02 Oct 2007 // A review by CEOMong
Nice bit of hook for the intro track to Ward 10s debut album, some crazy little bluesy riffs, interspersed with some metal bass headbanging riffs. Could fully hear this going off at the pub. Builds up into some industrial action before unleashing some vocals which accompany the melody very well. Segue into some trippy samples – and a bit of naughty nurse action as the track builds back up to a peak before blending smoothly into track 2 (My Blind Eye), which carries on the theme really nicely. Features much more vocals, and some boot-stomping head-banging catchy short sharp axe attacks. Very well balanced and adventurous composition, just when I think I have the Ward pegged, they traverse off onto a different path, smoothly and powerfully.
Track 3 (Can’t Find It) carries on where track 2 left off – in fact I had to check it was track 3. Similar bass line, strange that there seems to be rather less heavy double drum action than most metal. Excellent melodies, samples used increasingly more. Nice breaks that provide a nice lull, before building back into the strong riffage. Very bluesy rhythm axe melds with the raw bass, supported by the drum and enhanced by the samples.
Track 4 (If Only) changes tack, using a lot more sample and clearer vocal and sharper bass before ripping into a hard power anthem … that hints at more … if only. Indeed. A lot of cliff-jumping that seems to be theme of the CD before ramping back up with a real mint hook, which is always different … beautiful work really. Some bands can’t quite pull this off, resulting in the song tending to get a bit lost, but you can tell this has been worked on and mixed by someone who really loves their tunes. Track 4 winds down with some Fear Factory remanufacture reminiscent samples.
Track 5 (The Mistaken) feels a bit trippy through the vocalist stretching out the words … coupled with some solid bass and short rhythm plucking. Interesting trancy slowdown halfway through, glorious deep bass line here which demanded the volume be cranked – I obliged and had the pleasure of getting some whole-body frequency goodness. Ends with a nice loopback to the start of the track, keeps the tempo alive sweetly.
Track 6 (Mayhem) sounds a bit rougher, carries on the theme well though without dishing up anything new … full on motherfucking mayhem though. Nice solid continuous riffs throughout, with the exception of the cliff-drops and the chorus which was enhanced by some solid drum action. Hearty low-freq bass line utilised throughout. Some crazy unexpected samples chucked in near the end.
Builds nicely into track 7 (Would Go Away), slow start but with some crazy samples that enhanced the overall awesome riff, vocals smash into your eardrums with raw gruffness that couples with the tunes to make sweet love to your eardrums – solid well constructed song, I feel it needed to be a touch faster paced however – in saying that it was a well-deserved break. Good to hear a little bit of something different. More traditional metal vocals blend in nicely later on through the track. Nice rapidly increasing bass gax at the end got me really going, then slowed me down as it dropped from the heights …
And jumped right into track 8 (For A Short While), which carries on a similar melody with some mint echoey distortion on the rhythm gax. Nice rapid sci-fi feel to the track, very metal. Ends with some retro feeling loop samples, and kind of creepy piano.
Track 9 (I’d See) opens with some retro feeling – very Kiwi old-school rock action going on here. A bit softer by comparison than the rest of the CD, but still kicks it where it counts. Quite a radio-friendly track, if all the national radio stations in NZ weren’t sellout bastards.
Track 10 (What It’s Like) opens with some slow melodic rhythm gax, slowly built on with percussion samples and supplemented with the familiar bass line. Nice strong track which continues the feel of the later half of the album. Tends toward some growl as the track progresses. Good stuff. The last third slows down as if a new track begins, before rolling into some real crazy trippy electronica fuzz … which gets picked up and shaken by the return of the bass and ending strongly.
The final official track (To Be Normal) returns to the roots of the album, with some clean solid riffs and vocals which asks us what it really means to be normal. A fantastic track which really nicely polishes off the album.
The very final, hidden, track rolls out some vinyl crackle before plunging into more sample territory, bongo drums and solid low freq bass. Sounds like it could be the mintest soundtrack for a video game, or the best ever soundtrack to the creepiest most fantastic sci/horror movie ever. Halfway through cranks out some techno action and some out of it sped-up vocal action – chipmunks meet Machine Head and this is their bastard offspring blowing my mind. Track then falls back into the soundtrack … mixes in some horns and the creepy piano returns … the album ends with a munted voice quietly and desperately voicing “Ward 10”.
I must say that this album is not what I expected at all, the cover features some awesomely gory and frankly hilarious setups – a la Texas Chainsaaw – I really did expect some death metal action. In saying that, I am most certainly not disappointed – quite the reverse. I get the feeling that these guys would go off live; the CD doesn’t quite do them justice despite the professional sound … although it does showcase a lot of creative talent. Steady glorious headbanging action all the way through. If there could be a label it would be electro-industro-metal-core … or something. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and will be recommending it to everyone. And the track listing is a rather nice easter egg, if read the right way.
Buy this album. You won’t regret it. Neither will your neighbours when you crank it up at 7am on Sunday morning after a drug-and-alcohol-fuelled-all-nighter.
Thankfully now a little less normal, CEO Mong.