Tuesday 8 March 2016

THE GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST ~ CHAPTER 1 ........ album preview

A while ago a relatively unknown band contacted me by e-mail and asked if I would consider giving their demo a review on Bandcamp. The band went by the name The Great Electric Quest and the demo they asked me to review consisted of five songs of ass-kicking hard rock/stoner mixed with elements of modern and classic metal. I duly complied to their request and at the same time invited the guys to participate in a discussion forum (Hard Rock Revolution Forum) that I was a member of.
To the bands credit they took up the offer and instead of just posting the obligatory thank you for your support and then disappearing into the mist the guys stuck around swapping recommendations, joining in discussions and generally interacting with the other members. Over time and through constant touring and gigging the bands fan base  began to grow, so much so that one of their tracks was chosen to appear on one of Classic Rock magazine's free compilations. Things were starting to look good for TGEQ, unfortunately things do not always go smoothly in the land of rock'n'roll and after having to scrap a nearly finished album and the departure of a bass guitarist the band found themselves almost back at square one, but these guys are resilient and instead of feeling sorry for themselves they just buckled down, recruited a new bassist,  and got on with things. These guys like to joke about having a good time, drinking beer and living for the party but this band are also about hard work and having a vision for their music, a vision that after a few lengthy setbacks has culminated in the bands first "official" album. Ladies and Gentlemen I present you The Great Electric Quest's (very) long awaited debut "Chapter 1"

First track "Ogrelude", an instrumental, begins with guitarist Buddy Donner wrenching from his axe,via his whammy bar, a sound not unlike a helicopter on heavy downers, swirling back and forth between the speakers before the rest of the band explode into life around it. Donner leads from the front ripping titanic power chords from his fretboard one minute, shredding notes like a man possessed  the next, pinched harmonics popping and squealing in a display of scintillating six-string virtuosity,  Behind and beneath him  bassist Devin Walker and drummer Corey Ciota dictate the pace with a stunning mix of power and finesse, driving the groove in and around the ever shifting time signatures and dynamics with incredible musical skill and dexterity. . It's a brave move to kick off your debut album with an instrumental track but one that TGEQ pull off admirably.
"1901" begins with raked guitar strings and dive bombing whammy bars before the rest of the band fall into the slightly nwobhm  main riff and we get our first taste of vocals. Tyler "T-Sweat" Dingvell's clean and powerful voice adds a whole new dimension to the bands groove, his phrasing and tone recalling a time when vocalist would actually sing, no stoner growling for this man or demon possessed unintelligible utterances this is old school metal vocalising the way it used to be.
The songs groove swings back and forth between Iron Maiden-esque galloping metal and Candlemass-like doom with Ciota and Walker laying down a solid and tight foundation of muscular rhythm over which Donner's  neo-classical guitar solos and licks add flourishes of colour and texture around Dingvell's vocals.
"Madam Elbib" will already be  known to some reading this review as it was the track chosen by Classic Rock magazine to showcase the band on one of  their giveaway cd's. A powerful mid tempo  piece the song has an almost baroque feel that is further heightened by Dingvell's dramatically and emotionally charged vocal performance. Donner matches Dingvell with some utterly scorching solo's, peeling of flurries of notes  and managing to sidestep the trap of self-indulgent shredding by finding a perfect balance between technique and feel.
"Damn You" is up next and sees Walker laying down a deeply delicious throbbing bass line that is complimented by Ciota's sympathetic and effective percussion work. The songs doom-ish vibe veers nearer to the epic end of that genre and sees Dingvell's vocals take on a deeper and slightly more gothic tone than on the  previous two songs.
"Cry Of The Wolf" is an atmospheric mid paced song with a touch of bluesy swagger within its grooves. Full to the brim with catchy hooks and boasting a great sing along chorus this would be perfect for rock radio (Rock DJ's please take note).
"Egypt"  first turned up on the bands limited EP "Prelude" where, in my Bandcamp review, I described it as "a tune that rocks along like a camel on crystal -meth" I stand by that statement still. Here it has been sharpened up with a new, more intricate  intro but at its core remains that same little gem of a rocker with an eastern themed melody sang over a chugging heavy metal riff that blew me away a year ago.
"7 Years" drops the dynamic down for a nicely paced ballad/torch song that avoids being overly sentimental by swapping sweet and saccharine for intense and powerful. Dingvell excels within this environment exchanging his rock god wail for a smooth warm croon. Donner tears from his fretboard a burning bluesy solo mid song that is pushed to even greater heights by the barrage of rhythmic pulses Walker and Ciota create beneath him. It's a strong, well written song and shows a side to the band that I had previously not known existed.
"Beers In Hell" is a somewhat anthemic song for TGEQ and one that epitomises the bands outlook on life, a sort of no matter what shit goes down if we can have a beer at the end of the day everything will be ok statement. Fun and uptempo the song swings like a cradle in a hurricane.
"Until We Meet Again" closes the album with a blues drenched scorcher. Walker and Ciota channel the spirits of Zeppelin's Bonham and Jones in an amazing tour-de force of rhythmic thunder over which Donner evokes the ghosts of past masters with his blistering soulful solos. Meanwhile Dingvell assures us we will meet again.,here's hoping we do....... and soon.

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