Catacomb Records is not the most prolific label with only a small handful of releases to show for their five year history. Unlike some labels they don’t operate a scattergun approach to releases a shed load of stuff to see what sticks preferring to focus on infrequent but high quality releases. When Catacomb choose to put their name to something you should sit up and take notice as, chances are, it could be something very special.
General are the latest band to join Catacomb’s tiny ranks. Hailing from Coventry and featuring Alunah bassist Gaz on guitar, General can broadly be classed as a stoner rock/metal band but to merely leave it at that would do the band a disservice. Throughout the course of this nine track album General aim to avoid many of the usual Sabbath/Fu Manchu clichés of the genre and paint broader strokes across the history of heavy rock to achieve their sound with elements of doom here and there and a very healthy dose of 90’s style grunge in the style of Alice In Chains to complete the picture.
Right from the off, with lead track “Better Dead” it’s clear that General have an ear for a mighty riff, a mighty riff given all the more weight by Greg Chandler’s monstrously thick production and Billy Anderson’s mastering. The riffs are but one aspect of the band’s sound as they interweave their guitars and layer them to create a sound that’s intense, thick and powerful giving a listening experience that works on many different levels. On the one hand you can sit back and let the sheer heaviness wash over you but dig a little deeper and you become aware of so many more nuances and subtleties that aren’t immediately apparent but serve to create a tone that’s all enveloping and expansive.
The real golden egg here are the vocals which come across not unlike Dave Tice from long gone Australian proto metallers Buffalo. Jesus this guy has some sweet sweet pipes on him that have been roughened by time and torn by emotion. One listen to the epic ballad “Out Of The Sky” will surely have you reaching for the Kleenex as the vocal performance is second to none being both powerful yet highly emotive to the point of breakdown. This one song is worth the price of the album in itself setting itself up as a potential future classic and acts as proof that overt heaviness is sometimes nowhere near as intense as the sound of someone laying bare their soul!!!
General pretty much have all bases covered when it comes to heavy music whether it’s epic ballads, fat stoner grooves on “Make Or Break Down”, grinding doom on “Blood Of The Pig” or rocking out on “Feel The Same”. “Where Are Your Gods Now?” is a mighty and diverse metal album that could very easily ruffle a few feathers if people give it the time of day…and if they don’t then it’s their loss.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall