Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Tsar Bomba - Silent Queen (album review)

Amazing cover artwork by Richey Beckett
The Tsar Bomba was the name of the Soviet Hydrogen Bomb detonated in a test on October 30 of '61.  With an energetic output equivalent to 57 megatons of TNT, it is the single largest artificially created explosion at any time in the history of the Earth.  It was a one of a kind event. The explosion, just like the Tsar Bomba that produced it, remain unique as they were never reproduced.  With that in mind, let's take a look at this French stoner rock band called Tsar Bomba.

If there's one thing that stirs my imagination it's the neo-grunge leanings of bands like Satellite Beaver, Soundcrawler, Mount Fuji, SautruS and Mother of God, among others.  Chances are if a band's influences include or they at least have some kind of feeling of Alice in Chains, Kyuss and/or early Tool they have in me a fan for life.  Tsar Bomba fall into this category, just so's you know.  There are hints of other bands: Led Zeppelin, High on Fire, need I go on?  Dirty guitars and vocals, plaintive melodies and quiet-loud dynamics help characterize their sound.  This band is all about power.  Explosive compositions and performances that will blow your hair back.

Vocalist Ced slurs, seethes and howls like a madman throughout the length of the album.  It's a signature performance which helps to separate the band from an incredibly strong pack.  As soon as mini-epic opening track "Jesus Fucking Christ" picks up, your teeth begin to rattle and your jaw smacks the floor.  "Enter The Void" then bundles the elements introduced in the opening track into a solid mass and streamlines it, creating a melodic and malodorous track which hunches over and hulks with stressed out intensity.

"The Devil's Been Busy" is as close as rock music can possibly get to capturing the raw power of 'Cowboys From Hell' era Pantera or thereabouts.  Piggy guitars, booming drums, it's an incredibly heavy groove-laden and dynamic song wrought in punchy rhythms.  "Who Am I?" has some of those incredible lurching drop out dynamics which just build, store and unleash energy in amounts worthy of the band's name.  Besides, a riff with frayed Van Halen-esque ends just demands the listener's respect and worship.

Just when you think you've heard everything the band has to offer and there are no more surprises or amazing moments, the band drops "Black Flag" on your ass and instantly you're floored all over again.  What better way to close an album?

And regarding the name, is the band reaching just a little bit much to name themselves after and thus compare themselves to the Hydrogen Bomb?  Listen to "The Devil's Been Busy" on the player below and then you tell me.  With the entire album available as an absolutely FREE DOWNLOAD on bandcamp, there's no reason under the sun not to pick this one up or at least try it out.  This album is not to be missed.

Highlights include: "Enter The Void" and "The Devil's Been Busy"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 40:11

Cédric Marcel / Vocals
Fabien Fok / Guitar
Wojtek Nowak / Bass
Jérome Farion / Drums*

*Jérome Farion is a new member of the band, he is not on this recording.

From: Paris, France

Genre: Stoner, Grunge, Doom

Reminds me of: Kyuss, Mount Fuji, Satellite Beaver, Soundcrawler

Release Date: January 6, 2013

Better Review:
Temple of Perdition
Phantasmagoria in Greek
Ride With the Devil

Tsar Bomba facebook

1 comment:

  1. good review and good band!
    and good to see a new cool blog!
    for those interested to learn more about Tsar bomba, here's the interview I did with thm (it's in french, the review is in english) :


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