Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Washing away the pain as the Eagles swoop

ON the Screaming Eagles d├ębut platter, From the Flames, the refrain comes from vocalist Chris Fry that he can’t “…wash away your pain”. But rest assured that if you want to relief from your pains through the cathartic power of rock ‘n’ roll the Screaming Eagles are up to the task.

From the Flames is an album infused with the riff, paying homage to the masters of hard rock with a whiskey glass in hand and a beer chaser nearby – where the anarchic is tamed by a rhythm section, and the guitar tone is torturously balanced between sweet soloing and sleazy riffing.

At times it does pay a little too much homage to the likes of AC/DC, especially on the second track ‘Down the River’ with vocal intonations close to Mr Scott; but that is nit-picking at an extreme level – and it is homage rather than slavishly following a template.

Instead this is a slab of portentous power, which builds and builds and gets better with every listen.

The first four tracks are enough to please the most ardent rock ‘n’ roller, but it is when ‘Vampire’ bites into your aural senses that Screaming Eagles find their real fangs and identity. This is the Northern Irish take on blues drenched hard rock; it’s the Lagan delta not the Mississippi flood plains that formulate the power clout. Down and dirty, menace and passion - the Eagles are coming to rescue us from the mundane.

Golden Eagles were the deux ex machine used by Tolkien in so many of his works, from their role in the coda of the Hobbit, through to rescuing Gandalf and their contribution to the battle at the gates of Mordor. The Screaming Eagles could have been dreamt up by an author to be the plot saviours for all of us fed up with auto-tuned bimbos and play-by-numbers metalcore.

‘Devil in the Dust’ in particular sneaks into your very black heart, with a chorus that nibbles into your consciousness and a structure that reflects the best of rock.

And the flag of rock is proudly perched at the promised land on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul’ – like Marines at Iwa Jimo Screaming Eagles hold the standard of rock aloft and shove aside the doubters - salvation does indeed come from a six-string.

Overall From the Flames is a statement of rock – a statement that you may sideline hard rock and metal, you may deny us the airplay, you may shun our long hair and anachronistic ways, you may walk by us in your business suit or party dress, but you will never stop us rockin’, and you will never stop us loving the rock.

Chris Fry’s impressive pipes, Adrian McAleenan’s finely crafted playing and the tight as a shark’s ass rhythm section of Ryan Lilly (bass) and Kyle Cruikshank (drums) deliver an album that grows on you gradually before smashing its way into your sensitivities. If some ‘lame ass’ Yank band or average Englander rock type recorded this distribution deals would be proffered and hyperbole would spill from the national magazines. If there is justice in this world these will follow for Screaming Eagles.

Once again Northern Ireland has shown that we are a tiny slab of the land on the outer rim of Western Europe that has more talent in our 1.8million population when it comes to rock and metal. Screaming Eagles are worthy of their place on the roll call of Norn Irish hard rock excellence.

That pain you may be suffering will not be taken away by music, but From the Flames will wash it away for a while, as you wallow in rock ‘n’ roll and you find that it is better than any pain killer of anti-depressant.

Copies of ‘From the Flames’ are available from the band’s site for the princely sum of five of those pounds sterling. The album will also be on sale at forthcoming Screaming Eagles gigs.

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