Reviews Coming Soon

Album Review: TBA

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lists: Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of Selections, Part 2

Here's a few more of my contributions to those "Best Of" Selections from Heavy Blog Is Heavy...

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Debut Albums

In January of 1970, appropriately on Friday 13th, a hitherto unknown group of musicians released a debut album that shook the world, inspiring millions for years to come. With vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler drawing inspiration for its dark lyrics from horror writers H.P. Lovecraft and Dennis Wheatley, and guitarist Tony Iommi latching on to Butler’s love for Gustav Holst’s ‘Mars’ to develop the riffs, in hindsight, it almost seems inevitable that it caused such a storm. The press reaction that followed only served to stir the pot – “We strongly advise those of a nervous disposition NOT, repeat NOT, to listen alone” screamed one. Staring at the washed-out cover art of gravestones, a watermill and a white-faced, cloaked woman staring back is fair warning enough.

Of course, within lies the harrowing. Rain. Thunder. A church bell. That dark tritone that constitutes the standout riff – the diminished fifth… the augmented fourth… diabolus in musica… the Devil’s Interval. Something infinitely bleak, menacing, unholy lurks within. Sinking deeper you’ll discover talk of a “figure in black”, “Lucifer”, “eyes of fire” and magical wizards walking our streets. The multi-part, multi-toned majesties of ‘Sleeping Village’ and the stop/start riff-reprising ‘Warning’ instantly teach us to expect the unexpected where the Sabbath is concerned. “Heavy metal”, yells Ozzy amidst the riotous rumble of ‘N.I.B.’ and lo, a genre is born. Has there ever been a finer debut?

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Final Albums

This qualifies on the tenuous fact that it was Jim Morrison’s final album before he died. Later albums were released containing recordings of his vocal, but those contained tracks that he never wanted to put out. With Ray Manzarek and Bobby Krieger completing all missing lead vocal tracks it comes as no surprise to discover that those albums didn’t exactly set the world on fire. A band without it’s heart or soul is no band at all.

Now I’ve been in love L.A. Woman for a long, long time. It’s not just their masterpiece ‘Riders On The Storm’ that swings it, it’s the laconic shading and stone cold groove that the album is wrapped in. There’s the laid-back driving nirvana of ‘Cars Hiss By My Window’ and the gentle sashaying of ‘Hyacinth House’ on through to the staccato hep of ‘Been Down So Long’ and the jinking groove of ‘Love Her Madly’. From the downbeat to the upbeat, the album flows through the full range of blue emotions better than any other. And if you’re looking for a song to fall in love with, then you can do a lot worse than Jim’s love letter to the seedy underbelly and bright lights of Los Angeles – the title-track itself. Here, the lithe rhythm, dramatic structure and gorgeous lyricism all underpin that rickety Hammond organ and rocking vibe. The album is no less then a complete and utter joy.

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Doom

Back in the late Noughties, the doom cognoscenti were thrown into a state of temporary disarray when the proposed formation of a supergroup containing Dale Crover (Melvins’ drummer/vocalist), Al Cisneros (Om’s bassist/vocalist), Scott Kelly (Neurosis’ guitarist/vocalist) and Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich (The Obsessed vocalist/guitarist), legends all, was rumoured. When Shrinebuilder finally formed and delivered their self-titled debut, their only album to date, there was nothing less than a volcanic eruption, literally (one actually blew it’s lid in Iceland and the fallout caused the cancellation of a European tour).

The Wino/Kelly mix of earth-shattering string dissonance and part-howl, part-croon gifted mighty tracks like the mighty ‘Pyramid Of The Moon’ and ‘The Architect’ with a thrilling taste of life inside a thresher. Crover must have almost annihilated his snare for the raging “Solar Benediction”, yet it was Cisneros grotty basslines that marked this record out as a cut above. It was his constants that allowed the music to drift into sequences of mystical noodling, providing the perfect platform for Wino to plug up any gaps in sound with wah, extravagant slide and morphing melody.
With it increasingly looking like the band will never reunite for a follow-up, this album has become an invaluable source of inspiration and enlightenment. No excuses then — buy, borrow or steal this gem and turn your brain into mush today.

Full selections online @ Heavy Blog Is Heavy.
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