Carbellion have been a unit since 2004 and their debut EP, American Heavy Rock, was descriptive, to say the least as they began to forge their own blend of grunge, thrash and 80s/90s rock. This trend continued over a few more EPs (including a neat take on the immortal ‘Mississippi Queen’ on the 2013 album, Headliner) and two albums; which brings us to the latest release called Weapons Of Choice which adds a hint of punk to the mix.
Opener, ‘Barfight’ pins their take on rock firmly to the mast as an ironic view of alcohol and rival groups meeting head-on and heavy, approaching metal with hints of tongue-in-cheek Poison. ‘Pity The Backseat’ brings the punk (but very heavy punk) to the fore in another fighting song.
The title track has Sabbathy-Maiden hints but keeps an air of originality. Bass players, pay attention to ‘Preacher’ as it takes almost a lead role, and brings a freshness of approach to the heavy rock while ‘Origin’ is classic Carbellion rock and metal blending with a great guitar solo to mark this as a definite highlight.
The album’s closing track is listed as a bonus and is a live studio update of ‘Stalemate’ from the 2009 album, The Horse. The band were obviously enjoying themselves as they ‘footle’ about before launching into the familiar riff and delivering a song that is steeped in Sabbath but as a homage, not a copy. (They keep the call/repeat parts ready for the audience to join in.)
Once again, Carbellion have managed to take subgenres of our beloved rock music and put together a very pleasing set that will satisfy existing fans and should gain them some new ones. Worth seeking out, especially when they take this out live. (Although I do not think the UK is likely to see them visit soon.)
Weapons of Choice is out on 17th March.