There’s plenty of hype surrounding UK / Belgian quartet Death Penalty, the new outfit of former Cathedral multi-instrumentalist Gaz Jennings, and it’s not too hard to see why. While female fronted units with hippo-felling riffs and pounding drums are de rigeur at present, here, the sound is less about the occult and more about heavy blues rock, those rhythms fair flashing along with a seductive groove and some wild, intricate lead play decorating Sign of Times (Rise Above), the title track of this seven-inch release. There are interesting tones and melodies here, not least from the voice of Michelle Nocon, but despite the undoubted power in her voice it’s only on the flip-side ‘Seven Flames’ where she really lets rip and gives us more than two octaves, which is somewhat disappointing especially if compared against other female performances of 2014.
It’s an energetic sound but also a touch dated, coming across as a pub-standard Christian Mistress in parts. This is obviously a taster for the self-titled debut album and as such it’s a decent listen, but one would hope the full-length has more invention to fulfil the promise.
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