Calico Jack – Panic In The Harbour

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If you are planning to take to the high seas in order to undertake devilish pursuits, a check list will include a sturdy vessel, lush beard, a potent weapon and of course a jolly roger. You might also need a suitable soundtrack too and that is what Italian metallers Calico Jack can offer in highly enjoyable fashion. Recently signed to the Ronin Agency and working on their debut album for a release later this year, we thought a retrospective look at their previous EP Panic In The Harbour was in order, especially as it is now getting another thrust into the broader world and inspires potent anticipation for the band’s first full-length.

Hailing from Milan, Calico Jack was formed in 2011 by brothers Toto (rhythm guitar) and Caps (drums), the pair taking the band name from Captain John Rackham’s nickname, a notorious English sea raider who sailed across the Caribbean Sea during the Golden Age of Piracy and famed for inventing the pirate flag, the Jolly Roger, and for having two notorious pirate women is his crew: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Fusing classic eighties heavy metal with Scandinavian folk metal and creating exploits inspired by Anglo-Saxon sea shanties and folk songs, the band swiftly grew in personnel, releasing their first demo Scum of the Seas in 2012. Panic In The Harbour was unleashed a year later to great responses at home and around Europe. Now with fresh interest in release and band, and that impending full-length, the line-up of Toto, Caps, Giò (vocals), Melo (lead guitar), and Dave (violin), is ready to had a very potent year.

COVER - Front     As soon as opener Where Hath th’ Rum Gone? whips up attention with a lure of bow across strings you get a rich inkling of what is in store, and once thumping beats hit and riffs gallop with riotous devilment, the Calico Jack sound and its character is in full blaze. There is no escaping an Alestorm reference or of Running Wild but equally there is a healthy spice of a Korpiklaani in its revelry, a dirty Adam Ant essence within its colourful nature, and the punkier metal of Kvelertak to its roar. The grouchy guttural vocals bring the intimidation whilst swashbuckling exploits are driven by violin, hooks, and anthemic rhythms, not forgetting just as magnetic group shouts. The dark addictive tones of the bass also only add to the compelling adventure and though it is fair to say that there is a great familiarity to the band’s sound, equally it makes for a fresh and feisty proposition.

The opening enjoyable contagion of the ale sodden proposal is immediately matched by House of Jewelry. It makes a more imposing entrance, riffs and that increasingly captivating throaty bass colluding for a magnetic and aggressive coaxing. Vocals and the heavy drum swipes built a hostile environment but one coloured by the spicy flame of violin and the instinctive swagger and swing of the emerging encounter. Again you basically know what you are going to get but it does not stop the blend of classic and folk metal creating an infectiously captivating escapade for ears to devour and the imagination to eagerly run with.

Grog Jolly Grog is another drinking song you just instinctively raise your tankard to whilst rocking your body with the raucous sway and volatile attitude of the addictive festivity. It also brings a whiff of old school punk to its hooks and raw abrasive riffery, nothing dramatic but an appealing scent explored more in the closing Deadly Day in Bounty Bay. The final song is the most adventurous and inventive on the EP though that imagination is certainly beginning to show its flair and temptation towards the end of its predecessor.

     Deadly Day in Bounty Bay opens with lapping waves on a shore and a single tempting of guitar. The ever alluring bass soon adds its voice to the emerging narrative of raw riffs, salty violin seduction, and melodic winery. The start of the track has ears and imagination gripped but it is when it takes a breath and returns with a virulent bait of lively beats and contagion fuelled bassline that the incitement really comes alive. Everything from the gruff vocal delivery to coarse riffs, the jab of rhythms to teasing hooks has an irresistible infectiousness to them, one bred with a post/punk tenacity which is more Clash/ Damned bred than anything. In fact at times it is easy to suggest the song is the folk metal equivalent of The B52s’ Rock Lobster.

Ending with its best track but only thrilling ears from start to finish, Panic In The Harbour with its re-emergence to fresh attention is a recommended appetiser to the upcoming album from the band. If it can live up to the anticipation now inspired we will see, but we will bet no gold against it.

The Panic In The Harbour EP is available now from most online stores.

http://calicojacktheband.altervista.org/  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calico-Jack/269653663086210

RingMaster 12/04/2015

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Fisherman’s Death: Uncharted Waters

    Fisherman’s Death

    Reaching out from the heavy dark depths of Davy Jones Locker, Swedish death metallers Fisherman’s Death is a melodic scourge of extreme metal which ravages and consumes the senses with new EP Uncharted Waters. The four track release is a leviathan from the deep with a merciless ravenous appetite and one which leaves the desire to go back into those threatening greedy waters overwhelming.

Formed in 2009 by bassist/vocalist Joakim Häggström and guitarist Thomas Lindqvist, Fisherman’s Death takes influences from the likes of Alestorm, Amon Amarth, Iron Maiden, and Swishbuckle and forges its own nautical death driven malevolence which reels in the passions. Completed by rhythm guitarist Nils Löfgren and drummer Filip Krullet Löfgren, the quartet from Umeå first drew attention with their Among The Shore EP of 2010, following it up two years later with debut album The Code. Released via Tmina and Grom Records, Uncharted Waters is the next instalment of the deep, a towering fusion of pirate/folk, and death metal which with captivating ease ignites the senses and imagination.

It is hard to say that Fisherman’s Death is venturing into new seas and adventures with their sound and release but undoubtedly it Fisherman's Death - Uncharted Waters - front coverhas a depth and wealth of barbed hooks which firmly reaches deeper than the majority of similarly armed sea borne mariners and pagan warriors. The title track sets sail first, its body emerging from within brewing deathly sonic mists, and takes no time in laying destructive yet magnetic muscular hands upon the ear. With inviting sonic grooves weaving within the thick current of energy and commanding riffs, the song is instantly a sinewy temptation. Its overwhelming persuasion is completed by malevolent sturdy vocal growls and scowls of Häggström, his tones a grasping rasping abrasion to bring further weight to the imposing breath of the track. The perpetually insidious grooves are persistence elevated whilst the group calls at the chorus a primal contagion and a call to arms to voice and fist. Openly infectious but with a substance which many bands lose in trying to capture the listener, the track is a mighty and invigorating opener which is equalled and surpassed as the EP surges out into its murky depths.

The demanding prowl of The Flying Dutchman comes next, a track which crashes through the ear upon waves of rich and venomous riffing wrapped in sonic teasing. It has a predatory stance, a lure which leads to destruction but the journey is equally an enticing seduction of melodic enterprise and virulent infection. As mentioned the release is not searching new armouries of sound but with thick textures and an energy as well as invention which makes the passions compliant to its objective, it leaves a rich bounty of invigorating enjoyment.

The Captains Chanson is announced by bell knells and soon has its vigorous brawn stretching to its full extent, the delicious gnarly bass of Häggström a hungry bestial instigator. As its hulk of a body crashes through intense waves the climate of the song evolves with skill and intriguing allurement to cast shards of melodic sun and warmth on a mellowing course. It of course is not long before the track is rampant once more and turning on the listener with corrosive rhythms and annihilatory riffs but this is continually entwined with a compulsion to temper and seduce with sonic grandeur. The song is outstanding, the best of the release, and would have alone left an ardour for the band in place.

The closing Darkwater Cape is a torrent of unrelentingly vicious rhythms, the drums of Löfgren callous which ever guise they wish to enthral with, whilst the guitars of the other Löfgren and Lindqvist once more flame the skies with invention and skill. The track is a final anthemic row across the siren waters of the release and as all the songs the incitement to join the crew.

       Uncharted Waters is an excellent treat to get your feet wet with and Fisherman’s Death a band which leaves every requirement and satisfaction full to the poop deck.

https://www.facebook.com/Fishermansdeathofficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/02/2013

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