3 March 2017

Crystal Fairy - Crystal Fairy

As I have pointed out before, supergroups as a general rule tend to either fall into two distinct categories: The first is superb or utter shite, there are no midway point when a Supergroup is just an average act as there is an expectation for these bands that makes them either live or die by their output as it is held to a higher standard as people expect the quality of the musician's day jobs and then some more.  Now, let us consider the people in this band: Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Bosnian Rainbows and muse of Omar Rodríguez-López; Omar Rodríguez-López of At the Drive-In, Bosnian Rainbows, The Mars Volta, De Facto, Startled Calf and many more; Buzz Osborne of Melvins, Fecal Matter, Fantômas & Venomous Concept; Dale Crover of Melvins, Shrinebuilder, Fantômas, Men of Porn, Nirvana and Fecal Matter.  In terms of grunge/alternative rock/sludge/alternative metal, that is a tremendous list and that is not up for debate.  But now we come to the rub, will they sound amazing or will it fall apart like a house of cards?

01 - Chiseler

Well, the first track starts off with a huge rumbling bass, noisy guitars (as you would expect) but without the sonic strangeness that comes from Omar Rodríguez-López solo works and it is very much in keeping with the Melvins work more than anything.  Ms Gender Bender's vocals sound sublime against this music, vibrating with anger and passion against that sonic noise; it is just a loud racket that can make your teeth rattle, what a start!

02 - Drugs on the Bus

This was the first song I heard from this band, I have played it on my radio show and the impact of this song has not changed one iota.  It starts with a bass being played like an instrument of horror, Ms Gender Bender biting her lyrics as if she is fighting the world and then the song drops off a cliff into a swirling sludge pit of doom and amplifier worship.  One of the best songs from 2016 that still sounds excellent in 2017, those whisper and screams, the guitars dropping those riffs all over the place and the whole thing sounds tremendous.

03 - Necklace of Divorce

You might think that they take the foot off the peddle, but as this album has Messrs Osborne and Crover, there is no chance of that happening.... or is there?  Well, it is sort of a combination of the two as it has some major detours into sludge and then it has some subtle passages that will make the hairs on your neck stand on end.  But once again it is that voice that gains all the attention, it is so powerful and the music only helps it to greater heights.

04 - Moth Tongue

'Moth Tongue' has some of the heaviest bass I have heard outside of black metal projects this year, it has such a huge groove on it.  It brings so many thoughts to mind, most of them about how heavy this music sounds.  I could use soooooooooo many clichéd terms to describe it, but the band I keep coming back to with it is Alice In Chains - but it does not particularly sound like them.  I think it is due to the originality behind it, it sounds like nothing else and I got that same feeling when I first heard Alice In Chains.  It is sludge, but it is also doom, it is amplifier worship, it is tender, it is angry and it is huge!

05 - Crystal Fairy

The title song of the album and the name of the band - it is a big ask for this to be the best song of the album, to be honest it is a slice of alternative rock that would not have been out of place back in the day and it has a hint of glam to some of the music as well.  It is a decent song and would be a towering track on most albums, it hits the right notes and the rumble in the chorus is very satisfying indeed; but compared to a lot of this album, it is not at that high-water mark.

06 - Secret Rat Agent

'Secret Rat Agent' is such a brilliant song, I mean it is nuts, provocative, dangerous, in Spanish, guitars and bass that could level trees and some of the heaviest drumming of the album.  I love everything about this song, the noise, the riff (oh my fucking deity, that riff) and the whole package is just fantastic!

07 - Under Trouble

Even by the standards of this album, this is a slow track that rumbles with a sort of sinister intent that is full of vicious points and gets stuck in your head.  It rises, pitches and fades with such regularity that it starts to hurt your brain (but in a good way).  It should not be working either, if you look at it on paper and described it as a song that sounds like a guitar scale gone wrong and got a little hammered, then you might turn away and keep on running.  But it is so much more than that, it just has a certain something that makes this (and every other song on the album) so special.

08 - Bent Teeth

'Bent Teeth' is back with more harsh Alternative/Sludge rock that is extremely heavy, it is not your standard affair and is such a great song.  The drumming is the key on this one, it smashes through everything with such power and it keeps me coming back to this song.  I still get such a sense of joy when it starts and I end up smashing myself around to it, what a song.

09 - Posesio'n

A duet of sort with Mr Osborne and Ms Gender Bender, this Sludge number smashes out of your speakers with an aggressive hook, those amazing drums, the bass being played like a demonic harp and twice as enchanting and the vocals entwining to enrich the whole experience.  It is a short attack, but a powerful one as well.

10 - Sweet Self

The penultimate song of the album about inhabiting a self-woven lie is a gentler stomp in comparison to the rest of the album, it does not have any Titian-esque noise and everything is kept relatively simple.  However, this does not mean it has lost any of the intensity or drama, if anything it is just more unsettling as the song gets looped around your head.

11 - Vampire X-Mas

So, you would expect a dramatic and massive dose of feedback ending to this album?  Nope, what we got was a sonic noise attack which deals with the surreal ending about vampires being released on the enemies of the state.  It is a great riff, it has shrieks and another great performance from everyone in the band.  It ends the album with a catchy song, something that can be missed by a lot of bands.

Oh, my giddy aunts...... that was good, I mean that was fantasy level amazing and beyond with more awesome levels than an expansion of your computer game of choice.  Now, this is heavily leaning on the Melvins side and make no mistakes about it and I would have understood if they had have just named it as the Melvins (isn't there about eighteen different versions of the band at the moment), but Mr Rodríguez-López and Ms Gender Bender are not just people for hire on this one, but vital parts of this group and album.  Sir Osborne and Crover are on fine form, as is Mr Rodríguez-López; however, I think it is the vocals of Ms Gender Bender that makes this album for me, her performance on all of this is outstanding.  With every release that I hear from her, she takes massive steps in confidence and she is becoming one of my favourite performers - seriously, what a talent.  If this is the only thing that this band release, that is fine as it is a fantastic record that showcases a band at their prime - but I hope there is more.

10 out of ten - This is proof there is a God

Top track - Secret Rat Agent

You can purchase Crystal Fairy on Amazon here.

You can purchase Crystal Fairy on the Crystal Fairy Bandcamp page here.

You can follow the activities of Crystal Fairy on Facebook here.

You can stream Crystal Fairy on Deezer here.

You can stream Crystal Fairy on Spotify here.

You can stream Crystal Fairy on Tidal here.

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