|Renegade Twelve – ‘Renegade Twelve’ (Self-Released)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Thursday, 09 March 2017 04:30|
Like New Generation Superstar’s new album, ‘King Of The World’, my review of which was published right here on Über Rock just yesterday, this self-titled debut offering from Suffolk newcomers R12 has been kicking around my mancave for a wee while now. Again, it is an album which has been giving a few airings through ye olde death deck, and yet again it has beggared the question of why I haven’t gotten my sorry arse around to reviewing it, until now… But, then, I don’t write reviews with my arse (although, The Dark Queen will probably be the first to tell you that I often talk out of it…)!
Now, no offence to my many friends in the East Anglian bump, but when you mention rock ‘n’ roll and that particular part of the Überverse in the same phrase, I tend to immediately think of those laughable Lowestoft looneytoons The Darkness… I know, it’s a terrible confession – but hopefully one which will quickly be absolved when I admit, with equally magnanimous alacrity and honesty, that this particular gang of Fenland renegades have enough heavy ass potential to see their native county sink into the North Sea with the weight of this debut offering.
Despite being only in their early 20s, the five guys in R12 have known each other, and been in each other’s back pockets, since they were still in short pants – and it is a lifelong bond which shows very clearly in this tight, taut, highly accomplished and surprisingly mature first venture into the world of recording.
To be honest, the first thought which come to mind when popping this ten-tracker into the CD drawer is just how fucking like M Shadows vocalist Sam Butler sounds: he has virtually the same range, and his intonations and style of delivery carry heavy echoes of those of the A7X frontman. And I do not mean this comparison in any sort of a negative way, because Butler does have his own distinctive style (as displayed to best effect on the epic closer ‘Bill & Chief’, in which he truly comes into his own in terms of flexing his not inconsiderable range to its full impressive effect). But, throughout the length of this hugely powerful album, it is very obvious that Shadows, Gates and co are heavy influenced by the Californian superstars-in-the-making. They plough a similar groove of blending traditional, driving hard rock riffs with massive melodies, both musically and vocally, underpinned by solid-as-fuck rhythms and interjected by seering solos capable of ripping your face off faster than Freddy Krueger on an acid trip.
In the process, however, R12 have succeeded in producing a stunning debut album, one which ticks all the right boxes, and emphatically so. From the opening, rolling riff of ‘Mad Max’ (not hard to tell what that one’s about), which immediately evolves into one of the most massive metal melodies you’ll hear this year, combined with the sort of whoa-along chorus that is guaranteed to lift the roof of any venue, through the absolutely stonking single ‘Heroes Of Mine’, which veers slightly into metalcore territory with its breakdowns, to the “what-the-fuck-just-happened-there?” punky beatdown of ‘Bipolar’, the gruelling and visceral atmospherics of ‘War Plane’ and the suitably evocative ‘Somme’, with its militaristic backbeat and forlorn vocal evocation, there is not a weak moment on this album.
From Butler’s emotive vocals through the beautifully entwined dual lead guitars of Jacob Mayes and Dan Potter, to the precise rhythms of Josh Barnard and Jack McSloy, each of the performances is as thoughtfully and comprehensively convincing as the songs, each and every single one of which is precise and practised in both its construction and delivery, without sacrificing any of the raw passion needed to win over the listener from the first riff to the last.
A superb debut from a band who definitely deserve to break out of the pub and club circuit – and the fucking tribute band scene (check their Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean about that crack) - and onto bigger and better things in the very near future.
‘Renegade Twelve’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.
You can catch Renegade Twelve on the following live dates:
Saturday 11 March – Mellis, Railway Tavern
Saturday 18 March – Fakenham, Rampant Horse
Saturday 25 March – Norwich, The Waterfront (supporting Hell’s Bells)
Friday 31 March – Ipswich, The Railway
Saturday 8 April – Kessingland, Livingstones
Friday 12 May – Norwich, The Brickmakers
Saturday 20 May – Norwich, The Open
Friday 26 May – Elveden, Village Hall
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