Alun’s had a very busy year listening to some great albums and donning various disguises, including a Mexican wrestling mask, on Ever Metal Staff video calls. One of these things raised a few titters here at EMHQ. I’ll let you decide which one for yourself. But while you do, here’s Al’s favourite albums of the year! Enjoy…
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
1968 – Salvation, If You Need… Self-Released/No Profit Recordings Release Date: 20/04/2021 Running Time: 43:52 Review by Alun Jones 9.5/10
For this review of “Salvation, If You Need…”, the second album from UK stoner rock titans 1968, I promise that there will be no messing about, no silly stories, no nonsense whatsoever. I’m not even drinking. Rather, I will endeavour to write a serious review that treats this album with the respect it deserves. Not enough respect to get the article written on schedule, mind; but hey – I never said I was perfect.
Anyone familiar with 1968 from their previous efforts will not be disappointed to learn that the band’s strengths are in full flow here. Thankfully, they’ve also pushed boundaries and explored their psychedelic tendencies further than ever before. Witness opening track ‘Rail Road Boogie’, which teases a funky Blaxploitation groove before unleashing the glorious big riff sound that we expect.
Comparing 1968 to Kyuss is far too obvious and lazy. Jimi Ray’s voice has some of that gruff John Garcia sound (with a little later-period TSOL vocalist Joe Wood), though his vocals have matured to a sincere, soulful timbre. See also, guitarist Sam Orr: schooled in Sabbath riffology and Lizzy attitude, here his Hendrix aspirations are allowed to fly unrestrained. Magnificent washes of sound cascade and add colour everywhere, without being obtrusive.
‘Blackwing’ is the highlight for me: a refrain that’ll slip into your ears and lodge there. It’s pointless trying to remove it. Whether happy accident or hard slog, this is an epic riff. ‘Eastern Wind’ follows a similar path, but offers enough of its own controlled chaos to stand on its own two feet.
Tom Richards’ bass warms up ‘Here It Lies’ and expertly keeps the vibe dialled on a grungy, early Soundgarden pace. The raw, unrefined blues of ‘Small Victories’ and ‘God Bless’ also allow drummer Dan Amati to show he can play refined and delicate, as well as thundering and determined.
Yes, 1968 are undoubtedly still inspired by the classic rock of the late 60’s/early 70’s, but we’re also in Satan’s Dive Bar, somewhere in Seattle, drinking beers with a jukebox that’s stuck on Badmotorfinger. And some Budgie, too, based on the solid cover of that band’s ‘Guts’ which shows up here.
Look, I’ve tried to be serious for once, and I hope you appreciate it, reader. “Salvation, If You Need…” is a truly magnificent piece of work. I’ve been playing it for ages and it hasn’t aged. I’m still discovering little delights everywhere. It has scale and pace that other bands don’t dare trifle with. A contender for Album of the Year, so long as I can get hold of the imminent vinyl release.
Now, who wants to hear about the time Ozzy, Belinda Carlisle and I gate-crashed Venom’s Satanic picnic?
I lied about not drinking, by the way…
‘Rail Road Boogie’ (Audio)
TRACKLISTING: 01. Rail Road Boogie 02. Trail Of Dogs 03. Blackwing 04. Here It Lies 05. Guts (Budgie Cover) 06. Expressway 07. Eastern Wind 08. Small Victories 09. Night Hornet 10. God Bless
LINE-UP: Jimi Ray – Vocals Sam Orr – Guitar Tom Richards – Bass Dan Amati – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Hi Everyone – Rick Here. Before you check out Alun’s top 10 albums of 2018, here is another message of thanks from me. Alun has been a fantastic addition to our team in 2018. His knowledge of the music and the fabulous humour he uses to write his reviews have brought another element to our website. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of using similar phrases or writing the same thing in each review…well, you don’t get that with Alun, you’re never quite sure what direction he is going to go in and that is something to savour! Cheers Alun!