13 Aug 2020

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Black Smoke Trigger - EP Review: Set It Off

07 Jan 2020 // A review by Steve Shyu
Napier hard rock quartet Black Smoke Trigger’s debut EP entitled Set It Off is out now. Released to coincide with their full tour or Aotearoa supporting fellow heavyweights Devilskin, the band have pledged this to be an “energetic” and “unforgettable” debut. Muzic.net.nz’s Steve S took a walk through the black smoke to experience it for himself.

The three-worded title seems to serve as something of a mission-statement: The band is building momentum and are set to blow, both on a live stage as well as in Aotearoa’s modern-day rock & roll scene. And right from the first song, Caught In The Undertow, the band have produced quite an incendiary number. Their first big single sets the benchmark high with grooving drums, chomping guitar rhythms and bold lead vocals.

There's more sludgey guitars and grungey slower-tempos on the second track You Can Have It All. The standout features are the piercing high notes reached by lead-singer Baldrick, contrasted against a whispered pre-chorus. Mixed in with some classic heavy metal grooves, there’s Alice in Chains vibes too, particularly with the slow, echoing drums and a murky, rumbling bassline. And that snare drum sound! It's absolutely delicious, like a gunshot and a clap combined.

Hard rock guitar legend Mick Mars makes a guest appearance on The Way I’m Wired as the group recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. That explains the Motley Crue sound! Showing off a good balance between lead and harmonised backing vocals, set against a headbanging mid-tempo, that hard rock groove is present once again. There’s also a wildly cool guitar solo just before the final chorus: Appropriately shrill, groove-laden and cries sex appeal, in the way many 80’s rock & roll bands did way back.

Only Human boasts a more creative main riff which meanders and staggers, but still packs punches in the right spots, particularly the solid chorus. Sandwiched between belted long-note choruses is a very slick and tasteful guitar solo, courtesy of the group’s sole axe-wielder Charlie.

With the speedy and bumpy ride of Paint The World On Fire, the verses chug along like an afternoon at the raceways. Baldrick’s vocals commanding “Run, run, RUN! Paint the world on fire” during the chorus, makes this the most fun and high-octane of the lot. With a little half-time respite in tempo, the boys rev up for another lap, driving listeners to pump fists in the air and thrash about. Colour me surprised if this one isn’t a live staple!

The last track on the EP, Blindfolds & Rattlesnakes, was likely have been composed with a live audience in mind. Big, bold, powerful riffs from bass guitar and drums, and an echoing refrain of “WHOOOA”s, there is no doubt the vocal lines will remain in your head after the seven-track has ended.

Production value is noticeably high here. Josh’s drumming sounds crisp and varnished, as does the vocals. The lead singer crosses between throaty punk-rock cries and bombastic hard rock registers, with an impressive and unwavering high range, instantly reminds one of current-day Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna. The songwriting is succinct, there are no long, boring guitar solos or dull verses. Between big, bold rock riffs on every track, each band member brought forth the best of their abilities in making every tune sound as powerful as it can be.

There’s nothing I personally love more than local act that sounds huge, genuine and gets me moving; Black Smoke Trigger tick all those boxes. And that’s just listening to an EP! Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for future Black Smoke Trigger gigs. If engine-revving, ballsy hard rock is your style, be sure to get a copy of Set It Off, or at least save it on Spotify for repeat streamings!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Black Smoke Trigger

Formed in Napier New Zealand, Black Smoke Trigger is on a mission.

Taking influences from legendary acts such as Alice in Chains and Guns n' Roses and mixing in their own style - Black Smoke Trigger has a fresh and hard-hitting, hard rock sound.

Determined to make an impact from the beginning, Black Smoke Trigger has been working with producer Michael Wagener on their first EP recorded in Nashville, USA. Michael has been responsible for the incredible sound of bands such as Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, and now Black Smoke Trigger.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Black Smoke Trigger


Set It Off
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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