Friday 20 March 2015

Henry Blacker - Summer Tombs (Album Review)

Album Type: Album
Date Released: April 18th 2015
Label: Riot Season Records

Summer Tombs – Track Listing

1. Cold Laking
2. Million Acre Fire
3. Shit Magus
4. The Grain
5. Landlubber
6. A Plague
7. Summer Tombs

Band Members

T (bass)
RF (drums)
TF (guitar & voice)


14 months after releasing their debut album - Hungry Dogs Will Eat Dirty Puddings - to critical acclaim - Noisy Heavy Rockers - Henry Blacker - return with their eagerly awaited follow up - Summer Tombs. Nothing much has changed from their celebrated debut album as Henry Blacker is still the same noisy and raucous Stoner/Sludge/Dirty Blues Rockers with a passion for the distorted riff. Opening track - Cold Liking - is a snarling ugly beast of a track with the band in fine form playing dirty fast paced riffs.

Fans of QOTSA will find much to enjoy here and even a time to reminisce when QOTSA were the kings of dirty lo-fi Stoner Grooves. Henry Blacker have taken that sound and made it their own with an underlying Punk/Noise Rock vibe that only enhances their great sound. The clean based vocals have a distinctive dark tone to them as once the band get going Lead Vocalist - TF - shows his true menacing identity. There's a lot more going on within Henry Blacker that's very hard to describe. Parts Stoner, Noise, Sludge, Punk and Hard Rock for one strangely addictive sound. Probably why they are signed to ace UK Record Label - Riot Season Records - who have a reputation for signing the weirder bands of Stoner/Noise/Sludge Rock.

Anyway back to the album. Summer Tombs runs for a brisk 29 mins and it means that the band have a short space of time to impress you with. It's a good job they succeed on all counts. By the time second track - Million Acre Fire - starts you're already rocking out with Henry Blacker as these guys know how to have fun. The fast-paced distorted noisy tempo doesn’t really change that much as this song has the perfect balance of loud vs. quiet riffs. When Henry Blacker turns their attention to Psychedelic Rock this album takes a life of its own.

The album has a schizophrenic feel as it doesn't know what it wants to be and that's the beauty of the album. It's an uncompromising blend of experimental rock where NOISE is the key. It's just so damn addictive that's impossible not to fully enjoy yourself. Third track - Shot Magus - sees the band more colourful humour come to life as they write some interesting lyrics to match the more violent riffs. One moment this song is blasting intense Sludge Rock vibes and the next it changes into good old fashioned noisy Desert/Stoner Rock riffs. Though Henry Blacker return to their more volatile punk/sludge rock guises.

If you're a fan of Torche then Henry Blacker will appeal to you as they share a few similarities with that band. Mainly writing short paced heavy blasts of angry Sludge Rock songs that will get you jumping and singing along to their lyrics. Plus Henry Blacker has the same talent of Torche of turning a quiet paced song into an all out loud sludge-tastic riot. Check out 4th track - The Grain - for more evidence of this as the band once again expertly blend quieter rock moments with the heavier Sludge/Stoner Rock riffs. Maybe I've shouldn't be providing a track-by-track commentary as this album is just one blistering exercise in volume and noise that a lot of you are going to crazy about.

Summer Tombs is full of great ideas that Henry Blacker explore to their full potential. if you want NOISE, RIFFS and MAXIMUM SLUDGE ROCK CARNAGE then Henry Blacker will welcome you with open arms. The last parts of the album and especially the vocals have a certain Josh Homme sensibility to them and that's no bad thing. The vocals courtesy of TF are superb through out. Though he impresses the most on the final two tracks - A Plague and Summer Tombs.

Summer Tombs is a 7 minute epic where Henry Blacker unleashes one final slab of heavy Sludge Rock punishment. This song has a more caustic approach compared to the others but it's still the standout track on the album as it has a few dark moments to unsettle you with. Like the lyrics on Summer Tombs repeatedly tell us - I Thought We Have More Time - I wish we did as well Henry Blacker as even though I love your album. Just one more song would have been fantastic. Summer Tombs is an absolute blast from start to finish. It's even a better album than their debut album. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Andy at Riot Season Records for the promo. Summer Tombs will be available to buy on CD/DD from Riot Season Records from April 2015. There is a Vinyl Edition coming out but this is a UK Record Store Day Vinyl Exclusive Only. Limited to 300 copies. Any copies that remain unsold will be sent back to Riot Season Records and sold from their website.

Words by Steve Howe

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