We have no idea why they expanded the moniker from XII Boar to Twelve Boar but it has coincided with a whole new thrust of mischief and variety in the British heavy rockers sound as in mouth-watering evidence on new album No Forgiveness. The trio from Aldershot still conjure up and unleashed tides of southern fried grooves, thumping rhythms, and ravenous riffs, traits they have become acclaimed for but it all comes with a new carefree fun and adventure. Let us be clear, the band has never been anything other than the rich source of both across a host of songs and releases but No Forgiveness more than most raises the middle finger in a motion beckoning all to come in and join their riotous party.
Since the release of debut EP, Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof back in 2012, Twelve Boar has made an inescapable impact on the UK rock scene. Its well-received, attention grabbing success was just the teaser for the plaudits which eagerly gathered around the uncaging of debut album Pitworthy in 2015 and the even more acclaimed Beyond The Valley of The Triclops last year. Each backed up a live presence and reputation which has equally only grown year on year until it is fair to say that the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Tommy Hardrocks, bassist Adam Thomas, and drummer Dave Wilbraham is now regarded by a great many as one of the most essential roars on the UK scene. There still maybe a few yet to discover the instinctive stomp of Twelve Boar but only something No Forgiveness will soon sort out.
Beyond The Valley of The Triclops certainly hinted at the multi-flavoured evolution of the Twelve Boar sound but No Forgiveness gives it to you unbridled and face on, so much so that the first listen, whilst stirring up the passions, has us questioning whether we missed the dirtier thunderous trespasses of times past. The second listen then revealed that nothing has changed, the band still brewing a sound caked in rock ‘n’ roll soil which leaves the body exhausted and shaking from the onslaught but with a fresh toxin of fun involved, and the third listen…that is when the lust breaks out.
Recorded with producer Chris Fielding, No Forgiveness goes straight for ears with spice loaded grooves and ear rapping beats as Steppin’ Up gets things rolling. The gravelly tones of Hardrocks stand astride the tendrils of guitar, riding the grooves as bass and beats throb and land with a brooding intent. A slab of muscular rock ‘n’ roll the band is certainly renowned for it then throws an unexpected twist in its midst as it slips into a mellow intoxication of melody and clean vocals though the moment is just the teaser to a waiting lustily fiery stroll. It is a great start to the release but soon overshadowed time and time again starting with Golden Goose. The second track instantly shows attitude in its riffs which continues to colour its character even as rap metal flavoured vocals dance devilishly on the emerging encounter. From thereon in heavy rock ‘n’ roll and that nu-metal toned adventure collude and interact enticing further whiffs of extreme metal and desert rock into the mix.
The Curtain Call swaggers in next with hooks lining every swing of its rhythmic hips and sultry grooves. Sabbath-esque riffs are openly embraced by the band then infested with their own devilment as rhythms harry the senses throughout, often dancing like a dervish as another dose of great diversity grabs the vocals. The track is glorious, Twelve Boar at the inimitable best and swiftly matched by the album’s southern bred title track. An acoustic strum is joined by vibrating beats as Hardrocks growls, the song sauntering along with accusation on its breath. In time everything finds a new tenacity and muscle, the encounter grabbing hips and appetite like a fine, throat burning bourbon.
Stealing the best song plaudits, Elders From The Deep dives in next, the track filthy rock ‘n’ roll stomping like Motorhead meeting Gene Vincent as The Cramps bring their salacious garage rock antics to the fun. The track is irresistible, a sinful slice of addictiveness which truly had this appetite drooling long before it had to make way for the blues rock romping of Snake On A Lead. As its predecessor, the song just hits the spot with flirtatious grooves and bone rattling rhythms, it knowing all the right buttons to push to have the body bouncing and a lively spirit fuelling keen physical involvement.
The crawling almost predatory opening prowl of All the Heavy Griftin’ instantly whets the appetite but it is just the prelude to another stonking rock ‘n’ roll canter impossible not to get infested by. If you had any doubts that Twelve Boar know how to rock until the sweat flows like a river and fingers bleed, than this virulently contagious track alone will wipe them away.
The brief sweltering climate of instrumental Panama lures ears into the landscape you can imagine the waiting final track Hellspeed Truckin’ would be rolling down. In the closer tarmac punishing riffs and air cutting rhythms shape the adventure, the bass a hypnotic driver with vocals holding the wheel. As grooves sear the scenery raw adrenaline flows through sound and voice, the track in top gear never flirting with the brakes until the body lies prostrate in its dust.
Wrapped in the striking artwork of Rahadil Hermana, No Forgiveness is quite simply one of the major treats of the year. It is relentlessly energetic, hungry, and fun from a band driven by those self-same attributes as well as an instinct and the craft to turn it all into one rousing experience. XII or Twelve Boar, they are still helping drive the UK heavy rock scene from the frontline.
Pete RingMaster 15/09/2017
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