Comprising of vocalist David Hill, guitarists Lee Harvey and Ryan Lewis, bassist Gareth Owen and drummer Richard Boggis, the outfit are all about the old-school; opting to ignore what’s happening in the world of modern music, to play in their preferred style of classic blues-inspired rock ‘n’ roll…and they’ve showcased this on their debut full length album; “Bolt On The Rust”. The question is does this pile of rust belong on the scrapheap?
The album opens up with “Clearly Not A Welcome Rain” and it utilises the gradual build really quite well…we’re subject to a simplistic looped guitar sequence, blending in to some subtle percussion, as David wraps his vocals around proceedings before the track eventually erupts into a barrage of harmonica-fuelled rock. It’s bold as it is brash instrumentally, the southern blues tones giving this track some real swagger when it gets going and it’s an enjoyable start this.
The rock ‘n’ roll keeps on coming through album highlights such as “Nature Of The Beast” too…another initially low-key start but it quickly comes to life with some rich organ-eqsue synths akin to the likes of THE DOORS or even DEEP PURPLE in places; really embracing that early hard rock transitional period…not quite metal yet but the exploration into the weight and delivery of the instrumentation is all there. “Acre Of Graves” hammers this home brilliantly with its meatier riffs and almost polyrhythmic percussion, allowing for subtle prog aesthetics. The tone of the track here is a touch darker, incorporating more of a BLACK SABBATH vibe while still retaining their aforementioned synth-driven core sound and it’s a solid track.
There are a couple of lesser moments scattered around the album though, “Insult To The Brain” is more of an insult to my eardrums in all honesty, mainly because of that fucking guitar loop that makes your eye twitch. ‘Duh-duh-duh-duuuuuuh-duh’ it goes over, and over, and over, and over, and over…the chorus provides a brief respite, but it comes back and the repetition of this specific chord sequence just drives you mad. Maybe it’s just me but this makes me want to cause physical harm to the brain of whoever decided to record this particular track, not just insult it. “House Full Of Women” suffers from a similar problem although the riff here is quirkier and the track is generally grittier overall, salvaging it somewhat.
Generally speaking though those are minor irritants more than anything and don’t really take away from the album as a whole…the recording quality and sound that they’ve gone for clearly harks back to those classic days in the 70’s with the bluegrass-inspired tones, with the band managing to retain that certain rawness in their production. Younger fans of rock and metal may view this as old-fashioned or, maybe even uncool, but if you appreciate the nostalgia of those formative years in rock ‘n’ roll’s evolution then you’ll likely appreciate this a lot more. Not quite niche per se, but it certainly has more of a target audience in mind.