Thursday, November 10, 2016

Buzzard Canyon - Hellfire & Whiskey (2016)

Rolling in like a mix of doom, blues and rock n' roll, we have the warm and fuzzy sound of Connecticut's Buzzard Canyon. The quintet seems to offer a slew of catchy choruses, but there's also a great deal of thickness insofar as the compositions are concerned. “Louder Than God” actually allows for quite a bit of atmosphere, showing that the band can achieve a bit more than the bits of blues rock that you're getting for the majority of the album. Vocals on the record are actually doled out between a strong female frontwoman and a admittedly tough to hear male backing vocalist. Sometimes he takes over the vocal duties himself, especially during one section of the disc where he attempts a little bit of Danzig. If you'll listen closely, you'll hear some harsh vocal elements in the back as well. This kind of adds a bit more bite to the disc, but again – it's tough to hear. The frontwoman sometimes utilizes the same harsh vocal elements, which you can of course hear a bit better in the mix. Often these two duet, but you'd never know it because the male vocalist's mic is so low in the mix for a reason that escapes me. Also, the band is a little lower in the mix than it should be. I'm hearing my bluesy doomy thumps, but the vocals are just too clearly heard over them, which kind of kills the atmosphere that they were going for. It sounds like they were recorded in another room apart from the music (which is sometimes the case) but Buzzard Canyon like any good doomy bluesy rocky act, is more of a live band. You want the kind of feeling where maybe the lyrics aren't so audible because the thick thunder of bass and drums work to drown them out sometimes. When you see these guys live, you're going to experience just that. They currently only have one live show planned right now for December 3rd in their hometown, but maybe next year they'll really be able to take this show on the road. 

Again, this is a relatively stout and overly groovy little album, but it's definitely going to stand out much better on the stage along with some Sabbath and Manilla Road covers, perhaps. Buzzard Canyon aren't bad at all and this is a pretty good debut from my observation. It obviously has some rough edges, but that will be ironed out when these guys come back to the studio for the next one. Hellfire & Whiskey definitely contains some pretty impressive moments as far as some of the leads and solos are concerned, but there's not enough of them to really stand out right now. Again, this is literally the Connecticut act's first major musical output and I'm sure that they'll only get better with time. I do like that some of the harsh vocal moments are quite out there in the open, really pumping in some unexpected moments of groove and animosity where I honestly would not have expected it. Definitely give them a listen, but it's definitely going to work better onstage.

(8 Tracks, 35:00)


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