Review Summary: A promising, yet inconsistant debut from a trio of seasoned performers.
The implosion of Australia’s favourite ‘could have been huge’ band Mammal in late 2009 has lead to a lot of new music in the last year or so. Vocalist of the then band, Ezekiel Ox, set to work on a plethora of new projects ranging from hardcore punk to folk music of varying quality, announcing himself as musically at his peak. The rest of Mammal went away more quietly to work on their own projects that are yet to see the light of day. The first to come out of the woodwork, Pete Williamson and Zane Rosanoski, guitarist and drummer from Mammal, have teamed up with bassist Michael Davids to form blues rock three piece Black Devil Yard Boss (BDYB from here on). Their self-titled EP is the band’s first foray into the studio, coming after only a handful of gigs around Melbourne.
Comparisons between Mammal and BDYB are inevitable, given the messy break up of the former band. For what it’s worth, BDYB pack just as much energy as Mammal do albeit playing a different style of rock. The focus is more on the actual music
the band are creating as opposed to the soapbox for political rants that Mammal became. A more accurate comparison would be Queens of The Stone Age or Them Crooked Vultures, with the band’s stoner rock and blues influences. These influences are particularly obvious on tracks such as ‘Into Your Fire’ and ‘Fiver In My Pocket,’ both of which scream Them Crooked Vultures.
Williamson also takes vocal duties with BDYB, and while he doesn’t possess an amazing voice, it does the job and fits the music perfectly. In particular, the vocal hooks on ‘One Dead Letter’ are very catchy, making it an obvious choice for the first single. Known from his days in Mammal (and before with Pete Murray’s Stonemasons) as a bit of a shredder, Williamson continues the trend with his new band, with some great classic rock inspired riffs. In particular, ‘Black Devil’s Rising’ and ‘One Dead Letter’ stand out in terms of guitar work.
While three of the EP’s tracks are of very high quality, it is let down by the last two tracks, particularly ‘On The Run.’ While the musicianship is of very, very high quality, the band is let down by the songs, coming across as though we’ve heard it all before. This is something that is a little bit worrying for just a five track EP. They’re still good tracks in their own right, it’s just obvious BDYB can do better.
Black Devil Yard Boss’ debut EP is a promising release, however it is brought down by a couple of derivative tracks, which, on a five track EP, is quit hard to get past. The energy is there – Williamson is still a very, very good guitarist, Rosanoski still hits the kit ridiculously hard and Davids provides plenty of backup on bass – the band just need to improve their songs to ensure they aren’t lost by the wayside. Still, a good release from a band chock full of experience.