It is dirty, raw, and unforgiving or in the words of the band itself, “Brutal Blues” which escapes the creative throes of ‘angry bastards, loud as Hell’ British duo Hell Fire Jack. It is also one compelling trespass on the senses and emotions which has come to a glorious head in the band’s debut album Chains. Imagine Seasick Steve infested by the spirit of Lux Interior as The Hangmen infuse their own devilry and you get a sense of the rapacious roar at the heart of the band’s first full-length.
Formed in 2012, Hell Fire Jack is vocalist/guitarist Alex Trewhitt and drummer Josef Karl, a pair from Yorkshire creating addictive toxic sounds which sizzle on the senses as they get rhythmically bitch slapped. It is not for those who want their music to be a comfort; an easy going escape without danger but for those who love to feel threatened whilst rocking out like a dog in heat, Chains is a thrilling demonic puppeteer.
It is also an album which simply blossoms song by song, each bringing something fresh and varied to the blues heart which breeds their predacious incitements. It is not just the sound which lures the listener into the dark, lyrically songs find seeds in “mental instability, insecurity and a constant struggle with modern life” to provide an intimacy which works away at thoughts just as the music gets under the skin and into the psyche.
As you might have surmised, we were seriously taken by Chains, it gripping attention and appetite from pretty much the first deep breath of opener Hell-O. The coarse but inviting riffs of Trewhitt’s guitar quickly lead ears into the waiting lures of his wiry grooves and the swing of Karl’s fevered beats. The former’s vocals are soon similarly magnetic, the pair creating a rousing concussive stroll leading feet and hips into fevered antics as shadows crawl the imagination. The track is irresistible, a stirring roar of blues and garage punk trespassing air and listener with every essence shared.
Cyborg swaggers in next, every beat a shuddering lead, each riff a rapacious scour on the senses but it all as virally infectious as the vocals cruising the inescapable persuasion. As the song epitomises, there is a great nagging quality to Hell Fire Jack propositions, an imaginative persistence which has body and appetite bouncing, and success Dark Horse only emulates. Its initial atmospheric smog is soon pierced by Karl’s anthemic swipes, it all building to caustic catchiness spewed by the guitar in an In The Whale/ Dick Venom & The Terrortones spiced shuffle.
The sonic liquor of Old Whiskery echoes assumptions going by its title, a sonic intoxication which deviously flirts in groove, voice, and beat while The Hustle chugs along with many similar traits of its predecessors to equal if less striking effect. It is familiarity though which gives Hell Fire Jack its individuality and incites a greed for more as words and syllables persistently bite within it all.
A sonic liquor swollen party comes in the shape of Don’t Come Knocking next, the track harrying the senses as a rousing vocal assault grips the imagination. It swiftly has its hand on best track heights before losing that honour to the quite brilliant Mr. Sinister. The track is horror blues punk alchemy, a proposition to breed lust over even with there being something indefinably recognisable about it.
Through the controlled but open sonic fever of Take a Hold and the predatory intimation of Sunday Best the album only reinforces its potency and persuasion though neither song can quite live up to the previous slices of rock ‘n’ roll manna. Each so they just grip attention with their varied enterprise, the following Lock and Key with its old school hues and garage punk dexterity then matching their heights with its composed but incisive swing.
Another major highlight is sprung with Better the Devil, its atmospheric, haunting melodic welcome alone enough to crow about but adding the subsequent tempestuous landscape and the Danzig-esque spicing which grips its tenacious blues prowl and the track simply escalates in character and prowess as well as impressiveness.
The album’s title track brings things to a close, a song which crawls through ears and thoughts with the instinctive infection of old school rock n’ roll and the lithe meandering of blues rock, it all boiling up and igniting in sonic blazes which sear the senses. Enthralling second by second, the track is rock ‘n’ roll at its basest and most compelling and a transfixing close to one thrilling release.
Hell Fire Jack never truly hit the brakes with their high octane attack and sound but when they do give them a nudge, you get taken to the darkest most seductively menacing places. Simply put Chains is a real pleasure pretty much like no other.
Chains is released February 14th on iTunes and @ http://hellfirejack.bigcartel.com/
Upcoming live dates:
Sat Feb 17 Hell Fire Jack album launch party, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Tue Feb 27 Lending Room @ The Library, Leeds, United Kingdom
Fri Apr 6 Al’s Dime Bar, Bradford, United Kingdom
Fri Apr 20 Verve, Leeds, United Kingdom
Sat Apr 28 THE FERRET, Preston, United Kingdom
Pete RingMaster 06/02/2018
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright