Label: Got Wrong Records
Genre: Hard Rock/Stoner Rock/Grunge/Nu-metal
7stbaby is an eclectic band hailing from Guildford, England. They have arrived on the scene with a desire to create something new, innovative and quite possibly, bewildering. They have most definitely achieved this with their debut, self-produced effort, Control. Having read a few reviews I came away confused and not really knowing what to expect. Many people praised their ingenuity while not appreciating the music’s broadness. So I set about listening rather pensively.
The album kicks off with Through The Looking Glass. A soft, percussive melody floats in before a swell of static opens up a psychedelic guitar riff reminiscent of bands like Wolfmother. A sinister guitar harmony kicks in shortly after with the first taste of vocals coming through another disharmonic riff and pounding bass. After a while the initial energetic psychedelic riff comes back in and finishes the song on a high note just before a short, quieter section of vocals and percussion. I found this a really interesting way to start an album, coming in with little to no expectations I was really impressed with the quality and work that had gone into this track. The vocals seemed a bit metallic and echo-y but it didn’t feel wrong in the context of the song. A solid opener.
The second track is my personal favourite. Somebody’s Bitch is a much punchier song with obvious metal/hardcore influences. A very strong vocal performance sets this song apart from the others and the slower, more deliberate riffs remind me of old-school hardcore. A short whispered section breaks up the song and, I feel, creates a more complete atmosphere to it. Rather than being a straight-up metal song it has some more melodic elements to it, albeit few, but they show some maturity and thought, making it another great track.
Psycho is the third offering from the album and has a nu-metal vibe to it. I’m reminded of old Slipknot. Many people didn’t seem to like this track much or the previous one, but I really enjoyed them. The vocals harmonies again feel slightly unusual for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, but given the genre here they do fit. This is the track I found myself singing along to the most, much to the dismay to many around me. This is another really solid track, with great metal influences and an interesting take on the genre.
The title track is where the musical divergence begins. Starting with maniacal laughter the song slowly roars into a Rev Theory style riff and chorus. Control is a real hard rock song but is lacking a truly memorable chorus or stadium filler vibe. A small solo winds the song down into feedback and a sampled clip. A strong song but, sadly, nothing special.
Leave Me To Bleed sounds like it should be another nu-metal track but it is more in the vein of Control in that it has more of a ‘grand’ feel to it. Like an old track by Feeder, it has a solid melody, strong guitar riffs and big power chords. A change of pace in the middle breaks up the song but again, it doesn’t hold up to its promise of being a stadium filler, which is quite a shame.
Although, after Leave Me To Bleed is a surprising track, titled Lucid. I was unsure of the track at first but after a few listens I’ve really grown to like it. A strong, but melancholy bass pounds through a very soft, acoustic guitar and the vocals here really shine. At times dissonant, they come together to form extravagant soundscapes of highs and lows. Lucid really reminds me of Muse. The vocals are rather like that of Matt Bellamy and the harmonies are very similar too. I’m not a big fan of Muse, but I am a big fan of this song, it’s a real gem.
Horses brings us back to the nu-metal/hard rock vibe of previous tracks and is a nice change of tempo. It really contrasts Lucid and I like the pairing. It reminds me of a Foo Fighters track with heavy guitar and strong vocals, it’s another punchy track with real guts.
After Horses, Bastille follows and delivers a much slower but equally as heavy performance. An interesting mix of clean vocals and guttural screams are paired with strong bass parts and chunky guitar riffs that remind me of some lesser known nu-metal bands. I feel this song could really benefit from a bigger production and an orchestral section to fill it out. It’s a track showing great potential, and the vocal harmonies that end the song flow nicely into the next song, Pale Horse.
Pale Horse is a slower, acoustic track with some brilliant, haunting harmonies that really showcase the vocal abilities of 7stbaby.
This was a strange album to review. Being so eclectic and diverse it made for interesting listening and overall I think they’re a bit like a hard rock version of Gorillaz. Strange, often beautiful and usually in your face, they’ve created something really unique with this album and showcased their individual talents as well. I’m really excited to see what they do next. Although I’m somewhat scared by how strange it might be.
Control is out on the 31st of January 2014.
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