Tales From Adrenechrome
Release date: November, 27, 2015
There are times when the hype is absolutely true. The press release for Adrenechrome’s Tales From Adrenechrome likens the band to the bastard child of Mastodon and Baroness, and it’s a fairly spot on description. It goes without saying that such a short introduction can’t really cover the depth that the Canadian band has created on this release, but it’s a good starting point. Although the term sludge is used to describe their sound, Adrenechrome alternately throws out bits of thrash, punk, and classic rock, with a ton of guts, swagger, and just plain heavy guitars. The result is seven spectacular songs that sucker punch you if you’re not prepared for what’s about to go down when you spin this disc.
The first thing I noticed upon my first listen is that for an independent release Tales From Adrenechrome sounds mammoth. The production is crisp, and the resulting wall of guitars, drums and vocals sounds like you’re right next to the stage. Opening track “A Familiar Face” starts like the best moments of punk rock’s most musically talented bands, such as Millencolin or SNFU. Before long the band shifts to an updated take on glam metal, and finally finishes with thick vocal harmonies that would make Queen proud. In a wave of feedback the band transitions into the groove oriented thrash of “Lockstep,” mixing speed metal verses with heavy doom choruses and sludgy, high energy breaks. A bit of southern flair comes in just before the two minute mark, via a guitar transition that could have been on a Molly Hatchet album. The one thing to expect from Adrenechrome is the unexpected.
To say the remaining five songs fall into this vein is a statement that is completely undone by how all over the heavy rock map this band is. “Black Brubeck” opens with swirling guitar harmonies that rise to a new apex every few iterations. The band then breaks into a southern fried groove, highlighted by adding a bit of banjo, then falls into the kind of heavy chug that Mastodon does so well. “God Sized Shadow” is a song that just can’t be ignored. The huge, sludgy riff that creates a foundation for Chris Friesen’s vocal is an unstoppable force. “The Heart And the Feather” offers a Thin Lizzy style guitar harmony. “Hideous Appetites” is a ball of energy and chaos, until the end sees the band wander into Clutch territory. Closing track “The Lead Elephant” is a bit of doom and stoner rock with a serious bite. Drummer Matt Copeland plays like he’s channeling the spirit of a young Bill Ward, updating the Black Sabbath drummer’s jazzy style on their early albums.
Throughout the half hour it takes to listen to this release it morphs between styles like a lycanthropic mutant. How many bands can you say remind of you Clutch, Mastodon, Queen, and Thin Lizzy, all in the space of seven songs? The only common denominator here is metal. Adrenechrome has released one of the most intriguing metal albums I’ve heard this year. Their no boundaries, take no prisoners approach is like an oncoming assault that there is no way to avoid. They may be an indie band now, but Adrenechrome has what it takes to claw their way to the top of the metal heap, and may God help those who get in the way.
Reviewed by Jim1340