For a band sharing a name with a novel about the search for a dozen eggs in war torn Leningrad (strange but true), this trio certainly lob some sonic hand grenades into the current scene. They made their live debut as recently as 2015 at Camden Rocks Festival and City of Thieves have rapidly risen in the public eye and now deliver their debut album, Beast Reality, in true hard rock style. Guided by none other than experienced artist, producer and Wayward Sons frontman Toby Jepson, they have put together twelve tracks of hard rock in the Airbourne, Rose Tattoo manner…not that they are Antipodeans, they are Londoners and show their British influences too with hints of Sabbath most prominent. And, for just three guys (Jamie Lailey – bass/vocals, Will Richards – drums, Ben Austwick, Adam Wardle) they do make a hell of a noise.
Take opening track, ‘Reality Bites’, with it’s phased guitar intro and pounding drums and a vocal just the right side of raw, it all comes together in a strong, hard rock way. ‘Fuel and Alcohol’ is a curious blend of Burn era Purple and Hanoi Rocks and is pretty damn good. ‘Lay Me To Waste’ channels more British influences and a very good guitar solo makes it a standout. ‘Incinerator’ is even better with a Sabbath feel and yet it’s all Thieves with a jaunty beat driving a great riff and solo. ‘Born To Be Great’ is the most straightforward and melodic track, but enjoyable nonetheless. ‘Give It Away’ is a favourite with its intro and overall construction giving me images of Sweet meets Budgie… and that is a very good marriage. Final track (of twelve) is ‘Something Of Nothing’, another standard with an almost ‘let’s make a single’ approach but it has sufficient depth and complexity to still be a strong heavy rock song that crowds will enjoy singing along to.
This trio make good quality hard and heavy rock and this album boasts none of the usual obligatory ballads, nor does it provide too much light and shade…so if you want forty-two minutes of balls out rock played with panache, then City of Thieves deliver just that.