Saturday, September 24, 2011

Album Review - I Decline ' Time To Shine' ( Horns Raised Records)

Much as we love our underground metal that's been recorded on a karaoke mic for 2 euro and sounds like a serious mushroom binge gone wrong and the aftermath being caught on tape, and is wrapped in a black metaller's funeral shroud , it's nice to hear a band who aren't afraid to go  balls out on their release, and create a release that has clearly no reservations about aiming for the mainstream, and this is clearly the case for Chicago metallers I Decline.It may also be one of the most  surprisingly  excellent   underground rock releases of the year.

The first thing that you might notice when you pop this CD into your drive/stereo/car if you're luckier and richer than me, is the production.It's , and not to put too light of a spin on it, fucking MASSIVE.Guitars roar around, drums thump you in gut and bass tickles your nether regions, and , to be quite frank, it puts a fair majority of certain mainstream metal/rock releases out this year to shame in this respect.This , my friends, is what Phil Spector was going for  when he forged his  legendary 'wall of sound'.

But of course, as Simon Cowell and his dick sucking minions won't tell you is that whopper production does not a good record make, and so it's a good thing that 'Time To Shine' is packed to the gills with big hearted, bombastic and at times unashamedly OTT rock anthems.The band's sound is a slightly bizarre blend of  tar thick stoner rock riffing, old school heavy metal lead work and fists aloft, stadium swagger, mostly contained in the lung bursting vocal pairing of main vocalist Dustin Hamish, and bassist/vocalist Patrick Mc Laughlin. It's the sort of rock album that bands like The Darkness and Avenged Sevenfold would give their collective left testicles to make ,putting in mind influences from everything from the dark glam rumblings of WASP and Skid Row to Mob Rules-era Sabbath to  Thin Lizzy at their heaviest(  fans of'Thunder and Lightning' era Lizzy won't be disappointed).

Opener 'Time To Shine' sets out the band's stall pretty fucking quickly, exploding out of the traps with kick drums ablaze and rousing gang vocals that you can guarantee sets pits ablaze when the band play it live.'The Administration' is all Lizzy-esque harmonies and chest pounding rabble rousing, while  'A New Nation' drips in the kind of sleaze that Velvet Revolver did so well intermittently on their debut album.

'Grand Ruin' is another highlight, a mid paced stomper that recalls , and this is only ever a compliment , Judas Priest's 'Touch Of Evil', while 'Your Name In Blood'  swings around a riff that Iommi would surely gladly shed a tear for  and claim as his own bastard child.In truth , with the exception of the slightly bland  'Her Darkness' , and the ballad 'Jericho', which does little else than  highlight  the band's admittedly solid musicianship but sounds slightly out of place on such a gleefully balls out record, there is not a song on here which could be described as less than quality.Closer 'Rejoice Lament' ends the album on high note, blitzing the listener with Maiden- esque galloping twin guitar riffery and blasts of guitar noise, and is sure to leave the listener a sweaty , grinning mess at it's climax.

To be honest, this album won't be for everyone.It is , at it's heart, an album with one eye firmly on the mainstream, and a sound and songwriting style which reflect this, which may alienate some regular visitors to this blog.But to be honest, when an album is this addictive, well made, and well,fun(and let's be honest, at the end of the day , that is something we need in these gloomy times) , it's hard to not get behind it.And for this reviewer, it's been a reminder of the glorious joy of sometimes just rocking the fuck out.Nude.With the curtains open.Sober.I for one hope they get fucking massive.

Rating : 9/10
For fans of: Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Red Fang ,Skid Row
Listen Here:

Stephen O ' Connor 

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