Review Summary: A trailblazing fusion of groovy hard rock, bouncing funk and atmospheric reggae.
Releasing two excellent full-length albums in one year is hardly an easy task to accomplish. Lionize, whose previous disc has dropped early this year, happen to succeed in this respect. They are definitely on a creative spree venturing deeper and deeper into the engrossing fusion of reggae/dub and groovy hard rock they basically pioneered on this year's Destruction Manual
. Right now that album feels like the calm before the storm with Lionize only signaling what they are capable of doing with their trailblazing style. Superczar And The Vulture
provides a more complete realization of stoner dub with the band reaching their full potential as both musicians and composers.
The album is nothing less than spectacular with its bold inclination to merge two strikingly different music worlds in an entirely seamless manner. Enticing bass lines and complex, constantly pounding drumming just set the stage for chilling Hammond organ soundscapes, hard rocking riffs and mood-fitting guitar solos. All instruments are superbly harmonized with one another, which results in a plethora of memorable segments that recall classic rock from the 1970s. Nate Bergman's clean, soulful vocals are tailor-made for this kind of music. He has a knack for using the appropriate inflection of his voice in every given moment of the song crafting plenty of admirable vocal harmonies.
Additionally, Superczar And The Vulture
sounds absolutely grandiose due to top-notch production courtesy of J. Robbins who worked with such coveted artists as Clutch and Against Me! The grand scope of the album doesn't really diminish its emotional core, which may be the group's major achievement. No matter how off-kilter the lyrics are, they are always perfectly relatable. A timely account of difficult, financial crysis-ridden times, “Dr. Livingston” boasts such hard-hitting lines as “I need insurance for my optimism” and “how do I find my way inside this time"” It's not a sole poignant moment on the disc. “The Ballad Of Ronnie Buttons,” for instance, showcases Americana storytelling at its finest and most heartbreaking. In addition, some lyrics revolve around intriguing pop-culture concepts (“Walking Away”), while others aptly describe social phenomena (“Shameless Self Promoter”).
Phenomenal, often quotable lyrics go in pair with adventurous songwriting that abounds with meticulously conceived progressions as well as non-conventional arrangements. Boisterous “Superczar” uses trumpets only to enhance its unflagging energy, whereas cinematic instrumental “Self Propelled Experience Approximator” has slower, more atmospheric brass segments which are equally exceptional. “Trustafarian” makes a great use of dynamics contrasting distressing, moody verses with a heavy-on-grove chorus, while “Parlor Tricks” is one of the most addictive tunes on the disc incorporating a funky vibe and clap-along pattern into its riff-driven stoner rock. Prog-induced “Vessel” delivers plenty of tempo changes and intense multi-instrumental solos being interspersed with an anthemic chorus.
Multifaceted as it may be, Superczar And The Vulture
stands as a truly accessible release that may very well appeal to listeners across many different genres. Lionize are at the top of their game here crafting music that's both intellectually stimulating and thoroughly entertaining. Time will tell if the audiences will be clever enough to jump on the hype bandwagon for this band. Lionize certainly deserve to be huge more than any other rock act out there.