For a genre that supposedly ran out of creative momentum over a decade and a half ago, stoner rock keeps throwing up some really interesting bands. I thoroughly enjoyed Humulus’s (review) most recent album earlier in the year and now it’s Lacertilia’s turn to show that stoner rock can still sound fresh and exciting.
I’ve struggled to find much definitive about the band, but they seem to be a five-piece from Cardiff who’ve been around for a few years. Calling The Quarters is their second album and is released on Proper Tidy Records, who seem to be pretty much brand new. Definitely a label to keep an eye on if the rest of their releases are of the same quality as this.
Now, the band describe themselves as: ‘a throbbing, psycho-sonic groove rock colossus with punk attitude and psychedelic tendencies . . . an inebriating cocktail of monster riffs, trancey grooves and primal white hot energy. Shamanic heaviness for the wild and the free’. And for once, I’d say they’re not far off the mark, especially the punk attitude bit. It’s probably a mixture of my being lazy (because they’re Welsh) and highly suggestible (because I’ve been listening to Maiden Mother Crone rather a lot lately), but every time I spin this record it brings to mind late Acrimony/early Sigiriya. As well sharing a similar druidic aesthetic, they’ve got the same knack for locking into a groove while playing with the sort of intensity that most bands in the genre can only aspire to.
Kicking things off, lead single Cloaks And Daggers sets the template for much of the rest of the album: pounding mid-tempo stoner rock alternating with sections where the band puts their foot on the gas and bring some real punk rock rage. It’s an excellent track, bringing plenty of different flavours of heavy together while maintaining a real sense of groove throughout. The next track Labyrinth is just as good, a head-nodding riff building into a frenetic ending.
Calling The Quarters is a truly excellent album, crammed with heavy riffs and infectious choruses, delivered with real attitude…
Furthur is the track for me that really recall Acrimony, starting with an acoustic section and shamanistic lyrical stylings before the distortion kicks in and demands that you bang your head along to an irresistible riff. As with the rest of the album, Lacertilia don’t just find a good riff and ride it out to the end of the track, they shift up a few gears for more filth and fury.
The second half of the album is just as relentless and just as good. I wouldn’t want to give the idea that they’re some sort of Acrimony clones, good as that might be, and there are several tracks that recall the nastier side of heavy rock. My personal favourite is At The Of Utopia, with a pacey opening that brings to mind bands like Milligram and melds some righteous anger with an insistent riff. A mellow middle section builds into an intense ending, which is hard to not shout along to.
Next up is Inside The Circle, which made me think of Disorder Of The Templar-era Among the Missing or even Iron Monkey’s speedier moments, with it punishing grimy riff. Sort of fitting, as the following acoustic interlude Feral sounds like an improbable collision between a festival campfire sing-along and a drunken Jonny Morrow impression. So Mote It Be rounds things off in fine style, with a succession of ever-heavier riffs before the band finally heads off into the cosmos with an infectious ‘So lost, so free’ refrain.
I didn’t really have any expectations before listening to this but came away impressed. Calling The Quarters is a truly excellent album, crammed with heavy riffs and infectious choruses, delivered with real attitude. Strongly recommended.
Scribed by: Liam Blanc