I Shall Forgive by The ErkonautsRelease date: November 10, 2017
Label: Indie Recordings
You know those sorts of mornings where the sun is streaming in the window, you’re full of coffee and ambition for the day ahead – but you need a raucous soundtrack to match it? One that is aggressive enough to go shoulder-to-shoulder with the level of caffeination you have achieved, yet possesses enough groove or melody so as to prevent you descending into irritability or melancholy?
Well, you are in luck. Because The Erkonauts’ second album is perfect for such occasions. It has massive choruses. It has Motörhead-style bass riffs. It has mad exuberance. The guitarist wears Manowar T-shirts. It is all packaged with a glossily produced sheen, which is still powerful enough to hit you right in the guts (credit should go to Tom ‘Drop’ Betrisey, the producer).
All of which adds up to a monumentally enjoyable album.
It retains the energy of their debut, I Did Something Bad, but the progression in musicality and songwriting is marked. And unlike their debut, there are no politically incorrect song titles.
If you haven’t heard their debut then rest assured that a large part of this (and their previous) albums’ appeal is that they are both full of major chords. It has tons of them. Big, open-armed, grin-inducing ones. And there’s a lot to be said for a major-chord progression in loud music – as any fan of Iron Maiden, The Ramones, Mad Capsule Markets, NoFX or, ahem, Dragonforce will tell you.
The album’s opener, ‘Little Mary’, kicks things off in grand style. It starts with a dizzying bass riff so technical it makes your eyes go funny and opens into a hook-laden yet still heavy four-minute ball of energy. The subject matter is dark – it tells the story of a girl who beats to death an assaulter and within it there is a mysterious bleeped out word – but the music is incredible.
The intensity goes up one notch in ‘Seven Macaw’, which boasts a Lemmy-style growl and a ton of groove to stand up to the high-octane aggression. And it is maintained in ‘Globlebl’, which is dominated by thick bass chords and double-kick drums.
We’re offered a spooky respite from the battering with ‘The Snick’, which although is not as fast or loud as the songs which precede it, it is still boosted by an enormous chorus. The oasis does not last long, however. ‘Chaos Never Fails to Appeal’ has bassist/vocalist Ales Campanelli shredding his vocal cords once again in a song that owes as much to hardcore as metal.
More bass funkery introduces ‘The Groove of the Sorry’, this time with a riff that brings to mind the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’. True to the song’s name, this does pack a head-nodding groove. ‘Cacoit’ has more harsh vocals over the top of yet more bouncy riffs, interspersed with more of that wonderful melody. But eight songs in, the hyperactive nature of the record has the danger of becoming a little stifling.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t get that far. Because as if by magic, ‘Tales of a Thousand Lives’ comes on. It is an eight-minute epic with progressive elements thrown in – and the song’s length allows for an ease in pace and a little air to get in.
So by the time the finale arrives, you’re refreshed. Which is lucky, because ‘Sappy’ is the most aggressive on the album, aided by the vocals of Tom Mumagrinder, vocalist in the death/grind band Mumakil (who I hadn’t heard of, but sound great). Geneva, SwitzerlandIt ends on a short, sharp kick to the face and it leaves you wanting to go right back and play it again. At least until the caffeine wears off – or until you have to do something responsible.