Friday, 29 May 2015

Godsized - 'Heavy Lies The Crown' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 28/04/2015
Label: Metalville

‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ CD//DD track listing:

1). Welcome to Hell
2). Saving You
3). Push Against the Tide
4). Never a Better Time
5). Web of Lies
6). Fade
7). Forgotten Friend
8). Do You See What I See?
9). Stone Cold Blow to the Head
10). Out of Fear
11). Pay Your Debt


For a band as little known as Godsized, having Zakk Wylde personally cite, with a passion, that’s he’s a fan of your music is a fantastic accolade. It’s valuable too for any band which writes heavy, blues honouring music such as this and for this British quartet especially, the reputation senior Wylde's enthusiasm has helped garnish has been priceless. But friends in high places aren’t everything and such a weighty compliment could so easily metamorphoses into an albatross around their collective necks. So not only does ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ stand as testament to why exactly the ex-Ozzy man and part-Viking gunslinger loves this band, it begs the question as to why they are indeed, with this their second full length album, still a little known band.

It’s been over four years since they provided amicable, if not bang on the money support on Black Label’s Society’s UK theatre tour. They had just released their second EP, ‘The Phoney Tough & The Crazy Brave,’ and on that billing their x-ray showed a striking similarity in their basic bone structure to the headline act. It worked a treat, especially for people like myself who attended those shows early to catch a band they already had a degree admiration for. But the cynics amongst us would have liked a bit more of their own DNA to have been amongst those meaty rhythms and muscular riffs.

If that was a band - and a promising one at that - in its infancy, then 'Heavy Lies The Crown' is the band outgrowing their adolescence. They're developing into a very classy unit with a raw and heartfelt emotion as predominant in their songs as there are greasy grooves and stylish solos. Its macro songsmithery and such a philosophy will only help this record become their most wide reaching to date.  

The album as a whole is as revisitable as a grandmother who spends all her pension on sweets for her offspring's own, but what’s perhaps most enjoyable about the record is way it progresses. Each song is extremely well written and although you could well argue that a more radio-friendly sound – which is damn excellent at that – is at the expense of some of their aggression and voraciousness, you can’t fault the quality.

There are still plenty of crushing riffs in these songs, the thing is that the songs are rather more centric to the chord progressions and vocal melodies; in other words, it’s the bare bones that the tactile songwriting orientates around and the individuality of their modern day make-up in that sense has blossomed considerably. Building on from there, they then just intersperse some incendiary playing into the midst of a sound which, although hit hard at points, aren't calling cards that they rely solely on. The bigger picture is much more vibrant. Its genius really; at times those riffs come bursting into the open, but for much a part they become embedded, and consequently integral to the main body of their musicality without the need to jump around and attention-seek like a child for an unresponsive parent.  And to be honest, while they are riff centric on ‘Never A Better Time, ‘ a biker rock song fuelled as much by testosterone  as it is by gasoline and whisky, the real album highlights come elsewhere anyway. ‘Forgotten Friend’ has it all; the riffs, supple  and well placed harmonies and a wah-drenched solo made half in Mr. Wyldes image and half Glen Korner/Chris Charles’ own signature blends. The chorus is as uplifting and well-crafted as any and that is the focal point here, the seductive pull.

Sure, the line ‘I swear it must be about minus ten out here’ line in the second verse is a little sketchy - telling of a few lyric stutters on the record which highlights an area in need of a little improvement - but it’s a minor blip. The song is solid. The way they've pushed on as a band from those early days have been a joy to witness.

Songs like the gritty 'Out Of Fear' as well as the catchy and memorable piledriver 'Welcome To Hell' fly the flag for all this band believes in. That flag now waves and flickers in the breeze, looking more proud, polished and capable of reaching their promise than ever before. 

'Heavy Lies The Crown' is a great and well-rounded achievement.

Words by: Phil Weller

‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ is available now

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