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Jason Payne and the Black Leather Riders - The Abyss

Jason Payne and the Black Leather Riders
The Abyss
by Chris Hicklin at 17 November 2021, 9:19 PM

Exploding out of London onto the British Rock and Metal scene with his latest project, Jason Payne has spent the pandemic cooking up the debut release for his eponymously titled Hard Rock and Metal outfit JASON PAYNE AND THE BLACK LEATHER RIDERS, and while a short taste of what is yet to come from these ambitious young rockers, it is already looking very promising for them.

The first sensory assault offered up is a little ditty called “The Dark” which opens with what can only be described as a very Jim Root riff with some very Jim Root pinch harmonics. In fact, the whole track, including the alternately screaming and soaring vocals and febrile drumming has a big STONE SOUR vibe about it. But while it may be a little bit derivative, its unabashed enthusiasm will drag you in regardless.

Breathing Rage” continues the groove laden guitars, as aggressive snarling verses combine with big Nu-Metal inspired sing-along choruses and one short-but-showy guitar solo to create a very tight, efficient rocker that wastes none of your time at all.

Although beginning with a rather TOOL sounding clean guitar part, “The Purge” gives me big 90’s Brit-Metal vibes, thumping riffs are interspersed with acoustic guitar breaks, before thrusting back into good old foot stomping Hard Rocking. Remember Ricky Warwick and THE ALMIGHTY? This wouldn’t seem out of place on one of their harder albums like “Powertrippin” it is another huge tune, and one that will earworm you if you give it the chance.

Barrelling far too quickly towards the end of the EP, “Vicious” is a Punky blast of energy, the song switches violently between slower paced breakdowns and killer Dimebag style grooving riffs, with an excellent guitar solo in there too. There’s a beautifully dark and grungy riff to kick off the penultimate track “Lost,” that sits surprisingly comfortably next to a horribly catchy chorus. This track perhaps straddles the divide between the grunge and the metal sides of the Seattle sound. Like TRULY meets ALICE IN CHAINS, who then collide into the alt-Rock and Nu-Metal that took the reins and went on to dominate the Rock Radio of the late 90s. Not much more to say about this one. It is an absolute TUNE. In “Thoughtless” a relatively simple piano led ballad has been chosen to close out proceedings, with very heartfelt lyrics and melancholy crooning, and a guitar solo that shows a real passion and feel with enviable precision.

Through the whole EP the onus is on crafting memorably hooky vocals and massive riffs with a danceable groove to them. There’s some excellent guitar work particularly in the number of highly memorable groove-based riffs, solos are not used to fill up time in songs, rather they are integral to the song writing and always well judged. The production does the job just fine, plenty of separation, not much mush, a little clipping on cymbals and such. The band make numerous intelligent choices, such as knowing when to subtly include piano to back riffs, not an instrument people would naturally think of to help lift a pumping Metal track, but they do it on “The Purge,” and it works.

Being a critic, I suppose I should muster a few words of criticism, and here they are. Change the name. A “Blah Blah and the Blah Blahs” name is not going to cut it for a radio-friendly but hard n’ heavy Rock and Metal act like this. Maybe if you had the name recognition of someone like Phil Anselmo you can get away with that, but otherwise nobody cares who you are, even if you are the heart and soul of the band. A cool band name that is less of a mouthful would serve them better, but not THE BLACK LEATHER RIDERS either, please…

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Dark (feat. Daisy Pepper)
2. Breathing Rage (feat. Andy Martongelli)
3. The Purge
4. Vicious
5. Lost
6. Thoughtless
Jason Payne - Vocals, Lead Guitars
Jane Hyde - Bass
Marta Pereira - Rhythm Guitar
Tiago Ferreira - Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 02 December 2022

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