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Friday, 27 July 2012

Record Review - Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell

Don’t Hear It…Fear It!!

Rise Above LP / CD

Grit and balls. Two qualities that are hard to find in music nowadays. Two things that might make you wince and think of awful blues-rock workouts with a blustery singer emoting bogus soul crapulence all over the shop. But that’s not what’s on offer here friends – what’s here is a band that use those qualities to devastating effect, playing raw (and I mean yolky chicken foetus RAW) proto-metal with super-heavy dirt ‘n’ drugs vibes.

If you’re after references then you’ve just got to look at the touchstones of that early heavy sound from 1969-73 - Master of Reality, the first Budgie album, Emerge by The Litter, the first two from Buffalo, Split by The Groundhogs, both Dust albums. Add this to the pantheon. Really.

Quite frankly this album is more bulbous with joy than a pregnant pachyderm. ‘Mark of the Beast’ opens things with some heavy-psych phased madness much like The Pretty Things circa SF Sorrow/Parachute, before being blasted into hard rock heaven by a glassy nostril full of amphetamine guitar work. Highlights are too numerous to mention though my favourites are the low-slung bastardry of ‘Devils Island’ and the desperation-waltz of ‘iDEATH’.

By the close of the record those influences that were already writ large have become explicit. Yer actual Tony McPhee from The Groundhogs knocks out some monster guitar work on ‘Scratchin and Sniffin’ and the band blast through a demented cover of Buffalo’s ‘Bean Stew’ on the album’s hidden track.

If justice were served the crimson buzzard that serves as ASCS’s mascot would be made into a twenty foot animatronic character to stalk the stage as the band play to thousands at some filthy euro metal festival. A real blunderbuss of an album that deserves to be heard not just by a coterie of friends or a small group of genre fans, but by the public at large. How did they do it? Grit and balls my friend. Grit and balls.

Austin Matthews

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