'The Baroness' (Single)
Out Now (live stream and download)
Luke 'Loki' Milne
For the most part, everyone loves free shit. Sometimes, however, receiving things for free isn't a good thing. Chickenpox, colds and STI's aside, we've probably all experienced a shared (and musical) "free-of-charge" moment of shock and awe within the last few months. Recently, booting up iTunes has heralded many music fans with the discovery of U2's new album waiting patiently in their music download "tray". Whoopee, free shit! And it's the brown kind, too!
Needless to say, if you're anything like my friends and I, you probably deleted it without so much as a second thought. I know, I know, I probably should have at listened to it at least once, but my in-tray is already brimming with much more exciting things to focus on for now. Thanks Bono, see ya later. Much later.
Thankfully (and finally getting to the point!), American thrash/funk Metal act Mordred are fighting the good fight and showing Metalheads across the land that the word "free" still has positive connotations. It's no secret now that their latest track 'The Baroness' is free to download from the band's Facebook page. It's free shit for sure, but it's the kind that's made of pure gold.
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It's been 20 years since Mordred's last single release, and they're branding their three-minute track 'The Baroness' as a heart-felt "Thank You" to their fans and followers for their support during a recent tour. They've even included two previously released tracks ('Everyday's A Holiday' and 'Falling Away') in the download bundle. Cheers guys!
I'm not going to review the added tracks, as they're previous releases and have already had their time in the spotlight. I will say that they're worth a listen and are certainly worth more than "free". For now though, I'm focussing my thoughts on Mordred's most recent single.
So what does it sound like? Let's see... can I just say "awesome" and leave it there? No? Well alrighty then!
Starting with a fuzzy, chuggy and fast-paced chord progression, the track quickly develops a funky groove with the introduction of some vinyl-scratched backing guitar chords as vocalist Scott Holderby takes up the microphone for the first verse.
Vocally, Holderby delivers (for lack of a better metaphor) a set of balls behind his voice that paints a modern edge over 'The Baroness' when compared to the band's vocalists of previous years. His is a voice that is certainly deeper in tone and much, much grittier, and I'm glad to say that it fits the overall feel of the track perfectly and adds a hearty punch to the rhythmic melodies.
The track bleeds seamlessly into the chorus with another groovy (yet fairly simple) rhythmic chord progression. It's straight-up loud and in your face, and will definitely get some heads a-bangin' at live gigs. It's clear at this point that Mordred aren't buying in to any widdly or complex guitar riffs and have instead decided to write music that simply drop-kicks you in the face before stealing your wallet. No complaints from me.
The verse drives back into the mix and returns with that incredibly catchy and groovy guitar chop. I'm happy to say that I'm still grooving away here with my headphones with so sign of slowing up. Mordred have a weirdly infectious sound that I can't really put my finger on to describe it in comparison to other modern bands. The only way I can think of describing the band's sound is "the result of Rage Against The Machine meeting Five Finger Death Punch in a biker bar and having a drunken one-night stand". Yeah... I'm terrible at band comparisons. Moving swiftly on...
I always try to give a fair and balanced review, and if I really like a track I make a point of purposefully looking for something that I don't like about it... even if that's if only to avoid sounding like I'm kissing ass when I write up my thoughts.
I'm massively into Mordred's latest release, without a doubt... but there's one thing that bugs me with it. It's a pretty moot and tiny point overall, but I've gotta be honest; the guitar solo featured in 'The Baroness' (about two minutes in) is a little disappointing from my standpoint. I found it too short to leave much of an impression and displaying only a little bit of the flair you might expect from a solo break.
I could take it or leave it, I guess, and at least the band took the initiative to throw one in to break up the song. It just seemed to be over before it really began... but then again, maybe I've been listening to too much Dream Theater again. Sorry chaps.
Regardless, as Mordred's latest single rounds off with one final verse and chorus, it dawns on me that I'm listening to a track from a band that has been around since the mid 80s. I wasn't even born when these guys started, and it's incredible to see how the evolution of Mordred's sound has kept them fresh and up to speed with the times.
'The Baroness' fits well with other music of the modern era while still being ghosted with the silhouette of a certain raw grit that only bands that have been around for a few decades can have. There's a haunting echo of both the 80s and 90s in Mordred's new single, and when brought together within a modern style it creates an odd mix of "fresh nostalgia" - You haven't heard it before, but it sounds incredibly familiar and it feels very, very good.
Check out Mordred's latest single on their Facebook, available for both stream and download: https://www.facebook.com/MordredBand.
Loki would also like to congratulate U2 on the successful of their latest album and apologise for any offence caused to either Bono or the band's avid fans.
All two of them.