Tuesday 30 April 2013

Uncle Acid and The Deatbeats - Mind Control (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 15/4/2013
Label : Rise Above Records

Mind Control, album track listing:
1. Mt. Abraxas
2. Mind Crawler
3. Poison Apple
4. Desert Ceremony
5. Evil Love
6. Death Valley Blues
7. Follow the Leader
8. Valley of the Dolls
9. Devil’s Work

The word of mouth phenomenon of 2011 returns... When a band comes out of nowhere and produces an album as atmospheric and intriguing as “Blood Lust” questions are then posed of those involved and the expected follow up. Those questions, usually along the lines of: Is it any good? Can the band cut it live? Was the last one just a flash in the pan? While annoying, are begging to be answered. Yes, the new record is good. Yes, the band are good live (I saw them at one of their recent Garage shows in London). No, not just a one trick pony as Blood Lust has been followed up in the time honoured tradition of a sidestep rather than a static carbon copy or progression per se.

“Mt Abraxus” opens in fine doomy style. The track is long and well sustained by excellent riffs with that classic Doom-played-on-a-Gibson-of-some-description sound. There is a garage-esque vibe to proceedings this time around, but not in tune with the Hammer Horror Theatrics of last time around. The record is somehow more... rock n roll. Think Sabbath AND The Stooges; not just Sabbath.

“Mind Crawler” featured a driving riff and worthwhile clave style percussion driving things along nicely. The vocals retain their almost Beatles with a murderous intent delivery- a fine feature of UAATD musical arsenal. There is even a hint of classic 70's era Judas Priest (shame on you if you are not familiar with their classic period!).

“Poison Apple” has probably been heard already by many reading this (if many do actually read this). It is closer to in tone to Blood Lust, perhaps and provides a strong refrain to go with the hooky riff.

“Desert Ceremony” features more percussion and a slower tempo that allows the vocals to breathe nicely while the guitars ring out ominously.

“Evil Love” kicks off with a riff and tempo that would not be out of place on  Gentlemen's Pistols record and then  caries on up that trail with perhaps a dash of vintage Witchcraft thrown in. There is a bit of early Maiden in the latter stages, too. Lovely.

“Death Valley Blues” gives a guitar intro that conjures up the feel of the geographical location of the title. Things take a doomier turn after that with the oddly boxy and muffled drums working well with the bass to push the track along. The album titles gets a mention here too.

“Follow The Leader” kicks off with a psychedelic droning style that is complimented well by the spacey vocals. As I am listening to the album on the first genuinely warm day of the year, I can honestly say that the release date of this record is perfectly timed. While “Blood Lust” conjured up images of villages in the winter in middle England and the paranoia and loathing that goes with them, the atmosphere here is altogether more... summer-y. No, not California exactly; think Manson and you've got it.

“Valley of the Dolls” represents the album's longest track and is a doomy one, full of dinosaur riffage. The guitars wind together well as that warm sound washes over you. Again, the atmosphere is spot on and Uncle Acid (or the frontman channelling his essence, or what have you) delivers an excellent vocal. The solo is well written and double tracked very nicely, too.

“Devil's Work” is as dark as the title suggests and the pounding drum tattoo is offset nicely by the crooned opening vocal. Rhythmically simple for a time, things open up for the chorus before the four on the floor stomp carries on. Perhaps if Iggy and the Asheton brothers had grown up in Cambridge they might have sounded like this?!

The verdict: an excellent follow up to an underground classic. The vibe is different, but no less sinister. The production values are improved, but are still quirky and fit the material well. If you enjoyed Blood Lust then you will enjoy this. If, however, you wear seventies styled clothing, enjoy calling gigs “rituals”, don't own the Iron Maiden Back Catalogue (preferably on multiple formats) and see metal as being something different to the “Occult Rock” you currently listen to, I wish you would fuck off. Music fans only, please. Hipsters use the back door.

Words by : Richard Maw

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch.  This record is available now on Rise Above Records and Metal Blade on May 14th.