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Bad Boat – Drown The Phoenix

Bad Boat
Drown The Phoenix
by Dave Nowels at 10 September 2019, 5:18 PM

BAD BOAT is an Irish band focusing it's talents on the ever crowded (and growing) genres of Heavy Psych/Stoner Blues that somehow also manages to always get lumped into Doom. Not really sure why that is, but that's an argument for a different day I suppose. Formed and based in Dublin, BAD BOAT launched their flagship in 2002, and have cast out two demos, 2003's “Oblivion Switch” and 2005's “Breathing Space”, a  full-length release, “Blues Gone Black” and an half studio/half live EP, “Lonely Doom”. Their newest effort is the 7 track “Drown The Phoenix” which arrives in October via Rock Run Amok.

The band has struggled with keeping a consistent lineup over the years, with only vocalist Tom Clarke and bassist Niall Ward being the only mainstays. The current line-up is rounded out with John McSherry and Steve Chivers on guitars and Tony Murray handling drums and keys. “Drown The Phoenix" opens with a nice 1:40 long guitar intro that segues into the title track. I liked the general premise, though I struggled with the pace of the riff a bit, which seemed a bit too sluggish and out of sorts. Clarke's vocals reminded me of Lemmy meets Gene Simmons (ala “God of Thunder”). It's raw, powerful and perhaps steeped with just enough whiskey to round it out properly. “Run To The Knife” takes on a bit more of the bluesy qualities, and the pace seems to match the intensity here much better.  The guitar solos are grungy, raw and just plain dirty (in a good way). The one thing that stands out predominantly is the poor production/mix. It's tremendously muddy and lacking in any sense of real warmth.

“Blessed Insane” was my favorite track from the first listen through each subsequent run through of “Drown The Phoenix”. There's a smoldering intensity present here that makes the rest of the album pale a bit in comparison. “Acid Dice” gives Niall Ward a chance to shine a bit with some up front in the mix bass runs that sound great. “Dismembered Rememberance” is essentially a bass track, showcasing some polluted distortion via Ward. While there were a few positive moments, it's definitely no “Orion” and seemed a bit out of place and indulgant. “Bright Side Of Hell” was mostly forgettable with nothing of real substance within to hold my interest. “The Pale” closes out the album and manages to fall somewhere in between the opening title track and “Bright Side Of Hell” in interest factor.

Overall, I found some things I really liked in “Drowning The Phoenix”, few real dislikes, but unfortunately a whole lot of “meh”. There's nothing really new spawning from the release, and what is there isn't enough to make me want to revisit it. I do think there's potential here for BAD BOAT, but in an already crowded genre, one has to make a bigger splash than this to get noticed.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 4
Memorability: 4
Production: 3

2 Star Rating

1. Intro/DrownThe Phoenix
2. Run To The Knife
3. Blessed Insane
4. Acid Dice
5. Dismembered Remembrance
6. Bright Side Of Hell
7. The Pale
Tom Clarke – Vocals
John McSherry – Guitar
Steve Chivers – More Guitar
Niall Ward – Bass
Tony Murray – Drums/Keys
Record Label: Rock Run Amok


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