Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Album Review -Kodiak Jack ' Your Death My Glory'(Angry Badger Records)

It seems in recent months, what with the upsurge in popularity of Djent/tech metal and the rapid increase in artists recording either through modelling/line  technology and the general popularity of poly rhythms and drier tones, that there's been a sort of reaction from certain parts of the rock and metal fraternity to this tendency towards futurism and synthetic sounds, with several bands looking back towards hard rock's warmer, rougher roots for inspiration for their latest releases.First I Decline updated Thin Lizzy's gentleman rock to thrilling effect with their fantastic 'Time To Shine' opus  , then sludge heavyweights Mastodon went all Rush and made an album of  stunningly melodic classic rock anthems in 'The Hunter',all seemingly without a Pod or muted fifth in ear shot.Now here to give their own spin on this mini  old school rock revival are Brit rockers Kodiak Jack, with an album of heartfelt grunge anthems in 'Your Death My Glory' that relies on good old fashioned balls out choruses and chunky riffing  to get their musical message across.

Although admittedly, first impressions aren't great.Opener ' Crossfire'  starts out pleasingly enough with a thick  , mid tempo heavy riff , but seems a little too mired in the hideously overwrought grunge of Nickelback and Theory Of A Deadman for comfort for this reviewer, and is somewhat of a weak start to the album.Thankfully, things pick up on second track 'Wasted Youth', a snarling COC style bluesy riff underpinning singer Bryn's  throaty , heartfelt roar.'Your City To Burn' is a propulsive headbanger with some nifty guitar work , while 'Prettier When She Smiles'  is a slice of sleazy shit kicking fun reminiscent of AC/DC.

Throughout this record, the one thing that stands out most is singer Bryn's fantastic vocals, equally at home with the soaring stadium rock of 'Anthem For An Underclass' as he is with the delicate balladry of 'My Condition' , a song which in a lesser singer's hands could have strayed horribly into drive time , Dad rock territory, but is actually oddly moving, with some nice use of strings and  a brevity that makes it an album highlight.

'Waves' and 'My Fake Jesus ' follow , the former a bizarre but again strangely effective mash up of Pantera-esque riffing  and hooky pop rock, the latter brilliantly recalling the stark  grunge of 'Undertow' era Tool  , and showing what this band is capable of musically.The final two tracks , the epic , eight minute 'We Are Your Saviours' and the closing salvo of the title track, are fine melodic rock tunes, with 'Your Death My Glory' containing some excellent soloing work from lead guitarist Jeff,  , but don't really wow in the same way as what's come before , and one feels at times that the band seem to be reining in their  more progressive instincts in favour of trying to appeal to a larger audience, not a crime by any means , and not one that they'd be solely guilty of if it was, but you can't help but feel at times that there's something about 'Your Death My Glory'  as  a whole that seems somewhat polished, too polite, when , going  on the evidence here, the band are more than capable of kicking ass and taking names in a far more brutal fashion.

That said, this is definitely an accomplished debut, and the band are clearly tight as a unit and solid musicians, singer Bryn being especially impressive, and the band have a bucket load of potential, and a sound which is tried and tested.A definite one to watch for fans of good old fashioned hard rock.

For fans of: Alter Bridge, Brand New Sin, Saliva
Buy The album here: http://www.iconic-culture.com/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8410&idCategory=673
Stephen O ' Connor

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