The one good thing that seems to have come out of lockdown is the number of top-quality new albums being released on a weekly basis. Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons would no doubt have seen the irony in AC/DC releasing their comeback album the same day that the Welsh noise merchants release their latest opus ‘We’re The Bastards’. PCATBS have their own core-audience so they will be fine, and no doubt looking forward to cranking up ‘Power Up’ as much as the rest of us. Just missing out on a November 13th release date clash-from-hell by one week is Cornwall’s finest export since anything food-related; King Creature and their second album – ‘Set The World On Fire’. Had this one been overshadowed by Angus getting the band together again, then that would have been a criminal shame.
The PCATBS connection is strong with King Creature, for you might have caught the eight-legged beastie supporting The Bastards on their jaunt around these shores this time last year. A perfect match really; two powerful bands that go hell-bent for leather and play each gig like it was their last; with a smile on their face. ‘Set The World On Fire’ takes the early promise shown on debut album ‘Volume One’, adds the confidence that comes with relentless roadwork, and meshes it all together into one snarling, darker-than-shit eleven-track behemoth of an album.
First and foremost, ‘Set The World On Fire’ is a guitar-heavy album. The work from Matt Karl Vincent and fellow six-stringer Dave Evans is at times staggering. None of this turning-the-guitars-down malarkey that seems to have crept into a lot of modern rock albums. When the pair let fly with a mixture of incendiary solos and buzzsaw riffs (‘No Getting Out Alive’), the neck muscles do indeed get a good workout. But the pair also know how to build a song; the towering, emotional tour-de-force that is ‘Wisdom Told’ being the prime example of this. A gentle opening, little bursts of guitar fireworks here and there, simple non-fussy tones, beautiful, melodic playing, and a killer last few minutes where the interplay is magical. Very easy to picture this one fleshed out with extended solos when live gigs resume (be positive fuckers, for they will return).
Dave Kellaway is the man not only responsible for bringing some throbbing bottom-end to the party but also the gritty, authentic vocals that help make King Creature stand out from the pack. Continually changing it up, Kellaway, at times, sparks memories of Layne Staley (especially the almost spoken-word vocals on ‘Captive’ and ‘Wisdom Told’), in other places (‘The Storm’ and ‘I Quit’) maybe even a hint of Ivan Moody from 5FDP. His vocals have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and show real growth. As does the songcraft from the band. The aforementioned ‘The Storm’ is a real growler of a track which sounds best played at maximum volume (although, watch out for the thunderstorm coming in as the song fades out, especially if it’s at ear-bleeding volumes). The song also includes a great lesson from drummer Jack Bassett on how to control the tempo, and steer the band forwards. ‘No Getting Out Alive’ is another example of the band’s growth in the song-writing department; the brief Buzzcocks-fuelled intro comes as a surprise, and the ‘punky’ vibe hangs around during the gang-vocals throughout. The center-piece on this album of constant surprises is the stop-you-in-your-tracks ‘Wisdom Told’. An easily relatable and powerful tribute to Fathers everywhere that will strike a chord with many. Following closely behind in the “stand-out” moments stake would be the all-guns-blazing trio of ‘Falling Down Again’, ‘The Storm’, and ‘I Quit’. Combined, the trio makes for a rocket-fuelled 15 minutes assault on the senses.
Available now through Marshall Records, purchase here.
Review – Dave
Live images – Rob Wilkins