Review: The Bendal Interlude – Reign of the Unblinking Eye

The Bendal Interlude hail from Liverpool and members, Tommy- bass, Dave Archer- drums, Stu Taylor- guitars and Nat Gavin- vocals, make up this powerhouse band. From the opening salvo in, ‘Buckfast For Breakfast’ to the final chord of ‘R.I.P’, I was pinned in front of the speakers by the battering ram that is The Bendal Interlude. From moments of blues rock, classic rock, to out and out metal, we are taken on a journey from which there is no escape and although not always at 100 miles an hour, the intensity level never wanes, even when a bit of acoustic/resonator guitar is introduced. The band have four EP’s to their name but this is the first full album and  it is their most elaborate release to date. In their own words they describe their music as “a blend of stoner/psych-metal and blues with heavy melodic-groove based structures topped off with a spit-in-your-face vocal assault.” Sounds good to me!

”I go to work, I punch a clock, I do the same thing day in and day out , I punch out at nightime, I go home, I start drinking”. So tells the vocal sample at the beginning of ‘Buckfast for Breakfast’ before we are launched on the roller coaster ride that will last the whole of the album. These guys are the real deal, I could tell from the first couple of chords that this was going to be a fun ride and I am not disappointed at all. Their sound is tight and heavy but still dynamic, there is space for the music to breath and yet retain masses of power and energy. I can hear underneath the tight riffing a slight blues swing to the rhythm that adds a superb groove to a very heavy track.

The opening of ‘Losing Things’ could have come from a Deep Purple or Whitesnake track but as soon as Nat’s vocals come in we are moved swiftly onto a much more metal platform as your head is taken off with the power of his vocals. The rhythm section really show what they are made of, they are tight and powerful, letting go and showing restraint in all the right places. Stu’s guitar work is also faultless, he shows a great sense of less is more, keeping everything to the point, with no unnecessary baggage.

A much darker mood awaits us as ‘The Unblinking Eye’ which takes us on the next leg of our journey. An atmospheric opening disappears into some classic metal riffing that you cannot help but to move to, supported by the superb groove, the effect is intoxicating. We return to the moody atmosphere later in the track with amazing ease, the arrangement, in my eyes, shows a very clever musical side to these guys. An absolute stand out track, it shows everything this band are capable of, from moody atmosphere to passionate power.

A must mention track is ‘Pint of Bodies’. How they managed to not only slow down this thrash metal monster but transform it to the acoustic/resonator guitar track is beyond me but it just works and you have to check it out. ‘Creaks Gigantic’, ‘Triumph of Fortitudo’ and ‘The Block’ slow things a little and take us down more of the stoner/psych-metal type path, with no less power of delivery, just at a slightly slower pace. We are led to our final track ‘R.I.P’, yet another of those dynamic tracks that take us from the blues to flesh stripping metal and back again. This track has it all and is my stand out track (number two) for all those reasons.

Looking at The Bendal Interludes facebook page, you could be tricked into thinking that all they are about is drinking and having a good time. Do not be fooled! As I said before, these guys are the real deal! There is a seriously high level of musical ability, combined with a passion for the music they make, that comes across in this album. I am always glad when I hear something that comes from an honest place, that is not contrived, but felt inside. That is exactly the feeling I get from The Bendal Interlude!

Reviewer- Simon Larkin

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