Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Lionize - Nuclear Soul

One of Maryland's finest treasures, Lionize, are back with a new album, and holy hell! They spare no punches whatsoever. Steeped in super heavy, groovy, neck-breaking, riff and Hammond-based rock with tongue-in-cheek, as well as critical lyrics to match. Nothing new as such, well apart from one little thing...'Nuclear Soul' surpasses anything Lionize has ever done before. And that's no small accomplishment!

Having dipped their toes in different kinds of genres, or styles, throughout the years Lionize have more and more honed in on simply playing their hearts out, and when they are as talented as they are, the end-result is breathtaking and then some. Just listen to opener ‘Darkest Timeline’ and if you’re not blown away by this skull crusher, I don’t know what to tell you. Setting the trend throughout the eleven tracks, this composition is a beast which guides the band in this excellent musical excursion. Funk and a heavy dose of Clutch walk hand in hand on ‘Face Of Mars’ as the guys brilliantly leads me through a head banging version of James Brown on stage. Yes, yours truly is going nuts in futile attempts to do some kind of metal-slam dancing-groove kind of thing. Brilliant! ‘Fire In Athena’ is different but amazing nonetheless. After an basically acoustic intro, Lionize kick into a Gary Moore blend of ‘Over The Hills’ and ‘Wild Frontier’. Don’t know if that’s intentional but adding the Celtic feel to their heavy ass-kicking approach works wonders. And that organ, man, beautiful! Full-on blast is the name of the game on ‘Power Grid’ where the guitar and organ run parallel taking turns riffing like demons. Aided by such a tight, nut busting rhythm section this is a head spinner which won’t stop spinning. Who’s complaining, though? Not me, that’s for sure!

Lionize slow things down on ‘Ain’t It A Shame’. Mournful, reminiscent and full of regret the guitar and organ goes through all the emotions there is when you been cheated and lied to. ‘Election Year’ weaves back and forth between  mid-tempo and rock modes, playing perfectly on the sentiments on display and to me it’s a kick up the rear end on any government and media, especially when it’s time to “elect” another puppet-on-a-string to lead a country. Spot on and great, indeed! Led-heavy and strong on the riffs ‘March Of The Clones’ shakes the foundations in this tale about today, the current situation of clones reigning supreme in a complete state of ignorance. Bluesy and sad, yet wonderful in all the mourning of people we’ve lost, ‘Let You Down’ even brings in touches of real, proper rhythm and blues which heightens this great song even further.
The quirky, funny and aptly titled ‘The Mad Scientist Of Sunshine’ with a mix of all kinds of styles, leads into the title track, ‘Nuclear Soul’. 70’s sounding in every way you look at it, the apocalyptic feel displayed in a slower tempo where an eerie organ guides us in this dark yet fantastic composition. Closer ‘Blindness To Danger’ knocks everything out of the park as Lionize hammer the nails in. This is the stuff I grew up on but in a fresh amazing take. If my body wasn’t already messed up from slamming around my house listening to this master piece, this song would do me in. And I wouldn’t be happier.

Lionize are one of those rare bands who goes from strength to strength with each album, and ‘Nuclear Soul’ is not an exception, quite the contrary! They have reached that point where they have found their own way, their own sound and they are sticking to it. And that’s how it should be. This new album, if anything, is proof of that. If you’ve never encountered these gentlemen before, ‘Nuclear Soul’ is the perfect place to start. Let Lionize mesmerize you and take you away on a fantastic journey!


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