Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Asomvel-Knuckle Duster

Bad Omen Records

Twenty years have passed since vocalist/bassist Jay-Jay Winter (RIP 2010) and guitarist Lenny Robinson first started Asomvel. Back then the group, which also featured ex-Cathedral/Acid Reign drummer Mark Wharton, could not have possibly guessed all that would happen to their band in the coming years. Before they could even get around to releasing their first demo, "The Blood Eye", which featured a "fitting" cover of a great white shark on the move, they reportedly went through ten or so different drummers in a way that would make even Spinal Tap chuckle! Not so funny though was the tragic passing of Jay-Jay Winter. Killed in a road accident in 2010, Jay-Jay's death would nearly crippled the band. While ex-Deathwing bassist Conan, who also plays/or did play bass in deathcore act Tangaroa (not quite sure if he still plays with them or not as there are conflicting reports online), would step in to handle vocals and bass even he knew that he could never really replace Jay-Jay and to this day both the band members themselves and fans still consider Jay-Jay to be a member of the band. Now, I freely admit that this release was a spur of the moment/impulse buy and prior to receiving it in the mail I had never heard of this British three-peace (which is rounded out now by drummer Jason hope) so I do not know how this one could or would compare to their older material. As I simply did not wish to be bias one way or the other I purposely choose not to listen to any of their previous recordings. That means "Knuckle Duster" is it for me as heck, I didn't even listen to samples of this one before I ordered it off of Amazon! I simply went by a review that I read in some metal mag (or was it online?) and now you will have the same option if you want. Here's the nitty-gritty details of this English heavy metal act. And actually gritty is as good a place to start as any. These English rockers play real, working man blues, drink hard and play even harder rock/metal that sounds as if it was honed by playing in every dive bar, biker hangout and empty parking lot between in Europe and the U.S.! That's a compliment of course as these fine gentlemen play working-clash rock and roll with lyrics that reflect a life that's seen it's fair share of blood, sweat and cold beer. These guys sound as if it's been a hell of journey, leaving behind them a trail of cheap liqueur and "Bad Mojo Rising" women, but we all know that "it's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll"! That said, in Conan we find a better then advertised bassist whose gruff, whisky-soaked vocals fall somewhere between Zodiac Mindwarp (the man and not the band) and a certain Lemmy Kilmister (the main man period!). He's able to convey real emotion with his delivery while the rest of the group as a whole, which at times (admittedly) did have me thinking about Lemmy's band, rock the part the freak out with a wonderful blend of sleazy hard rock, raw blues-rock, drunk punk rock and of course heavy metal! On one hand these guys (deservedly so) fit into perfectly into my ideal collection of all things "loud and proud". On the other hand though these English musicians do a good job of playing "cut  the crap all you crazy cats and get down with your bad selves!" rock and roll that wouldn't be too far out of place if served up hot and spicy alongside the likes of Neil Young, Aerosmith, Kiss, AC/DC or Ted Nugent! So yes, even though I "took a big chance at the high school dance" when I bought this one blind it paid off big time! This is one of those "9 points out of 10 points" or "three and a half stars out of four" albums that's a leap and a (HUGE) bounce better then (and yes, it does make me choke up to say this as I'm a total fanboy for the band!) "Aftershock" (I'll cover Lemmy's latest release tomorrow if I can) from a band that is "shut your mouth I'm just talking about Shaft" epic in magnitude and ready for the big time/primetime baby!

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