Seven Crowns – ‘Lightning Rod’ – Released: 07/10/17.
Bath isn’t somewhere you would usually associate with visceral Hardcore Punk but maybe it should be. Seven Crowns are very much the epitome and comparison you look for in regard to veteran status in this underground and DIY Punk scene. The band’s collected experience in and out of the Seven Crowns is considerable and with Lightning Rod breaking a long sonic silence, rumour has it that Thor has thrown in the towel and that even Zeus has the sweats.
With tours planned for Australia and New Zealand as well as past forays into South East Asia and the US more than once, Lightning Rod is set to have a send off that will probably result in severe hearing loss. Shall we?
The eponymous ‘Lightning Rod’ is classic Seven Crowns refined and executed with relentless energy and precision. Vocalist Monty is as terrifying as expected with his clever lyricisms no match for themselves. This opening track carries all the hallmarks of the tenacious and again relentless Seven Crowns but with more from Liam Baker’s guitar adding a melodic, albeit slightly, Psychedelic tone alongside more “classic punk” refrains.
These subtle differences to the normal abrasion continue into ‘Black Bill’ where the differentiation in time and tempo alongside the soaring lead guitar assists the already sharp and rage filled vocals to contrast further. It is as if the already “at-home” vocals have finally got that new sofa they had been lusting after.
‘Deep Water’ is the only forerunner at this stage and is highly educational for those new to the band. ‘Backwoods Baby’ adds nothing but tension and apprehension as this more progressive Seven Crowns explores further.
‘Backwoods Baby’ has its nods to Poison Idea which leads on to the at this stage album defining track – ‘As Above So Below’. Seven Crowns are a Hardcore Punk band at core but with Lightning Rod the band are borrowing from outside the box. ‘As Above So Below’ plays further with this with vocals and refrains you really wouldn’t expect.
The structure of this album really does deserve to be highly praised. The band balance their new forays near-perfectly into their classic and “expected” sound with each new element flowing from point to point alongside the descending track-list.
‘Love Like A Mask’ and ‘I Am Other’ are lyrically excellent despite the strong and bleak outlook. Seven Crown’s use of Psychedelic guitars and effects is a must for the list of those bands you need to see live and I am thankful that this carries over well on the studio recording. ‘Trans Java Express’ is haunting in this respect and so sonically cumbersome that it almost provides a killing blow.
Drummer Rob and bass-man John Banbridge should be equally as commended. Lightning Rod is exhausting on recording more than most Punk-Rock albums and with this charge off into unknown space, the four-piece haven’t quite found Supreme Leader Snoke (yet) but they have found a home in ‘Heavy Punk Psychedelia‘.
This band doesn’t stop and you don’t until they tell you too. Banbridge’s bass is on point and the super-human drums are very much just that before just about everything about ‘Justified and Ancient’ is pummelling and ear drum shattering.
Closing with ‘Counting Coup’ the band aren’t quite dancing around eachother poking each other with decorated sticks but are nimbly experimenting with their west-country stamped Hardcore Punk-Rock. Lightning Rod is classic, yet complex and progressive. It’s a Punk-Rock album that challenges the tried and tested Hardcore sound of the past, brings it forward and royally “messes” with the fabric of its being and re-aligns it to its own needs and that is all that matters.
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