1968 – Ballads of the Godless

Black Bow Records

2018

I certainly hope that all of you who are into the older heavy stuff are paying attention.  This is one of the best recordings you will hear this month.  Maybe even this year.  When you listen to 1968, you will be transported back to those heady days of Metal’s infancy.  I heard all sorts of influences within, which 1968 wear proudly on their sleeves.  According to their bio, they are into all sorts of things, generally “things deemed bad-ass“.  In my mind, there is nothing like a heads-down, no-nonsense Heavy Rock band.  Throw in a bit of Psych, a bit of Doom and pedal-to-the-Metal energy, and you have 1968.  Personnel are Jimi Ray Coppack on vocals, Sam Orr on guitar, The Bear on bass guitar and Dan Amati on drums.  They were formed in Cheshire in 2013.

When you listen to Ballads, you will hear many things.  You will hear the creepy violin intro and big Sleep style doomy riffs of Temple of the Acidwolf (cool title, right?).  You will hear the beauty of acoustic guitar and piano in S.J.D.  Your ears will be aurally assaulted by the sweet shredding of Chemtrail Blues.  Towards the close, you will hear a nifty little drum intro on The Hunted.  This segues into waves on the beach and female vocal FX, warning us to “just listen to me.  Everything will be all right“.  This continues on the magnificent Mother of God, which is basically just one long, cool guitar solo.

Also on board we have the behemoth jam McQueen, and the two openers, Devilswine and Screaming Sun.  In order to listen to these other numbers, you may want to take a brief tea break and indulge in something a bit psychedelic, as you are about to be drowned in feedback and other musical mayhem.

Devilswine is, again, a heads-down style jam.  Plenty of doomy, dark riffs and tuned-down guitars, a la Sabbath.  Jimi’s vocals are positively possessed.  He is, by turns, a screaming banshee or an electrifying announcer.  Do not let his at times monochromatic tone fool you.  He is about to unleash a barrage of notes on your ass.  Vocals as a weapon, and no growling.  All straight vocals.  Amazing. The lead guitar solo at the three-minute mark will melt your face off.  Don’t bother picking up your guitar and trying to follow along…just listen!

Screaming Sun begins life with a really cool guitar part.  There is more slamming and jamming and pounding, and the drummer appears to be very busy.  It is another no-nonsense jam.  Plenty of heavy vocals, drums, bass and guitar.  THAT, readers, is the way The Fish-Man likes it!.

Now we come to decision time, readers.  Are you going to risk it?  If you like heavy, dark, GOOD rock/heavy metal which definitely reaches back in time to our metal ancestors, then go out and get this recording.  You will NOT be disappointed.

Verdict: 9/10

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