2015 : Tee Pee Records
Format : LP/CD
No matter how far Hard Rock and Metal tries to push the boundaries of extremity, there seems to be quite a few artists who feel a deep affinity with the very roots of the genre. Amsterdam’s Death Alley consists of former The Devil’s Blood guitarist (whose legacy will no doubt echo in eternity), Oeds Beydals and former members of Mühr and Gewapend Beton who together create a greasy and alcohol soaked ensemble of classic Metal and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the vein of earlier Motörhead, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult injected with a hint of Deep Purple.
What makes bands within these more classical influenced sub genres stand out isn’t just the music but the level of sincerity that exists within the music and the chemistry between the musicians. A lot of these types of bands end up feeling like nothing more than side projects or after thoughts, something to do in between touring and recording with their main projects. In the case of Death Alley and their debut offering, Black Magick Boogieland, that sincerity is very much alive and at times almost tangible.
On tracks like “Bewildered Eyes” the riffs are king. There’s a real groove that runs through the entirety of the track. It’s a riff that could very easily have been released forty-five years ago and fit within the time period. The vocal style is an interesting addition as well given that it’s more of a shout that would fall into a more punkish style than anything. The album’s strongest track is definitely the finale; “Supernatural Predator” which boasts a nearly thirteen minute run time that begins as a freakishly heavy sound that eventually collapses into psychedelic vibrations and bass lines around five minutes in. There are several other times where the album seems to have a more psychedelic vibe to it, notably on another personal favorite of mine, “Stalk Eyed” as well as the opening track, “Over Under.”
While the psychedelic sounds are noticeable I felt that with the exception of the final track, the more spacey sounds never made their way to the forefront of the songs. For the most part they just seemed to exist as atmospheric undertones. All of this of course is fine and doesn’t detract from the music, but it’s my interpretation that the album is clearly a collection of fist pounding pure Rock ‘n’ Roll than anything else. Black Magick Boogieland succeeds as an album to be played on cross-country road trips and motorcycle rides. While there’s nothing overly deep and complex it doesn’t seem like it was the band’s intention to do anything other than reignite that spark, that sound that represents the origins of our music and the culture associated with it.
This is certainly one of the best new bands I’ve heard as of late and for Death Alley to deliver such a ripping debut can be both a blessing and a curse. I do expect we’ll see and hear great things from Death Alley in the future.