Ooh, I love a bit of old-fashioned, honest-as-dirt rock, so it’s with refreshing delight that Bath band Sergeant Thunderhoof find their way into my car stereo. What immediately grabs you is the way this band hold themselves, the whole album feels and sounds totally in control, this is a band that knows exactly where they are going, and it sounds accomplished and polished throughout.
If you like your music a little harder than average this will be right up your street, with enough rasp in the vocals and more fuzz than a teenage disco, there are lots to enjoy here.
I’ve been told that this music is psych-rock, I’ll admit I’m not one for pigeon-holing bands with genres – and I’m not entirely sure what psych-rock is – I’m tempted to think of Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Pink Floyd, but those acts don’t really describe what is going on within the eight songs on offer here. Sure, there are powerful, well played guitar solos, some chugging bass and changes in rhythm styles within songs, a little like what Cream and Pink Floyd were so good at but to limit them to one genre is a little restrictive.
What I’ll say is this, it’s good.
The vocals sit somewhere in a sing-smoothie of James Hetfield, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy and Bruce Dickinson and shows a range that some professional singers would envy, often rock music is won and lost on the singer’s ability to deliver and in this case, it’s a hands-down victory for the boys from Bath. The vocals sit proud as a peacock above a very good group of musicians. Underpinning the grunt, sweat and bluster is the drummer, some fantastic work is done in the engine room of the band and, like I touched on before, often the drummer is doing some interesting work, changing the rhythm and style of the song, it’s no mean feat and it sounds easy. The bass sits well too, making use of effects and choosing a different path to the typical rounded sound that is often used in today’s music, another example of a well thought out decision.
Then we find ourselves at the feet of the guitarist… at times I can hear John Petrucci from Dream Theater in the tones and feel of the guitar playing, needless to say, it works, the whole package sits together so well that you feel in good hands, the solos are faultless, and the rhythm work is steady, leaving the right amount of space for the music to gel.
The album opens with a smack to the head, there’s no shy introduction, no brief explanation of what to expect next, just four fellas doing what they do best and the challenge to climb on board or stay at the station and throw stones into an empty cup. Easy choice really, get your ass on board and buckle up because it’s a nice, long journey and hey, you might even enjoy yourself along the way!
Give them a Google or go to their BandCamp page and help yourself to a slice of Sergeant Thunderhoof.