There is a cynicism that sets in with age, making a lot of us struggle to get excited about most new releases. Especially so when it comes to hard rock. I find myself coming to the predictable and inevitable conclusion that they don’t make rock records like they used to. I suspect that a similar sentiment was the starting point for Bad Guru’s new album.
This band of Atlanta metalheads release their first album after a string of five singles. Their vocalist has a diamond hard voice that effortlessly balances the whole track, while the guitarist’s mastery of the monster riffage and lightning solos, are second to none. The highlight, though has be the creative, high spirited drumming. Every member of the band has come together in a neat sonic line and managed to do so without disturbing the spirit of each original.
The first track ‘Enter the void’, amid all the energy and unstoppable guitar work, the song is remarkably reverent and massively enjoyable. It sounds like something out of a ‘Tool’ album. This is what I would like to call ‘a thinking person’s heavy metal.’
‘Mama Said’ is tricked out with twists and turns known to crush and galvanize packed arenas. It’s got those shadowy, suspenseful ramp-ups that lead eventually to furious eruptions. These eruptions are followed by intricate and arty instrumental passages that are thrilling in an entirely different way. It could very well be my personal favorite from the album.
Bad Guru’s ‘Ashamed’ is nothing short of ferocious. This is the sound of a band in total control of their abilities, while clearly relishing every moment. This high-octane treatment in this track credited to the drummer. He perfectly pushes the energy of the gnarly guitar with precision timing and ferocity.
You’ll feel the pull of chaos and order, of dark and of light. Life isn’t simple, and our music reflects that”
In ‘sunshine in Hell’, the emphasis is on the dramatic arc, the way things unfold in performance. This song gets the whiplash intensity that bands bring live.
Fracture is a switch in tempo with heavy bass and guitar riffs with masterful percussion (that have surprised me throughout the album) but lacks the energy of the rest of the album. The next track ‘Intuition’ brings back the energy with much more prominence on the vocals.
The catchy ‘Grapes, Fans & Fine Leather Seats’ has the best guitar melodies in the album. Together with a smashing snare with vivid vocal, it makes for a memorable track. The band take a real left turn with ‘Knife fight’. This a track that seems to be building up energy right from the start with some hard industrial noise! The track starts of with very psychedelic spatial arrangement of the sound with some effects-driven, spacey guitar work. Have I picked my favorite track already in haste?
The album ends with ‘Medusa’, a track that resonates perfectly with the bands idea of their music. It cradles your soul with their musical mysticism while you are fully immersed in the present moment, losing track of time. ‘Medusa’ has a killer guitar solo and some catchy vocals that make for a fitting end to this high-octane hard rock album.
So, the only thing left for me to say is thank you. Thank you, Bad Guru, for inspiring me to actually say something about some hard rock. Thank you for showing so much love for these songs in a scene where records can often feel rather dashed out. They may not make rock records like they used to but perhaps I should just be happy that Bad Guru decided to make one like this.