Three track release The Valkyrie EP earlier this year, marked metal duo Lion Splicer as a band to watch closely whilst enjoying a bruising and invigorating mesh of metal and rock n roll. The New York pair now returns with new album Holiday in Dystopia and show in the mere months between releases, a marked progression to their sound. It is still as riotous and unpredictable as ever, at times a chaotic storm of sounds and ideas to relish, but there is a clarity missing previously and a leap in their already sharp invention. The eight songs within the release are diverse and imaginative, a scorching and compulsive rub fuelled by at times aggression and spite whilst in other moments by sheer beauty. It was unexpected to be honest and most welcome as the band show the early promise and impressions were just the beginning of great things.
Danny Splice (drums, piano, percussion) and Max Splice (vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass guitar, percussion) have created a full range of essences which move on those within the EP and explore many more. Arguably their core is heavy metal with thrash and punk tendencies, but to that you can add stoner, progressive, and groove metal, and that is still missing plenty. Holiday in Dystopia is a rampage of fun, mischief, and musicianship which engages wholly and excites consistently. As mentioned the production clarity is just right this time around, thanks to the returning Nathan Long alongside Max Splice, the pair finding the right mix to the outstanding and unforgettable presence of songs.
The opening Jezebel is a fiery ball of flaming rock n roll, its hard rock energies fuelling the insatiable heart of the song. With charged riffs and galloping guitar sonics burning a place in the heart around the scowling vocals and belligerent bass sounds, the track is a riot to jump on board with. It borders a chaotic fall a couple of times but that just adds to its devilish wink.
The Whip opens with an inciteful bassline before prowling around and through the ear with intimidating riffs and group bruises vocally. Featuring a guitar solo from Long, the track is a forceful prod of thrash and classic metal which leaves one almost breathless. Again like the first it almost has too many elements at play to run with a perfect fluidity but it merely makes the track just more intriguing and psychotically powerful, not to mention satisfying.
The punk driven title track steps in next to push and barge the senses with dirty riffs and combative energies, its barracking shouts and incendiary guitar play irresistible. It is another brawl of rock which one cannot refuse or easily move on from. From this point things get very unexpected and interesting. The next two songs are instrumentals, outstanding guitar led pieces which simply shine with invention and quality. They are equal to what came before but as openly different, like the clean cut brothers to party crashing miscreants. Little Conquerors is a short and mesmeric piece, a shimmering caress of warmth whilst its successor Forgotten City unleashes infectious grooves and an incendiary magnetism which simply fires up the passions.
The release is completed by Watchtower and Panopticon Stomp, with third instrumental Utopia in Regalia sandwiched between the two. The first is a black metal flavoured abrasion which is pleasing enough whilst the closer is a tempest of energy and ideas brought through intense aggression and sounds. Utopia in Regalia stands above them both though, the expressive journey and breath offered an easy to devour expanse of stylish guitar play from Max with a guest solo from Andres Abenante, and emotive piano. With no negativity towards the vocalised songs, Lion Splicer hit their highest summits on the instrumentals showing the skill and still immense promise of the band in the future.
Holiday in Dystopia is great fun, an album to party hard with whilst taking refreshing breathers within its eager presence. If dirty rock n roll with inventive surprises sounds good then Lion Splicer is your next best friend especially when they give their album away for free @ http://lionsplicer.bandcamp.com/
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