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Heavy Lord - Balls To All (CD)

sludge doom metal, Solitude Productions, Solitude Productions
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The fourth album from the Dutch band Heavy Lord. On the one hand, this work continues the tradition of harmonic mixture of stoner doom metal and sludge doom metal; on the other hand, the is the most progressive and mature album from all the band albums. As before, the basis of Heavy Lord music is powerful crushing guitar riffs. Combining energetic and meditative elements in compositions the musicians reach the new artistic level at the «Balls To All» album which can attract attention of new fans of the genre.

Tracklist:
1 Back When The Giants Ruled The Earth
2 Balls To All
3 Kick Teeth
4 Dieselweed
5 Fear The Beard
6 Track 6
7 Mare Tranquillatis
8 Drown

Artist:
Heavy Lord
Artist Country:
Netherlands
Album Year:
2011
Title:
Balls To All
Style:
sludge doom metal
Format:
CD
Type:
CD Album
Package:
Jewel Case
Label:
Solitude Productions
Cat No:
SP. 047-11
Release Year:
2011
Country Of Manufacture:
Russia
Review
Mtuk Metal Zine

Heavy Lord eh? I think I'll be the judge of that, young fellow-me-lads. Heavy Lord are a Dutch band. They play doomy rock and roll. I also think that if they lived next door to you, they'd be fairly likely to deliberately play long, rambling jams at extremely loud volumes whenever they had the slightest inkling that you were due to be in work early the next day. If I may distil the spirit of “Balls to All”, it would be that this is the kind of band that would shit into a paper bag, set said bag on fire, ring your doorbell, hide behind your door and then do you in with a brick while you were busy stamping out flaming-poo based hijinks.

Allow me to explain. There is a lot here to like. This is an album that at the heart of matters, follows a really addictive pattern of marrying basic, Sabbath like riffs that would fit nicely into the Sabotage / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath vibe, while marrying that with the psychedelic excesses of some of the wider excesses of the stoner rock vibe. Somewhere along the way though, things enter new levels of WTF. From the “Wooo ooo oooo” oddness of high-pitched male vocals introducing the ten minute “Mare Tranquilitus”, to the very Eyehatgod-ness of the frequent hardcore punk edged guitar sounds or minor breakdowns. Perhaps the greatest barrier to out and out thumbs up / bell bottomed wearing approval are the vocals of Steve (also bass). I must confess, this review has taken twice as long as it would normally take for me to produce a review – mostly due to his vocals. The music? Well, the music is pretty much everything I like about doom. Massive, addictive elephantine riffing, world ending bass tones and those basic-but-thrashed-to-bits Wardian drum flourishes. That voice though? When he clean sings, it's nothing out of the ordinary, maybe a little flat, but basically the kind of voice that you might expect to find heading up a new Fu Manchu line up. When he shrieks though? That is some kind of painful. Out of key, out of this world and basically tuned to be massively offensive to my ears. I have learned to deal with it, but I'll be frank, for a couple of weeks I struggled to keep the disc playing.

Production wise? This is a clear but ragged beast, as it should be. All the power of the music is allowed to shine through, with the rough frayed edges of the buzzed out tones still intact. In terms of song writing, finding a five minute track here is akin to finding some kind of rare treasure. Odd, fucked up doom on Solitude? Whatever next? Bears gaily shitting in the woods?

Author: Chris Davison
Review
Hardsounds
6.2/10
08.08.2011

Non convince del tutto questo nuovo disco degli olandesi Heavy Lord. Se le fondamenta sono ben solide e lo stile altrettanto definito, non si può dire lo stesso del livello qualitativo dei brani. Si con mordente, ma che stancano dopo pochi ascolti a causa di una staticità compositiva che, unita agli scadenti arrangiamenti vocali "puliti" che penalizzano i brani, mina fortemente la riuscita del lavoro. High On Fire e gli onnipresenti Black Sabbath i punti di riferimento del quartetto più di ogni altro rimando, virtù che se da un lato danno sicurezza a 'Balls To All', d'altro canto privano gli Heavy Lord di qualsiasi sbocco creativo. A volte prolisso, in altre possente e magmatico, in altre ancora caparbiamente sedativo, è un lavoro che fatica a farsi valere nonostante l'attitudine della band sia quella giusta.

Al quarto disco in studio nessun passo avanti.

Author: Andrea Punzo
Review
Metalstrom
7.5/10
07.05.2011

To name your band Heavy Lord takes some balls. It sets a bit of a high bar for expectations. Not only must they be heavy, they most be royally so. They must be much heavier than us peasants. Well, Heavy Lord show off their big, brass ones on the aptly named Balls To All.

So things start off with some sweet, nice acoustic-y bits before "Stop! Ball Time!" Wave after wave of crushing riffs spray from the mighty axes they are beating on as the track "Back When The Giant (Balls*) Rule The Earth" slams home. This is when Heavy Lord are at their best. And Balls To The Mall has lots of those caveman riffs that will leave you flush and satisfied.

There are plenty of Balls Are Small moments as well spread through-out the album. Quieter, trippy moments to help stoned or battered listeners to mellow out, man. We wouldn't want any metalheads to die of self-induced riff overdose.

Speaking of suicide attempts and prevention, this is the second consecutive album I have reviewed where the most interesting/intriguing piece involves music as a backdrop to narration. In this case, "Mare Tranqualates" features a narrative story bit about a man planning on committing suicide, going over his plans, then his big, last second decision which drastically altered his plans… instead of swallowing a bottle of pills to a bottle of Ripple, he changes his mind at the last minute and opts for a $70 bottle of Merlot (Good call. If ending it all, shell out the extra $68.50 and go out in style). Opens it, obeys protocol and allows it to breathe (wouldn't want to commit a wine faux pas would we?), before swallowing the pills, draining his glass… then instead of suffocating, hallucinating.

And hallucinating Spaceballs For Y'all is what you'll be doing, as the band allows you a few more mellow moments before they resume busting your balls with more riffs. They truly are at their best when they cast aside the pussyfooting around and just go full frontal riff assault.

Balls Aren't It All does have some issues… I find the vocal delivery style annoying and it's nothing particularly original. It's all been done. Bands cannot live on balls alone, I suppose, but these are minor quibbles. So while it's not groundbreaking, Balls In Yer Ma** will still rock you.


* Ok, it's actually "Back When The Giants Rule The Earth"… I thought the Balls bit was unspoken, unwritten, yet implied. Well, quite possibly not at all implied. But not like I care. And doesn't this sound like a Balls Of The Minotaur song title?

** Har har. With an album titled Balls To All being released so close to Mothers Day, you didn't think I'd leave her out of the review, did you?

Author: BitterCOLD
Review
Imperiumi
6.5/10
12.08.2011

Hailing from The Netherlands, Heavy Lord's new Balls To All is a doom-laden, down-tuned, somewhat sludgy stoner affair. While heavy indeed, it's not enough to be considered a heavyweight of the genre yet, as the kind of songwriting that makes one stand up and take notice is missing.

There are some interesting riffs such as on Fear The Beard per se, but that doesn't equate to a memorable song overall. Vocalist Steve without a last name sounds alright on some songs, but at specific points it sounds like it's falling apart and he cannot keep his pitch. Mare Tranquillatis is the oddest track on this album, with an aqua-like quality to its vocals and plodding as all tarnation, as the message seems to imply drug use of some sort. Typos galore and really bad English lyrics certainly don't help this band in terms of forward momentum, and I would offer my services as a lyrical coach to these fellas if they would be up for it.

Certainly more doomy than stonerish, Heavy Lord is a give or take as far as taste goes. They aren't a superb standout, but that said they are par for the course as far as the general playing field in this genre goes.

Author: Starbuck
Review
Magazyn Gitarzysta
7/10

Od ostatniego albumu Heavy Lord minęły cztery lata. Warto było jednak czekać, bowiem "Balls to All" z całą mocą dowodzi, że holenderscy zawodnicy wagi superciężkiej wciąż są w wysokiej formie.

Może nie na tyle wysokiej, by od razu walczyć o mistrzowski pas, na pewno jednak wystarczającej, by solidnie namieszać w rankingach sludge'owo/doomowego grania. Trochę mnie tym Heavy Lord zaskoczył, bo od rewelacyjnej demówki "The Holy Grail" (profesjonalnie wznowionej dwa lata temu przez Solitude Productions, dlatego traktuję ją właściwie jako pełną płytę), kapela nie dawała szczególnych powodów do zachwytów. O ile "From Cosmos to Chaos" jest jeszcze całkiem przyzwoity, tak "Chained to the World" niestety już nie bardzo. Może zespół potrzebował czasu, żeby wejść na właściwe obroty, faktem jest, że wraz z "Balls to All" w pełni mu się to udało.

Album ma w zasadzie tylko jeden mankament, co zresztą może dziwić, ponieważ Holendrzy bez trudu mogli go uniknąć. Wokalista Steve nie potrafi śpiewać czysto i w dwóch czy trzech fragmentach, gdy próbuje tej sztuki, efekt jest bardzo kiepski, wręcz amatorski. Aż żal słuchać fałszów w takim na przykład "Kick Teeth". Byłoby lepiej, gdyby frontman pozostał przy innej manierze (przy growlingu lub skrzeku), te bowiem wychodzą mu bez zarzutu. To dość irytująca wtopa, mimo wszystko jednak warto na nią przymknąć oko; reszta krążka zdecydowanie to wynagradza.

Heavy Lord nie koncentruje się na samym tylko ciężarze. Pozostając w obrębie doom/sludge metalowej stylistyki, kapela wysmażyła wyjątkowo zróżnicowany album, który aż skrzy się pomysłami. Prócz dominujących, obowiązkowych ciężkich, mocarnych riffów, w kompozycjach (np. "Dieselweed") znalazło się sporo miejsca na solidną dawkę przestrzeni i powietrza. Warto przy tym podkreślić, że nie ma tu cienia post rockowego pitolenia, to jest dość często stosowanego zabiegu przy tego rodzaju produkcjach. Panowie nie boją się wpleść tu i ówdzie całkiem chwytliwej melodii, dzięki czemu np. nieco ponad trzyminutowy utwór tytułowy momentalnie wpada w ucho. Fanom surowego sludge nowinki te niekoniecznie przypadną do gustu, ale moim zdaniem to właśnie dzięki nim "Balls to All" zapada w pamięć i wyróżnia się na tle dziesiątków innych krążków tej stylistyki.

Solidna, ciekawa i warta uwagi płyta. Przynajmniej do momentu, w którym moim odtwarzaczem zawładnie nowy album Yob. Tak czy owak, szczerze polecam.

Author: Szymon Kubicki
Review
Aristocrazia
15.08.2011

Gli Heavy Lord non sono degli sprovveduti, non sono dei novellini ma è arrivata l'ora che diano 'sta benedetta spallata.
La formazione olandese è giunta al quarto lavoro con "Balls To All" e ha sin dagli esordi dimostrato di possedere quantità, qualità e disciplina nell'applicarsi con dedizione e coerenza al genere che adora, lo stoner/doom.
Il "problema", che poi definire tale sarebbe catastrofico, sarebbe meglio dire la mancanza, è il fatto di trovarmi a che fare ancora una volta con un album che sa di occasione mancata e dover ripetere nella mia testa o nelle discussioni fra amici: "cazzo che peccato".
Perché dico questo? La line-up è consolidata, i due chitarristi, Jeff e Wes Lee (anche voce scream), sono fantastici in fase di creazione, impostazione del riffato, riescono ad attingere dalle classiche influenze sabbathiane come dalla natura più odierna di band quali High On Fire e Crowbar (per citarne solo due) senza divenirne un mero clone, di spunti interessanti le sei corde ne regalano anche in fase solistica.
Del resto non mancano i pezzi di valore in tracklist sia che si cerchino momenti più pressanti e scuri ("Dieselweed"), si punti sulla struttura articolata e accattivante ("Fear The Beard") o che siano le atmosfere più vicine al movimento classic a ritagliarsi maggior spazio ("Kick Teeth").
Purtroppo nello stesso modo in cui va evidenziata la prestazione strumentale convincente, si deve in egual maniera far presente che la sezione vocale suddivisa fra Steve e Wes soffre parecchio ed è il primo dei due citati, anche bassista del combo, a portare con sè il fardello più pesante.
In più di un'occasione fra attacchi poco aggraziati e frangenti in cui la stonatura sembra lì dietro l'angolo ("Kick Teeth" e "Drown"), il cantante pare poco adatto a dare una forma alla mole e al potenziale tramutato in note, particolarmente più incisive e acide le incursioni di Wes che conquista la scena.
Momenti morti poi come "Track 6", fatta di una calma inframezzata da silenzi ed effettistica, e la sonnolenta "Mare Tranquillitatis" (forse troppo tranquillo) appiattiscono l'incedere di "Balls To All" che se non risollevasse il morale con "Drown" rischierebbe di causare sin troppi sbadigli.
L'ho detto all'inizio e lo ripeto adesso, è un peccato, gli Heavy Lord non possono e non devono di certo puntare a una poco lodevole sufficienza con i mezzi e l'esperienza che si ritrovano, cosa attendersi quindi? Non lo so, l'unico consiglio che posso darvi è di provare "Balls To All", di sicuro qualcosa e più di buono c'è, il dubbio è incentrato sul numero di giri che gli concederete, a voi quindi l'ultima parola.

Author: Mourning
Review
Heavy Lord
7/10
07.11.2011

Небольшое по продолжительности акустическое интро открывает альбом этих Нидерландских сладжеров. Простая мелодия с первых же секунд завораживает и настраивает на нужный лад

За медленно-спокойным интро сразу же, словно давая пощёчину, следует очень резкое начало. Размазывая и растягивая риффы туда-сюда по грифам своих гитар, приправляя все это злым, а местами даже просто отвратительным вокалом, музыканты создают атмосферу тревожного беспокойства и панического метания из одного угла в другой. Нервные гитарные соло и такие же басовые партии вкупе с агонизирующими барабанами рисуют в воображении не самые приятные картины. Всё это боль. И это происходит именно в твоём мире. Ближе к концу альбома общую картину разбавляет один полтораминутный эмбиентно-сэмпловый трек. Дальше же развитие альбома происходит не так, как того можно было бы ожидать. Предпоследний трек, сразу же следующий за эмбиентно-сэмпловым, опять таки выбивается из общей картины альбом. Сначала идёт какое-то клавишное бульканье около трёх минут, а после его сменяют хоть и мощные, но всё-таки просто донельзя размазанные риффы, и сопровождается всё это дело всё тем же бульканьем. В общем, просто какая-то подводная композиция на любителя. А вот последняя песня- мягкая, тёплая и приятная . Эта композиция напомнила мне металликовский Load.

Если же отбросить игры воображения, то на диске просто хороший и по-своему интересный сладж, никого и ни к чему не обязывающий. Просто ставьте диск и слушайте. Или не слушайте. Вам решать

Author: Grimmsberg
Review
Femfogacs
6.5/10
24.07.2011

A Balls To All már a holland csapat negyedik albuma. A 2002-ben alakult négyes a stoner, a doom és a sludge határmezsgyéjén portyázik, azonban van itt más is.



Számomra ez az első találkozás a bandával, a korábbi anyagaikról csak olvastam, de nem győzött meg, hogy meg kellene hallgassam azokat, s kicsit vegyesek az érzéseim. Egyfelől, ahogy az a korábbi anyagaikól szóló ismertetőkben is olvasható, van egyfajta egyéni íze a zenéjüknek. S ez jó, de nem vagyok biztos abban, hogy ez nekem egyértelműen tetszik. Ha úgy vesszük, a nyolc tételes, háromnegyed órás album viszonylag változatos, már amennyire a stílus engedi.

Általánosságban mondhatom, hogy jellemző az üvöltős/fájdalmas ének, s ez a zenével együtt a High On Fire-t is eszembe juttatta. Persze sorolhatnánk még azon bandákat, melyek hasonló közegben alkotnak, s hasonló eredményt produkálnak, azonban ezeket az előző ismertetőkben már olvashattátok.




Ami nekem tetszett, az inkább az, hogy olyan véleményem szerint új irányba is elindultak, ami eddig - legalábbis véleményem szerint - újdonságnak hat a zenéjükben. A Dieselweef -ben például az Alice In Chains-es ének és lassulás hoz újdonságot. Míg a Fear The Beard-ben inkább az Opeth és a Katatonia zenei megoldásait érzem visszaköszönni. És itt jön az, ami furán hat nekem és nem engedi, hogy maradéktalanul közel kerüljünk egymáshoz a Heavy Lord zenéjével. Valahogy ezek az új elemek nem épültek úgy be, hogy gördülékenynek, természetesnek hasson, de ennek ellenére még így is ezek a dalok a kedvesebbek.

De, ha őszinte legyek összességében sem sikerült maradéktalanul megkedvelnem az anyagot, bár a stílusában, kategóriájában ha nem is az élvonalban, de minden bizonnyal a felső középosztályban a helye. Talán a következő lemeznél még bátrabban kísérleteznek majd, s sikerül a most beszivárgott elemeket felhasználva emlékezetesebb dalokkal előhozakodniuk.
Addig ez sem reménytelen, de nem az én világom.

Author: 9000Sanyi
Review
Global Metal Network
1/10

Without much to say about this recording, this is not even music, the downside of this record is that sadly enough Stoner and Doom Metal do not work well together, so with that in mind I find Heavy Lord although their intentions and musicianship is respected, it is not one to be noticed well, a wildcard as it is, listen with caution.

Author: RHYS STEVENSON
Review
Zwaremetalen
8.1/10
20.06.2011

Vergeet bay area, vergeet Seattle, vergeet Gotenburg. Vandaag hebben we het over Hellevoetsludge. Oude bekende in de Nederlandse stoner/doom/sludge-scene Heavy Lord geeft ons Balls to All. In het verleden waren deze heren al niet vies van een beetje groove, nu tonen ze met hun nieuwe het grooven niet verleerd te zijn.

Balls to All opent en zet je op het verkeerde been met een akoestische intro: Back When the Giants Ruled the Earth. Een abrupt einde betekent het knallende begin van de titeltrack. Al snel wordt duidelijk dat Heavy Lord vooral zijn herkenbare zelf is op dit nieuwe werkje. Misschien zelf iets teveel van het 'herkenbare'. De nummers zouden stuk voor stuk op andere platen hebben kunnen staan.

Dit kan zowel positief als negatief opgevat worden. Het materiaal op voorgaand werk van deze stoners liegt er namelijk niet om. Balls to All zorgt er net als zijn voorgangers voor dat je hoofd als gestuurd door onzichtbare krachten in beweging gezet wordt. Zware groove en zang rangerend van clean met een randje van karakteristieke grunts, beukende trage ritmes en een heerlijk gitaargeluid zijn allen weer van de partij.

Ronkend voltrekt het album zich. Zo herkenbaar dat je je thuis voelt. Een erg fijne toevoeging aan het oeuvre van deze zware heren. Anderzijds mis ik iets aan progressie, maar ik kan niet klagen. De plaat groeit zelfs nog iets door. Als je vorig werk weet te waarderen, dan is dit een blinde aanschaf waard. Als je nog niet bekend bent met het werk van Heavy Lord is dit een prima mogelijkheid tot ontdekking.

Author: Willem van Tuijl
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