Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Album Review: Voices In The Void by The Sparrowhawk Orkestrel

The Sparrowhawk Orkestrel are a unique band from Dundee, Scotland. Combining big guitar riffs, modern math rock and metal, vocal melodies with a punk rock mentality and message. It's fair to say you won't hear many bands that sound like The Sparrowhawk Orkestrel. In November the three piece released a brand new album named Voices In The Void. Let's have a listen.

Voices In The Void begins with the instrumental track Start At The End. It's mostly sirens and leads nicely into Panic At The Tesco. Starting out with some huge guitars and some great riffs, as promised in their "about" section on the Internet we then arrive at the vocal sections. Lead singer Gordy Crawford has a brilliant distinct vocal style, sort of a cross between 80s hair metal and Matt Bellamy of Muse fame. The song is about suffering from anxiety and trying to live with it every day. In the song they use the metaphor of a girl stalking you to symbolize anxiety. A Frayed Knot starts out with a groovy style that had me instantly swaying in my chair as I listened to it. After the groovy start, the song switches to a more technical, math rock style with the music and vocals seemingly going off in their own directions before meeting up again for the chorus. A Frayed Knot is about latching onto someone who is weak minded and imposing your will on them. The lyrics in the chorus really stood out to me - "Our Mind Is As Fragile As A Ball Of String, So Easily Unravelled, And When Its Frayed Around The Edge, That's When They Thread Their Own Thoughts Inside Your Head."

The fourth song, Chrono, is about pushing yourself to the point of it becoming an obsession to achieve as much as you can in life and not being able to just be happy with your life. The powerful guitar playing at the start, blending into the more laid back melodic sound, made me think that something big was building towards the end of the song but sadly this never happened. This was a nice piece of restrained songwriting. Satere Mawe is about the Bullet Ant Ritual that the Mawe tribe in Brazil do to initiate rites to become a warrior. A very different subject matter for a rock 'n' roll song. This track does have a nice build towards and incredible guitar riff that completes the song. It makes me wish that I have long hair so that when I bang my head along with the song it goes everywhere - in a true 80s metal style. The Genesee River is a long song, particularly for what I'm used to, clocking in at an impressive seven minutes and twenty-three seconds. This track is epic in all senses of the word. The guitar work between the verses is hypnotic and links the song up brilliantly, making it sound like a creepy camp fire story.

Devils Clearing is the name of the seventh track on Voices In The Void. There is a huge Queens Of The Stone Age feel on this track. Gordy sings with a massive amount of emotion here as Sparrowhawk Orkestrel take us on a bit of a journey. Musically there are plenty of up, downs and loop da loops that will have you guessing what's coming next. The penultimate song on the album is named Shadow On The Wall. Shadow On The Wall feels like one of the most traditional songs on the album when you think of song structure. Aside from another stupendously good guitar solo that leads into one final chorus, it's the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus song style. It felt good to hear Sparrowhawk Orkestrel go down this route to change things up a bit. It shows some variety in their songwriting abilities. Voices In The Void is finished with the album's title track. The beginning of the song is fantastic, really allowing the listener to have a sing-a-long with Gordy. It's a song about being a small underground band that is a part of a bigger scene. It's about there being so many bands some of them slip through the cracks. I loved the lines about performing just the same to a big crowd as they would to a empty room. That's pretty punk rock.

Voices In The Void is without a doubt one of the most unique albums I've listened to in a while and really showcases the wide range of sounds that are in the punk rock scene, especially the Scottish scene. They are a band that isn't afraid to be different and wear their many influences on their sleeve. It's been good for me to listen to something that isn't really in my comfort zone and it's something I really really enjoyed.

Stream and download Voices In The Void here:

Like The Sparrowhawk Orkestrel here: