Another day another retro rock band. This time Doublestone don’t hail from Scandinavia but from Denmark…which is as near as to make no difference when it comes to feeling the overspill from bands such as Graveyard, Witchcraft, Kadavar…etc. So, to cut a long story short, Doublestone plunder the vintage sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s proto heavy blues rock bands, they dress in suitable retro stylings, have facial hair and have the appropriate old-school artwork, this time in an art nouveau, Muscha inspired piece. So far they tick many of the required boxes for the genre. In truth Doublestone are better than a lot of similar bands…but not as good as a lot of others…I guess that puts them right about average.
On the plus side the three guys that make up the band, Bo Blond on guitars and vocals, Michael Bruun on drums and Kristian Blond all display a high level of musicianship and know how to pen a decent tune. Opening track ‘Save Our Souls‘, for example rocks along nicely on a jaunty little riff whereas ‘In The Forest’ comes across as the bastard son of Sabbath and Free. Musically this does sit at the bluesier end of the spectrum rather than the all out, crushingly heavy end with a nice swing from Bruun throughout.
The downside here though is twofold. Firstly, there is nothing here you won’t have heard a hundred times before and I daresay you’ll here a hundred times more before the axle breaks on this particular retro bandwagon. Although it is a pleasant enough listen there is nothing here that will make you discard your Graveyard albums in a hurry and nothing to lift them above the vast ocean of competition in which they’re swimming. The songs are decent, but on finishing listening to the album there is very little that lingers, very little that sticks in the mind and leaves you walking away humming to yourself…and as a result very little to pull you back in for repeated listens.
The second thing that lets this album down is the production. Actually let me be more specific as the drums and bass sound perfectly fine, particularly as this album was recorded live to tape with minimal overdubs. No, what lets this album down is the rather horrid guitar sound. This may seem like an overtly critical point but as this is essentially guitar based music you kind of want the guitars to sound pretty good but here they sound particularly anorexic with little or no flesh on the bones and coated in a raspy layer of fuzz that sounds like a cheap fuzz pedal battling against a dying battery through a practice amp. The effect is to emasculate the overall effect of the music.
Unfortunately, as with every trend in popular music, the more popular it gets the more bands tie their colours to the mast and throw themselves into the melting pot. This makes it far harder for bands to distinguish themselves. Ten years ago Doublestone would have stood out as something interesting but now their competition is too fierce for them to adequately stand out and make any real splash. As I said before, they’re good, but not good enough to rate as anything more than average.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall