Heavy Lord – Balls To All …   Leave a comment

This is the fourth album from the Dutch band Heavy Lord and while it continues the tradition of blending stoner doom metal and sludge doom metal; it is also the most progressive and mature album from all the band thus far. In the world of doom-metal there is hundreds of underrated bands and lets face it, the entire genre is underrated but why Heavy Lord are not seen as one of the true greats of the scene is a mystery that continues to baffle. For one thing the band has been doing it for 10 years so if anything they be considered within the realms of a pioneering influence status by now but sadly it is 10 years and 4 albums into their career and nobody talks about them and most people I speak to have never heard them which to me is a tragedy.

I think one of things holding the band back from being more accepted by doomsters is the vocals. Personally I don’t mind the vocals of Steve at all but I can see how some folks mind find his voice a little annoying. I put this minor gripe people have in the same context as Lee Dorrian from Cathedral; many people love the music but can’t stand the vocals. Putting that aside now, this album is very good. It is not album of the year, far from it but it is a solid barrage of crushing riffs, pulverizing drumming, and bone-rattling bass but it has some intriguing twists and turns along the way.

The key word here is “solid” – this album has no weak tracks, no fillers but to be totally honest, there is no outright killers either. It has been nearly 4 years since their last release ‘Chained to the World’ and 5 years since ‘From Cosmos to Chaos’ and seeing as those 2 albums were monumental slabs of stoner-doom, I already knew the band would have to pull-out something extraordinary to compete with those timeless albums.

4 years between albums is a long time and bands can lose some ground or maybe lose some of their edge and that seems to be the case here. It is odd though that in the 70’s bands often would release a classic album once a year and in some cases do it for 10 years or more straight so why now it seems to be an issue is a tough call. Some blame the length of some CD’s but with Heavy Lord and many other bands, their albums are around 40-45 minutes long which was the standard length for an album in the good old vinyl days anyway so that excuse just don’t wash. Alright I am shooting off-topic now but I think it makes for an interesting debate, maybe a good topic for the Doommantia Forum: HINT, HINT !!!!!

But let’s get to ‘Balls To All’ – great title and this band indeed has some balls to produce albums as bone-charring as this. The albums opening track ‘Back When The Giants Ruled The Earth’ starts pleasant enough with some acoustics but then the wall of bombastic riffs are unleashed and it doesn’t let-up much till the very last crushing note is played. While the album does have some spacey, psychedelic moments, it is still a riff-lovers delight. The band has always been a lumbering beast in the vein of Cathedral, Zoroaster and Black Sabbath and not much has changed so if you are already a fan, you will drool over all the chugging and ominous riffs that this album has to offer. Like I hinted at earlier, it is hard to find real highlights but on the other hand, there is no real weak-links on the album either.

Tracks like ‘Kick Teeth’ and the epic 9 minute‘Dieselweed’ will make you giddy with their sonic non-stop riff-fest. The dynamics coupled with a real passion for wanting to be as heavy as they can, simply works. Heavy Lord don’t hide their influences, nor do they try. The band is Sabbath, Cathedral, Sleep, Crowbar, Celtic Frost, Eyehategod and Electric Wizard all rolled into one and I hear people saying; well they sound just like blah, blah, blah but does it really matter when it is this heavy and the riffs are this good. I mean originality sometimes doesn’t mean a shit when a band plays with such passion and power. Like I have already said, if you worship the riff, then Heavy Lord are a no-brainer, you have to like them in my opinion.

The one track that does stand out even if it is only conceptually is ‘Mare Tranquillatis’ which is a 10 minute intriguing piece about a man planning on committing suicide, I wont give away the plot here but take a listen, it is enormously well-done. There is a short interlude as well on the album, here simply titled ‘Track 6’ but apart from that, if you have already heard the band, you will know what to expect. The only real difference is the 4 years between albums has only made them even better musicians, they were great before of course but they seem to have more finesse in their playing now and they have become just a touch more experimental and progressive but this is still 100% stoner-doom and that is what you want from a Heavy Lord album. I rate it slightly lower than their previous efforts but this still crushes so no real complaints – check it out…….. 8/10

Heavy Lord Official
Heavy Lord @ Myspace.com

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Posted June 25, 2011 by doommantia in Heavy Lord

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