Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 02nd June 2015
Label: Self Released
Bastards' Brew - Track Listing:
2.Coitus Asteroidus 04:51
9.Mad (Instrumental) 03:09
10.Bat Bait (Instrumental) 03:33
Will Quinn - vocals
Bill Barry - guitars
Dave Stanley - drums
Böðvar Böðvarsson - bass
Alabama isn't exactly known as a stoner rock stronghold. So, people were understandably curious when The Gentlemen Bastards started making waves in 2012. First of all, the band is made up of two Southern boys, a Canadian drummer and an Icelandic bass player. How in the hell did that happen? Luck and Craigslist, my friend. The power of Craigslist brought them together. But, what keeps them together is a shared love of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Wes Montgomery jazz jams straight out of the 1960's. Did we mention that all four are clean cut and mild-mannered as they come? Not exactly what you'd expect from a riff-heavy band that has drawn comparisons to Clutch and Queens of the Stone Age. But, from the opening grooves of a track like "Neverland," it's obvious that this band isn't your typical stoner rock outfit.
The Gentlemen Bastards released their self-titled debut in 2012 to an avalanche of praise from the top stoner rock bloggers and reviewers. Described as "Brash, energetic and aggressive" - "rip-roaring" - "irritatingly catchy" and "a fucking blast from start to finish" - the album's good press allowed the band to snag opening gigs with The Heavy Eyes, Borracho and The Midnight Ghost Train, among others. Listening and learning from their elders, The Gentlemen Bastards returned to the studio to take the next sonic step with "Bastards' Brew" - due in the summer of 2015.
The Gentlemen Bastards have come roaring back with their hard-rocking 2nd album Bastards' Brew. A storming 35 minute opus of high energy Stoner, Grunge and Hard Rock riffage. This album is leaps and bounds ahead of the bands debut album which won some acclaim within the Hard Rock/Stoner Rock scene. Sure the album maybe shorter but it's because the band are more direct with their music. They don't waste time with progressive rock trappings as they focus on having a good time with the band opting for a more direct approach. Opening track - Mad - sees lead vocalist - Will - channel his inner rock god with vocals packed with passion and a desire just to rock out.
The instrumental work sees the band combine Stoner, Hard Rock, Grunge and classic Proto-Doom rhythms for a familiar The Gentlemen Bastards sound while laying the groundwork for their new sound. Shades of 90s Grunge/Stoner Rock has always played a big part with The Gentlemen Bastards sound and it's good to see the band hasn’t left that part of their music behind. They embrace that vibe and build upon it for you to 'immerse yourself with.
Second track - Coitus Asteroidus - may have a slight cheeky nudge-nudge-wink-wink sci-fi title but it's the music is where it counts as The Gentlemen Bastards play one of the albums strongest songs. You have plenty of riffs to survive from. Fans of Thin Lizzy, Sabbath and Motorhead will find much to enjoy hear as The Gentlemen Bastards pay respects to their musical heroes and even find time to add a trippy psychedelic riff for one of the albums finest guitar solos.
Third track - Bat Bait - opens with a funk-influenced bass line before heavy rock style guitars join the party for a slight jam-based affair with the band flexing their musical creativity. Vocalist Will drifts in and out of the song when the time calls for it. It's more of a Funk Rock/Hard Rock hybrid with the bass and drums being the main driving force here. The Gentlemen Bastards like to experiment with their sound and this track maybe too jarring for some to fully appreciate. I did and I admire the band's decision to include this song on the album.
Fourth Track - Reckoning - starts with another Thin Lizzy influenced bass riff as The Gentlemen Bastards show their love for all things 70s Classic Rock. Though it still has its own hard-rocking groove to impress you with. It's a heavy affair especially when the guys let fly with dual style guitar riffs once again. Will takes on a grungier approach with his vocals as he becomes the centre of attention as the mood becomes very emotional.
The 2nd half of the album sees The Gentlemen Bastards explore some dark territory compared to the first half especially on Skuggi. Skuggi feels like it could of came from the golden age of the 90s grunge scene. It has that vibe where the whole world is against you and you think there's no escape. My fave track has to be UMBRA - even if it's one of the albums shortest tracks - it's an absolute powerhouse of a track that shows you what The Gentlemen Bastards are all about. Play this one LOUD - over and over again.
The album still has 4 tracks to impress you with though the last two are instrumental versions of the albums tracks - Mad and Bat Bait which I found a very nice touch indeed. The other two tracks - Speakeasy and Bastards' Boogie - capture The Gentlemen Bastards in full Classic Rock mode where the emphasis is placed on RIFFS, RIFFS and even more great RIFFS. I apologise for doing a track by track album review. I hope I haven't spoilt your enjoyment of this album when you finally get to hear it. Truth be told, The Gentlemen Bastards - I don't really care. HA HA. As I'm too much in a hard-rocking beast of a mood. Blame these guys as they have created an album packed full of the right amount of aggression and rebellion just like the legendary rock bands of the past used to make. Bastards' Brew is a superb album from start to finish. Check it out. You won't be sorry.
Thanks to The Gentlemen Bastards for the promo. Bastards' Brew will be available to buy from June 02nd 2015.
Words by Steve Howe
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