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Slowburn - Rock 'n Roll Rats

Rock 'n Roll Rats
by Emily Schneider at 11 February 2020, 4:37 PM

SLOWBURN is a group of rockers from Madrid, Spain. The band formed in 2015 and recorded a 2 song demo shortly after, later opening for some larger Heavy Metal bands around Spain, mainly as a cover band for the years that followed. Their debut album comes out on February 25th, 2020 and reading that some of their influences include MERCYFUL FATE and SAVATAGE, I had high hopes for this album. I instead am left feeling like I was still listening to a cover band, mainly due to the lack of connection to the music and with just how similar these songs sound to their influences.

I quickly got this impression from the first track “Still in the Fight” along with the 3rd track,“Metallist”. Both songs had some strong IRON MAIDEN influence, but nearly to the point of sounding like a replica. “Clever Than You” begins as a typical Heavy Metal style riffage piece, but the tempo shifts a bit at the bridge. It made this song stand out, just slightly from this pretty stale album. “Rock n' Roll Rats” was intended to be a Metal anthem like “American Metal” by LIZZY BORDEN but it simply fell flat. They can certainly play their instruments well, but while ability is important to lighting the fire, it takes some additional care to bring the embers to a flame.

Out of the nine tracks on this album, 2 did stand out. The closing track “Vigilantes” is mainly interesting because it's in Spanish. There was a rebellious energy in this song, some bite in the riffs and enthusiasm from the vocals. When they have the elements right, these guys are pretty talented musicians. This was shown the most through the fifth song on the album, “Head in a Box”.  This one has a Bluesy Hard Rock feel, much like early self-titled album era BLACK SABBATH. Every member of the band seemed to shine while playing in this style. The riffs had feeling along with their great skill set and the vocals were fitting with the words being sung. I truly wish more of the songs on this album were in this same Hard Rock vein.

Overall, SLOWBURN comes across as a Heavy Metal worship band, meaning most of the album felt lackluster and unoriginal. It's always great to show off your influences, but there's a big difference between paying homage and being a duplication. Not to mention, the almost disconnected feeling of the music made this album feel so dull. It felt like the musicians were just playing the songs as written, rather than playing because they have something to say or a story to tell. Metal revolves around attitude, usually guitar solos are an excellent time to put your own personality into the song. Somehow, most of the solos were formulaic with very few surprises happening. Their technicality while playing is worth noting, there's no doubt that they are all skilled at their instruments, but this album was essentially cotton candy; it was super sweet, but had no substance and melted away as quickly as the songs went.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Still in the Fight
2. Clever than You
3. Metallist
4. Rock'n'Roll Rats
5. Head in a Box
6. Run Out
7. Victims of Ambition
8. Night Protectors
9. Vigilantes
JC Warrior – Vocals
Óscar Hernández – Guitar
Mario Cano – Guitar
Jorge Serrano – Bass
Jorge Sáez – Drums
Record Label: Fighter Records


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Edited 20 September 2020

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