Review: If the growing success of young Harrogate metal band Blood Youth round the country shows anything it’s that their hometown is more of a centre for hard rock than many would think.
Further proof comes in the release debut of fellow Harrogate group Hell Fire Jack’s debut album Chain which will be premiered with a launch gig at The Regency in Harrogate this weekend.
Since forming in 2012, this brutal blues duo have built up a fiercesome reputation live.
The question is whether lead singer/guitarist Alex Trewhitt and drummer Josef Karl could reproduce all that pulverising energy and power in the studio.
Recorded at Warehouse Recording Co off Wetherby Road in Harrogate under the auspices of ace producer Dan Mizen, the answer all 12 tracks on the magnificent Chains delivers is an emphatic, pugilistic ‘yes’,
The first single from the album Hell-O attracted more than 3,000 views in its first week of release in December.
Chains proves their popularity is no fluke.
While a non-stop flow of hooks lodge in the brain, the gigantic, echo-ing, fuzzed-up riffs knock you to the floor time after time, from the cracking opening salvo of Hell-O and Cyborg to the double impact of Take A Hold and Sunday Best.
More the Black Stripes than the White, Hell Fire Jack are not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Like all the great blues men of yore, they’ve got hellhounds on their trail, those these ones aren’t the result of the old slave system in the Deep South but the modern-day problems of mental instability and insecurity.
This pumped-up duo have only two speeds on most of Chains – fast and faster.
In fact, they only take the foot off the pedal a single time at the very end with the deliciously menacing title track itself and its stinging lead guitar solo.
Do the deep, growling vocals veer a little towards the melodramatic on top of that venomous razor sharp guitar playing?
Yes but thankfully so.
Such is the merciless nature of this primeval garage band if they got any more serious they’d be as dark as a pit, as if the Black Keys had transmogrified into Black Sabbath at their best.
If Hell Fire Jack really are on the move, and they have plans to take their stunning twist on the blues to new audiences across the the UK this year, there’s no danger of them forgetting their roots.
Alex said: “It’s not always easy being an independent artist so to have the album ready to release is a real personal achievement to us.
“The support we’ve had from friends, family and other bands has helped us get to this stage and we’re hugely grateful.”
To celebrate the launch of Chains, Hell Fire Jack will play The Regency this Saturday with support from fellow Harrogate bands The Omega Era and Pips.
Doors open at 7.30pm.
Chains is available to pre-order on iTunes with physical copies available on the band’s website.
The approximate stage times for tomorrow night's album launch gig at The Regency in Harrogate are
8:00pm - The Omega Era
8:40pm - Pips
9:20pm - Hell Fire Jack