The Howling Lords are a three man group from Stornoway who pump out blues/Rock music, the actually Howling Lords are Felix who does Guitar and Vocals, Jens who does Bass and Eoghainn on the Drums. Today I’ll be reviewing their self-titled debut album.
‘Bad for Me’ opens with a building warble that explodes into a cacophony of percussive and strings, this song for me defines the phrase ‘get down and dirty’. it’s just this epic flair of style and substance that hooks you and does not let go. I can’t pick out just one thing in this song that makes it great, it all works in tandem to create a perfect intro track to what I’m already certain will be a superb album.
‘Devil in Me’ I’ve been watching a lot of Daredevil the past few days so this track drew me in with its title because that’s a common thread for the show, but the only comparison between this and Daredevil I can make it that I liked them both. This track is instantly a different beast from the previous entry, the pacing, the energy, everything about it it has a different feel about it but at the same time it evokes a very similar mental pictures. So far what I’m getting is a sort of dive bar feel, all blood and sweat and passion. All in all it’s a smooth rock track that goes down well.
‘Unlucky in Love’ starts off fairly slow, built up drums, with guitar and bass draped over it, the vocals stand out more in this track than the previous two, perhaps because of the pacing of the song, which as I’ve mentioned is slow, it’s like it’s drawing out each bit of the song and getting the most out of it. This is another one that just rolls out of the speakers and into your ears, it’s well produced, but still sounds organic and just works really well.
‘Moving On’ opens with a build up, percussive tapping, counting us through the track, subtle vocals radiating at us throughout the track, and a consistent little riff that works really well with the hook of the song. I like the vocal quality the group have got going on, it’s understated and yet very distinctive. I liked the rhythm of this track a lot, it’s one of those tracks that’s best heard in a smoky room, filled with people, something about it screams live performance. I also like the psychedelic hippie beats that came in towards the end, they worked well with the track and added a little something different in right at the end.
‘Stepping Out’ another intro that paces itself really well, slow but not without purpose or energy, again I get the feeling that this track and all of the ones that came before it would work so well performed live, they have this quality that’s akin to the band reaching out to each member of the audience that you don’t get with every band, it’s like the song has a life of its own. I think so far this track is one of my favourites, because I couldn’t just listen to it’s slow, swelling rhythms all day.
‘Don’t Go’ is a little faster than the past couple of songs, but still quite mellow, these songs from what I’ve experienced so far aren’t about explosive energy and manic beats it’s instead an honest expression from some talented people.
‘Like Nicotine’ has one of the best intros on the album, a really nice, drawn out guitar piece, that really gives the guitarist a chance to shine, backed up well by more strong vocals. What I’ve liked so far listening to this album is that each song evokes such a strong mental picture, these songs do a lot without being too deliberate about it.
‘Groove That Thing’ changes things up a little, far more to this track, a change in energy and style, but it works, especially as we are coming to the end of the album. I find that a lot of bands get an established feel for an album and don’t want to break it up, but I like when a group can shake up their music a little because it gives a clearer view of them as a whole and makes for a more interesting album. I think alongside ‘Stepping Out’ this track is another personal favourite for this album, it’s got a lot going on but it never feels like too much, it’s just a careful blend of individual things that add up to one cracker of a song, I really liked the distorted guitar noises towards the end that sounded like a whammy bar was being used, although i may and probably am wrong about that.
‘What I Got’ opens quick, with a nice repeating guitar riff, that gets built on top of with some light percussion before the vocals join in and really complete the track. This one takes the pace down a little bit again, but it’s a solid track, I have nothing I could fault it on, in fact I couldn’t stop listening to the track.
‘Shake These Blues’ is the strongest vocal track on the album, it’s also the only one that kicks off vocally rather than instruments leading into vocals. I should say that the instrumental sections are tight in this track as well, strong guitars throughout, and well used drums that add a nice undercurrent to the vocals.
‘Go for a Ride’ builds a lot of intensity very quickly, with drawn out chords that create an almost palpable feel of tension, and that continues throughout the track. The building chords are soon joined by vocals that play against each other really well. I think this was a strong track to close out on, it embodies a lot of what I’ve enjoyed about The Howling Lords so far but still manages to have something of its own as well.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/