A Darker Shade Of Blues Review

artist: Lowbau date: 04/14/2014 category: compact discs
Lowbau: A Darker Shade Of Blues
Released: Feb 3, 2013
Genre: Southern Metal, Sludge Metal
Label: Self-released
Number Of Tracks: 13
Any fans of Crowbar, Down, Black Label Society, Eyehategod and everything in between should check out this band. Even die-hard thrashers can find something to their liking in this avalanche of smashing riffs and crushing grooves. It's good clean fun for the whole family!
 Sound: 10
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
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overall: 9.3
A Darker Shade Of Blues Reviewed by: stefanrosioru, on april 14, 2014
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This Austrian band describes their work as follows: "We sing about individual fate and societal doom, but never without irony. We play a darker shade of blues." My opinion? This album is more metal than the bastard child of Wolverine and Iron Man, abandoned in the dirty swamps of... Austria(?!) suckling moonshine and whiskey on Death's t-t.

The album features 13 tracks, a wide variety of influences, a transition between genres ranging from swamp blues and country to hardcore and thrash metal; the raw vocals and tight drumming work well with the guitars, and the band somehow manages to blend in just the right amount of southern passion that would make General Lee shit his pants. // 10

Lyrics: The opening track, "13," is a smooth intro to what will be a wild album. It is a true acoustic moment, with a southern touch to it brought by the slide guitar. 

"The Prosecution Rests" is one of the tracks that give a hint on what Lowbau deals with; the potential of the band can be summed up in this one song. It features an in-your-face thrash intro, followed by a mid-tempo groove for the remainder of the song; a bluesy solo in between the verses completes the picture.

One of the catchiest songs on this album is "Order of the Bull"; the happy, lively intro warmly invites the listener to join the bone-breaking party. The vocals occasionally remind of James Hetfield's heydays; indeed, a thrash metal influence can be felt especially during the head-bashing chorus. Ideal for parties and good friendly violent fun in general. 

The fourth track, "Modern Day Alchemist" has a more modern feeling to it, as the title may suggest. Although the riffs are not particularly catchy, the guitar solo makes up for it; in fact, the song balances well with the rest of the album, offering more diversity. 

Halfway through the album, we stumble upon this gem: "A Million Years of Rain." My personal favorite, it may really strike a chord with the more redneck-hearted niche of the listeners. It opens with a dobro-slide guitar duet during the verse, followed by a catchy, heavier-than-yo-mama chorus and rhythm section. In my opinion, it deserves a longer solo, but hey, to each his own! Let's hope that during their live performances, they take the time to jam out to this song. Your personal physician may recommend heavy inebriation along with this song, twice a day. 

"Grounded" is track no. 6, and is maybe one of the few tracks that can compete with the previous song. Word of the day: MOAR COWBELL! The intro really crushes, being followed by a rather mellow verse; the tension builds up regularly, reaching the climax during the chorus. EVERY chorus, that is. Catch my drift, ladies? Otherwise, quite a solid track. Me likey. 

And when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven... oops, wrong source. Let me start again: when I listened to the seventh track, "The Theft of Time," I was crushed by an avalanche of chugging riffs. Nice mid-tempo groove once again, really tight drumming, great for headbanging; the second half of the song slows down to a slow, dirty, hard and sludgey... March (you dirty little perverts), spiced up with a little slide guitar solo. 

In the name of diversity, Lowbau offers "The Maestro," maybe the one song meant to evoke a heavy metal mood on "A Darker Shade of Blues." Although the solo is one of the highlights of this album, the melody of this track doesn't quite fit in with the others. 

The ninth track, "Alcoholic," is rather interesting. Thematically speaking, it's nothing out of the ordinary, what would you expect from this genre? The vocalist does a great job impersonating the Alcoholic; let's put it this way: he sounds like the village drunkard, slightly aroused and looking for trouble. Not a sight to see late at night roaming on the streets, but it does the trick. The vocals and bass guitar collaborate, backed up by bluesy licks in the background; more chugging riffs follow, in the rhythm of Austrian alcoholics chugging down sh-tloads of booze. 

Coming up is song no. 10, "Coming Down on Wisdom." The main riff continues well into the first verse, followed by a sweet chorus, and a bunch of other stuff happen along the way. Until halfway through the song, when the harmonica takes over, backed up by a smooth and steady rhythm section, and followed by a b-tchin' guitar solo, the absolute best on this album. Grampa would love this part, it's a killer. Not the solo, 'cause that would actually kill him. 

After killing your Grampa, move on to the nanny. "Nanny," the eleventh track, that is. Pretty catchy riffs, an ideal soundtrack for chopping wood... or your nanny's limbs one by one, for whoever is into that kind of stuff. Anyhow, much to our surprise, the riff chugfest melts into a psychedelic interlude, before ending in a crushing sludge-metal mood. 

Song number 12, "Moneyfest," is again, not what you would expect, after listening to the previous tracks. With a hint of hardcore, some decent riffs and a sweet solo in the vein of Zakk Wylde, it doesn't strike me as extraordinary though. Still, it offers some contrast with the last song of "A Darker Shade of Blues."

The eponymous track, and the one that (I think) gave the name to the album, features a slow-paced intro, and a truly raw and low riff-o-doom. The mood is changed once again, by bluesy interludes, among riffs so heavy, you can't find them on Mendeleev's periodic table. // 9

Overall Impression: Any fans of Crowbar, Down, Black Label Society, Eyehategod and everything in between should check out this band. Even die-hard thrashers can find something to their liking in this avalanche of smashing riffs and crushing grooves. It's good clean fun for the whole family! Although this album is the band's second release, following "The EP" (2009), it might encompass everything there is to know about Lowbau: from dark-sounding grooves to wild, fast-paced gallops and eerie, swampy blues overtones, "A Darker Shade of Blues" has it all. // 9

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