Sunday, May 26, 2024

1968 produce heavy, muddy guitars and riffs aplenty on ‘Ballads of the Godless’

The clue’s in the name, here we have a band with their roots firmly in the late 60’s. Picture Blue Cheer, the 13thFloor Elevators, Jodo and early Sabbath contributing to a composite sound of heavy, muddy guitars and riffs aplenty.

1968
1968

Based in Cheshire, Jimi Ray (Vocals), Sam Orr (Guitar), Tom Richards (Bass) and Dan Amati (Drums) will make you think time has stood still and as the heady mix of the sounds of that era burst forth, you will be happy that it has. With a previous EP to their name, this album is the first of, hopefully, many. The Blue Cheer reference is aimed at the version of ‘Summertime Blues’ off the Vincebus Eruptum album. Released in, guess what?.. 1968. The drama and heaviness encapsulated in that song pervade the whole of this album.

Opener ‘Devilswine’ has a backward tape start and evolves into a weighty riff driven, high-class song. A sustain drenched solo adds to the feel. ‘Temple of the Acid Wolf’ has a slow build to the inevitable crushing bass/lead riff and the harmony vocals give a Hell Preachers ambience and a great solo again. An acoustic surprise next, with the instrumental ‘S.J.D.’, a tasty interlude that Budgie always did to alleviate the weight. ‘Chemtrail Blues’ has another slow build up, suiting the slow riff that wraps the song around a clever time signature. The solos are very Iommi like but still fitting. Best of a good bunch is ‘The Hunted’, an almost funky drum intro gets the toes tapping before the body of the song takes you back to the birth of heavy rock/metal and weaves a modern take on it. ‘Mother of God’ closes the album with the second instrumental (apart from a few spoken words) and has some great guitar playing over a solid as hell bass riff. The way this develops reminds me of Moontan era Golden Earring – it is seriously heavy, but with a tantalising proggy overtone.

In summary, if you like your rock and metal heavy with a grounding in the forefathers of our beloved genres, then 1968 have managed to combine all of the good bits of then with better bits of now. I look forward to their next album, which, if it has a little more variation, it will be a killer. Try this, though and I doubt you will be disappointed.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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