Cherry Red 2014
Heavy testifying from the Albion shores: out of confines and into the realm of confidence.
Here’s a band who clearly strive for beauty but struggle to live up to their name, and the breakout from this chilly paradise in search for connection is signified by the rusty telephone boots on the back cover of their third album. It takes half a record to witness such a contradiction, as “Order Of Your Faith” marries rock ‘n’ roll to a soulful glitterball and orchestral swoop, while a genuine magic starts even later than that. To get there, though, one should traverse the riff-laden barren land which is cut initially with “Knife Edge” where Vicky Johnson’s voice seems to be the only warm beacon, yet her pop sensibility serves nicely a typical female-fronted metal rage on the tracks like “Toxicate,” even though “Critical Mass Part 1 – Burdened” is rendered angrier thanks to Damian Wilson’s spoken word.
And if “Before It Began” is a radio-friendly flight of romanticism, Samuel Cull’s guitars picking up the vocal melody and rolling it over disco groove, the ensemble’s depth is finally revealed in “The Script”: this folk-filled and strings-drenched ballad gently melts the listener’s heart and, as Steve Hauxwell’s drums up the drama, turns into guilded wonder with a hit potential. “Constant Tomorrows” only expands its symphonic, yet heavy, scope to achieve grandiosity but escape shallow bombast, whereas the brass-bound “Affliction” rocks hard and seductively, with jazz tones, and that’s what makes the group truly special. A pity, once the paradise pleasure is reached, the album gets silenced into the crackling ether which welcomed its beginning – here’s a circle to watch for, then.