The Old-timers: Soli Deo Gloria

South African based punk band The Old-timers list in their influences the likes of GBH, The Subhumans, Headnoise, and Minor Threat, inspirations their music proudly builds upon. As their debut album Soli Deo Gloria shows the trio do not hold back in either sound, energy or passion, their lyrical theme and music created to glorify God whilst have one riot of fun in the process. Released jointly through Thumper Punk Records, Caustic Fallout, and Veritas Vinyl, the album is fourteen unashamed storms of emotion and aggressive energy which leaves one thoughtful, provoked and satisfied.

The Old-timers is a band thanks to modern technology which creates music at distance. Vocalist Dave Emerson and guitarist/bassist Don live in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth respectively and twelve hours apart, whilst drummer Matt Lagusis is based in California. With the mixing of the album being done in Idaho and the mixing in North Carolina, it is a release which has chalked up some cyber miles in its making.

The seeds of the band came when Dave whilst on holiday in the home town of Don, met him through a mutual friend in 2011. Their joint love of punk and the JCHC (Jesus Christ Hardcore) movement helped a strong friendship emerge and the eventual sending over of tunes from Don which Dave leapt upon with love and vocals. The tracks became the Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We! demo which led the band to the attention of the previously mentioned labels and the planning of an album. At this point Matt who was playing drums for another Thumper Punk Records band, False Idle, joined the band, and now Soli Deo Gloria, one feels it is time for The Old-timers to take their place on the punk map.

From the first track The Old-Timers Intro one knows they are in for a blast of old school punk rock brought with just the right amount of discord, aggression, and irresistible hooked riffs. From the brief declaration the album soon explodes into the boiled atmosphere of Adonai’s Agape and its ‘ode’ to the Son of God. It is an in your face surge of passion and energy which easily whips up the senses into an agitated pleasure. The melodic hooks of Don are as infectious as the coarse shouts of Dave are hungry in sharing their intent. Vocally there is rare deviation throughout the album to the hardcore delivery shown here but it never did Henry Rollins any harm right?

The first single from the album, This City is another tasty slice of senses ruffling and emotion baiting, its power and rough handling of the ear pleasing and greedily welcomed. As the track plays, thoughts of the likes of UK band Crisis, Angelic Upstarts and Shelter come to mind, the sound a feisty mix of all and dripping Old-timers distinctness.

Songs like Posi Isn’t Enough, the Suicidal Tendencies like eruption On Hope, and the contagious Prescribed Rebellion with its irresistible addictive melodies and shifting muscles, leave one tenderised and smiling in satisfaction but it is with the title track that the band deliver the biggest triumph. Soli Deo Gloria from its opening riffs and bruising rhythms slaps the senses into adoration within moments. The song excites and incites with every note and syllable, the music driving with a wicked grooved mission to infest and the vocals offering their only real moment of variety on the release, the expected shouts stepping aside at times for actual singing and group shouts and it works a treat. One wonders if this would have made a better first single but it will get its day for sure.

Soli Deo Gloria is a great album with for many will have a big but. For many like us who do not share the same beliefs and passions as the band, we welcome their heart and thoughts but just like bands that use other personal passions and themes to fuel their creativity and energy, when it borders or leaps into preaching, the barriers come up. At times the album comes over that way, track after track slamming home the uncomplicated and direct lyrical content within. The passion driving through makes the release powerful admittedly, but the lack of subtlety and repetition becomes a demand and order rather than a guiding message or heartfelt view to leave one with some negativity towards what is one punk album which still is able to fire up any punk heart. The Old-timers join the growing brigade of great bands showing real punk has not had its day.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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