Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elusive Cambridge band's album finally gains wide release

Originally a vinyl-only release by Rise Above Records in 2011, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats' Blood Lust was selling for £700 on eBay. It was re-released in early 2012, but even the record label's website crashed due to the high demand for the album. The re-re-release is now out on Metal Blade Records, and CD and digital copies are widely available.

But--who is this band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, and why are so many people willing to pay that kind of money for a record?

Well, no one knows exactly who Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats truly are. Only going by the names "Uncle Acid", "Kat", and "Red", fans don't have many details about the band members themselves. On top of that, they have kept a very mysterious persona. There aren't even any live performance photos of this band. This should change, however, in March. The band has shows scheduled in London for the 22nd and 23rd.

I can, though, give you some insight into why this band and their album are becoming so popular. Imagine this--Black Sabbath riffs combined with Alice Cooper horror imagery. It's pretty incredible, if you ask me. When a friend first sent me a link to an Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats YouTube video, I honestly thought they were some unknown cult band from the '60s I'd just never heard of before. Obviously that wasn't the case, but it did seem plausible. Blood Lust sounds very much like it was produced to sound vintage.

Opening Blood Lust is the track "I'll Cut You Down". It begins with the eerie sound of flipping TV channels. The guitar soon kicks in, and the riff sounds like something from an old Stooges song. It then becomes more Sabbath-esque as the song goes on. The vocals are muffled and quiet compared to the instruments, and it adds to the mystique surrounding Uncle Acid and their music. There is a horror theme in the lyrics right off the bat, particularly with the line, "I lust for women's blood". The part of the chorus with the "I want you, and I need you" lyric is also quite catchy.

"Death's Door" follows, and it has a distinctly heavier bass line than "I'll Cut You Down". It is also much slower and has a laid back stoner rock feel. The vocals remain slow and mysterious. I particularly enjoy this track from Blood Lust because of the impressive guitar solo in the middle.

I really dig the song titles from Blood Lust. "I'm Here to Kill You" just sounds awesomely evil. The opening riffs of this track almost sound like some old school Maiden or NWOBHM, but it quickly turns more prog rock when the keyboard is added in. The vocals are still muffled, bordering on indecipherable at times. "I'm Here to Kill You" offers a change of pace, as it is the least Sabbath-y sounding tracks so far. And despite all the prog rock stylings and the intense keyboard instrumental, it is one of the shortest songs on the album.

My favorite track from Blood Lust is "Ritual Knife". It begins with a heavy and looming bass line. The memorable underlying guitar riff is dark, menacing, and just plain creepy. I wouldn't want to be driving alone in the dark and have this song come on! I initially stumbled upon this song via one of the band's YouTube videos .The video is definitely worth watching. It is styled after a low-budget horror film and is befitting of the band's mysterious and often occult-like image. "Ritual Knife" also boasts a great guitar solo at the end of the song.

"Down to the Fire" is a bonus track for the this re-re-release of Blood Lust. It is an acoustic number that gives off a really cool Zeppelin vibe. It is much different from the rest of the album, but it's a worthy addition.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats' album Blood Lust is a fantastic album--even one of the year's best. My only real complaint is that some of the riffs are repetitive and overused. For instance, the track "I'll Cut you Down" sounds an awful lot like the track called "13 Candles". That kind of threw me off the first time or two I listened to the record, because I thought the first track was somehow repeating itself or being revisited for whatever reason. Other than that, I can't say anything bad about Blood Lust.

Frequent readers of this site probably know that I'm always excited to hear bands that incorporate a classic or "vintage" sound into their material. I am especially pleased about a band like Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, because their music goes so far back to such an early period of metal. I can't wait to hear what they do next, and I won't have too much longer either-- a brand new album is slated for release in March of 2013.

8 1/2 out of 10 stars

Metal Blade Records/Rise Above Records/Riot! Entertainment
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats on Facebook


Norwegian rockers Audrey Horne re-invent their sound to deliver rock 'n' roll gold

Audrey Horne's earlier material might have been considered somber post-grunge but their fourth album, Youngblood, is definitely filled with arena-ready bombast. The band's newly discovered high energy brand of hard rock will instantly leave listeners begging for more.

Youngblood opens with "Redemption Blues" which kind of sounds like Judas Priest's "Electric Eye" at first. It then winds down but soon speeds back up into a completely different direction. "Redemption Blues" becomes a fast guitar-driven heavy rock song with powerful and dramatic vocals from lead singer Toschie. The chorus containing the lyrics "It's safe to say that I'm going nowhere" is catchy and instantly sucks you in. The guitar solo in the middle is absolutely blistering, and this classic sounding song has me impressed with Youngblood right from the get-go.

Right away, the band's classic hard rock and heavy metal influences become strikingly obvious. Don't let that fool you though--each song is unique, and none of them sound the least bit dated.

"Straight into Your Grave" comes next. The hard and heavy intro riffs are reminiscent of Motley Crue's earlier stuff. This track's guitar solo is fast, intricate, and intense. The guitar work of Ice Dale and Thomas Tofthagen is superb and the two mesh together flawlessly. Kjetil Greve's drumming on "Straight into Your Grave" is pronounced and rapid, also adding to the Crue vibe I get from the song.

One track that just strikes me as fun is "There Goes a Lady". It is sexy in a sleazy rock 'n' roll sort of way. It's not as fast or explosive as any of the previous tracks--it's more of a hard-edged bluesy rock song than heavy metal. The lyrics' subject matter about a seductive "maneater" type woman almost makes this song like a modern day "Strutter."

"Cards with the Devil" is very exciting, in that makes you feel like you're in a horror movie. The lyrics are full of imagery and tell a story. I especially dig the lines "Midnight, they reanimate / The living dead knock on my door" and "The grave digger got his eye on me / He carved my name with his bony hand". They're so descriptive and make it feel so real.

"Cards with the Devil" also features a brief organ solo before the guitar solo, but it certainly doesn't sound like your typical Scandanavian keyboard-heavy metal.

A track that is a bit more prog rock-ish is "The Open Sea". Its vivid opening lyric--"Hold your head under water as you reach across the sky"--is layered over a subtle organ and sounds as if it is being sung underwater. A strong bass riff and guitars join as the song picks up. The heavy guitars along with the increasingly prominent organ really give this song a '70s Deep Purple or Rainbow feel.

Audrey Horne's Youngblood is one of the most impressive albums--if not THE most impressive album--I've heard in a long time. The first time I played the album, it was one of those rare moments where I knew right from the first riff of the first track just how great it was going to be. I honestly can't say enough without coming across as some idiot saying, "ZOMG!!! This album RAWKSSS! Old-school metallllll FTW!!!" This album does get me wound up like that! In all seriousness though, rock fans who haven't yet heard of Audrey Horne and Youngblood are definitely missing out on something incredible.

8 1/2 out of 10 stars

Napalm Records
Audrey Horne Official Website