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Animalhead - Album Review: Blood, Sweat & Beers

24 Sep 2020 // A review by Kris Raven

After five years of blood, sweat and beers, notorious West Auckland 3-piece Animalhead are dropping their debut album. For those who have followed the band over the last half decade, this album represents a culmination of all their hard work laid out over ten diverse, mega tunes, as well as their previously released epic singles including 2018 runaway hit Rabbit Hole.

From what started as a single release of ultimate crowd pleaser The Devil Told Me So in 2017, the band hit the studio to record the music of would become BSB in a live atmosphere. Being the kind of band Animalhead is, this was a brilliant idea. They are one of those acts that brings so much intense raw energy and power to their live shows and that needed to be captured in their recordings. Working with the in demand master mixer/engineer Zorran Mendonsa, they added their multi-layered and various styles of vocals and mixed it into an album of upbeat party anthems, bluesy numbers and a couple of serious head turners.

Battle Stag, opens with a really nice clean guitar (reminding me of a Parkway Drive chill riff), this song was an excellent opening choice and I could see it on a Tony Hawk's game soundtrack. It's punky without being obnoxious, carrying that underlining blues rock Animalhead sound they are known for. Guitarist and vocalist Campbell Mickell carries a reserved confidence in the way he delivers vocally, this song is packed with melody and punch and I love the screamed vocals. When they return to the clean intro and then restart the song again I thought "is this a risky move at first?" But then they are really driving that final chorus home and it’s a really great way to introduce the band and their multiplexed style as a whole.

Smoke Break has a really thick opening groove, a southern rock vibe. Mickell leads the vocal charge on this one with Josh OBrien's bass carrying that distorted groovy rhythm, keeping the rhythm section locked in and flowing, as he does throughout the album. Rabbit Hole ...that cowbell count in says it all. This song has all the goods, it's a such a big song and has one of the best outros/multiple outros ever. Mickell shines with his incredibly impressive Vai/Satriani guitar work around the fret board, the rhythm section keep it just as exciting, locked in sync while taking various twists and turns, before the huge half time drop that leaves many a headbanging.

Recently released Follow Blind sees drummer Danny Rooke on lead vocals along with guest vocals from Rory Howard (Mudshark). I love the in-your-face vocals from Rooke in the first verse, this song is socially charged, there's a lot of groove and bounce and you can feel those RATM/Beastie Boys vibes. Moon is an album highlight, with the introduction of acoustic guitar and a real 90's grungy type vibe, Moon would be the closest to a ballad but like all these songs it takes several forms as it progresses. I can hear Ten-era Pearl Jam and self-titled Alice in Chains influence and it's so good. This song also further showcases Mickell's vocal range and the bands overall knack for fusing styles into their own signature sound.

If Moon displayed a somewhat softer side, that is quickly over turned with Repudiate. Led now by drummer Danny Rooke on the vocals and joined later by Cam, it revolves around a heavy rolling wave of double kicks and down stroked guitar. The bridge is an impressive percussive display, with the snare rolls reminding me of Slipknot's Pyschosoical. Possibly the heaviest song on the album, I like that this song is built around drum rhythms and is relentless throughout.

Worth its weight takes us into new territory with some funky nu/alternative rock with a tipple of 80's metal and thrash, I like the story behind this song with its double meanings and the line 'Your fools gold'.  
Stoneface Killer is a classy banger and you can check out my whole review of it hereThe Devil Told Me So, this where it all began; this song will always be a personal favorite for me and I imagine a lot of people. I love the Beastie Boys vibes in this song mixed with the blues punk riffs and Cam's virtuoso guitar leads. It's fun, upbeat and a standout Animalhead classic.

Come Together, a modern rendition of a little band called the Beatles, classic hit, has been Animalised!  Rooke's drumming in particular is like if Animal from the Muppets and Mastodon's Brann Dailor joined arms and went to drum fill city, it's beautiful. The cover plays out in true Animalhead style and is a memorable way to end things, musically and lyrically. It's short, sharp, heavy and the final half time rumble is a great way to end things. Having had many a fun time seeing these guys slay it live on show, it's great to hear these songs recorded and compiled into this debut album.

Be sure to catch AH live, they put on an incredible live show, get the merch, get the album and party on Wayne.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Animalhead

Animalhead are a Hard Rock Blues trio from West Auckland.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Animalhead


Blood, Sweat & Beers
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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