LOWBAU – Urban Voodoo
Released: 24th December 2016
DeGuyten | Vocals
Ivo | Drums
Rol | Bass/Vocals
Frank | Guitar
Wolfy | Guitar/Mouth harp/Vocals
“Heavy Metal, Southern Rock, Sludge, Punk, Hard-rock, Blues” overwhelmed, intrigued and confused? So am I.
LOWBAU, the 5-piece European hybrid band, presents their sophomore record Urban Voodoo; a chaotic and unique album that may not change the music world as we know it, but it’s undeniably a brave experiment.
Urban Voodoo attempts to walk a thin line between six different genres, but rather than having them combine, a patchwork of each genre is woven into the album, unsuccessful in its attempts to blend. What could have been a celebration of a diverse combination of influences feels more like an indecisive attempt to show off how technically skilled the musicians are and in turn the album suffers for it.
Let’s break this down one track at a time;
Opener ‘Boogie’ showcases an ongoing trend of solid bass lines. Vocals abruptly jump in and quickly display the vocalists range. The track continues to jump between seconds of heavily blues-inspired genius and overly chaotic hair metal with an abrupt 10 second piece of almost spoken word, none of which sound like they belong on the same song.
Throwing you for another curveball is ‘My Guitar’ which opens with a harmonica… Yep. Really. Although in terms of the track in isolation it actually works. Immediately the vocals set a completely different tone. At about 1:30 the song completely switches; vocals change, aggressive guitar, and we lose the harmonica.
‘Pretend’ and ‘Lion’ suffers the most from an ongoing problem in the album. On multiple cases songs go for a good 3-4 minutes and are solid works, then continue for another 2-3 minutes. In both cases at around the 2:30 mark there is even a fade out, if they’d stopped there it would have been a fantastic, inspired track and a successful execution of what they were trying to do. But it doesn’t stop there. It continues… for another five minutes, and in the formers case, comprises of mostly soloing that downgrades the track to pure self-indulgence.
Like toast popping ‘World’ hits you with a shock that you honestly should have been expecting but couldn’t help but jump at. The vocalist goes for it from the beginning, setting a contrast from the previous slightly more mellow tracks. To its credit, the vocals remain consistent. This is definitely the most put together track as a whole. You can clearly see what genre it had picked to draw from, it finishes at a solid 3:55 and its overall concept is clear.
The guitars in ‘Zombie’ are honestly head bang inducing. Again, a complete contrast from anything else on the album; the chorus almost reminds me of The Beatles ‘Come Together’ which personally was not something I’d thought I would say. This track, despite an extended run time loses the least amount of steam throughout. Although still suffering from disjointed and often chaotic instrumentals that don’t do any of them justice.
Closing us off we have a heavily Southern rock inspired ‘Mother Sun’ that switches between classic rock-inspired, epic, vocally-lead choruses to moments of border line country music; confirmed by the return of the harmonica with an added banjo. The guitars suffer from extreme over distortion at times. This takes away from an otherwise appropriate ending to the confusing haze that one goes through listening to this album.
This record had both extreme highs and lows. Individually track by track it’s possible to really enjoy LOWBAUs mix of influences despite its sometimes flawed self-indulgence, but as an album it’s not coherent in the slightest; Each track sounds like they’ve picked a genre out of a hat and although there is a lot of potential in their range, this album just feels lost.
Urban Voodoo tracklist:
- My Guitar
- Mother Sun