I’ve got a few CDs in my review backlog, and I can’t decide on my best album for 2012 until I get through them all, so I’m in a bit of a pickle really. I’m going to tackle this little problem the same way anyone should – one step at a time. You’ll just have to bear with me and deal with the fact that the next few reviews will be like, so 2012.
First up is a release I’ve been thoroughly looking forward to since their debut caught me by surprise a couple of years ago and knocked my proverbial socks off: Red Supergiant by Portugal’s Miss Lava.
The first thing to strike me on firing this up was the production. I thought the production was fine on the last album, but they’ve taken it up a notch here, with a beautiful snappy snare, crisp guitars, and plenty of room for their huge sounding bass, which is so essential when there’s no rhythm guitarist, especially when the lead is off playing a solo or adding melodic details.
In fact, that fuzzed up bass reminds me of… someone else…
This is a great sounding album, and when I looked up the credits and saw Matt Hyde’s name the penny dropped. Hyde produced three of my all time favourite albums: Slayer’s God Hates Us All, Fu Manchu’s California Crossing, and Monster Magnet’s Powertrip. Who can forget the first minute and a half of Space Lord, or the way he breathed new life into Slayer’s sound. I love a good producer and Matt Hyde is one of the best.
The songs on Red Supergiant are well written and bursting at the seams with big riffs. There’s nothing as immediately catchy as Black Rainbows here, but you’ll be singing along with the choruses by the second or third listen. My early favourite is Feel My Grace, and I love the film clip too, which features a couple of menina bonitas up to no good at all.
There’s nothing over four and a half minutes, so no tripped out jams like Scorpio on their last album, but there is still plenty of light and shade. The title track is slow and melancholy. Ride plays off expansive verses against a driving chorus. Hole To China is a slow burner that had me recalling Alice In Chains, firstly because of the chorus contains the words “down in a hole”, but also because of the Cantrell-esque use of minor chords throughout.
As with the last album, it’s consistent from start to finish and there isn’t a weak song on the album.
So you probably need to get this album, right?
Well that’s not quite as easy as it seems. I’m an old fogey who likes to have the CD, and that just didn’t seem to be possible, so I resigned myself to downloading it instead. I checked it out on iTunes and it was $17 or something. Thankfully I didn’t fall for that, because it’s much cheaper on their Bandcamp site – only $8 US for a high quality release. As Molly Meldrum would say: do yourself a favour, because this is well worth it.
I gave their debut a 9 out of 10, and I think this is better, so I’m giving it 9.5.
It’s true what they say: Miss Lava rock!
P.S. This episode prompted a fit of anti-iTunes rage which led me to delete the stupid program from my PC once and for all – but that’s a story for another time. But ALWAYS check Bandcamp first before you line the pockets of Apple – they’ve got enough money already. And don’t torrent.