Thursday, June 30, 2022

Review: The Answer – Raise a Little Hell

Not too long ago (2005) when their debut single ‘Keep Believin’ became the subject of critical acclaim and led to the response that culminated in their winning the ‘Best New Band’ award at the Classic Rock Awards that year — we became aware of Ireland’s ANSWER to Led Zeppelin.

Formed in 2000 by guitarist Paul Mahon (his father was a jazz trumpeter and member of The Freshmen, who toured with the likes of the Beach Boys)—  Paul was determined to put together a rock band and so he recruited bassist Micky Waters, an old school friend, who had been in numerous cover bands around Belfast.

James Heatley, who had played as the Ash live stand-in drummer in 1993, was hired to be the drummer for The Answer — but he could not join the band until he had completed his degree in Psychology. The project was completed with the singer and frontman Cormac Neeson joining the gang.

After the launch from Classic Rock, which catapulted the young band into the rock stratosphere, and after signing with Napalm Records in 2012, the band completed a mammoth tour with AC/DC. More recently, the band has re-signed with the label and released their new album entitled Raise a Little Hell’ in 2015.

We had a listen:

Quite naturally, renegades have often been a favourite subject for rock musicians. Rock fans often feel like non-conformists and maverick-fighters — battling for the hard-won freedoms in a world that is still not yet ready for them. And the song ‘Long Live The Renegades’ is, perhaps, more appropriate for Irish musicians than most. The renegade spirit on this track evokes and expresses defiance and resilience in the face of an overwhelming and often intrusive force.

the answer

The track has a dominant beat — as if the red coats are on the march again. The influence of AC/DC has clearly infected The Answer’s writing too. This feels much tighter than before…  Almost a more compressed style of blues rock than their previous, looser, guitar-driven sounds. As expected, the main vocal is grizzlin’ — full of powerful emotions and pent up feelings. It is a neat track.

On ‘The Other Side’ guitars gurgle in discomfort. And it is not surprising. Because this is about loss. The bass here is heavy and it erupts into fireballs of grease —the spring steel step is motivational. But most of all, this seems hopeful – notwithstanding the grim nature of the subject.

Cigarettes & Regret’ has electrodes of power shining through it and a foot-tapping pace. The vocal here is more relaxed- less strained. This is radio-worthy, but a bit too AOR for our sensitivity. But, having said that, we are sure people will love the shining chorus.

The Red’ is much more impressively heavy. The guitar-work on this track is produced in epic slabs and solid ingots of sound — it’s like dozens of sabres — burning and cutting into your brain.

The voice is roasted white iron — bigger and hotter than you can imagine. And all this is created with a synchronized rhythm that chains you in and marches you ever onward.

The title-track comes last. ‘Raise A Little Hell’ is darker and sludgier than all the rest of the songs put together. With large structural skeletons of bass and drums, and a lot of zinc plate steel shimmer. This is inky, monstrous in size and completely hypnotic.

Neil Mach
RAMzine Senior Writer - With a career spanning 30 years author / journalist Neil Mach is an expert on the music business and is a reliable guide. He especially loves heavy metal, prog & blues.

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