Jun 28, 2011

Heavy Glow – Midnight Moan ...

Back in 2010, the début EP of Heavy Glow appeared out of nowhere and it impressed me greatly. The band combined classic rock, modern blues, grunge, stoner rock with some tasty riffs and wild solos.  The band seemed to be trying to recreate the Hendrix, Cream vibe and they came pretty close to doing just that but with a modern twist. Now with a new album out, they seem to still have the blues but with a more Deep Purple-ish feel this time around but with a distinct southern rock flavour. Now I know I will get some flak for this but I think this album is a disappointment despite some great smokin guitar work and some strong grooves. There is three main issues I have with this album so I will get them out-of-the-way first before moving onto what is good about 'Midnight Moan' and I must stress the point that many people will still find this to be a good album but I don't think it's as great as it should have been.

Problem number one; The production sounds seriously flat on this release and the vocals seem to be mixed way too loud and that brings me to problem number two. The vocals of Jared Mullin are frustrating to listen to, on the one hand Mullin has an incredible range and power but on this album he tends to sing every song in the same range which seems to be a pure waste of his talent. There is also the lyrics and melodies that also bring about monotony. Some songs especially in 'All My Money' the chorus is repeated over and over again and it is all done in the same, bland vocal range with no emotional dynamics at all.


Problem number three is more of a personal thing but I feel the modernized guitar-sound doesn't suit the bluesy style they are presenting, it just isn't the right blend to me so I am constantly thinking, this would be much better if it sounded more organic and vintage. Anyway these issues are up for debate and I can see people typing away furiously right now because I am sure many folks wont agree with me but there you go, my 2 cents worth.

Now the good news, this album has a few great psychedelic hooks to draw you in. Opening track 'Lose My Mind' is a short, heavy psych stomper with great riffage and it is really the only time on the album where the vocals seem to have some emotional depth to them. The following 'Slave Dance' is even better, it is a slower, groove-based track with incredible hooks and great guitar work especially the screaming solo. Sadly these are the best two tracks on the album as the rest of the disc doesn't have anything that rises to the same standards except for just one track and you have to wait till the final cut before you can hear that one. 'Today Is Technicolor (One Step Closer)' is a trippy kind of track but very commercial-sounding and a little banal, sorry but I call it as I hear it. 'All My Money' is the most infectious track on the album at first but is ruined by the repeating chorus that I talked about earlier. 'Collide' is more up-tempo but still very much within the psychedelic blues frame-work. This track is decent and a lot of fun - certainly one of the better tracks on  the album.

The southern rock vibe really pops up in the next tune, 'Purgatory Blues' but it comes and goes in just 3 minutes of pretty forgettable southern twang. 'Smithereen' is an acoustic track where they rely on the vocals to drive the song, big mistake in my opinion and that fades into a short instrumental track, 'Midwestern Lullaby' which is pleasant enough and that is all I can say on that. The album then ends on 'Diggin’ a Ditch' which gets the album well and truly back on track with a semi-epic powerhouse heavy-riff driven track full of attitude and power. If the whole album was as good as this track and the opening two tunes, this album would right up there with the best albums of the year and that is even with the average production.

Again, I set my expectations too high with this album and expected way too much from this talented band. It is mostly my fault and I gladly admit that but when I heard the 'The Filth and the Fury' EP, I genuinely thought this band would come up with something truly monumental and I think they failed in more ways than one. It is still way above average in the musicianship department but with only 3 great tracks, 2 decent ones and 4 instantly forgettable numbers, the score-card isn't looking too great. I strongly recommend though you head to their Bandcamp page and check them out yourself, I mean what the hell do I know anyway but I can't rate this any higher than a 5/10 and even that is me being generous........

Heavy Glow @ Bandcamp

16 comments :

  1. We share the same thoughts/feelings. Though, I'm more favorable to the album. The vocals weren't as much a concern, but this is the second review to praise the instruments and show disappointment with the vocals.

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  2. I was maybe a little harsh but I was disappointed by the album, I expected too much which happens sometimes. Like I said the vocals just sound flat to me and yet the guy has got a great voice so I don't know what happened there.

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  3. Wow. That's a pretty strong critique. So let me get this straight...you guys heard a 5 song EP, came into an album and expected to hear the same 5 song EP over again? Have you even heard the band's first EP? Gotta admit...I appreciate a band that doesn't reinvent the same formula over and over. If songs about suicide and blowjobs are boring to you, well then I think I need to find a new blog.

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  4. Did you read the entire review or just parts of it. I think you missed the point.

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  5. Anonymous...

    1. I own that EP and I love it, this album doesn't come anywhere close to the standard set by that EP in my opinion.

    2. I never expected to hear the same 5 song EP again, not sure where you got that idea from. The songs are just not as good this time around.

    3. The points I raised in the review have nothing to do with your comment so I am not sure what you are getting at all.

    4. The flaws in the album as I hear it are vocals, production and some average songs. It has nothing to do with the band sounding different because they don't actually sound that much different at all so again, don't understand what you are saying.

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  6. I heard the album, it is better than this review suggests but not by much. I haven't heard the EP so can't comment on the difference or if this is a let-down or not. I would have given it a low 7 at best.

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  7. Ed, they do have 2 EPs out. Their first one is self-titled. The one you're talking about is the one that came out last year, The Filth & the Fury. Midnight Moan IS more of a change back to their self-titled's sound somewhat while still retaining some psych blues from TF&TF.

    I don't really see the issue in why you and I have an issue with this album. I feel that we've both made it clear where our disappointments stem from and that they're more personal than a criticism of the music.

    Anon clearly misses the point.

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  8. Yes, my review is self-explanatory. Great band but some average tunes but also some really good ones, average production and why the hell I am I reviewing it all over again ha ha. This is my last words on the subject.

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  9. Good band - weak album. The review was pretty kind in my view, did I not read it all ?

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  10. The album has been taken down for purchase. The band's reasoning is as follows: "You may have noticed the album isn't up for grabs anymore. All of the snivelling (sic), ad hominem critiques have taken the fun out of this for me. Enjoy what you have and best to you-Jared (Heavy Glow)"

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  11. To Cheesesoda

    They pull the album down? Sounds very childish and very unprofessional.

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  12. Anon, I agree. Whether or not a band agrees with reviews, they need to accept the fact that not everybody will love the music. This goes for anything you make public. Plus, they should look at it this way: if they're happy with where they're at musically, that's all that matters. They should grow some thicker skin, regardless.

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  13. Been following this garbage on Facebook and I have lost all respect for the band now. I still like their music but they or is it just Jarad are just whining too much. I mean, grow-up. If you have any balls, you will put the album back up. It is sad because they are a great band but this shit is a major turn-off.

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  14. If this is all real then the band was doomed to fail anyway. What a shitty attitude. I like their music but their attitude sucks balls.

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  15. OK, I wont posting any more comments on this, enough is enough. Send me a email if you want to talk about it but I won't be allowing any more commentary on here about it.

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