From start to finish, ‘Smoke’ is – quite simply – an absolute riot. Heavy riffs clash with frontman JJ’s sandpaper screams for a sound not too dissimilar to Every Time I Die or Wilson, taking an unmistakably classic rock vibe and stapling a hardcore backbone. Opener ‘The Bastard’ wastes absolutely no time in getting the carnage underway with its crashing maelstrom of riffs and rousing gang vocals, while the likes of ‘Bottom Of The Ladder’ and ‘Listen Here’ are chaotic enough to ensure that the energy is kept to a maximum throughout the album’s progression. Granted, the sound they’ve assigned to themselves isn’t the most original, but it’s one they’ve more or less mastered on ‘Smoke’.
What’s more, throughout The Bastard Sons prove they’re more than a one trick pony, embracing a much more disparate pallet of influences for a much fuller sound. ‘Sobre La Muerte (Pt. II)’ takes a dustier, Alice In Chains-esque direction (though loses none of its ferocity), while ‘Stay True’ (featuring backing vocals from Glamour Of The Kill frontman Davey Richmond) is a string-backed ballad that couldn’t be further away from the rest of the album, and though it’s more of a misstep than anything, it shows the band’s willingness to experiment with sounds way out of their comfort zone. Something that should be commended.
Any gripes to be made about ‘Smoke’ are incredibly minor though. What can’t be denied is that The Bastard Sons have crafted the sort of debut album that most bands would kill for – one that is the perfect representation of every facet of their sound while simultaneously avoiding stagnation. Whether they’ll be able to maintain such a sense of wide-eyed excitement in the future remains to be seen, but for now, they’re a band with boundless levels of promise on their hands.
‘Smoke’ by The Bastard Sons released on 7th August on Kaiju Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)