Tuesday 23 March 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Day of the Jackal, "Day Zero"

By: Chris Markwell
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/03/2021
Label: Independent


“Day Zero” DD track listing:

1). On Your Own
2). Belief in a Lie
3). Rotten to the Core
4). Secrets to the Grave
5). Coffin Fix
6). Riskin’ it All
7). ‘Til The Death
8). Afterburn
9). Deadfall Trap
10). Rock n’ Roll Deathride

The Review:

Just beyond the kingdom of Sludge sits the Mountain of Hard Rock: an immovable edifice of majesty, it is the magical, ever-present spire, whose shadow touches all the lands of music. From the deep mines of Heavy Metal, to the cloud-topped towers of Prog, all know and feel the touch of Hard Rock upon their territories.

Carved into the face of Hard Rock are names of power: AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Guns ‘N’ Roses, to name but a few. All names are known and respected among all the lands that surround Hard Rock. But, look closer… A new name has been etched into the foot of the mountain.

Day of the Jackal, spell out the jagged letters. And when a new name is etched, it stands to reason to seek them out. So I did.

Leeds’ Day of the Jackal have, on 15th March 2021, released their debut album “Day Zero”, and, if it were any more balls-out hard rock, it would be charged with indecent exposure.  

Recorded in Gentlemen’s Pistols James ‘Atko’ Atkinson’s Station House studio, the rock runs through every inch of this record like a stylus runs through a record’s groove.  In fact, the entire album was recorded live: no click tracks required, kids.  Because of this decision, each one of the ten tracks present on “Day Zero” retain that raw energy you’d normally expect to feel in the sweaty confines of a gig venue. 

Ten tracks, zero bullshit.  If you want ballads, experimentation, or odd time signatures, move along.  This album is designed specifically to give you a rock ‘n’ roll injection straight to your heart.  Palpitations, shortness of breath, and a desire to bang your head uncontrollably are common side effects, so don’t worry. 

From the first blast of electric riff-raffery of opener ‘On Your Own’, to the bar-room brawl of a closing song ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Deathride’, Day of the Jackal make statement after brash statement with each track that pummels and pounds your eardrums.  The quartet have forged a beautiful, whiskey-stained ode to the gods of hard rock, their love for their genre shining through with each hi-hat snap and every power chord struck. 

Personal favourite of mine from this album has to be ‘Til the Death’, with its slamming riffs and Bon Scott-esque lyrics (“I’ll be your best mistake, but I won’t be your man” is delivered almost with a knowing wink audibly heard in the mix).  You can envisage baying crowds of people knowing every word, and singalong in turn.  I want to be part of that crowd and, after listening, you will, too.   

Day of the Jackal are not reinventing the wheel with “Day Zero”.  Rather, they’ve stolen that wheel, affixed it to their cherry-red hot rod, and are riding it down the road to the hallowed mountain of hard rock mythology.  Best get on board and join them on their journey. 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday 15 March 2021

ALBUM TYPE: Cruelty, “There Is No God Where I Am”

 By: Peter Morsellino
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/04/2021
Label: Church Road Records

“There Is No God Where I Am” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). An Introduction
2). A Lie That Makes Life Bearable
3). Spiritual War
4). Crimson Eye
5). Dead Culture
6). If There Is A God, He Does Not Believe In Me
7). Mine
8). To The Ground
9). Cut
10). Barren Land In Bloom
11). Starve
12). There Is No God Where I Am

The Review:

With an ever-shifting frenetic energy, Cruelty assaults the senses, taking no prisoners. Mixing expert musicianship with chaotic emotional frenzy, the sound here is a bit of a grab bag of intense grooves crushing weight and utter lunacy.

I am going to be returning often to the word chaotic in this review, because as I listen to Cruelty's swirling battery it is simply the only word that comes to mind. The music here brings up a picture of a mind on the edge. There is darkness, there is fear. There is confusion and there is laser focus. Its ugly and at once it is a very beautiful thing.

Cruelty is frantically searching for something that will never materialize. I think that's the best way I can describe it. It encompasses that panic and the cloudiness that results in a plan coming apart at the seams.

On the audio side of things, the production team simply must be praised for capturing such an unruly sound and presenting it as a crisp and clear product. The sound design throughout the album is gorgeous, and the musicianship is completely on point.  Only true masters of their craft could purposely create something so off the rails while leaving intact the intricacies of their playing. It is a wonderful thing.

I really wish I had more to say about this album, but it is simply something that needs to be heard. It's very difficult to describe in logical terms. But hopefully these abstracts have piqued your interest.  Definitely check this one out. It's an experience all its own.

“There Is No God Where I Am” is available HERE

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Friday 12 March 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Blind Monarch, "What Is Imposed Must Be Endured"

By: Peter Morsellino
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 05/04/2019
Label: Dry Cough Records | 
Heavenly Vault

“What is Imposed Must Be Endured” DD//LP track listing:

1). Suffering Breathes My Name
2). My Mother, My Cradle, My Tomb
3). Blind Monarch
4). Living Altar

The Review:

Blind Monarch usher us into their world with a sparse atmosphere, crawling with hints to the bleak ether that will soon engulf us. Soon the crushing weight of the music will be realized, and those empty spaces (which will graciously rear their heads throughout the release) will be a welcome reprieve from the sonic assault.

“What is Imposed Must Be Endured” is nothing if not punishing. With an emotional weight that hits equally as hard as the dense tonality of the music, Blind Monarch creates a piece of art here that is meant to stick with the listener long after the final notes have rung out to completion.

One thing that is instantly noticeable within this release is the organic nature of the music. Slow and dirge like, low tuned and impenetrable, yet never falling into a mechanical loop. The overall sound of the band brings to mind the panicked vocalizations of a cornered animal. Guttural and shrieking, fearful and dangerous. Listening to the album, the audience can never be sure what is coming next. It is unpredictable, capable of turning its warning growls into a fierce gnashing of teeth in an instant.

“What Is Imposed Must Be Endured” is cold, but it is never stagnant. Vampiric, it seems to feed off of the energy that the listener puts into it. This can be a very dark and dangerous album. It can be a very powerful and moving experience. This is one to be handled with care. Not a light listening experience by any means, this is one to be examined with full attention. Give this record your all, and it will return it ten fold.

Blind Monarch hit us with everything they've got on their debut, and the gamble paid off in spades. It is visceral and laser focused.  Any doom or sludge fan would be remiss to sleep on this one. Give it a listen; give it a good, hard, focused listen, and see where it takes you.

“What is Imposed Must Be Endured” is available on vinyl for the first time HERE 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook