Described as ‘Heavy Metal Warriors’ yet with a sound at times as punkish as it is metal, Australian band Convent Guilt unleash their debut album on Shadow Kingdom Records this month. Consisting of eight tracks of highly agreeable persuasion, Guns For Hire is a potent introduction to the Sydney quartet; not an encounter to cause major ripples but a promise ridden proposition providing an enjoyable stomp to get the teeth into.
Guns for Hire makes a solid start though the first two tracks only warm the appetite and emotions with their decent if underwhelming presence. Opener Angels in Black Leather initially lures attention through a great dark bassline within a strain of juicy riffs. The track is soon expanding its persuasion with heavy metal enterprise and a punchy rhythmic enticement but it also lacks the spark its start hints at, especially when the vocals of bassist Iron Belshaw enter the mix. Technically the track is potent and a solo impressively flavours the offering, but from voice to sound it avoids truly exciting ears and thoughts. The following Don’t Close Your Eyes is similar, the healthy web of enterprise cast by guitarists Dario Lastro and Matty making an accomplished and colourful temptation against the firm swings of drummer Brent. Yet there is an unsurprising and unadventurous feel to the Maiden-esque song which prevents it finding the power you sense is lying at its heart. Both songs we know are favourites amongst a great many so it is more a personal taste thing but it is when third track Perverse Altar steps forward that for us band and album comes alive.
The track opens on a firm ridge of alluring riffs which makes an edgy canvas for the swiftly joining and fiery solo. It is a captivating start which finds another edge and intensity once the much more impressing vocals of Belshaw stamp their authority on the song. He is never a threatening presence, but with the punk tone which lends its temptation to his delivery and the music itself coming through, the track whilst still firmly seeded in a classic metal spawning, reveals a compelling punk ‘n’ roll character.
That new adventurous tenacity continues its appearance across the rest of Guns For Hire, Convent Guilt aligning a Celtic folk whisper to the intrigue soaked They Took Her Away. Its initial balladry is soon encased in a muscular cage of heavy rhythmic jabs and a similarly forceful bassline whilst the guitars snarl with riffs and seduce through spicy melodic expression almost simultaneously. The song is outstanding, a strong glimpse at the variety in songwriting and sound certainly within the band and an imagination not as forceful on other tracks.
Both the aggressive roars of the album’s title track and Desert Brat keep ears and appetite eagerly keen, the first another punk urged slice of raw heavy metal blessed with a tasty bass tone from Belshaw. His vocals also find a punk breeding, excelling within the causticity of the sounds around him. By now the album’s songs are as much punk as heavy metal and certainly the better for it; the latter style providing strong and tempting colour to the rawer attitude of the songs as evidenced by its excellent successor. That bass of Belshaw persistently prowls with compelling tempting, his riff again irresistible and the spring board for antagonistic riffs and magnetic enterprise from the guitars. Like The Damned meets Motorhead, and Judas Priest, the track provides a strong and resourceful mark in the persuasion of the album.
Convict at Arms does not quite match up to the strength of the previous pair of songs but is soon an anthemic slab of pleasing metal catching feet and neck muscles up in its enticement before making way for the closing sonic carnage of Stockade. Once more metal and punk collide in a bust up of sonic dust and rhythmic confrontation, and again a thoroughly enjoyable encounter is bred. It is a riotous and infectious end to an album deserving keen attention.
As suggested Guns For Hire will not send shockwaves across the metal world but it will breed, as for us, a strong interest and anticipation for the band’s next move. Something coming with a rich dose of punk to its metal we hope.
Guns for Hire is available now via Shadow Kingdom Records @ http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/guns-for-hire
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from