When Lords Of Bastard’s self titled debut landed a couple of years ago I was immediately taken with its random, nightmarish blend of stoner doom and 90’s style alternative noise. It was a raw and charmingly naïve debut brimming with almost too many ideas and an exuberance that overcame its budget production. After that the band seemed to go a little quiet until new album “Cuddles” appeared out of the ether with its genius yet slightly rapey cover!!!
The biggest change in those two years is the introduction of a keyboard player who lends some spooky Fender Rhodes to the band’s sound…and very much for the better. In addition to this the band have reigned in and tightened up their song writing for a much more direct and thrilling ride. Whereas previously the band would chop and change within a song with an ADHD like intensity, this time round LOB are happier to allow a good riff to develop and breathe for the duration of a song rather than discarding it after two bars. The net result is of a band far more comfortable in their creeping skin.
Throughout the album, riffs thunder in then proceed to twist and merge while the keyboards lurk like a malevolent presence occasionally rising above the murky grind to drop grinning, knowing little bombs of carnivalesque whimsy. Musically there is less reliance on the stoner and doom trappings of their debut with the album owing more to the Amphetamine Reptile noise rock of bands such as The Jesus Lizard and Barkmarket as well as the grind of Big Business. It’s still as dark and ominous as any doom release out there but crawling with a punkish menace, particularly on the balls out “I’m In My Walls”. Elsewhere on tracks like “Harder Than Cars” LOB show a level of restraint that serves to emphasise the dark overtones of this album and their vastly improved song writing suss.
The song writing is not the only thing that has improved over the last two years, the production of this album is a huge step up being thick, dense and brimming with atmosphere. It succeeds in being both chaotic and noisy yet giving each instrument a level of space and clarity Whereas the debut was drier than a nun’s undergarments and it sounded as though the band had raided the local pawn shop for instruments, this time round the sound is as epic and full as the band’s musical vision.
LOB’s debut did its job of getting the band’s name out there but this is the album that will, hopefully bring the band to a far wider audience…an audience of disaffected freaks and misfits no doubt but a wider audience nonetheless. In “Cuddles” Lords Of Bastard have created an album that is rich and challenging yet grows in strength with each repeated listen. Come on…give us a cuddle!!!
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Scribed by: Ollie Stygall