Monday, 5 January 2015

Violent Sky - Critical Mass (CD Review)

01.Take Your Time
03.Shadow Man
04.Frances (In The Gallery Of Stars)
05.Cargo Cult
06.Cold Blue Fire Part 1
07.Cold Blue Fire Part 2
08.Vertigo Feeling
09.December Dew
10.Nadsat Boys
12.Gulf (Between You And me)
13.Under The violent Sky
14.Thanks Tom

Win Smith (Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Keyboards)
Steve Good (Guitar)
Al Mogg (Drums)

Violent Sky from London feature members of "Seventh Seance", "Black Poets" and "Ghostfire".
In june 2014 they announced that after a recent session with "Ghostfire" (A steampunk styled band in case you dont know) they were going to go into the studios to record "a selection of the most righteous dark prog metal possible".

I first heard them on the GASP Radio show, where on the facebook page i made a comment that the track playing sounded like David Bowie fronting a Hendrix tribute band, they then sent me a copy to review, i wonder what to expect?

'Take Your Time' is a fairly straight forward indie tinged rock song with a vocal that reminds me of Robert Palmer, i wonder if every song is going to remind me of a different vocalist?
Guitar solo at the end is quite stunning!

The next track is 37 seconds of pointless filler, again an example of a band making a seperate track out of something that should be tacked on at the beginning of the next song.

However that little mistake is soon laid to rest as 'Shadow Man' kicks in with a dirty/grungy blues styled rocker with more inspired guitar work, great solid bass work and drum beats to match.The vocals seem to be all Mr.Smith and very good they are too.

In terms of song structure, 'Frances In The Gallery Of Stars' is not a million miles away from Black Sabbath's Heaven & Hell, this one is slow, brooding and very anthemic, great vocal delivery again almost folk rock tinged and more of that excellent guitar work.

Up next is another bloody filler, so onwards to 'Cold Blue Fire Part 1/Part 2' , slow moody start with some early Bauhaus sounds lurking, in fact quite a lot of Bela Lugosi's Dead and Hollow Hills detected by my braincell.No vocals on Part 1, Part 2 changes the pace with some modern gothic rock music and with rhythms not unlike The Mission God's Own Medicine era.Gets frantic towards the end with the drums and guitar!

'Vertigo Feeling', now this was the track i originally heard, still has that Bowie style circa Scary Monsters and have realised that the music is not so much hendrix but the legendary Jeff Healey Band.Still a brilliant track, full of rhythm and power.

That 'Heaven & Hell' vibe returns for 'December Dew', this however is more haunting complete with some nice synth and an emotive vocal performance, nicely mixed to create an intresting mix of melody and agression.

The album is now becoming increasing more intresting following on from the last few tracks 'Nadsat Boys' retains a dark ambience to start with, then turns into a hard rock/goth song, this one is driven by the vocals, dark and dangerous yet the level remains the same over both quiet and heavy musical backing.Really nice f/x on the guitar sound.

Third strike for another filler, oh dear, but hey ho after 47 seconds comes 'Gulf Between You And Me' with some more of that screaming hendrix/healey guitar work.
This one really is a guitar workout, backed with some pounding bass lines.

'Under The Violent Sky' is more of that modern blues rock, more of that guitar sound which i love and another solid track.

You know the last track, well its another filler, this one seemingly more pointless that all the others!

Quite an album all in all, apart from the fillers, one thing this is not though is dark progressive metal, in fact the only word to take from that is "Dark", if anything this is a fine example of a modern take on classic rock blended with gothic rock, except the ones that are blues.
I like stuff like this, it doesn't fit into any obvious genre, its a mixed bag and highly listenable again and again.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Jeff Healey Band, The Cult, The Mission, Ghostfire, Godzilla Black, Joy Division

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