London five piece Michael, who naturally have a total of zero members named Michael, came together out of the dissolution of previous band Bad Guys. They are an intense prospect with fuzzed out guitars, and vocals like David Yow by way of Lemmy. You could say they’re of a similar ilk to the even more ridiculously named Newcastle based Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (is that enough “Pigs”?).
Michael have just released their 8 track debut album via Cracked Ankles (Evil Blizzard, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and more bands that don’t rhyme) and it’s a bit good.
From the first note of “Mario” they set out their stall, an insanely fuzzed guitar plays a slow hook. More guitars and bass are layered on top, the tom heavy drums roll in anticipation. You instantly know this is going to be a slow ride to a crescendo. It’s sinister and powerful – the strained rasping vocals and psych delayed guitar solos taking things off into the stratosphere.
The immense opener “Mario” could just as easily end this record as introduce it.
“Stabba’s Remorse” has a more frenetic approach. The drums literally sound like they are stabbing while the guitars and bass repeat a simple riff, built up with wails and accentuated by… well… stabbing. The chanted backing vocals make this feel really urgent. It’s intense, relentless and begs to be turned up to 10.
Clearly big metal fans “Success” takes a full minute of guitar noodling (and chimes!) before changing pace and exploding in your face like Motorhead. The chorus riff is absolutely immense and the eery backing vocals in the stripped down bridge provides the perfect tension for the band to go full throttle again. It’s probably the highlight for us.
The almost seven minute long centrepiece “Sole Trader” is up next and expands the bands sonic explorations.
There’s a robotic staccato phaser fading in, intersected by drawn out guitars and powerful drumming. To top things off the song absolutely takes off in the last minute in a psych meltdown. The charismatic vocals of frontman Milo Brennan, who had incredibly never been in a band before, are so confident in their throat splitting rage. It’s like David Yow at his very best.
On the lurching and stunning “Machine Stops” he puts in a relatively tuneful performance while everything slowly crashes around him “The Road” kicks up the pace again. The phenomenal drumming driving the song, while the simple rumbling bass lays a platform for the guitars to wander of the top. It’s high octane stuff.
An eery silence ensues to provide a breather before “Tunisia Through The Eye Of A Camel” creeps
in like a sinister menace. If a serial killer had a sound it would be this. The guitar work has more than a slight Tool resemblance, the sickening frantic solo like a cut from Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible.
Final track “Leaf Blower” opens with real purpose. The almost marching drums joined by wailing guitars, building up and then shifting the momentum with pummelling effect. It’s a frantic finale that provides perhaps the most dynamically diverse performance on the record. It almost leaves you breathless on their behalf.
Although it feels incredibly early to say this, there might not be a more powerful debut album released this year.
You may enjoy this if you like: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Jesus Lizard, Motorhead, Melvins, Black Sabbath, Tool, Idles