30 June 2010

1476 : A Wolf's Age

The atmospheric, dark and moody cover art for 1476's A Wolf's Age is deceptive. The first track, Anno Domini, holds more Green Day energy than Bauhaus skulk. Dynamic and rollicking, the song contains elements of Australia's Living End. 

Swallow the Sun is driven by abrasive guitars and insistent drumming, with consistently atmospheric vocals. Son of the Hunter pursues an alt-country vibe, which is totally unexpected. This is not Lucid returns to the rockabilly punk style of the album's beginning, lyrics delivered with a shot of acid. follows the same path. Dithyramb does the same. 

Evoke You is a stand-out track which diverts from the traditional genre path and delivers something more unexpected and vitriolic; the melody changes, using lots of minor chords, takes the song into a darker place than the rest of the album. I am reminded of The Clash; not in style so much as the energy coming from this track is similar. The bass takes a front seat and, in some quieter moments, helps the drumming to develop a sense of drama. 

Herne's Oak takes yet another route, with dark resonant vocals a la Dave Gahan, double-kick drumming, HUGE guitar wall of sound. This song takes me back to the big rock sounds of '90s bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Live and The Screaming Trees. 

Oriens Astrum returns to the rockabilly punk vibe, with metal guitar leading into the chorus. The Demons in the Circle adopts the radio-friendly alt-country style once more. The Cleansing Scourge amps it up again. Medicine Man...now here's a track I can get into. What a sexy down-home Bon Temps style; gentle groove, slide guitar, acoustic guitars...until the chorus, which reminds me a little of Kings of Leon. I would've loved to see this song continue the vibe it started with; the verses are fantastic.

Speaking of Bon Temps, Der Vampyr takes alt-country to its luscious Nick Cave potential. Melancholic, dark, sublimely deep vocals, great lyrics...now THIS is a band I would pay good money to see. This song has presence, takes its time and is individual enough to avoid genre stereotyping. I adore this track. Adore the swamp it seduces me into. 

The Wanderer's loud guitars rip me out of my cosey dark cocoon, which I didn't want to leave so quickly. Closed Casket Heart ends the album with some acoustic guitar-induced swaying and swooningly powerful vocals. Like something you'd hear in an Irish pub at 2am. Darker than a ditty.

Overall, this album is enjoyable, but I can't say you'd love it if you like Green Day or Nick Cave or any other band. It has moments of punk rockabilly aggressiveness, then subtle, beautiful and memorable moments of pain and longing. Which means, I can't stereotype this band. Which means I like it.

If you'd like to find out more about 1476, an American band unheard of as yet in Australia, visit their website which has all their related links to MySpace, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

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