League Of Corruption proudly fly the flag for southern rock and metal on this their debut album…all whilst living in Vancouver. My North American geography isn’t quite up to scratch, but even I spy a discrepancy here. This gap between what I was expecting and what I heard follows suit.
The band have been playing together off and on for fifteen years, and that confidence certainly comes through in the music. They’re led by Chris Barlow, who has been around the scene for many years, and on guitar and backing vocals we have Brian Langley, who also fronts a Zakk Wylde tribute band (which I find amusing since more recently Zakk Wylde himself seems to be an Ozzy Osbourne tribute act). Their bio mentions such mighty names as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Corrosion of Conformity, and Down…three of my favourite bands…so it pains me that in this review I won’t be mentioning any of them again.
Opener Save The Church kicks off with tribal drums, an air-raid siren and then a chugging mid-paced riff which wouldn’t be out of place on a Saxon record. I bet that’s the first time Saxon have been mentioned round here for a while! It’s a reference which follows through at least the first half of the record. There’s a definite NWOBHM vibe going on, which is never a bad thing in my book.
Save The Church makes a strong first impression when it comes to the production. The whole thing is really well recorded; the guitars sound great, the bass thumps through my floorstanders nicely, the drums and cymbals are well balanced…basically this sounds a hell of a lot better than loads of big label records that I could mention from the last few years.
Second track Leave Me Be introduces a more memorable chorus and also some good old gang-shouting backing vocals. We also get a guitar solo midway through that Adrian Smith of Maiden would be proud of. Thankfully we don’t get many reinterpretations of Zakk Wylde motifs, just some really effective work that I think serves the song well. The lyrics aren’t gonna win any prizes, but with a beer in my hand I’d quite happily shout along if I ever saw League Of Corruption live.
There’s a definite NWOBHM vibe going on, which is never a bad thing in my book…
Sadly, my enjoyment of this record is really jolted by the third track, Not Your Friend. This is where the mid-pace of the previous tracks starts to turn into a bit of a slog. The riff has no swing to it; it’s all very stilted. It isn’t helped by this track having the worst lyrics on the record and also the most obvious Wyldisms in the harmonic squeels at the end of the riff.
As if apologising for what’s just happened, the record then takes a real turn for the better with the title track. From here onwards I kept being reminded of latter day Orange Goblin – which shouldn’t be a surprise as they’re a really good example of a band that combine the NWOBHM sound of their forefathers with the swagger of The South.
Having listened to the second half of the record I had very little interest in going back to side one – it really is so much stronger – the riffs are more urgent, the backing vocals are used in a better way, the lyrics don’t get in the way, and it feels like a band playing to their strengths. Want Me Gone isn’t gonna win any originality awards but the final track Wheres Your Saviour contains more ideas than the first three tracks combined, so it provides the record with a strong send off.
Something In The Water isn’t anything original, and it’s unlikely to make it onto any year’s best list, but as an advert for what they do on stage, it works well. I won’t be spinning the record much after writing this review, but if League Of Corruption are playing in my local tavern any time in the future, I’ll happily put my money down and enjoy, what I’d guess, would be a good old fashioned heavy metal show.
Scribed by: David J McLaren