Review: NG26 – 'Until My Heart Stops'

How the hell has it taken so long for this album to hit my desk? It has been out since April, and I am only just hearing this Derby based band’s debut now!

 I do not normally like to start with a gripe when doing a review, but I want to get it out there, and then focus on the quality of the songs. There is only one thing for me that let this down, and meant this release only comes in at ‘excellent’ instead of the ‘outstanding’, which it could so easily have been, and that is the production. I regret to say, it is the weakest link in the whole package, and took me back to the early 80’s and NWOBHM, when they were throwing albums out there, 20 to the dozen.

The sound quality reminded me of Witchfynde, Angel Witch and Diamond Head, from back in the day. Maybe I am wrong, and that was the idea behind this release, as some of the riffage and composition would fit perfectly in that era, but I doubt this was intentional.

Okay, now that the moaning is done, I can set the brain to ‘positive’ with the first point being I actually lived, breathed and loved NWOBHM. It was here my metal years started, as a spotty teenager, so maybe I was destined to receive this album to review.

The first track, “Never Enough” kicks into a riff-fest which is akin to a rabid bitch offspring of Metallica and Alice Cooper, with a serious chant-along chorus, and some definite Cooper-esque guitar work. An excellent opening number, which I am positive will be a serious favourite live. “Daylight Breaks” has an intro that turns back the clock to those 80’s days and Diamond Head’s “Lightning To The Nations”. A heavy mutha of a song, with solid vocals, and a rhythm section determined to break your spine from the inside.

“Save It For Me” was my absolute favourite of all the tracks on offer here. It slowed down the tempo. A simple but very strong number. The little bugger would not get out of my head even after only one play! I have been singing it for days now! A brilliant chorus, and the song builds and builds to a frantic conclusion….a downright classic piece of composition.

“Barely Breathe” kicks off with a bit of Darkness swagger, and then swings full circle, to sounding like Scottish legends GUN. For all the similarities to what I suspect must be the bands influences, they own each and every song. They have a twist that makes them stand out. In this song it is the catchy and quirky guitar work. “Afterlife” might as well have been on a death metal album with that start. It is fast, frantic, fast-changing, but they still manage to get you toe tapping with an edge…. kind of like tap dancing on your skull with ice skates on.

“Ceasefire” is what you will be screaming after this song finishes. The guitar work is frenetic, like a tommy gun with a stuck trigger. As the songs pass, by I am envisioning them all live and hope the guys are bringing this out on tour soon. I can tell they will take on a separate entity and I can get to see some of Rich Shaw’s chord moves up close and personal.

“Little Indiscretions” has Jon Topley beating the utter crap out of his drum kit from the opening till it closes. Jeez, I’m out of breathe just listening to his work on this one. This song is also a hook-laden monster, with a chorus drilling happily at your brain like a zombie worm. There is some more fantastic guitar work from Rich, and all wrapped together it is another NG26 classic.

As we head into “ You Sold Me Lies”, I realise this is one full-on metal monster of an album, it does not let up for one second. This song is no different. I love the tip of the hat to old school metal, and the adaptation they have made to drag it kicking and screaming up to date.

The finale sees a lighter shade to NG26. “ Song For Mozaz” had been bugging me for a while and it wasn’t until I had heard it 2 or 3 times it clicked. We have a “Home Sweet Home” moment here. Get the lighters out, unhook those bras and get ready to sing and sway. A perfect song to close this episode of the NG26 story, a story I think will be a good one. For a debut it is excellent, a foundation to build upon, and work the socks off live.

Well done guys you have laid down the gauntlet for the NBOBHM (New Breed). There are plenty of good British bands out there right now, plugging away in studious and crappy venues across this country, but with an arsenal like this, you just got a head start on them, and it is up to you to keep the momentum going.

Review: Ritchie Birnie


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