I listened to the Old Roger’s Revenge new release, named “Vengeance of Blackbeard” (released by Pavement Entertainment) and here’s my humble opinion.
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Old Roger’s Revenge is a metal band from Italy. Their music approaches a sludge/stoner sound, but there are also various elements from hardcore and doom metal. Their concept, as their name betrays it, is a pirate concept, which I found very interesting for the music genre that they’re playing. Usually, I mentally combine sludge/stoner music with the american south, with bikers, it generally evokes a feeling of freedom, but with the “stigma” of the illegal. So, what I find very interesting, are the parallels drawn between the concept of the outlaw, not in the highways, but in the sea.
This album ranges from heavy and groovy tracks, in the vein of Corrosion of Conformity, fast heavy metal parts that bring to mind Motorhead, but also a bunch of wildcard-parts, so that their personal character is shown in the music. The compositions are generally well-structured, and the instruments are fairly tight, playing-wise. The lead guitars were a bit stale for my taste, I found the solos were somewhat unoriginal in their musical vocabulary, but they were well-played, as the rest of the instruments. As well as sludgy parts, there are also some doom, and hardcore (almost thrashy) parts, infused very appropriately in the general flow of the album.
Usually, the pirate concept is a conceptual territory for melodic death bands, but (in theory) I think that it can be very well combined with sludge metal. I put the “in theory” disclaimer, because I don’t think that they are totally combined in this album. Except for the album art, the band’s appearance, and the song lyrics, we find very little pirate elements in the music. They exist just in the two small instrumental breaks (“Never Set Sail on a Friday” και “Sun, Sea, Blood and Booty”). I would like there to be more “pirate music” colours added to their sludgy tracks, so that they can be even more differentiated by their influences, and to have a more characteristic sound of the band, in a pirate-sludge genre.
Now, talking about production, the album is pretty solid, but only on the instruments. The ingredient of this album that was “sour” to me, were the vocals. The brutal vocals were very weak, and hastily written, and it is very much apparent, in comparison to how well the rest of the mix sounds. The semi-clean vocals were better as the vocalist’s performance, but they were also mixed very poorly, so they left me waiting for more in their next work.
Generally speaking, it’s an album that shows potential for Old Roger’s Revenge, it’s pretty easy to listen to, and it shows that they have been working on it for quite some time. They have some specific selling points as a band, that help them stand apart from the other bands, just as they are careful not to become parodies of themselves in a pirate genre, that’s getting pretty saturated lately.