CD Reviews

Baleful Creed - 'Seismic Shifter'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 12, 2018    
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Not as urgent, surprising or downright exciting as the band's debut, but it will still provide the perfect soundtrack for a head-banger's ball.

If Black Sabbath and Monster Truck had a baby, who was raised in Northern Ireland by Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister under a dark cloud of religious oppression, their indignant offspring would undoubtedly grow up to unleash the same kind of hard, heavy, Stoner Blues-Rock as Baleful Creed. After a four year break and with a brand new rhythm section in tow, the Belfast boys are back, brandishing a primal and powerful second album that eats idiots for breakfast.

BC's self-titled bow delivered such an uncompromising racket of Rock 'n' Roll firepower, it could have stormed into the China shop, scared the sweet bejesus out of the resident bull and trashed the poncey crockery faster than you could raise a set of devil horns. 'Seismic Shifter', however, takes a slightly different approach to wanton destruction.

Purveyors of fancy Tupperware will still find their stock smashed to smithereens by its leviathan-sized sonic assault, only this time the damage is done with a patient, precise and ruthless iron fist. Belligerent mid-tempo tracks dominate, with 'Forgiven' and 'God's Fear' driven by the ruthlessly simplistic guitar combination of Fin Finlay's elephantine riffage and John Allen's swaggering, soulful and atmospheric lead phrases.

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Impressive instrumentation aside, those cuts, alongside 'Memento Mori' and 'Grind', are ultimately let down by plodding hooks that fail to raise the pulse. Unlike the refrains that grace some of the faster numbers like 'Faux Celebrity', 'Levy' and the uncompromising Mot├Ârhead-esque 'Lose Religion', where both Finlay (who sounds like The Answer's Cormac Neeson were his vocal chords coated with shards of glass) and bassist Davy Greer spit out killer choruses that render the Ebola virus about as infectious as the common cold.

The band have grown as song-writers and musicians whilst on hiatus, as evidenced on two epic and ambitious tracks that encapsulate everything Baleful Creed excel at. 'Walking Wounded' features an epicentre of dynamic, dramatic Hard Rock, sandwiched between sludgy drop-tuned bedevilment, while 'The Wolf' and its anthemic chorus recalls Guns 'N' Roses' 'Civil War' and packs a thrilling coda-come-aftershock that cuts loose in classic Sabbath fashion.

'Seismic Shifter' isn't as urgent, surprising or downright exciting as the band's debut, but it will still provide the perfect soundtrack for a head-banger's ball. If they can channel the strongest elements from both records, expect Baleful Creed's third effort to casually pulverise any porcelain that dares cross its path.

Simon Ramsay

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