Sunday 18 February 2024

BIRDS OF VALE ~ LIMBO ... review

Birds of Vale, Nikos Liakos (vocals); Lazaros Kangelidis (guitars); Kostis Papagiannopoulos (bass) and Nikos Manatos (drums/percussion), describe themselves as simply a "rock n' roll band from Athens, Greece" and that is all well and good but we at Desert Psychlist believe there is much more to this band than just basic rock'n'roll, something you may discover for yourselves when giving the bands debut album "Limbo" (Bitter Tea Records) a spin.

Opening track "Chora" tells you everything you need to know about what Birds of Vale bring to the table with their music as well as serving as the perfect indicator of what to expect from the rest of the album. The songs heavy blues groove, enhanced by exquisite sliding guitar and grainy emotive vocal tones is the stuff those of us of more advanced years grew up listening to and those of more tender years may of have heard blasting out of their parents sound systems, in other words classy melodic blues tinted hard rock of the type bands like Bad Company, Cry of Love and Free once called their own. Following song "Indian River" sees Birds of Vale showing us that along with classic rock bluesiness and southern swagger they also have some alt-metal grunginess in their locker, Kangelidis laying down a mixture of slurred refrains and searing solos ably supported by Papagiannopoulos' grizzled bass lines and Manatos' blend of tight and loose drum patterns, Liakos applying the cherry to the top of the cake with a powerful vocal that channels touches of the late Chris Cornell (Soundgarden/Audioslave) in its delivery. Its back to the heavy blues for "Howler" an atmospheric torch-song boasting a full on and feel drenched vocal sang mostly at the higher end of Liakos' range, a stunning opus that is then followed by title track "Limbo" a more traditional country blues song that sees the band getting low down and suitably swampy. Fans of early Led Zeppelin will be left with gaping jaws while listening to next track "Caviar" the song giving the chance for Kangelidis to play Page to Liakos' Plant while Papagiannopoulos and Manatos lay down a groove Bonham and JP Jones would have been proud to call their own. A deliciously dank Papagiannopoulos bass motif kicks off next track "Dream" a mid tempo rocker that melds aspects of grunge/alt-metal with the blues that then leads us into "Raff" a song boasting much the same dynamic as its predecessor only this time with a little more sting in its tail. Finally we arrive at "Sungun", here we find Birds of Vale  closing out, what has been an utterly engrossing and highly enjoyable album, with a soaring blues heavy opus that routinely switches between smouldering smokiness and white hot heaviness, incendiary stuff!

Many bands have attempted to meld grunge/alt-metal with doom and stoner rock, and done so quite successfully, but not too many have attempted to merge grunge/alt-metal with heavy blues, Birds of Vale have, with "Limbo", done just that and in doing so may well have made one of the best heavy blues based albums released this year!

© 2024 Frazer Jones

1 comment:

  1. Damn! Thought I was listening to a long lost, lighter-hearted Zeppelin track. Really looking forward to hearing the rest. Than
    ks for the review, picked up that hint of Chris Cornell as well.