The Virginmarys - 'King Of Conflict' (DoubleCross Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Friday, 15 March 2013 03:40

The Virginmarys - King Of ConflictSometimes an album comes into your life and unexpectedly grabs you by the balls refusing to let go. It may only happen once in a while, but you really can't beat the exciting feeling of having a bunch of songs that you can't stop playing and Macclesfield three piece The Virginmarys have done this to me with their debut long player, 'King Of Conflict'. Already hotly tipped on these pages back in 2010 when they released the Uber Rock approved 'Cast The First Stone' mini album, this debut album follows a string of quality EPs and has been a long time coming, but it's worth the wait.


So what is it that makes this album stand out from the competition? Rather than comparing their songs to other bands I will attempt to compare the feelings I get here to feelings I get from other classics in my collection, songs that excite me as much now as when I first heard them. Whether it be the primal, raw, live feel that Rick Rubin gave The Cult on 'Electric' or The Four Horsemen on 'Nobody Said It Was Easy' to the sonic delights of marrying guitar and melody that is 'The Colour And The Shape' through to the Grungy angst-ridden screams of The Vines debut. All of that is present and correct on 'King Of Conflict', and if that sparks some interest then read on.


The single 'Dead Man's Shoes' opens the album in cracking style, a veritable explosion of guitars, drums and angst-ridden vocals, a combination that I just cannot fail to instantly enjoy. It goes straight for the jugular leaving no prisoners in its wake, and that is how the album continues.


'Portrait Of Red' follows, listen once and you will be singing the "baby treat my body like a canvas" line for days, I have been, but it's third song 'Just A Ride' that does it for me every time, dirty riffs that kick over grooving bass, the vocals of guitarist Ally Dickaty spit out the lyrics with a passion and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up for the first of many times throughout this album, a combination of passion and rage that is sublime musical perfection.


In 'Out Of Mind' the simple AC/DC like refrain builds nicely to the classic "everybody's out of their fookin minds" a line that every pissed and pissed off teenage rock fan can relate to (and some of us older ones). Ally's accent adds a touch of charm to songs such as 'Lost Weekend', the way the chords ring out so clear pre-chorus, a driving chorus full of depth and feeling is what pushes the buttons and gives out that goosebumps feeling yet again. One of their greatest moments it has quickly grown to become my favourite song on this here album. 'Dressed To Kill' is again instantly a classic to these ears, the arpeggio chords of the intro, the building riff to the shout-a-long chorus that I can imagine a whole field of festival goers singing along as Ally's angst fuelled voice fuels the fire.


The guitar work is spot on from the driving AC/DC style riffing to the tasty licks and it must be said the excellent production job from Toby Jepson has captured the live feel of a three piece in a most excellent way, with minimal overdubs as far as I can tell.


They even do 'epic' on closing song 'Ends Don't Mend', a seven minute driving force of bluesy guitar, a workout that brings to mind Zep and the guitar work of Vintage Trouble's Nalle Colt. Also there is an uncredited hidden track that must be mentioned, 'Stripped' is a short and beautiful song full of sentiment, that sees Ally strumming, his Les Paul turned low as he does live, a simply wonderful end to an album with too many highlights to mention.


I can't remember the last time I heard an album this good from a British band, let alone a debut and that excites me so much. I like to think of myself as a guy who has wide spectrum of musical taste, but whatever I listen to it always comes back to rock 'n' roll, pure and simple guitar, bass and drums, you just can't beat it, and The Virginmarys are here to confirm that for me. There is just something classic and right about this release and I just know it is going to stay with me in my collection with all my other friends for a long time to come. Without a doubt one of THE albums of the year, essential listening folks.