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Jackal’s Backbone - Red Mist Descending

Jackal’s Backbone
Red Mist Descending
by Matt Bozenda at 21 February 2022, 9:59 PM

It’s as true in Heavy Metal as it is in pro football; you don’t want to rush a debut. A truly talented entity should take time to develop away from the main stage, as it were, to discover an identity which can be made into a signature. When a player is made a starter too soon, flaws become amplified and unless they can really step up, that player could soon be cast aside. So too can bands with otherwise talented musicians fall flat when they make their first album. Lousy starts are hard to get over, no matter your job.

That’s why it feels so good to see someone get it right once in a while. After simmering on some singles and other appearances, the hottest thing out of Stevenage since the Great Fire of 1807 has to be “Red Mist Descending”, the first feature full-length release by JACKAL’S BACKBONE. The band deploys an interesting sort of Punky Death/Thrash/Groove metal whose female vocalist wields a Death shriek like the Dragonborn wields a thu’um.

The bar of Death-infused DOZER-like music is set right away on “Release The Kraken” and so goes the other tracks longer than four minutes. With the exception of “Life Takers”, which has 2000’s throwback vibes but lacks a certain amount of strength, songs like “Evade The Throes” add dimension with more speed and a deep vocalist to join in the chorus. “Desolate Embers” shares the 2000’s vibe, makes up for the previous mistakes with more power, and even features clean vocals from BECCATRON for a few bars at the beginning.

For the tracks under four minutes, chief among them has to be “Blinding Reality”, which comes off the percussive interlude to switch to a much heavier gear than before. A bit of influence comes through on “Dead Prey” and “Hand That Feed Hypocrisy”, offering a little taste of SEPULTURA and PLASMATICS, respectively. The title track does a little more exploring, returns the clean male vocals again here and there, and finally wraps it up like they would for a proper live show.

Whatever slight issues may arise are easily solved on “Red Mist Descending”. Using the Death shriek for vocals over anything besides just Death Metal can be risky, or specifically more obnoxious, but JACKAL’S BACKBONE avoids the common pratfalls and has really made a jewel here. The album would be ideal for gym tunes or highway driving, and should find a place in the rotations of Metal podcasts and other forms of modern radio.

With a change in lineup recently taking place at lead guitar, however, only time will tell if they can replicate the good they’ve done here for album two. Will the new arrival herald a fundamental change in the sound of JACKAL’S BACKBONE requiring a reboot? Or will this be the evolution they need, that morph into the ultimate final form, to create the above-average best that they’re already capable of making?

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Release The Kraken
2. Evade The Throes
3. Life Takers
4. Blackout
5. Dead Prey
6. Interlude
7. Blinding Reality
8. Desolate Embers
9. Hand That Feeds Hypocrisy
10. Red Mist Descending
Becca “Beccatron” Swinney - vocals, bass
Greg Neath - guitar
Sam Farrington - lead guitar
Jake Eaton - drums
Record Label: Independent Release


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