The West Midlands and more specifically the Black Country isn’t really famous for a great deal and it gets praised for even less. In fact we (I can say we, being a Black Country boy) get a bit of a kicking from, well, just about everyone. We get slated for being boring, having crap accents, (Brummie and Black Country are fucking different!!!) for our towns being ugly and by southerners for being northern and northerners for being southern. Basically we can’t win. However one thing us folk do incredibly well is music.
We have given the world Robert Plant, Beverly Knight as well as creating a whole freaking genre in the shape of heavy metal, with originators Black Sabbath and heavyweights Judas Priest coming from Birmingham. The Beatles may have come from Liverpool and sold a few records but did they create a genre? No they didn’t.
In fact world renowned metal band Diamond Head come from my hometown Stourbridge. And a few weeks ago I found a band who are staking their claim to be the heirs to their Black Country metal crown; Left For Red.
Left For Red are LC (Vocals) Aaron Foy (Guitar) Phil Smith (Guitar) Dan Carter (Bass) and Rob Hadley. (Drums)
The band formed in 2010 and although this EP has been out for a while I’m bringing it to your attention as a prelude to the band’s upcoming new album. (An album which I will be reviewing for you lovely people) And if it’s anything like this record right here then it is going to be absolutely huge.
Things get off to a bang with the upliftingly titled ‘Kneel Before You Die.’ Rolling drums and a bass led intro break you in gently before a monstrous guitar riff smacks you straight in the face. LC doesn’t have what you would call a traditional metal vocal but his style manages to give the song a big grand feel. This is a real song of two halves as the tracks fades down to just a bass interlude and then just as you were taking a breather a deliciously thick and heavy riff tears into you complete with screaming vocal. An absolutely epic vocal note signals the end of what is a terrific opening track.
‘My Obsession’ sounds like Armageddon. (No Bruce) It’s slow, methodical and heavy on atmosphere in that incredibly grandiose way that Black Sabbath perfected. The track sprawls out in front of you like a lifeless desert and just beats you into submission. The towering vocals combined the imposing riffs craft a song which while not being the most easy listening for a casual listener will leave an impression in the best way possible.
The record hammers towards a conclusion with the frantic metal goodness which is ‘Mercy Flight.’ The chaotic pace of the thundering guitar riffs will leave you wanting to create a mosh pit in your own front room. The hook is as catchy as these guys get; it has a bit of anthemic feel about it and that coupled with the monster riffs must cement this as a fan favourite at live shows. The climbing guitar solo two thirds of the way into the song build towards another heavier section before the chorus once again appears to rise above the madness like a prehistoric creature rising from the deep. It’s a seriously badass song that rounds of a seriously badass record.
The only thing missing from Vol 002 – Mercy Flight is that one signature riff that made the likes of Sabbath and other giants stand out from the crowd. Even so this is a brilliant record. Everything is totally on point with the whole band pulling in the same direction and the result is a very tight and well balanced project. This is classic metal with plenty of modern twists to keep things interesting, and if the album is going to be anywhere as good as this then it’s going to be one hell of record, and I for one can’t wait to hear it.