she leaves her home alone at night
did she see the shadows by the church"
One Word Review: Solid
Slingblade is a Swedish band, who released this, their debut album, at the end of 2011. I got hold of it by chance at this year’s Sweden Rock Festival (thanks Mads!) and seriously, I have been listening to it constantly ever since. The band plays totally excellent heavy metal in the old school vein. A touch of Iron Maiden here, a dash of Accept there. Add to that a pound of King Diamond inspired horror story and you have a winner. Simple but inspired.
After the first two listens I stayed intrigued. By the third I was won over and the album took on a life of its own and kept on growing. The music is traditional, pure heavy metal, very melodic and based on excellent riffs. The guitar riffs really stand out and drive the album along a steady path. The two guitarists Tobias Ander and Johan Berg have a splendid, heavy crunch to their guitar tone and this adds to the effect. The production is good and gives the album a full sound. Each instrument is clearly audible, resulting in some excellent bass lines from Niclas Svensson.
Lead singer Kristina Karlsson has a strong voice. She is able to put ample power into her vocals, making her soar on top of the heavy instrumental base. With each listen her voice grows and it soon becomes clear that she is a perfect fit for the music.
The guitar solos is another area where the band shines. The solos are interesting, aggressive and well played throughout, and often the two guitarists trade solos. Outside the solos, the guitar work stays interesting with many cool details in most songs and riffs that invite to headbang along.
The music has a good dynamic and I get the clear feeling that the band members enjoy what they are doing. That joy of playing, which shines through, makes it easy to overlook any small issues and just enjoy the music 100%. That the music is derived from many bands that have come before only makes it more impressive that Slingblade is able to create their own sound here and stand out.
This is a concept album that reminds me of Scream (the movie) mixed with the demonic edge of a King Diamond horror story. The band captures a certain atmosphere that feels almost suffocating at times and that is pretty cool. The demonic slasher concept could easily have fallen apart but surprisingly it holds up and is convincing all the way through. That is in no small part due to the determined simplicity of the music, which simply speaks to that inner urge to enjoy, headbang and drink beer.
All songs play an essential part in the overall concept and there are no fillers on this album. Instant favorites among the songs were Back To Class and Tie her to the Cross.
Back To Class has a superb drive, led by a chugging riff and tight drums. The chorus is memorable and so is the excellent dual guitar solo.
The erratic and aggressive verses stand in good contrast to the purely melodic chorus in Tie Her To The Cross. The parts are connected by a soaring bridge section. This song is a good example of what is so effective about this band.
The Demon opens in a fierce way with a guitar riff that feels like the strings are being ripped from the guitar in the verse section, a bass that dances along and forceful dual vocals that don’t leave much air left in the listener. The song suddenly slows down to an almost doom-esque tread shortly for an instrumental interplay which actually suits the song very well.
There is a good attention to detail through the album. Even the TV broadcast at the beginning of Slasher on the Loose is convincing and when it is replaced by a mean guitar riff, headbanging promptly ensues. Excellent chorus in this song as well.
Off the Hook is sure to be a live favorite with a repeated chorus that sticks.
This Dream Will End quickly establishes a superb atmosphere. It's really hard to sit still during the instrumental passage after the first verse. It has such a strong groove.
Molly's Death builds intensity in a fist clenching way. The bridge section where the speed slows down slightly is total melodic bliss, while the verse sections and excellent instrumental interplay between the guitars, bass and drums only build the excitement for the climax. The almost chant-like "Back home in the house where she was born" line works brilliantly in giving weight to the events that happen.
Give Back What You Borrow wraps up the concept as The Nature of Evil introduced it at the beginning of the album.
There is nothing really new here, just heavy metal played with intensity and vigor, and that is enough for me. Then again something is new, a band like Slingblade doesn’t come along very often. It is rare for a band to capture this feeling in this kind of music and stay convincing. For some inexplicable reason this band had me at hello. That doesn’t happen often and I was able to look past any rough edges they may have and simply enjoy the music for what it is.
"The Unpredicted Deeds of Molly Black" is a debut that shows seriously high promise for the future. A small headbanging gem for the nostalgic heavy metal fan.
I have to see this band live some day.
Written By Steen
Online: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Tie Her To The Cross