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Nebula - Holy Shit

Nebula
Holy Shit
by Chris Hawkins at 24 June 2019, 6:55 PM

The relentlessly addictive substance within Metal is that though it may morph and shift properties over the years, the core components always remain as lethal as when first chartered some five decades ago.  While some tiers of the family tree branch into more and more extreme territories and amalgamations of scenes, the root love of this music is omnipresent and appealing to all when the divine forces of creativity are involved.  The original principles and aesthetics that helped shape this unholy beast embraced as Heavy Metal are incorporated into the three-piece powerhouse known as NEBULA.  Forming some twenty-two years ago after leaving the legendary FU MANCHU, guitarist Eddie Glass had a vision of creating a sublime hybrid of Sabbathian power riffs colored by Psychedelic twists and turns.  The vision was one that gathered acclaim from critics and fans alike, and now, after a ten-year hiatus, the band have returned with a sixth full-length, “Holy Shit”.

From the first few seconds of the first track, “Man’s Best Friend,” one’s initial reaction will be something akin to the very title of the album - “Holy Shit”!  The senses are assaulted by a lush wall of sound.  Gargantuan tone!  Tone aficionados will be lined up in adoration of the pristine capturing of raw tube-driven power present on this recording.  Hearing the band perform their take on the very roots of heavy music is like a history lesson though composed in the here and now.  There are so very many guitar tracks lined up, and it is in the slower, trippy section of the song that the ears are treated to lines made with wah pedal, clean sounds, dirty ones, and even some reverse delay thrown in for a proper trip.

A massive-sounding bass guitar opens up the next highlight, “It’s All Over,” the third track.  Often, it is the simpler bass lines with a solid groove such as this that serve as the bedrock of classic tracks.  With a sound foundation perpetuated by the low end, the guitar is freed up to tinker here and there during the verse section effectively contributing to the mood.  When the chorus kicks in, the two converge for a heavy slab of Metal in that tried and true tradition.  When the guitar solos, it is as if it is traveling through space encountering splendid new colors and lights.  Hearing the way the rhythm section holds it down during this time of experimentation is a testament to the pedigree of these musicians for they do not miss a beat and create their own celestial meanderings in the meantime.

The following track, “Witching Hour,” blasts off with a heavy dose of Birmingham’s finest.  It is inevitable that BLACK SABBATH’s influence would be audible during this album, but NEBULA manage to find new ways to summon their forefathers.  One can also hear swaths of BLUE CHEER and hints of HAWKWIND whilst listening to “Holy Shit”.  Another classic three-piece that comes to mind is BUDGIE.  Do not be mistaken, though, NEBULA may bring to mind some of the great but theirs is a sound that remains markedly fresh and poignantly filled with girth.  A clear example of this is the sixth track, “Tomorrow Never Comes,” a track that steps outside the box.  The band throws consistent left hooks as it wanders through the sludge-filled decadence sounding much more than simply three members.

Therein lies the very magic of NEBULA.  Three people sound like six – if not more.  The songwriting is polished as transitions that would seem too radical on paper are pulled off effortlessly adding myriad dimensions to the final product.  Truly, NEBULA should really be classified as a Rock band, though that label has come to encompass many forms of heresy.  NEBULA embrace all that is true with the genre, though, from THE BEATLES to KYUSS.  It is hard to imagine any fan of heavy music not enjoying this record.  Its magic will do what all great music does well which is to cause the listener to be transported away from the trials and tribulations of the present situation to a netherworld of infinite possibility.

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8



4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Man’s Best Friend
2. Messiah
3. It’s All Over
4. Witching Hour
5. Fistful of Pills
6. Tomorrow Never Comes
7. Gates of Eden
8. Let’s Get Lost
9. The Cry of a Tortured World

Lineup:
Eddie Glass – Guitars, Vocals
Tom Davies – Bass
Mike – Drums

Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
     


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