Coming hot on the heels of the ‘Buried Beneath’ EP, Belfast Hard Rock/Stoner/Southern Chug merchants Baleful Creed have returned with a speed that even arch-prolifics Witchery would be proud of.
This newest platter is entitled ‘III’, and the lack of a cooling-off period has not hampered BC from releasing another high quality piece of work.
While it’s predecessor was a solid record, bereft of arrogance and well-played, this new slab is a much more expansive and ambitious effort.
There is an noticeable change in atmospherics from the get-go. Tangible darkness is heard all over this record, and an entire set of influences seemed to have been hidden from the
listener on ‘Buried Beneath’.
Whether this was a result of BC playing it safe in their embryonic period or not is unclear and I guess unimportant. What is crystal clear is that this band are capable being first rate if this upward trajectory continues.
The curtain raiser, ‘Double F.S’, grabs the attention almost instantly. The vocals are more confident, the guitar more expressive, and it’s clear from this aperture that Baleful Creed have not become complacent.
I am reminded here of Jerry Cantrell crossing swords with Glen Danzig, with dash of southern and stoner rock and as I sip again, a hint of Kyuss can be noted in the concoction.
This culture continues down a darker and edgier path – when we reach third track ‘Thorazine’. The whiff of ‘Dad Rock’ which may have been hinted at on prior releases has been smashed now, and the agression levels are ratched up significantly.
The dextrous playing and effortless melody-making remain, but have been given a sharper edge. From about the three minute mark of this song, a sonic wilderness leaves the listener awaiting the returning chorus with baited breath in a way that only accomplished and cohesive bands can.
This is probably the best moment on the EP, totally unexpected and well placed.
On ‘Illuminati’, one is brought memories of Monster Magnet and guitar licks that have the Cantrell stamp all over them. The rhythm section has an old fashioned approach showcased best in this track.
Nothing fancy, but ensuring that each bass stroke is complimenting the beats and cymbal snaps. Simple, effective and precisely whats required with this type of music.
Lets be frank – Baleful Creed are not pioneers. Nor are they going to provide stiff competition for the more vaunted musicians doing the rounds in the Irish scene. The Mourning Beloveths and Primordials of this world will not be looking for lyrical inspiration from their inlay cards.
What they are however, is a tight, committed and improving band with a nous for a tune that is enviable.
They have in their ranks a superb vocalist who has overcome a slight hesitancy on the last record, a well-oiled and chugging rhythm section and an expressive and capable lead guitarist in John Allen.
This is more than solid, tough as nails hard rock, a harbinger of records of an even higher standard. Recommended!
Kevin Jacob ::: 9/11/12