Thursday, 15 November 2012

Heat - Old Sparky (album review)

I struggled a long time about what to say for this album.  I listened to it over and over and I knew I loved it and wanted to do a write up, but what the hell would I say?  This isn't the kind of album that inspires me to think, it's the kind of album that inspires me to stomp around the house like a 30 year old idiot and Rawk Out.

"Daymare" is a sprawling opener that sets things off on the right track, good riff, solid playing, competent singing, all the ingredients are there for a straight-forward hard rock ass-whooper of an album.  The song gets dark and quiet in the middle, and by the time the accents fall back into place and the riff comes storming back in your face, you will swear this is an unreleased classic from the 70s.  Zeppelin writing tunes for AC/DC or something.

"Warhead" is like a rock cliche and I mean that in the best possible way.  It's a blistering track that takes the best moments of Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Leaf Hound, Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Judas Priest, etc. and boils them down into five minutes of fury.  It's a strong contender for song of the year.

Truth be told, those hard rock comparisons apply to the rest of this disc as well.  "Hamelin" gives me more of the 'Priest / 'Maiden feel and just crushes from start to finish flowing fluidly from great riff to great riff.  "Illusion" is another great stomper the riff chunks and descends, then veers off into a great Sabbath inspired jam out.  "Old Sparky" is like what if "Stranglehold" was written and performed by Witchfinder General.  "Ending Aging" starts as an end of the night, sweat pouring down slow blues and builds into a real barnburner.

With the amount of great hard rockin' stoner doom that floods the internet week in week out it's nearly impossible to keep up, but the effort to do so is rewarding.  I put buying this one off for the longest time, but now the thought of not hearing this album keeps me up at night.  I know there's a strong sentimental contingent out there who feel as though the 70s were the best era for music but the 70s revival bands take the best elements and strip away the crap and we listeners don't have to live in fear that our favorite bands will try to score a disco crossover hit or awkwardly throw some unwieldy and unnecessary moog synth into the mix just to stay 'relevant'.  So you tell me what's the best era for rock.

I don't know what they're putting in the fluoride over in Deutschland these days but 'Old Sparky' makes it three absolute masterpieces from three German bands in a span of less than three months (the other two being the self-titled debuts from Kadavar and Mount Fuji).  And that's just the stuff I've heard.

'Old Sparky' exemplifies the genre of hard rock and is as good an example of what's right with certain circles of music these days.  This is one of the best straight-up 70s inspired hard rock albums of the year, every moment is a highlight.

Highlights include: "Warhead" and "Illusion"

Rating: 5/5

From: Berlin, Germany

Genre: Hard Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Judas Priest, Kadavar, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Witchfinder General

Release Date: September 28, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Pilot your fighter jet and rain death from above

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