American metal mainstays fly through the night on the dark wings of devilish creatures.
“Hell ain’t a bad place to be”: singer Aleister Sinn can wholeheartedly agree with this statement, steering his ensemble through doom and gloom for a few years now and seeing no sin in whipping an album into concept shape. The quartet’s sophomore effort, “R & R” may not deliver a rock ‘n’ roll frenzy, and it doesn’t matter to which extent the listener is willing to invest their souls in the witchy story that’s unfolding here, because the players’ pedigree propels even the most convoluted events to delicious delirium on cuts such as philosophical “Am I Dead” – a finale sealing the Californian team’s fate.
Steve Smyth’s six-string assault will make it difficult to resist the speed-driven terror of “They Come At Night” where Stephen Paul Goodwin’s bass and Wes Anderson’s drums dictate the tempo’s fluctuations to render Sinn’s role-shifting vocals as a mood-defining piece of aural puzzle as his lyrics are sometimes hard to decipher by ear – but easy to engage with once the drift has slowed down from hysterical choirs to a no-less-tuneful, if theatrical, balladry. This is why “Don’t Cry For Help” fares paradoxically natural and stirring, yet the foursome sound like possessed on “Lilium” whose accentuated cymbals and bluesy riffs feel so nice that the number seems to end prematurely, leaving one longing for more tasty textures and venturing into “Forest Of The Screaming Trees” which provides enough dynamic quirks.
Although the refrains of “Body Rats” struggle to live up to its organ-fueled epic run, this track displays the full spectrum of the band’s abilities and, quite possibly, points to their glorious future, with a supergroup stigma removed for good. A solid work.