French rockers Berserkers have a sound it is simply impossible not to find a healthy appetite for. Hard rock in character with captivating and open traces of seventies/eighties bred rock led by the magnetic enterprise of keys; it is a masterfully compelling tapestry of sound and lively adventure flooding the band’s new album Lock & Load.
The Bordeaux band’s sound is certainly at odds with expectations when approaching a proposal called Berserkers and a release titled Lock & Load but swiftly persuades as the 2009 formed outfit entangle ears and imagination in their flavoursome energy and enterprise. Founded by bassist/vocalist Julien “Julius” Logeais and keyboardist Julien “Judy” Rosello, the band’s original line-up was completed by guitarist Julien “Pix” Lamy, guitarist Arthur Orsini, and drummer Leo Calzetta. 2013 saw the departure of Rosello and the addition of Hammond organ toting Valentin “Val” Sarthou with the debut Berserkers album unveiled the following year. Following its release, the quintet became a quartet with Lamy leaving to concentrate on another project, Lock & Load the first encounter from the foursome and a striking offering it is too.
The album grabs ears from the off, starting with a bang as Outlaw lures attention with a great bait of drums quickly joined by the glorious and distinctive flavour of Sarthou’s Hammond. Swiftly the full flavour of the band and album’s sound is coursing through ears, the songs bluesy and seventies spiced hard rock ‘n’ roll a swirling yet punchy kaleidoscope of sound. It is a dramatic opening to the album which simply captivates body and imagination with ease; virulent and aggressive funk/blues ‘n’ roll rather easy to breed a forceful appetite for.
The following Blind Taste is of the same ilk but instantly revealing its own funky swagger and melodic character led by Logeais’ fine vocals and the ever persuasive enterprise of Sarthou’s keys. A touch more restrained than its predecessor yet with an energy and zeal to its magnetic stroll, Orsini’s guitar adds extra sonic endeavour to the weave of grooves and melodies courted by robust rhythms before the outstanding Vampire Lady teases and taunts with its seventies blues ‘n’ soul hued dance.
The brooding tone of Logeais’ bass is one highly appetising feature of It’s Up To You next; it’s swinging shadowed bound presence even outshining the flavoursome weave of the Hammond and matched by the energetically boisterous swings of Calzetta amidst the flaming exploits of Orsini’s guitar. For personal tastes Lock & Load is at its peak across the first quartet of songs but still providing plenty to be highly pleased by from hereon in starting with The Foolish Man and its almost prowling gait and in turn the feisty romp of Rock Save The World which pretty up lives up to expectations cast by its title. The track is an unrelenting rocker; a powerfully infectious anthemic stomp even if its originality is less apparent than other tracks within the album.
The song’s rousing presence is followed and contrasted by the calmer waters of Heroes Are Back In Town though it too has an eager nature which gives the song real energy as vocals give it catchiness and keys charm. With Orsini’s craft on guitar highlighted in another great solo, the song is another which is thickly enjoyable if not quite matching those earlier tracks while Starlight City shows itself a tenacious and powerfully infectious proposition almost bubbling with the band’s flavoursome rock ‘n’ roll once more richly coloured by the inventive presence of the Hammond.
Completed by the rhythmically enslaving and melodically sultry Hangöverhead, a song bringing the album to an as potent and compelling a close as it started, Lock & Load is thorough and lingering enjoyment across a collection of songs which light ears and imagination. It needs little time to tempt and persuade while suggesting it is just the very tasty appetiser for bigger and bolder things ahead from Berserkers; something to definitely recommend seventies and hard rock fans check out.
Lock & Load is out now across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 21/09/2016
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