[Release date 10.06.16]
The major issue I have with some of the heavier music still remains the vocals. Sometimes I’ll press play and have my mind blown by some amazing music only to have my ears blown by bad vocals. It’s usually the more screechy pterodactyl type singers (think Randy Blythe) that kill it for me (Lamb of God being the prime example of great music, not so great vocals for my liking.)
Typically, if the vocals lose me, then I stop listening to an album because the music rarely steps it up enough for me to want to keep going. Truthfully, the fact that I’m able to conjure up some words right now is a testament to just how great the music was on Sludgehammer’s full length debut ‘The Fallen Sun’.
A lot of the reason I kept going was that while I was playing the album I was otherwise pre-occupied so I wasn’t able to get to the eject button fast enough. Much like with Lamb of God, the music was really blowing me away, but the vocals just weren’t doing it for me. Parts of it sounded like the old cartoon character Captain Caveman.
It wasn’t until it got to the third track “The Black Abyss” where my ears perked up. I make no bones about it, I enjoy hearing vocals that are done by people who can actually sing (no offense intended to the growlers and whatnot that I have come to love.) Not only were the vocals great, but the song itself continued on the trend of being amazing.
The thing about Sludgehammer musically is they take so many different styles and mesh them together into this sound that encapsulates traditional, thrash, modern, death, and progressive metal, while creating something unique yet familiar. The excellent guitar work with hooky riffs and blazing solos matched with the heaviness and intensity was greatly appealing. The vocals still never quite drew me in beyond that one track, however, unlike the pterodactyl sound, I got used to them with a few listens.
Folks that don’t have the same hang up about vocals should absolutely adore Sludgehammer’s The Fallen Sun. There are some fantastic songs here and even with me not feeling the singer all the way, I was still able to walk away enjoying this album quite a bit. Perhaps I should go back and check out some other bands that initially I gave up on whose vocals I hated and see what I think now. Or not. I’d definitely say this album was the exception to my usual rule. ***
Review by Chris Martin
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 4 August 2020.
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