Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Alchemical Mixture - Bite The Bullet & Pet The Preacher (album reviews)

From: Copenhagen, Denmark.  Highlights include: "Hit the Ground"
and "I Will Not Die".  Rating: 4/5.  Release Date: late April 2013.
Total Run Time: 20:07
Bite the Bullet is a two-man operation out of Copenhagen, Denmark.  But don't let their number fool you, it's a full sound the band puts out, utilizing different instruments such as piano and trombone on closing track "My Soul".  There's no shortage of musical ideas here, nor is the band short on the skill to pull those ideas off.

Fuzz, staccato piano and fluttering high-toned vocals illuminate opening track "I Feel Love".  The song is somewhat reminiscent of Roxy Music but toughened up by degrees.  Classic alternative rock with manically blowing clouds of guitar smoke distortion to throw up walls of sound until all melody is enclosed and hidden away in a rubber room of its own devising.  "Hit the Ground" is classic American psychedelic rock in the Byrds idiom, utilizing the never dull, always great sounding E, A, D, G chord progression (correct me if I'm wrong) during the verse with high/low harmonies.  The harmonies really sell this thing and it doesn't hurt that the two guys in the band kind of resemble Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley.  It's a great song, classic psych (see the video below).

This is the psychedelic world inhabited by Bite the Bullet.  There's something about the high harmonies, slightly cowboy western sounding fuzz riff and persistent drums that lends a song the element of danger.  That's just what happens on "I Will Not Die", evoking classic images.  Cowboy booted tough guy, a free spirit who don't take no shit off no man, rolls back in the small and quiet town where he grew up, in a black Cadillac of course with shag carpet interior , looking to escape the mistakes he's made in the big city ... until they catch up with him putting everyone in the town at risk.  It's a great vibe on this song, even if the story it evokes in this reviewer isn't terribly original, it still makes for a cool picture show in my mind's eye.  In other words, I dig it, it's got like a Nick Cave or Tom Waits dusty air about it while still being dreamy and psychedelic.  Kind of like The Big Lebowski, if you can boil that movie down into an overall impression encapsulated into one song.

This is the band's debut EP, being born of the ashes of their former band Highway Child.  A full-length album will see vinyl release via Bilocation Records this summer.  For now you can stream this EP on the band's official website.

Cover artwork by Lucas Ruggieri
From: Copenhagen, Denmark.  Highlights include: "A Part of Me"
and "Bright Land - Black Death".  Rating: 3.5/5.  Run Time: 35:35
Also out of Copenhagen are Pet the Preacher, the oddly named band who set the (under)world alight with last year's 'The Banjo' concept album.  It was a rollicking revue of big bluesy riffs and lyrics that shouldn't have worked but did framed around a scenario of a man's journey through his own private hell and the way to get out.  Less than a year later, here we are again.  The band is back with a new/old double EP containing the band's debut release from 2011, 'Meet the Creature' on side A, while the band's latest release, the 'Papa Zen' EP, comprises the whole of side B.

For those already familiar with the band's first EP, this will be a rehash but it appears here for the first time on vinyl.  Ditto 'Papa Zen'.  It's a great way of getting older material out to new listeners, like myself, who hadn't heard it.  As a first recording, the excitement and enthusiasm is clearly evident on these three cuts and just maybe a trace of self-consciousness.  It can be hard to tell with these guys though, they come from out of left field and do their own thing at all times.  The penchant for experimentation that the band is becoming known for can be found here in some oddball rhythms on "I Won't Let You Go" which shouldn't work but do and an otherwise mad scientist approach to a melding of stoner metal and traditional blues, something you would never have expected to sound so original but grows like barbed wire vines from the seed of the blues..

"Into a Darker Night" kicks the swinging saloon doors off the hinges of side B and swaggers in powerfully with some quietly urgent intensity.  "Papa Zen" is an instrumental that pops the cork off the tension built up in "Darker Night".  "A Part of Me" refocuses the intensity and tension through a heavier lens.

While band leader Christian Hede Madsen is busy with his more blues focused side project Hound, I doubt fans of Pet the Preacher will have to wait long for the band to make their next move as they're an inspired band who emphasize artistry and integrity over trends.  One thing this band won't run out of any time soon is ideas for new short stories.

Bite the Bullet official website
Bite the Bullet facebook

Pet The Preacher facebook



  1. I'm going to have to Bite The Bullet! I've already Pet the Preacher.


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