Monday, 9 April 2012

Lockjaw Records review series pt 3 - Almeida


Well, this is third Lockjaw release review (fourth if you count the Wake The Dead review I did a week or so ago). Almeida are from the south coast and bill themselves as progressive thrash. Judging by the cover of Fantastic Massacre, they also have a sense of humour, which is always good. Looking at the bands they've played alongside, they seem to have a pretty good pedigree, which is a sing of quality.

Tracklist:-

1. Kinslayer
2. Kings of Contempt
3. Fantastic Massacre (A Heart Wrenching Soliloquy About Me Feelin’s Fer Tugger)
4. Lifeboats
5. Ice Cream Song
6. Bale Fire
7. Fail Buyer
8. Occam's Razor (i)
9. Jury and the Executioner (ii)
10. Reservations (iii)
11. By Sin of Omission

Okay so the progressive thrash may have been a bit of a misnomer, as the first track kicks in, Almeida come across as a mixture of Protest The Hero, Pennywise and Dragonforce! Now, I’m not trying to pigeonhole them before I've even started, as I don't think you can categorise Almeida at all.

The musicianship is pretty incredible, the rhythm section is fast and furious, the guitars are a mixture of punk riffs and killer, off-kilter solos and the vocals range from death metal growls to pop-punk melodies and some cool three-way harmonies. The song lengths vary too, which is where they get the progressive tag. There are so many ideas crammed into each song; it's an absorbing listen if you have the attention span and the brain to work it all out. Take second song Kings of Contempt as a good example. It's just over four minutes long, but seems to about four songs in one.

The title track is the third track of this long player, and starts with some really well played guitar, and considering this is Almeida's first album, sounds pretty assured and confident. I would liken them to the first time I heard fellow British nuts Sikth, as they go the extra mile to write songs with imagination and skill. Fantastic Massacre is the first of three songs on the album to breach the seven-minute mark and it's like a rock opera. It's mainly instrumental, but it has to be heard to be believed.

Ice Cream Song is a brilliant semi-acoustic piece, that brings things back down to a level or normality, with some great strumming that shows off their skills as musicians again. Bale Fire is a fast, frenetic piece of experimental noise, with death growls, gang vocals and crazy fretboard wizardry. It continues straight into Fail Buyer, which is just the same but this time is more hardcore inspired. I know I've already said this, but there are so many ideas here that it's hard to take in.

I love how one song morphs into another and can only imagine what the recording of this album would have been like. I can imagine plenty of caffeine was consumed in the studio. Talking of the studio, the production of Fantastic Massacre is also brilliant. Each element is clear and can be heard; yet they work so well together. Sometimes is can be hard for bands to mould all these ideas and time changes together, but Almeida seem to is with consummate ease, which just shows hoe good these guys are.

The last two tracks, Reservations (iii) and By Sin of Omission are 15 minutes of utter madness. The musical quality on show is brilliant and if either of these make their way onto Rockband, you'll only be able to play them in expert mode, because they won't deserve to be in a easier mode! It just wouldn't do them justice at all. This album is just a journey of epic proportions, from start to finish and the fact that these guys reside on our fair isle, is even better.

Almeida have uploaded the title track from their album to bandcamp, so you can stream it and download it:-


You can also pick it up from either their bigcartel page at http://www.almeida.bigcartel.com or via Lockjaw records at http://www.lockjawrecords.co.uk/ or Japanese label Bells on Records at http://www.facebook.com/bellsonrecords/app.

Well there you have it, my last review of the Easter break and what a record to finish on. Just do me a favour now, check out their bandcamp page and then pick up their album. You'd be mental not to!

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