Seattle has been one of the most refreshing conveyor belts of musical pleasures over the decades and shows no signs of slowing down as from its dirtiest grunge punk depths it brings us the inimitable sound of Watch Rome Burn. The two brother outfit has just uncaged their new album and it has swiftly become something we for one cannot get enough of.
Last year the pair of guitarist/vocalist Drew and drummer Jestyn Cummings lured eager plaudits with Now on VHS, an attention grabbing encounter laying the seeds for the rapacious roar of its successor Vox Heretic. The new release escalates the dirty crust-esque punk aspect of its predecessor but equally embroils itself in the grunge and alternative rock side of that first proposition but drawing on the rawest breath and predacious intent of both to leave the former laying in its dust.
Vox Heretic immediately had ears and imagination hooked as a sonic drawl brought opener Consumed into view. Its broiled shimmer in turn triggered a rhythmic prowl aligned to an equally skulking vocal prowess, all the time that sonic dissonance pulsating. Never particularly deviating from its initial intent but rich in intimation, the track is superb; pure creative devilry setting up the promise and adventure of things to come.
The following Thief is soon into its carnal swing, its unapologetically raw air and flesh instantly magnetic and bawling away with proto punk causticity. As with the first, there is an inherent catchiness which had the body bouncing even when tempered by the song’s feral garage rock belligerence. Abrasive and bracing, the track just hit the spot as too unerringly did next up Motley. Like a mix of a proto punk Queens Of the Stone Age meets the hungry rock ‘n’ roll of The Sea, the song is another predatory trespass which simply aroused body and spirit.
On The March flares up with an industrial hue next but is soon into a rock ‘n’ roll stride with Jestyn’s rhythms manipulating song and listener as Drew further incites both with his electric intrusion and vocal dexterity. Imagine a punk ‘n’ roll Therapy? and you get a whiff of the outstanding stomp.
The duo showed they can glow with undiluted melodic enterprise too, though Crystallized straight after equally has a fried haze to its coruscating glow while with Be What You Want they caused inescapable addiction. Its caped crusader tinted swing instantly got under the skin, vocal enticement adding to the potency as similarly the wired almost uptight grooves which escape the strings of Drew’s guitar.
The release is brought to a delicious close by firstly War Blues, a track surely bred from illicit blues stills hidden in the shadows of the band’s home city. Its melodic liquor is intoxicating punk blues soaked in the contagion which flavours every track within Vox Heretic; a blend which had the body worked like a puppet before things are finally concluded by the melodic seduction of Up Here. Uncluttered but as rich in flavour as you would wish, the song is a captivating sundown on the album, a final surf kissed glow and sigh which only lures ears right back into the release.
Vox Heretic is Watch Rome Burn knocking on major attention, a door which surely cannot stay closed much longer against the indisputable roar and often corrosive but ever alluring raw charm of their sound.
Vox Heretic is out now and available @ https://watchromeburn.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 22/09/2018
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