.Blast
7.Mississippi
8.Shelter
9.Polar Thoughts
10.Desert Odyssey

Members

Maude Oswald (baryton guitar and keyboards)
Guy Borel (guitar & vocals)
Fabrice Marguerat (drums)

Review:

The Crotals sound has been compared to High On Fire, Black Tusk and Bison BC. Sure they have a slight passing resemblance to those great bands but I feel this band have their own sound. The Crotals debut album - Fuel! Flames! Blast! - is an angry and violent package of intense Sludge/Stoner Metal to crush your skull to.

Opening track - Lipstick On A Pig - is a furious offering with the band showing early on what their music is all about. Heavy, loud and jagged instrumental work is blended with pitch perfect Hardcore based vocals and growls. It's quite a bass heavy affair with the drumming and guitars adding layers of noise and tension through out.

Second track - Never Sorry - has more of psychedelic edge with the band playing a more fast-paced style of Sludge/Stoner Rock. Yet again the bass guitar is the main driving force on this song as bassist – Maude shows she knows how to play that instrument with passion and heavy precision.

Third track - Black Blizzard - comes at you like an out of control whirlwind devouring everything in its path. This is one of the heaviest songs on the album and the vocals add a sense of dread and doom. The Crotals do show signs of slower paced riffs that gives their music time to breathe and impress you with. Fourth track - Slave of Damnation - offers a more straight-forward Sludge/Stoner Metal experience as the music is very primal with a more Punk Rock edge. The band are having way too much fun here.

This is the kind of album that impresses you from the start as The Crotals have created an album that's big on ideas and riffs that will have you coming back for more. One of the albums strengths is that most of the songs only run for 3 to 4 mins in length so you're never bored. The Crotals pack a lot of ideas within their music despite the 4 minute runtime. For you instrumental Sludge/Stoner Rock fans - The Crotals have your tastes covered with the excellent instrumental grooves of Wrath and it's packed full of glorious fuzz for you to drown your hearing with. This is my fave song off the album as it gives each band member the chance to show people what they can do. Fantastic drumming spliced with impressive lead guitar and bass guitar all vying for your attention. The song has a slight Kylesa/Karma To Burn vibe with the band playing a heavier style of Stoner Rock.

The 2nd half of the album sees The Crotals venture into heavier territory compared to the first half and it becomes more of an exciting album because of it. The fuzz-laiden psych rock grooves gives the band a chance to stake their claim as one of the most exciting bands to look out for within the scene. Tracks such as Blast and Mississippi has some dark humour lurking in the background as the band offer a dark tale of a mysterious monster like snake. The band crank up the tension on Mississippi with finely tuned slow riffs that makes you feel someone is watching you until the band unleash some of the albums heaviest moments. Another one of the albums standout tracks.

Fuel! Flames! Blast! is perfectly named as it's an explosive album to listen to over and over again. The Crotals are another great band to check out from the Swiss Sludge/Stoner Metal scene and this album will hopefully see the band tour within the European Sludge/Stoner Metal scene as they will go down a storm in the live arena. Fuel! Flames! Blast! is a thrilling experience that I can't recommend highly enough. Until the new High On Fire album is released then this is the next best thing for you to buy. High praise. Possibly. Justified. Most definitely.

Thanks to Viral PR for the promo. Fuel! Flames! Blast! will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Tenacity Music from April 3rd 2015.

Words by Steve Howe

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