Style: Hard Rock
Release Date: 11 Jan 2019
Sites: Facebook | Official Website
Yes, that's a solo saxophone to kick off this album, the fifth for the Norwegian rockers Spidergawd, to whom I'm now being introduced for the first time. I'd say that I'm ever so thankful to have finally caught up but they seem to be one of those bands who fly a lot further under the radar than they should, so maybe you can catch up too.
Based on this album, they occupy a landscape that overlaps Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy. Ritual Supernatural is much more Lizzy while Whirlwind Rodeo is much more Sabbath and the rest veer back and forth to mix up the recipe. There's also a psychedelic edge that's especially notable late in Green Eyes that suggests that these guys really know how to jam.
That baritone sax of Rolf Martin Snustad adds texture too, but mostly in rhythm. When it finds its way into the spotlight, like at the end of Green Eyes and in later parts of Avatar, SpiderGawd become entirely their own band and I wonder why he doesn't do that more often.
There are other influences here too, because Spidergawd may have borrowed phrasing from every major rock band of the seventies and mixed them up in a new stew, with vocals that often sound like Rory Gallagher singing for a garage band. Twentyfourseven has Motörhead written all over it. Green Eyes begins like a Dio ballad but shifts into a angry grungy sound worthy of Saigon Kick. Knights of C.G.R. (they're on Crispin Glover Records) has an even more overt punk kick to it, like the Buzzcocks but with a rock solo.
Whatever the influences, the identifying of which could become a pub quiz night all on its own, there's a consistency here to the sound that's very comfortable indeed, even as it's always energetic and upbeat. Spidergawd are very happy with what they sound like and that confidence carries them a long way indeed. They sound like the best covers band ever who gave up on that years ago because they know how to write original material that's good enough to stand with anything else they might have played in the past.
They're also eager to adhere to that old show business adage of leaving them wanting more. Do I Need a Doctor...? is a blisterer of a final track that combines Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and maybe even some of Metallica's Creeping Death. When it's suddenly over, there's a silence that we can't bear and we want to fill it with more Spidergawd. When's the next album coming out? They're prolific, right?
Well, if you're like me, there's a back catalogue of four other albums to discover. I would dearly like to see Spidergawd live, and I'm told that they do keep busy on the road, but in the meantime, I'll be taking another dive through these eight stormers of tracks once more.