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Redscale - The Old Colossus

The Old Colossus
by Chris Hicklin at 04 January 2022, 3:16 PM

Now hitting us up with their third full length release, German rockers REDSCALE are a band in ascension. Formed in 2015 and having built a solid pre-pandemic following, with luck 2022 will be the year the band claim the Stoner Rock throne, and arriving with a beautiful, psychedelia inspired cover, the album certainly looks enticing enough.

I’ll admit I don’t much like the Stoner Rock label, it gives me pause for thought when I see a band described as such. I’ve seen a lot of Stoner Rock bands and I have found that often it can be taken as shorthand for lazy writing, whole songs built around single ideas, the same chord sequence played repeatedly at a varying ebb and flow, music that can be perfectly engaging in a live situation but that I’d rather boil my head than sit down in my living room and listen to an album of. REDSCALE are not this. “On The Run” kicks us off with an opening salvo of thick fuzzy guitar leads against a powerful backdrop of dissonant sludge, that breaks quickly into an onslaught of ferocious riffing before settling into a laid-back groove. It’s clear they are a band that values the art of song writing, who understand there’s more to the genre than spinning ideas out beyond their potential. Henning Claussen’s vocals have power and melody in equal measures, and he can belt out a pumping chorus with the confidence of a bull sizing up a china shop.

Title track “The Old Colossus” is another riff heavy monster, but it’s on the third track “It’s a Death Cult Baby” that the album really explodes into life, and this song thunders through my hi-fi like a runaway train. It has a similar feel to KYUSS’s “Phototropic” with syrupy lead sounds and wild punky drumming. It stands in sharp contrast to the more thoughtful and slower paced “Tabula Rasa” which builds nicely throughout the track as the guitars take on more grit, but also more harmony which progressively layers up as the track winds toward its pounding conclusion.

A highlight of the album for me is the instrumental “Wall of Bricks”, which is primarily driven by one the of the best discordant, sludgy wall-of-sound riffs I have heard in a long time. At a concert this would have you staring intently at the floor swaying your head, simply trying to absorb what is coming at you, you might not want to look up in case it melts your face off.

For the most part the album keeps the track lengths quite efficient, refusing to recycle any ideas or outstay their welcome, but there are a couple of longer songs. The first of these nicks a line from “Sympathy for The Devil” for its moniker, “Of Wealth and Taste”. It’s a hard hitting mid-paced rocker, with one of the few lengthy (albeit quite simple) guitar solos to be found on the LP, and while it is certainly got a great riff and some well thought out atmospherics, it struggles to justify an almost seven-minute run time.

Penultimate offering “At The End” sounds a lot like an acoustic SOUNDGARDEN track. Claussen’s voice really comes to life on this song, he has a voice like that of Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell that can handily crank out a deep baritone rumble or soar several octaves to a soulful wail. It’s a perfectly placed respite from the hard and heavy groove that characterises much of the LP, and leads nicely into the final song, the second seven-minute song on the album, “The Lathe of Heaven”. As epics go this one is more like it, it twists and turns through multiple sections bringing light and shade, staccato riffing leads into giant choruses, extended grooves and warbling solos topped off by the passionate roar that has provided the backbone for this whole album.

Along with quality production work and superb musicianship, the song writing on this album takes it to another level that eclipses many of their genre-mates. It’s a strong offering that should stand them in good stead for the full re-opening of the live music industry that we are all deeply craving and hoping for the coming year. Recommended for fans of VALIS, CLUTCH and KYUSS.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. On the Run
2. The Old Colossus
3. It's a Death Cult, Baby
4. Tabula Rasa
5. Hard to Believe
6. Wall of Bricks
7. Of Wealth and Taste
8. At the End
9. The Lathe of Heaven
Christian Reuter - Guitars
Henning Claussen - Vocals/Guitars
Martin Stabler - Drums
Grant Price - Bass
Record Label: Majestic Mountain Records


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