Dead Man’s Hand – Till Karma Forgets

DMH_RingMasterReview

Not to be confused with seemingly many other bands with the same moniker, Dead Man’s Hand is a band bred in the Seattle music scene but it is fair to say really hit their stride once its founders relocated to Kansas City. Now they are poised to release their new album Till Karma Forgets, a twelve song strong slice of raw rock ‘n’ roll which maybe does not leave ears awestruck but certainly provides them with a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Formed in 2012 by vocalist/guitarist Kasey McGrew when he teamed up with guitarist Bret Palmer, Dead Man’s Hand struggled with finding the right line-up initially; that was until the pair moved to Kansas City the following year where they found bassist Jeffery Kent and drummer James Aguiar. Soon the band found itself sharing stages with the likes of HURT, PopEvil, and The Dreaming at venues such as The Voodoo Lounge and Granada. 2014 saw Dead Man’s Hand touring with Burning and win Best New Artist in the Midwest Music Awards. Last year saw a second tour for the quartet, plenty of radio play, and more nominations at the 2015 Midwest Music Awards. Now following up an earlier demo EP with the same name, the band is poking at broader awareness for their accomplished and fiery rock ‘n’ roll with The Pavement Entertainment released Til Karma Forgets.

The album opens with the groove bound Hangman, a track making a controlled entrance before sauntering into the imagination with mellow lures entangled in more incendiary strikes of guitar. The vocals of McGrew, potently backed by Palmer’s strong tones, emulate the sound around them, crooning at certain moments and roaring with thick emotion in the songs eruptions of intensity. Easily revealing the unmistakable craft and skills of the band whilst pleasing ears, it is a great start to Til Karma Forgets backed as powerfully by the excellent Lock & Key. Grungier hues crowd the hard and melodic rock body of the song, all magnetic spicing adding to a great stock in grooves and rhythmic enticement around another catchy chorus. Whilst eclipsing its predecessor, a touch of southern goodness also comes out with the song overall reminding a touch of fellow US rockers Resin.

DMHart_RingMasterReviewPaint A Picture is a calmer emotive proposition next, vocals and melodies wrapping ears as feistier flames occasionally rise up around them whilst So What offers a grittier tempting of blues and hard rock which prowls ears with expressive guitar and vocals taking the lead. Its snarl only increases in its rousing chorus where the irritability, which seems to fuel bass and riffs throughout, adds more oil to the blaze.

Through the spicy grooving of Veto and the attractive intimidation of Wash Away, band and album keeps pleasure and appetite as keen as ever. The first of the pair is an especially unpredictable and magnetic affair as at ease aggressively growling at the senses as it is seducing them. Its successor evolves from a seriously coaxing lure from Aguiar into a predator with hungry riffs, and the still boldly rolling bait of beats, courting a less imposing vocal delivery. It is a great mix with the dark shadows and the song’s natural predation alone whipping up the passion as it steals best song honours on Til Karma Forgets.

Its title track comes next and it too marks a particularly memorable peak in the landscape of the album, carrying a slight Life Of Agony feel to particularly its more emotive and restrained moments. Despite its grouchiness and aggressive elements, there still feels like there is beast still trying to escape, and if there is any moan about the album it is that it does not fulfil the great and open potential to unleash this instinctive ferocity. Nevertheless, the track rocks like a disturbed bear before a milder but no less resourceful stroll with Slide Of Hand leaves ears thickly satisfied; guitars especially spicy and flavoursome within the encounter.

Another inviting strain of blues rock colours the swiftly infectious Beneath The Dirt next, where whiffs of Nirvana and Sick Puppies tempt thoughts. The track is yet another addictive episode in the album; a track, which like Til Karma Forgets as a whole, might not be venturing into unique pastures or setting the world on fire but without doubt leaves the listener gripped and hungry for more of its unbridled rock ‘n’ roll.

Through the scorching blaze of Masquerade and the emotively melodic Broken Ground, things continue to richly entice and firmly please; the first of the two another notable proposition, with Not For Nothing closing up the album in fine style too with its captivating, impassioned, and tempestuous balladry.

Though the album is missing that last spark or bite of intensity to really ignite the passions, it is not too hard to expect Dead Man’s Hand finding a host of new fans and plaudits with Till Karma Forgets, a release which offers honest rock ‘n’ roll with heart and quality.

Till Karma Forgets is released April 29th via Pavement Entertainment through most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 29/04/2016

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