Wicked Inquisition – Wicked Inquisition

PromoImage

In some people’s minds the history of the 1970s goes a little bit like this: a grey decade of bad fashion and even worse food. Three day weeks and striking miners; thank goodness for punk and Year Zero. Then there’s the rest of us who know a lot better – the 70s were packed full of heavy metal bands with the love of the riff, the art of the song and the odd pint of patchouli oil. It’s this latter version of history that Minnesota’s Wicked Inquisition have tapped into. And how.

This highly enjoyable album contains more cap-doffing to the 70s than a milliner’s emporium and the reverence for times past is so genuine and warm hearted that you can’t help but feel a large amount of affection for the band and their record. I’m writing this review with the record playing loudly in the background and I can see from the reflection in the laptop screen that I have a grin that is a mile wide; it’s THAT kind of fun.

This is doom metal, but doom metal put through a focussed, song-writing lens. The band appear to have as much in common with Blue Oyster Cult as they do with Sabbath and their ilk which is no bad thing. On ‘Black Magick Nacht’, the album’s opening salvo, we are treated to something akin to a riff masterclass that is genuine and genuinely thrilling. The tempo drops for the Sabbath dripping ‘Crimson Odyssey’ whilst the upbeat riffing of ‘Sun Flight’ is not unlike early period Iron Maiden mixed with Trouble.

‘M.A.D.’ is the most obviously “doomy” of any of the tracks here, a snaking riff and metronomic pace adding to the mood and ambience with aplomb. Meanwhile, ‘In Shackles’ is what would happen if Sabbath had downed a bottle of groove juice before recording Sabotage (Vertigo) it’s mighty and gripping.

The opening riff on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is straight off AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (Atlantic) masterpiece before jogging off for more 1970s riff shoplifting like some indiscriminate hoodlum. If you think I’m being critical, you couldn’t be further from the truth; the riffing here is joyous and inspired and the love of the music that this band have is as true and deep as the quality of their playing.

Wicked Inquisition (Tridroid) imbues a love of doom metal with an attention to detail and delivery that is admirable and enviable. It is not going to win any prizes for originality but for well-crafted heavy metal, it will do me, and you, very nicely indeed.

 

7.0/10

Wicked Inquisition on Facebook

MAT DAVIES

Blues Pills – Blues Pills

Blues Pills - Blues Pills

 

Once in a while a record comes along that knocks you sideways. Once in a while a record comes along that isn’t just about flailing around like dying fish, furiously howling at the injustice of having to tidy your bedroom once in a while. Once in a while a record comes along that reaffirms your faith in the power of exemplary musicianship allied to great songs.

 

Readers, here is one of those records.

 

Blues Pills’ self-titled debut album arrives with such self-confidence and chutzpah that you could be forgiven that they had been ploughing this particular furrow of blues rock for decades and were at the peak of their career rather than at the start. Following two EPs released on Kadavar Records (in 2012 and 2013, respectively), a move to Nuclear Blast has seen the band deliver this first full length offering. And what an offering! Blues Pills is not so much the sound of a band stepping up to the plate, it is the sound of a band knocking it out of the proverbial park.

 

Blues Pills is a brilliant and, at times, sensational record. Right from the off with the throat- grabbing, blues-soaked power of ‘High Class Woman’ through the mellow, folk inspired ‘River’ to the heritage cap-doffin cover of ‘Gypsy’ and the rich, haunting coda of ‘Little Sun’, this is a record with depth and breadth, soul and humanity. Clearly a band in love with Cream and Jimi Hendrix, there is also more than a spoonful of lovin’ here for early Fleetwood Mac both in compositional style and lyrical prowess.

 

Lead vocalist Elin Larsson has done a terrific job here, simultaneously sounding haunted, passionate and heartfelt. However, all of the band turn in stellar performances, the thumping, soul packed bass-lines of Zack Anderson , the mellifluous drumming of Cory Berry or the patchouli oil soaked guitar licking of Dorian Sorriaux all add up to a heady brew that intoxicates as much as it invigorates.

 

What truly impresses though is that Blues Pills is more than the sum of its considerable parts. The band have succeeded in creating a record that you can easily and willingly immerse yourself in, a record that understands and curates its heritage and lineage but is fresh, contemporary and massively memorable.

 

This is the record that you’ll be recommending to your friends for months to come.

Bluespills2014b

 

9.0/10.0

Blues Pills on Facebook

MAT DAVIES