Well, hey there twenty twenty-one, it’s so nice to see you, ‘How’s it going’ you ask? Well, let’s see, not the greatest of starts, but definitely some hope on the horizon, and that’s just with the whole pandemic situation on its own, without anything else! Music wise, well, it’s a new year, so new starts, and new opportunities, and that’s a great thing, that’s for sure.
With that in mind, maybe some new music to set the scene you say? What a great idea, let’s try something we haven’t ventured in to before, maybe a new genre, or a new band, fresh to the table? Sound good?
Well, if it’s that ‘up and at ’em’ spirit you’re after, then I think I have just the thing for you. Something new. Something fresh. Well, Here Lies Man. ‘Who’s that?’ I hear you ask. Well, let me get you up to speed, and see what you think. Here Lies Man are just on the cusp of unleashing Ritual Divination on to the world, the bands fourth full length album. They were formed in two thousand and sixteen, featuring members of Antibalas, and are from Las Angeles, in the U.S of A.
LA, home to such a melting pot of musicians, everyone from Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and Slayer, to Fishbone, Beck, and The Bangles. There’s such a wealth of music history associated with LA, that pretty much every genre of every scene has at least one big name with Las Angeles roots somewhere along the lines. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that Here Lies Man have been rubbing shoulders, and playing alongside some insanely influential bands ever since their inception.
Described as ‘Sabbath playing Afro beat’, Here Lies Man slip nicely into an art rock styling. At times they’re funky and psychedelic, before skipping with ease into a more proggy, trippy, retro sound. Here Lies Man could easily have time travelled into the future from the late sixties, early seventies flower power scene, and made now their home.
Ritual Divination is a fifteen-track monster, guaranteed to have you moving your feet in time with the uber cool sounds that will emit from your stereo. Tracks such as album opener In These Dreams, has me drawing some comparison to Black Mountain, with the far-out spacey feel, while remaining heavy on the funk side at the same time. While forth track What You See, takes things off on a more Hendrix meets Bad Company vide, heavier, but insanely trippy at the same time.
At times they’re funky and psychedelic, before skipping with ease into a more proggy, trippy, retro sound…
All in all, as you would probably expect, Here Lies Man don’t really stray from the path they’ve laid for the entirety of the album, there’s fifteen tracks which all run through at a similar pace, there’s a shed load of upbeat perky funk to keep your toe tapping the whole way through, and it does give it a jam session feel, a sense of fluidity that makes for a really enjoyable listen.
It isn’t heavy or brash, and although not instrumental, the vocals don’t dominate, so there’s no stadium filling chant passages, but that really is no bad thing. Sometimes you just want to let the music, and the vibe, take the lead, after all, we’re all different, as much as we’re all the same, so it’s nice to have a break from the norm.
Highlights of the album, for me, are I Told You (You Shall Die), and Collector Of Vanities, but it’s Come Inside that really grabs me. Right from the intro I’m hooked, with its driving drums and rumbling guitars, it has me captivated. That being said, the aforementioned Collector Of Vanities pulls out all the stops, more of a thrill ride, it’s really warmed up, and is as exciting as it is interesting.
By the time track fifteen kicks in, Cutting Through The Tether, it’s evident that the album won’t be finishing at a slower pace than it has for the rest of the album. It feels slightly improv, but the way that elements are interjected, it’s far more calculated than it is free flow.
As the album ends, I instantly go back and listen to it again, but as a whole, instead of track by track, and the flow of it all really is even more enjoyable when taken as an overall piece of art, and not dissected for reviewing purposes. It spurs on connotations of witching hour drives, on an open motorway, into a supersonic portal to another dimension.
It’s the perfect get away from the ridiculousness of the current climate, and the most fantastical way to welcome in twenty twenty-one, in all of its trippy craziness.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish