3 Bands. 6 (instant) Heavy Rock Tracks.
It’s time to pack up that iPod, dust off your walkman and replace your entire wardrobe with denim because we’re heading straight back to 1979. Sweet Leaves Vol 1 is a 3 way split EP between Bison Machine, Wild Savages and SLO – all of whom are emerging out of the Detroit hard rock scene. One of the best things about this compilation is how well each band compliments the other. Each definitely has their own distinguishable style and after a couple listens it’s easy to tell who you’re listening to, but there is an immense undercurrent of care free fun. With 2 tracks a piece, there isn’t much time for experimentation, so let’s follow the music’s lead and jump straight into some fuzz.
How is the sound ?
Well if the font from the album art hadn’t already given it up, there is some serious Sabbath worship going on here. Bison Machine take you down to that classic heavy metal tone; laced with grit and groove in equal abundance. It’s portrayed with a class of control far more bestowing to a group with years of experience way beyond their own. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re no spring chickens, but gorgeously capture a time before their’s – “Hawk of the Wind” ends with a flamboyant display of skill that’s as sexy today as it was 40 years ago. Vocalist Tom Stec brings a smooth wail that glides you through the non-stop head-banging. “Soul Seeker” then bursts with eager excitement to ensure you’re completely won over. It’s a direct punch to those core aspects of rock ‘n’ roll that made you fall in love in the first place.
Next it’s time for Wild Savages to swing a hammer through the record, combining a thick and crunchy guitar sound with the bitter gruffness of vocalist/bassist Joe Kupiec. They create a bit more space in the mix by throwing in some nice breakdown sections, with no expense being spared on the groove for “Stage Fright“. I was picking up quite the Orange Goblin vibe from their more aggressive moments, which is always nice! “Queen Bee” has one sexy mamma of a main riff too, and it has you reaching for your guitar to try and learn it before you’ve even reached the end.
SLO take a slightly more progressive approach with those driving rhythm sections under dancing guitar riffs. You know the ones that turned the drivers seat of your little 1L hatchback into a corvette cruising down route 66? Yeah. Lots of that. “The Darkness” teases you until all fuzz pedals are set to overdrive, and that wall just keeps coming and coming. “Shield Maidens” then sees proceedings out into a smooth, spacier affair – conducted with (ironically) a rather Maiden-like flare. The dual lead guitar work from Dustin Jones and Kevin Sullivan is pretty sublime.
It’s hard to pick a favourite band, even harder to pick a favourite song, and impossible not to enjoy. This sounds like something my dad would have loved, had he taken way more drugs in the 70s. Mind you he would have been about 10 at that point, so probably a good shout there pops.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- This could just as easily be a split EP by denim jackets, long hair and beards.
- Each band gets right to it by serving up their finest cuts of that classic heavy rock sound.
- These are 3 bands determined to make sure us weary travellers through the valley of fuzz never forget the original way this was done – and done right.
In what situation should you listen to this album ?
Blast it a full volume whilst you sew Black Sabbath and Motorhead patches onto all your clothing.
Something particular to note ?
In keeping with the times of their sound, you can even pick this up on cassette. A mustard coloured one at that.
Keep it groovy,
Hawk on the Wind / The Darkness / Queen Bee
For Fans Of
Bison Machine, Wild Savages, SLO + Any rock band that formed in the 70s.
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