It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been impressed enough by anything new to write about it, either new releases or random discoveries.
I dipped into The Body but couldn’t find a way in. The new Electric Wizard failed to impress me (yet). Sailors with Wax Wings? Couldn’t see what the fuss is about. A few indie bands failed to win me over despite initial promise: Northern Portrait and Stars, j’accuse.
They should be dreadful but new album Bangers on Metal Blade is actually an enjoyable if uneven listen, despite sharing a title with countless bargain bin Happy Hardcore compilations.
The twin-guitar attack clearly recalls Iron Maiden circa The Number of Beast and classic Thin Lizzy with more fuzz and warmth. The vocals are more typically stoner rock and complement the rifferama well enough even if they aren’t particularly memorable themselves.
Some bands have the stoner tag thrust upon them. Others grab with both hands, pack it into the bowl and suck it down. With song titles like Holy Smokes and Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow, there’s no guesses which camp Barn Burner belongs to.
The above clip, while quite fun, was the only one I could find with decent live footage rather than a particular highlight. I’m not sure about the guy throwing up the claw though at 44 seconds. Is he at the same gig as everyone else?
Anyway, back to the album. Without anywhere near approaching the crushing heaviness of classic Sabbath or their most devout acolytes, the riff gods’ spirit is certainly invoked from time to time.
Despite the jokey song titles, there are frequent instrumental, almost progressive, passages. Often these are clearly influenced by Maiden’s – and to some extent Led Zeppelin’s – trademark excursions from traditional structures. Yet there are moments, such as on Brohemoth (awful title), that verge on post-rock thanks to atmospheric reverb-laden spiralling guitar patterns.
It’s not all wine and roses though. Several of the longer songs lose their way and become repetitive, such as the interminable Wizard Island, while the almost poppy Tremors doesn’t sit well with the tone of the rest of the album. Singer Kevin Keegan is generally more or less up to the job but gets a little irritating by the end of the album.
If you need a fresh injection of fun 70s metal in this barren time of year, then Barn Burner is probably worth a few spins.