There is little we can tell you about Italians Law 18 beyond that they come from Milan, were formed in 2011, and are a quintet playing “hardcore groove /crossover stoner”. Actually there is one more thing, and that is that they recently released their self-titled debut album and it is one slab of deranged rock ‘n’ roll that we for one have become increasingly fond of.
That description of their sound is lifted from the band’s Facebook page and only tells part of the story, a small clue to the off-kilter fusion of styles the band weave into their compelling creative revelry. Across the album’s nine tracks, you will find everything from groove and nu metal to thrash and hardcore, stoner and punk through to funk and plenty of other bold strains of sound. Its songs are raw and inventive, ranging from psychotic and quarrelsome to eccentric and tenacious, very often all at the same time, and for the main compelling fun.
The album opens with Dwarfs & Cowboys and an immediate mesh of rich grooves and punkish vocals led by Alessandro ‘Ale’ Mura. Bold rhythms align with Lorenzo ‘Pero’ Perin’s riffs to add thick aggression whilst lead guitarist Davide C springs sonic tendrils into the tempest, a mix which bullies and entices like a mix of Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies as the track develops. It is a relatively straight forward offering but prone to contagious thrash bred surges of intensity amidst sonic drama, each becoming more volatile and extreme with every passing second.
The following You Blind is similarly sculpted but with a swifter eagerness to show its instincts in pushing its boundaries and infusing broader textures of sound and flavours. Hardcore and metallic voracity unite as the initially band prowls before launching a torrent of rapacious grooves and rhythmic agitation upon the senses. It subsequently eclipses its strong predecessor before being outshone itself by Hollow Earth Society. From the initial grazing of guitar and the predacious beats of drummer Luca Ferrario, the song has ears and attention gripped, more so when it slips into an unpredictable web of warped sounds and imagination from its early bout of muscular rock ‘n’ roll. The new and riveting enterprise uncaged is unmistakably System Of A Down inspired and quite irresistible, even with its familiarity to the Californian band, as Law 18 infuse their peculiar strains of heavy and anthemic textures.
The dramatic invention continues with Dominus Caeli, a track opening with a flirtatiously seductive bassline from Lorenzo ‘Tarzan’ Colucci which then incites further jazz/funk exploits from rhythms and guitar. Like an abrasive fusion of Toumaï and Trepalium, the track grumbles and rumbles with punk lined irritability whilst creating an unstoppable and virulent contagion of grooves and raucous aggression. Further building to a hungry prowl courted by unhinged vocal teasing, the song is a thrilling slice of rabid, in sound and invention, metal fired rock ‘n’ roll.
The bass of Colucci again provides a great start to the next track; its heavy pulsing growl the lure into Dirty of Blood and spark for another hellacious assault of hardcore fuelled raging before Leather’s Wreck shares its own expectations foiling landscape of creative bedlam. Both tracks in their contrasting lengths show more of the band’s striking imagination; the brief fury of the first slipping into a mischievous discord hued swagger for a great psyche twisting moment whilst the second provides a noise rock shaped avant-garde adventure. As raw and imposing as it is sonically and melodically seductive, the harmonica skills of Mura excelling with its bluesy expression against the similarly hued guitar resourcefulness of Davide C, the track offers seven minutes plus of ear pleasing and imagination stirring incitement.
An addictive swing and stroll spines the anthemic persuasion of the following Mirror Reflections; its boisterous and pushy antagonism an uncompromising brawl of forceful punk ‘n’ roll. In time, it too evolves as rhythms spring into a demandingly infectious shuffle within post punk like scenery before returning to its tempestuous and bruising rampage of punk metal loaded rock ‘n’ roll.
Rage Against Me roars with defiance from every blues rock pore next as intrigue surrounds each turn in its bracing funk ‘n’ punk stomp. Driven by a grouchy stamping of its rhythmic feet and mass vocal irritability, there is no escaping its instinctive catchiness and highly persuasive ire or from the avalanche of riffs and crushing rhythms which shape closing track 2010. Unleashing a host of heavily spiced grooves, barbarous hooks, and a contagious energy which has bodies as involved as ears and imagination by the parade of vocal provocation across the band, the track is a maze of sonic invention.
It is a great close to an album which grabs attention from the off but really blossoms as a whole and excels in its individual elements with each subsequent venture into its frenzied rebellious world. Law 18 has sculpted something very worthy chunk of anyone’s time but especially for those with a taste for bold yet organic blurring of genre walls but still simply want unbridled rock ‘n’ roll.
Some bands and releases just seem to be on the same wavelength as personal creative adventure;
The Law 18 album is out now @ https://law18.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 21/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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