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Here Lies Man - No Ground to Walk upon

Here Lies Man
No Ground to Walk upon
by Marco Angileri at 19 August 2019, 12:18 PM

BLACK SABBATH meets AFROBEAT, that’s more or less the summary of the sound proposed by HERE LIES MAN, an L.A. based band comprised of ANTIBALAS members. “No ground to walk upon” is their third album, after the self-titled debut in 2017 and “You Will Know Nothing” in 2018. Being a review but also a personal opinion, “No Ground to Walk upon” gives me mixed feelings: on one side, the experimentation and innovative sound are absolutely brilliant. On the other side, however, I have to judge an album on the impressions and emotions that it I feel whenever I listen to it, and here unfortunately, I would say that this album is lacking, and I would explain later why.

Every song, as in the previous albums, is a soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. “Clad in Silver” (which is also the single) is the soundtrack snippet of a journey to the imaginary place called home, which can never be arrived at. With every step, the character imagines getting closer, but it is a hallucination that fades in and out of perception. I like the stony and heavy opening riff, but the construction of the song looks repetitive, with brilliant ideas repeated almost endlessly, forming a hypnotic circle, which to me looks almost tedious. And this is the biggest limit of “No ground to walk upon”: its repetitive.

I love the tribal opening of “Iron Rattles” but then the song is losing in itself; “Long Legs” has some influence from a sort of a psychedelic version of Led Zeppelin, and the following “Man Falls Down” instead returns to the Sabbathian roots. “Washing bones” closes an album, which in my honest opinion, is full of great ideas, perfectly played, but lacks of appeal. Probably it is my fault, not being into the AFROBEAT music or into this sort of experiments, maybe not understanding it, but at the very end a review, as said, is built also on personal taste and judgement. One of the core elements for me is the memorability of a song or of the entire album, if, once I have listened to it, I want to hear it more and more. “No Ground to Walk upon” is in my opinion a good album for what I have written above, heavy riffs, great although repetitive ideas, but at the same time is not good enough because I will probably not listen to it anymore.

One point I would like to add: the album cover, as well as the previous ones, is awesome.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Clad in Silver
2. Get a Hold of Yourself
3. Iron Rattles
4. Long Legs (Look Away)
5. Man Falls Down
6. Swinging from Trees
7. Washing Bones
Chico Mann - Guitar, Vocal
Geoff Mann - Drums
JP Maramba - Bass
Doug Organ - Keys
Record Label: Riding Easy Records


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Edited 02 April 2023

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