Saturday, 20 August 2011

Lorenza Woods "S/T" Review

Lorenza Woods

Lorenza Woods may be an unfamiliar name to readers of the Bomb, but if you’re a Wakefield based music lover I suspect you will have come across some of the band’s members down the years. Significantly three quarters of their line-up (Guitarist Mik Crone, bassist Trevor Nicholls and drummer Matt Larkin) were previously in the long running K.O. Kaine. With Adam Phillips departing in late 2010 they opted to change their name before recruiting a vocalist.

Whether they ever contemplated retaining the K.O. Kaine moniker I’m not sure, but replacing Adam with Sarah Green (Not the Blue Peter presenter of the 80’s!) surely forced their hand. I can think of only one precedent of a metal band replacing a male singer with a female and going onto bigger things whist retaining their name, Swedes Arch Enemy. Their demos with Angela Gossow fooled many people into thinking that her vocals were in fact those of former Carcass frontman Jeff Walker. Whilst Green can unleash an equally fearsome roar at times, she often employs a clean style, which for me doesn’t always sit comfortably with the music.

What of that music? Well a recent piece on the band in the Wakefield Express hinted that they are looking to hark back to the sound of local bands such as Pylon, Milloy and Wrinkle; but that this release was comprised of K.O. Kaine music that never saw the light of day. What could be said is that they hark back to the time said bands made their mark, the late nineties and early noughties. Opening track “This Part’s For You” kicks in with a riff very much in the mould of Atlanta, Georgia’s finest rap-metal export, Stuck Mojo circa 1996’s “Pigwalk”. Later there’s a groove the size of that state that closes out the song which brings to mind the not so fine nu-metal band Coal Chamber. When Sarah is at her most aggressive, spitting out lyrics with an almost rapped delivery the deceased Wakefield band that most readily springs to mind is Crone and Larkin’s pre-K.O. Kaine outfit, Freak K.O., who were also female fronted (Confused yet!). This is the sound of the band operating in familiar territory, but there are hints of them stretching their wings into more melodic areas.

For much of “Outside In Fading Out” the band continue to trigger memories of the late nineties, especially the Tarrie B fronted Tura Satana. Although the mid-section serves as a breathing space, allowing Green’s clean vocals to take centre stage before Mik Crone displays his shredding skills with a suitably OTT solo. For me the contrasting styles don’t quite gel on this track, coming across as somewhat contrived. Thankfully “Non Believers” steers away from this approach, sticking almost exclusively to a commercial goth-metal sound ala Lacuna Coil et al. Although at nearly six-minutes in length it could outstay its welcome for some. At just over four minutes “Soldier Boy” continues along these lines with greater success, Green’s almost operatic wail being tempered by some subtler guitar work from Crone and an undercurrent of keyboards.

With the more commercial leaning of the final two tracks it almost feels like a game of two halves (Tracks 1-3 and 4-5). Clearly Lorenza Woods are still honing their sound and I do wonder if defining themselves with a physical release at this early stage might later be something of a millstone around their necks. As I alluded to earlier their present sound brings up a lot of memories of bands that I listened to in the past and if I wanted a nostalgia trip I’d more than likely dig out something by Clawfinger, Kill II This or Lacuna Coil rather than reach for this. But if those sounds still rock your boat you’d be advised to head down to the dark waters depicted on the cover.

Andrew Whittaker

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