Mark of the Beast" is clearly a blood relative of the classic (and heavy as shit) "Old Man Going" by the Pretty Things. Once the intro gives way to the verse the album picks up some heavy steam and continues to gain momentum until the final showstopper of "Killer Kane" ("Bean Stew" the CD's closer is listed as a 'hidden track'), clearly one of the great heavy rock songs of the year (see current Doom Charts) or of any year for that matter.
The Shovell know just what they have here in the "Killer Kane" riff, even foretelling its passing in an untitled interlude midway through the album. It's like they just couldn't wait to give you that riff. How can you argue, it's not the kind of riff you just sit on, but it's just a 49 second preview, when the song finally kicks off and that pause-y chorus crashes in, it's catchy as hell. Same with "Red Admiral, Black Sunrise", catchy as hell. "Devil's Island" and "Mark of the Beast" have also been making the rounds and absolutely crushing misery on my daily hour-long commute to work playlist.
Again, this is a very Prog-Psych album with more than a waft of heavy blues rock, but played catchy in the vein of Octopus' "Restless Night" or Grapefruit's "Deep Water" albums. Tony McPhee of the legendary Goundhogs (their 1968 debut lp "Scratching the Surface" being one of my all-time favorites) appears on "Scratchin and Sniffin" and "Bean Stew". The prog psych feel comes across when the riffs stop flying momentarily and smoke-thick atmospherics and heavy tension building instrumental passages wash in, as though for the listeners to catch our collective breaths and get ready for another dive in to the fray.
There's also a palpable nautical vibe to some of the songs, some of the passages are very sea-like in a way that I can't describe because I lack the technical language, but it has a very maritime feel in a way that Ahab only hints at.
For those who like classic, stadium-sized guitar rock riffs with more than just a pinch of thought put into the songwriting, this album is highly recommended. A future classic for sure.
Reminds me of: Atomic Rooster, Grapefruit (later), Groundhogs, High Tide, Octopus, Pretty Things, Sir Lord Baltimore
My Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Hard Rock, Retro Rock, Psychedelic, Stoner, Prog
1). Mark of the Beast (6:03)
2). Devil's Island (7:16)
3). iDeath (6:11)
4). Untitled (0:49)
5). Red Admiral, Black Sunrise (7:05)
6). Scratchin' and Sniffin' (4:59)
7). The Last Run (4:11)
8). Killer Kane (3:23)
9). Bean Stew (7:15)
Total Run Time: 47:08
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Suggested Listening Activity for fellow non-stoners: Lighthouse tipping (like cow-tipping, only with a Lighthouse)
The Soda Shop
Fast n Bulbous
GET IT HERE