In one of our most chilled interviews to date, (the talking is chilled, the tunes are epic), Si chats with Alex, vocalist of local stoner-grunge-rock legends Buzzard King.
Supporting acts such as Voodoo Six, The Temperance Movement and Firebird, these self-proclaimed bourbon-soaked heavy rockers have been steadily gaining popularity within the local circuit since 2010 cementing themselves firmly as strong musicians whose goal it is to leave crowds thoroughly satisfied. What follows is a review of the 5 demo tracks available for streaming on the band’s Facebook page.
The demo begins rather tentatively with the rolling drum line of Diesel and Danger, a song that would have possibly benefited from being placed later in the set. A soft funk infused bass-line accompanies the opening snare roll before bursting into a wave of grunging guitar licks and a snarling vocal progression that will undoubtedly tickle the fancy of any early Soundgarden fans. The songs bouncy and fan friendly chorus is hard not to enjoy featuring a wailing style organ that caters generously for any older listeners.
Following this slightly diffusive introduction is the ruggedly boisterous Welcome to the Family, which does a far superior job of showcasing the band’s variety of talents. Heavy grunge influences fuel this beast yet refrain from consuming it whole; with jabbing swells of southern blues and psychedelic funk continuously peaking the listener’s interest. The guitar work is particularly well constructed, seamlessly taming and forcing these elements to gel together along a growling funky bass bed.
We the Virus continues to emphasize the band’s connection with southern rock with a surly blues riff full of Tobacco-flavoured swagger. Front-man Alex Machell’s vocal performance is solid though perhaps a little too clean and clear for this knock-down drag-out romp, lacking the boozy howl of aggression one would expect to hear. Ironically, his voice would have probably benefited from a decline in audio quality or at least a distortion effect to reinforce the melodic connection. That said, the music quality is much greater throughout this track, with the doom-laden bridge blending effortlessly with an exquisitely alluring instrumental breakdown that resonates the psychedelic vibes of the 1970's.
Blackest White Lies follows suite and is without doubt the strongest song across the demo. Everything about this tune is gratifying with the band sounding like a tight unit. Tom Fielder’s dirty opening riff is dripping with southern grooves all the while retaining Pearl Jam and Kyuss imprints, whilst Johnson’s drums and Ben Saxton’s bass lay a gritty rumble that spikes with ferocity. The band are set upon flaunting their musical abilities as they deliver another head banging instrumental breakdown before Fielder lunges into a whining guitar solo that reeks of early 90s grunge. The only downside to the trackis that it’s just too damn short! Perhaps an elongated live version is something to look out for in the future.
Closing the demo is Avenida Corrientes, an affectionate demonstration of Buzzard King’s appreciation for southern rock. The group’s rhythm section lays a foundation of sludging metal undertones that are rich with Black Sabbath impulses escorted wonderfully by a twinkling guitar overlay. The inclusion of a wailing harmonica is superb and sets the whole piece together for Machell’s vocals to effortlessly float through with the southern laid back droll familiar to classic Lynyrd Skynyrd. The echo effect utilized by Machell is also a nice touch and proves how well his voice lends itself to experimentation.
As a whole, this is a fine presentation of the band’s obvious and undeniable musical talents; a little rough around the edges perhaps, but still a solid selection of tracks. Its only real problem is that it doesn’t capture the bands solidarity with certain elements appearing remote from the rest of the music.
Nonetheless, once a few creases get ironed-out, Buzzard King could be well on their way for a very dynamic first album.
In the mean time, it is worth seeking them out at live events because if this demo is anything to go by you won’t be disappointed.