It was only last week that I reviewed the lead single from this project and well, I thought it would be rude not to review the rest of the record while I’m here.
The conclusion that I came to when I reviewed that track Dried Bones was that while I mostly enjoyed it there was something that didn’t quite click with me, and I’ve got to say that not a lot has changed. I have seen a few really positive reviews about this EP and the band in general but I’m not quite getting it, I feel like I’m missing something.
The EP kicks off with Occams Razor which in turn gets going with a very ‘Reef’ style intro. (You know; ‘place your hands’ and all that jazz) The 90’s throwback doesn’t last long though as what is essentially a metal riff comes crunching into view and this then descends into a chorus with more of a classic sound. The band actually describe them self as ‘Celtic hard rock’ but they flick through everything from that to just straight out metal in places.
All in all this track is one of the high points of the record, the band are at their best when their sound is focussed and concise like it is here and add to that the killer guitar solo towards the end then you’re pretty much onto a winning formula.
Title track Dried Bones is up next and as I alluded to above I still feel exactly the same way about it a week on. I like the brooding verses contrasted against the bigger sounding sections, and I like the guitar work (I do on pretty much every track) but I feel like it lacks that bit of magic which would really grab me by the scruff of the neck and get me fully invested in the song.
Hide In Sides is probably all things considered my favourite complete song on the EP. I like certain parts of other songs a lot but I think that this one is the most complete package. The slower more deliberate intro makes way for what is for the most part a very much a lower key affair all round. That is until the emergence of bass solo which slowly but surely amps things up for a monster finish complete with killer metal riff. As I said as an all-round song this is probably the best on the record.
However, it’s in the final couple of tracks that my problems with this EP really start to show themselves. All starts off well on Roll The Tide but after another stripped back intro and great heavier section combined with some of the most aggressive vocal work on the EP the track loses its way. For three minutes a slower more sparse style takes over and personally I think that it’s just too long. It drifts along with no particular direction for far too long and if I’m being perfectly honest I got bored. The way that it bursts back into life for the finale is great but I wish that it would have got there quicker.
Final track Don’t Slip almost falls into the same trap but while I still think that it’s too long it does at least have a bit more going on. I love how the track begins with just the rhythm section before what is basically a guitar solo slows comes in contrasting against the quick drumbeat. There’s also more serious metal riffage along with one more real quality guitar solo thrown in for good measure. And that as they say is that.
Some of the riffs and rhythms along with the guitar solos on Dried Bones have to be right up there with the finest that the Midlands has to offer right now. I know I’ve got a downer on some aspects of it but there is no denying that the band can riff for days. However, having three songs on a five track EP clocking in at over six and a half minutes and no songs under four minutes means that in places songs really do drag. Roll The Tide for example seems long for longs sake. The vocal is also more on the side of solid than spectacular.
Not by any measure is Dried Bones a bad record but the sheer length of some of the songs makes it feel like too much of an effort. I like what the band have tried to do but I think they have fallen short of pulling it off. While not without its high points Dried Bones is a story nearly but not quite.
Dried Bones is officially released with a special launch show at the o2 Academy 3 in Birmingham on June 27th.