Album review: HEAVY WATER – Red Brick City

Silver Lining Music [Release date 23.07.21]

With, amongst others, the sons of both Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson’s sons kicking up serious dust in The Raven Age and As Lions respectively, it’s no surprise that Seb Byford stepped up to the plate to follow in his father’s footsteps, Saxon’s Biff passing the talent down.

As well as being a member of Naked Six, Byford Jr has linked up with his rock veteran father in this new project and their debut album is a thrilling bringing together of the generations. With the Seb on guitar and vocals and Biff on bass and vocals, Heavy Water boasts some impressive firepower and those searching for their new rock fix would do well to sit up and take a listen.

Despite Biff saying that there are certainly a few metal tracks on the album, ‘Red Brick City’ leans much more towards the heavy end of the Stereophonics, rather than the full flooded, heads down approach of Saxon.

The album certainly has a lot of character and its take on very modern hard rocking blues offers some real grit but what shines most of all is the song writing. Each of the ten tracks that make up the release are packed full of melody, great hooks and some real soul, highlighting the collaboration as one that is certainly the best of all worlds.

‘Solitude’ opens the album with some weight, attitude soaked and with a Rage Against The Machine swing, it blends big guitars, the Kelly Jones-like timbre of Sebs voice along with Biff’s distinctive tones and adds a second layer groove that wouldn’t be out of place on an Extreme or Dan Reed Network album.

The titular ‘Red Brick City’ is another tour de force, punching hard and heavy, a big and ballsy canyon deep blast, the vocals full of passion and power as giant Led Zep riffs peel off into the sky.

As well as the more subtly bombastic tracks, there’s also room for some slower, more reflective numbers and ‘Tree In The Window’ is a prime example of this.

Big in sound but also beautifully unstated, the song is unlike anything we’ve heard Byford Snr perform in a very long time, rolling gently along but with a very human heart at its centre.

Elsewhere, ‘Revolution’ kicks things up a notch again, throwing in shades of The Beatles at their most feral and ‘Follow This Moment’ features a brilliant saxophone solo by Dave Kemp, who also provides keys, on the outro.

Along with Kemp, drummer Tom Witts provides the beats of what is set to prove a potent combo and we can only hope that Heavy Water get out on the road if busy diaries permit.

The album closes with the modern rock blues with swing of ‘Revolution, a tasty Hammond solo adding another splash of colour and the job is done. A highly impressive debut and one that’ll will bear repeat listenings. Heavy Water have well and truly arrived with a splash. ****1/2

Review by Paul Monkhouse

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