Music Review – Buzzard – Valium Gorillas

Buzzard band photoBuzzard are a three piece Grunge Rock power trio with Punk undertones to their sound. Formed in 2011, they comprise of Jimmy Croutear on guitar and vocals, Andy Vernon on bass and vocals, and Justin James on drums and vocals. They produce and perform mostly original material and are based in Stourbridge, UK. The band have a hunger for great things and have hit the ground running hard showcasing new material for “Vallium Gorillas” live at venues across the UK along with their now cult classic debut album songs mixed in. “We feel our 13 track album perfectly demonstrates our varied sub genre influences such as Motorhead, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Nirvana, plus hints of ACDC and The Sex Pistols etc. If you’re a fan of any of those or similar, chances are you will dig our album which is available to physically buy at all live shows and on popular streaming websites.” said Jimmy Croutear.

Buzzard Album ArtFirst listing on the album is 2011 Dursley. I asked Jimmy what this was about and here’s what he said.

“2011 Dursley is a recording of someone close to us and no longer with us who sadly passed away in the very early beginnings of the band. The audio was ripped from a video of our first ever gig together which was a birthday party. Justin then mixed this with a sample of Kamikaze thus making a fun but emotional pre-intro to the hard hitting ‘Kamikaze’. To those close to us since the beginning they will instantly understand it’s a nod to a good person who believed in us so much, to those new to us it’s a fun get ready for some noise moment.” Jimmy told me.

Kamikaze is my favourite track of the album, it gives you a massive boot up the rear and insists that you rock out to it. The strong bass lines and guitar riffs give this track a robust feel to it. Vocals from Jimmy finish it off well. This is the style I like from Buzzard.

 

You Deserve Better has unusual effects to it, but there’s still no mistaking the Buzzard signature sound with its Punk undertones. I can imagine a lot of fans relating to the lyrics on this track, and joining in at a live performance. All Roads Lead To is another unusual track, which has a strange mix of sounds running through it, however, it seems to work well. The acoustic guitar eventually takes priority over the beat, and this accompanied by Jimmy’s vocals evolves into quite a pleasant track. Jimmy told me “All Roads Lead To is the first of a handful of acoustic songs to be heard on the album. After our success performing acoustically at Wolves Fest, we felt the need to showcase both our adaptable electric and acoustic sides of the band, and also a sense of gained maturity as individuals since our first record. A commercial example of this would be the “In Your Honour” Album by The Foo Fighters, the title of the song is a nod to our first album also called All Roads Lead To.

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Step It Up is another strong track on the album, with its powerful guitar and impressive drum beat along with the coarseness of Jimmy’s voice alongside a haunting female voice it makes for a good listen. I asked Jimmy who the female vocalist was and this is what he said. ‘The guest harmonies and vocals are provided by Emily Abbiss who is an amazing singer songwriter and close friend of the band. When recording ‘Valium Gorillas’ we felt the need to re-record ‘Step It Up’ as it was too much of a good song to leave behind as the demo version originally recorded by Chris Smith of The Den Studios (RIP). We had progressed so much more as a band between this version and starting the recording of the album. After laying everything down we still felt something was missing, so I decided to overdub a guitar solo and mix in blended dirty and also clean open chord guitar tones to give a richer, glossy feel. After all this the song still felt incomplete. After listening to some old school 90’s pop and taking influence, I then asked Emily if she would be interested in helping experiment with added harmonies. The idea was an instant hit with the band and we recorded the vocals shortly after, thus completing the new version of the song. We feel the vocal definitely adds a soulful, intense vibe to the track that is both emotional and encouraging. The song is about overcoming depression.

Isaiah 53 was something completely different, and is a religious reference, so for this I turned to the band to explain. “We are forever looking at ways to outdo our earlier work and also do something a little different to stand outDSC05283. You often hear of solo piano or acoustic arrangements, but for a bass solo instrumental to appear, that’s certainly something else, and also suits the bands personality very well. The idea is a nod to Cliff Burton of Metallica who was an amazing bassist and a huge influence on Andy. The track is designed to feel both soothing and also haunting at the same time. The title is a religious reference. We feel the positioning of the track on the album perfectly breaks up the heaviness for a short while before jumping straight back into it with ‘Internet Superstar’ our current single.”

After listening to this track a number of times, I would like to say a huge well done to Buzzard, in particular Andy Vernon for this, amazing track. It certainly grabs your attention, and is quite a journey. Thanks Andy!

Internet Superstar is a compelling track which you just have to enjoy along with the video, here’s the link:

Proud is one of a cluster of acoustic tracks which is a combination of acoustic guitar, Jimmy’s vocals, a cajon drum, an electronic bass, and bags of Buzzard’s own twist. It certainly gives this band a uniqueness to their sound, and shows that these guys are very capable musicians. The guitar solos are an electric guitar with a clean tone. Under The Tree is wow, a completely different sound, melodic vocals and a catchy tune that gets your foot tapping, and you just want to have a sing-a-long to it. A very nice, very different track that just adds to the showcase of this band’s many talents. It’s poles apart from any other track on the album. Covered By the Blood seems to have religious references in the lyrics, and is another strong acoustic track which I thoroughly enjoyed, and would hope to hear this live in the near future. Although acoustic, it has hijacked some elements of the aggressive, gritty sound that Buzzard are known for. Another Chain takes you back to the sounds that Buzzard are well known for, gritty vocals, punk undertones, strong bass lines and chunky guitar riffs. Another strong track in my opinion. Frustration continues with the hard rocking theme giving you another opportunity to rock out. Step It Up Demo finishes the album off nicely, a classic track from these guys.

Valium Gorillas‘ takes you on a journey through many different music styles, including the much loved Punk and Rock signature sound which remind me so much of the days of the Sex Pistols but you have to give them credit for how they have combined this sound with many other elements from a variety of genres, to come up with a unique Buzzard concoction. It most definitely excites me to hear the combinations that they have showcased on this album, and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. In summary, this album is a strong demonstration of the many talents these guys possess, but I still feel there is so much more to come, so watch this space!

Rating: 4/5

 

Deb Gardner

Reviewed by Deb Gardner

Photography courtesy of Dave Briggs. Follow him on facebook here

If you would like to find out more about Buzzard, why not follow them on facebook or visit their website.

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First thing tomorrow on The Rock Asylum

I will be uploading my review of the new Buzzard album, Valium Gorillas tomorrow morning, a good read even if I say so myself!

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Why not check out my other reviews and features while you’re here?

 

Gig Review – Buzzard Album Launch

To celebrate the release of their album Valium Gorillas, Buzzard kicked it off with The Grunge Tour, starting on Sunday 29th October 2017 at The Lamp Tavern, Dudley.

I was really looking forward to this gig, as there were a number of support bands lined up, some of which I’ve been interested to see for some time, but never quite got round to it. And here they were all performing at the same venue. So, £5 to get in and a pint of Bud on draft, this was gonna be a great night.

The line up for the support acts was, GG and the FlashHearts, Zero Wasters, This Elegant Chaos, Weak13 and Naked Sunday.

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First things first, I must apologise to GG and the Flashhearts, as I missed their set due to having problems finding the venue. They’re a 3 piece Power Pop/Punk band hailing from Stourbridge. Hopefully, our paths will cross in the near future.

 

 

 

Next up were a band called Zero Wasters, a Birmingham based rock trio combining elements of blues, indie and punk to create an eclectic sound which has intrigued audiences throughout the country.

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An enjoyable performance from Zero Wasters. The bass player certainly kept us entertained throughout, but this aside, I enjoyed seeing a vocalist/drummer, this must be very difficult to pull off.  Credit to Niall, Ethan and Lee for a gutsy performance. Hope to see you again soon.

Next up were This Elegant Chaos, a band which I’ve followed on facebook for some time, but never actually seen a live performance from them. This band are dark, but at the same time quirky and full of life, and I really enjoyed the performance from vocalist Stephanie Taylor. Greg Boden kept us all on our toes with his signature, full on, in your face performance on bass, I’ve never seen anything like this in a bass player. Whatever you’re on Greg, keep taking it! These guys demonstrated that they have something a little different going on, and this is what draws you in and leaves you wanting to see more from them. I’m hopeful to feature This Elegant Chaos on The Rock Asylum in the near future.

 

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Naked Sunday are fantastic to watch live, so I was in my element watching their set. I look forward to seeing Martin, Laura and Craig very soon, when I feature them on The Rock Asylum. They performed a few of my favourites, Diamonds and Pearls, Sunflowers In The Rain and A Dozen Red Roses And A Bottle of Jack. I also look forward to seeing them at their next headline show, wherever that may be. Oh and by the way guys, thanks for my album! It was a pleasure to review Signs of Insanity!

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Weak13 is another band I’ve had on my ‘to do list’ but even when we’ve been in the same building as them, I never got to see or hear them. Weak13 use a variety of strange low-guitar tunings, unorthodox riffs and dark sounds for every song.  Although these guys are not my first choice in sound, I totally appreciate that they’ve set out to be different, to send out clear messages in their work and to emphasize parts of their music that other bands would try to cover over in order to be as free sounding as possible. They were well supported on the night and I wish them all the best with the tour.

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So now to the headline act Buzzard, who I’ve only seen once before, a few months ago at The Giffard Arms. Buzzard are a three piece Grunge Rock power trio with Punk undertones to their sound. Formed in 2011, they produce and perform mostly original material and are based in Stourbridge, UK.

The performance was energetic and driven which showed the band’s hunger to progress in the music industry. Favourite tracks were Kamikaze, which is the second single to be taken from their album Valium Gorillas, and Step It Up which was the first. These guys certainly threw everything they had into their performance which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish this band every success with their Grunge Tour and the new album which is out now.

Here are some clips for you to enjoy:

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Gig Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to Dave Briggs – Gig Photography for the photos on this review. He will be uploading more of the gig to his Facebook page over the next few days.

 

 

 

Coming this week

This week I will be publishing the review of bands I’ve seen during the Halloween weekender. Anonymous, Naked Sunday and Buzzard to name just a few of them. There will be some awesome photos and videos to go with the feature of course, courtesy of Dave Briggs.

Also I’m currently reviewing a self titled album by a very talented guy called Jon Hartz Wild, which will be up over the next couple of days.

Later in the week I’ll be publishing my review of the newly released Buzzard album ‘Valium Gorillas’.

I’m still looking for bands to engage with and feature on The Rock Asylum, so if anything you see on my blog tickles your fancy, get in touch with me by filling out the contact page and I’ll be in touch.

Many thanks for supporting The Rock Asylum!