Orange County hard hitting heavy rock/blues power trio IDLEWAR are set to blaze a trail with the release of their third album ‘Fractured’ (independent) on 5th October 2018. As with well-received previous albums ‘Impulse’ (2016) and ‘Rite’ (2017), drummer Pete Pagonis has produced the band’s latest offering. Fans of Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age and Soundgarden may well find they dig the Californian rockers tunes, and there is certainly a plethora of hard and heavy anthems to get your teeth into on this third album.
The industrial sounding intro to album opener ‘Turn to Six’ gives way to a grinding rhythm heralded by pounding drums from Pete Pagonis and chugging bass from James Blake. Once Blake opens those power pipes of his and adds another layer that weaves in and out of the music, this song becomes almost hypnotic. The vocals are unhurried and the whole track has a slow infectious groove. First single ‘Escape’ is hard hitting from the outset, the rhythm section leading the song with thwacking drums and booming bass. Harder vocals from Blake sound more raw and full of emotion, guitar and bass sounding like a big wall of guitars. A change of tempo at the bridge is a groovy interlude, which is swiftly followed by an efficient guitar solo from Rick Graham that he makes sound utterly effortless.
‘Stab’ is full of staccato drums, as indicative of the title. There are many tempo changes and it’s a real ear worm of a track that initially sounded a bit chaotic and full of discord, but the more I listened to it, the more it grew on me. The sliding rhythmic start and gentle grooving rhythm at the beginning and for the first four minutes of ‘Drama’ kind of lulled me in to a false sense of security because then there is a full on attack on your ears for the last couple of minutes. Yes, this song is over six minutes long, but it somehow doesn’t feel at all indulgent.
‘Rage’ has a rhythmic grinding rhythm which has my head banging to the beat from the outset. The hard hitting drums and booming bass driving the track along, with fantastic groovy riffs and tremendous soaring vocals. ‘Alone’ shows tremendous vocal prowess from Blake, combined with chugging bass and hard hitting drums. There is skilful and proficient guitar work from Graham throughout, the riffs rhythmic and dynamic. The slow and steady beat and easy groove of ‘Demented’ combined with Blake’s melodic vocal is almost haunting. It ebbs and flows, working its way inside your brain effortlessly before you’ve even realised what has happened. The bass line is such an ear worm, the change of tempo at the bridge is followed by thwacking drums and an efficient guitar solo that begins with a lovely vibrato that makes it really special.
‘Enough’ is wonderfully bass-heavy, full of pounding drums too, with changes of tempo that add another layer, not that it was needed. Blake’s vocals float over the top and weave in and out of the pounding drums and chugging bass and it all combines to form an incredibly infectious track. The groovy drumming at the beginning of ‘Perfect Disaster’ doesn’t initially sound like the same band, it’s almost not heavy enough, but then the vocals and other instruments join in, and it’s recognisably Idlewar. This is a slightly different track from what I’ve heard so far, the drumming is still heavy as hell at times, but interspersed with groovy touches. It’s different, but it still fits with the vocals and everything else, I wasn’t sure I liked it at first as it’s quite a bit different from the rest of the album, but now it’s one of my favourite tracks! ‘Odd’ has a throbbing bass beat and relentless pummelling drums that when combined with Blake’s powerful vocals, make for a lethal combination. It’s impossible to keep still to this one (and impossible to type at the same time!). ‘Hope’ starts with a groovy beat and rather soulful vocals, which is the pattern during the verses before the instrumentation gets heavier and more frenetic during the choruses and bridge section, from which it intensifies further, Blake’s atmospheric vocals layering over the top, before it fades, signifying the end of the album.
This third album from the Orange County hard rockers is hard hitting, no nonsense and heavy as hell but with a really groovy, bluesy undertone. I’ve admired Idlewar for a while and have both their previous albums, and I think they’ve really stretched themselves as musicians with this album. Each and every track sounds absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to hear these tracks played live when the band return to this country on tour in November (dates below).
James Blake - vocals, bass
Rick Graham - guitar
Pete Pagonis - drums
‘Fractured’ track listing:-
Turn to Six
Buy your copy of Fractured here: http://www.idlewar.com/fractured/
See Idlewar on their ‘Fractured’ UK tour:-
15th November - The Vic, Swindon
16th November - Black Heart, London
17th November - Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham
18th November - Salutatation Inn, Nottingham
20th November - Black Mass, Wakefield
21st November - Trillians, Newcastle
22nd November - Gullivers, Manchester
23rd November - The Station, Cannock
24th November - Fuel, Cardiff
Get tickets here:- http://idlewar.com/event
Find out more about Idlewar here:-