Saturday 21 February 2015

The Answer - Raise A Little Hell (Album Review)

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 09th March 2015
Record Label: Napalm Records

'Raise A Little Hell' CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Long Live The Renegades
2. The Other Side

3. Aristocratic
4. Cigarettes & Regrets
5. Last Days Of Summer
6. Strange Kinda Nothing
7. I Am What I Am
8. Whiplash
9. Gone Too Long
10. Red
11. I Am Cured
12. Raise A Little Hell

The Answer is:

Cormac Neeson - vocals
Paul Mahon - guitar
Micky Waters - bass guitar
James Heatley - drums


Northern Ireland's finest The Answer is a band I have followed from the start. And how could I have not? Their modern take on heavy 70's rock, the stuff I grew up on, has been nothing but breath taking from the word go...and nothing has changed on the new wax, 'Raise A Little Hell'. Well, for the most part. Everything that signifies the band is there: Cormac's fantastic voice, Paul's sharp guitar playing and the thunderous rhythm section of Micky and James, on bass guitar and drums respectively. The only change is The Answer sound more mature than ever. The songs are more thought-through and elaborate. yet without losing any of it's bite.

A thumping bass guitar and a pounding kick drum ignites opener 'Long Live The Renegades' before the vocals and razor sharp riff joins in. Kind of mid-paced and full of groove, Paul pulls off a great solo towards the middle. 'The Other Side' follows the same lines but with even more heavy riff-based parts amidst beautifully melodic sections. I might be worng but to me the song is a farewell to someone close, but not in the standardized ballad setting. Instead they stomp it out which is refreshing. What is there to say about 'Aristocratic'? Boisterous and in your face doesn't do the song justice. The band is fire ripping my poor unsuspecting brain to shreds and this is how heavy rock should be. Slowing down the tempo a bit, 'Cigarettes & Regrets' is a lamentation and apology song but with loud guitars and earthshaking rhythms.

Dark and sinister-sounding, 'Last Days Of Summer' lives up to it's name. Knowing the long, warm days of summer are gone can put a damper on anyone's mood. However, this mid-pacer is so damned heavy it shatters my bones all while improving my state of mind, fantastic! Been there, done that is what I can say about 'Strange Kinda Nothing', the only "proper" ballad on the album. It certainly hits home since we've all been in the position the song brings up. The Answer has a great knack for doing the unconventional and this song is the perfect example. What I mean is, sure it's a ballad but with substance, i.e. great lyrics and great music that follows no formula. Keeping it that way creats great music. Groove and riff-laden, 'I Am What I Am' rocks and rolls between fast and slow, just like the ebb and tide of the ocean, pulling no punches. The guitar towards the end has a very nice hint of Thin Lizzy. 'Whiplash' follows in the same vein, where I all of a sudden realise how crushingly heavy The Answer are amidst all the melody and groove.

Giving me some respite and room to breathe, 'Gone Too Long'goes for emotions and feelings. But just like that they kick into higher gear around Paul's solo, where Micky's amazing bass playing comes to the fore, acting more as a rhythm guitar than anything else. That change is brief albeit fantastic. 'Red' ups the ante bringing forth notions of early Aerosmith mixed with the vocal harmonies of The Beatles and it works excellently. Starting off with a nice slide guitar, 'I Am Cured' eventually explodes and becomes a raging bull out for blood. Building up slowly and gradually closer, and title track, 'Raise A Little Hell' allows The Answer to finish off in great style leaving me wanting more.

Ever since I heard them "way back when", The Answer has always been one of my feel-good bands. Regardless what mood or shape I'm in, they always makes me feel better...and they always gets my parties going. 'Raise A Little Hell' continues this tradition without abating and I couldn't be happier. Well, send them across the Atlantic for a US tour would be perfect, apart from that though these Northern Irish gents can't do anything wrong. So quit your shoegazing, pretentious ways, let your hair hang down and let The Answer rock your balls off!

Word by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Mona at Napalm Records for sending us a promo to review. Raise A Little Hell will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Napalm Records on March 9th 2015.

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