Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews of Baleful Creed will know that they are a band that I think are very talented and can produce a fabulous rock track so I was really looking forward to hearing the new album Seismic Shifter. I can say right up front that this is an album that packs one almighty punch.
For those of you who are not aware of Baleful Creed they are from Belfast, Northern Ireland and formed in early 2009 when Fin Finlay (vocals/guitar) and John Allen (guitar) got together to play some cover tunes. The band were originally inspired by Black Sabbath, Danzig and the like with the aim to provide head nodding, foot tapping chunky riffage with powerful vocals.
They produced EPs in 2009, Killing Time, 2011, Buried Beneath and 2012 III. The last 2 Eps were merged into a full debut album which became the self-titled album, Baleful Creed, which was released in 2013. In 2014, there were changes in the band with Davy Greer (bass) and Dave Jeffers (drums) helping to revamp the output.
Seismic Shifter is due to be launched in May 2017 and was recorded in Manor Park Studios, Northern Ireland.
They have featured in international interviews and reviews in magazine such as Powerplay and Fireworks as well as supporting Bill Steer’s (from Carcass) blues rock power trio ‘Firebird’ in Belfast. They were finalists in the Hard Rock Hell Highway to Hell 4 in Glasgow and played Wildfire Festival in 2016. They have been the only band to be Top Ten finalists in two TBFM Factors (2012 and 2014)–beating off hundreds of other bands in tightly fought competitions.
This album, for me, represents the journey that this band have been on and is a much more powerful and well-constructed album than Baleful Creed which shows just how far they have come.
The album begins with Devil’s side and almost foghorn wall of sound as the fuzzy, distorted guitars blast in surrounding and enveloping you. The drums add flavour and texture as they bring an interesting juxtaposition to the guitars. It is great to hear Fin’s vocals higher in the mix for me as that was a slight issue with the first album, in my opinion. They are gravelly and rich with emotion. This is an album filled with immense riffs and they begin in the last third of this track. This is a catchy track and won’t disappoint the fans from the previous album.
Momento Mori is a very clever track, building and leading you in. it is another catchy track, there are sections which highlight the huge drumming and the raspy bass line. The soaring riffs help the track to progress. There are sections where there is so much space, which I think comes from a band that know how to play together and realise that they don’t need to fill every moment. The track benefits from the connection between the band members.
Levy has a rocking, instant head nodding beat, with chugging bass lines and cheeky lyrics. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser with climatic riffs that deepen and rise again and again. This track has a slightly more bluesy feel with, perhaps the harmonica helping that belief. This is a great sing a long song that is a sheer delight.
If you want a great opening then God’s Fear is the track for you, but don’t stop listening then as this track packs a massive punch. This has everything, sizzling riffs that light up the track, energetic and vibrant drumming, deep, rich bass line and the vocals that are off the scale good. The richness of this track has me going back for more and more. It is intense but with a great melody that will keep your interest throughout.
If you think rock should be balls out and full on then Grind is your track. This is full of cheeky lyrics, spiced up with throbbing, sensual riffs and a drum beat that will have your toes tapping. The fat and heavy bass line fills out the swagger of this track. This is a rich, powerful track which is highlighted by Fin’s vocals that snarl and sneer away.
Faux Celebrity is highlighting the world of Celebrity culture that we find ourselves in today. The driving riffs and throbbing drums lead into the chorus which is very catchy. This is a very full track as it powers on, with more intensity from the drumming in the second half, clashing cymbals and vivid, transcendental riffs help to add texture.
After the fullness of the previous tracks you might need a bit of a breather and you get it in Walking Wounded which is full of soulful lyrics and emotional vocals from Fin. This is track in the classic rock / blues vein. The tempo changes half way through into something that is heavier but no less great. The drums and riffs add complexity, with the deep bass line moving the track along. This is a belter.
There is a change in vocals as we see Davy take over in Lose Religion. The lyrics ask you to question everything and there is a shift in energy from the previous track as this has enormous drums, powerful bass line and thundering riffs. There is a kind of punk vibe to this track. This is not a track that is politely asking you to examine your religious beliefs it is one that has you in a head lock and is demanding that you listen.
The opening of Forgiven is all about the drums before the driving riffs come in. The guitar tone seems to be melancholy whilst the strident bass line really helps to build the drama of this track. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album as I feel it really helps to showcase each member of the bands talents, from the dynamic drumming of Dave, the complex and delightful bass line of Davy, the effortless, multi-dimensional riffs of John and the gravely textured vocals of Fin.
Too soon we are at the closing track and it is an absolute stunner. The Wolf winds and swaggers along, enveloping you in deep, rich rock that would not be out of place on any classic rock album. This is a very expressive, evocative track that builds and builds into the chorus. It is deeply emotional and moving. Then in the last third it is like we have gone back to the 60’s as the funk and groove hit you. Simply stunning.
In summary, this is a grown-up album from accomplished musicians who know how to handle complex issues and are not afraid to give it everything that they have. They can do full on rock to softer blues based with everything in between. The album is well crafted and it is wonderful to see the development of the band. I have had this on constantly and I am still delighted and surprised by the quality of the tracks. I just now have to hear them play live, as I have a feeling it will blow me away!
The album can be pre ordered from http://balefulcreed.bigcartel.com/ and as this is a band who are generous with their amazing sounds as well as great at looking after their fans there are pre order deal bundles on offer!