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'Mason Hill' EP
Out now

Johnny Main

johnny main

mason hill

Young four piece Mason Hill have its origins in the vibrant Glasgow rock scene. The band are an easy to describe mix of classic and modern Rock with anthemic songsfull of heavy riffs and melody.

The band have been going for just over two years and I first bumped into them when I saw them live on what turned out to be their third ever gig when they were supporting Santa Cruz at Audio in Glasgow in March 2014.

The band opened the show that evening and were truly a revelation that a band so young and new could put on such a good performance. Indeed, two of the tracks that played that night (namely 'Your Memory'and 'Now You See Me') have ended up on this EP.

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Further appearances of the band at gigs in December 2014 and a second stage appearance at Wildfire Festival in June 2015, showed how far the band had travelled in the intervening time, so I was looking forward to seeing how the band performed in the studio with the release of these four tracks.

All four tracks were recorded at The Foundry Music Lab in Motherwell, with Producer Sandy Jones at the helm, and it sounds absolutely fantastic. Jones really has captured the essence of the band and committed some of the best performances onto one EP making this a real showcase for the band.

Kicking off with 'Survive', there's a short guitar intro before drummer Craig McFetridge counts in the beat and front man Scott Allan Taylor lets rip with the most almighty scream. Controlled, powerful and spine-tingling – it's a helluva a way to begin.

From here in on it's a joyous ride as the song flows past at a fair pace, but the band keep tight control over its rhythms. There's nothing superfluous here - just a solid three and a half minute rock song. The soaring guitar solo towards the end from James Bird is the icing on the cake before Taylor gives it everything has got one more time.

'Your Memory' sees McFetridge once again picking up the tempo during the long intro and as the vocals come in, the guitar riff gives them enough room without stifling either of them. This is an incredibly well recorded number with the instrumentation sounding solid enough that is a damn sight better sounding than some older bands could manage, with Jones proving without a doubt that he knows how to get the best from the talent.

When it comes to stealing the show, though, it has to be Bird for another creative, interesting and extremely well played guitar solo. Could this be a keystone in the band's live set? I certainly hope so as it deserves to be heard as often as possible.

'Now You See Me' slows the pace slightly with guitar intro before the drums and main guitar riff pick up the tempo. Taylor puts in a great performance here sounding, as I noted when I saw them live, like Danny Bowes (of Thunder-fame) with his bluesy sounding intonation.

mason hill

Taylor's soaring voice during the chorus is matched by slightly gruff sounding vocals during verses, which are reminiscent of Chris Cornell (front man of Soundgarden and Audioslave). If you add in the sing along section towards the end, the the band are onto another sure-fire winner with this track.

The final track is 'Where I Belong', which shows a different side to the band as they unplug the electric guitars and swap these for acoustic ones. This is, without a doubt, a showcase for Taylor's vocal talents, as he really stretches his voice with nothing for company but the tuneful acoustic guitar.

Quite late on, the engine room of the band (McFetridge and bass player Matthew Ward) join the mix but it's far removed form the heavier sounding material showcased elsewhere. All in all, it's a very accomplished performance and it's one the band should be justifiably proud of.

You can see Mason Hill live here:
Friday 29th January – Fox & Goose, Southport
Saturday 30 January – Jan Boulevard, Wigan
Friday 12th February – Dreadnought, Bathgate
Saturday 20th February – The Green Room, Perth

'Mason Hill' EP Track Listing:
Survive Your Memory
Now You See Me
Where I Belong

Mason Hill are:
Scott Allan Taylor – Vocals/Guitar
James Bird – Guitar/Vocals
Matthew Ward – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Craig McFetridge – Drums

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