Tuesday, April 16, 2013

... ISAAK "The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound" (Album review)

Apart from coming up with one of the most witty (or silly) album titles this year, these Italians have been around for quite some time under the monicker Gandhi's Gunn, but now land a real coup by signing with Small Stone, one of the prominent labels for all things stoner and doom, the former being the band's genre of choice.

This CD is the group's second album, which came out in 2012 and get's the proper re-release treatment with four additional songs, a forgettable cover by Pink Floyd ("Fearless") and an abysmal rendition of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" amongst them. The Brits' in their early days are a plausible reference when it comes to the punkish approach of Isaak (take the short highlight "Red"), meaning that they step right into the footsteps of no-frills outfits like Orange Goblin or Fu Manchu. The band is not keen on virtuosity but prefers to groove, which can become tiresome at times, in particular due to singer Hobo's unimpressive voice.

With a bit more verve, the longtracks "Flood" and "Hypotesis" (an instrumental) could be everything from convincing power ballads across psychedelic rollercoaster rides to veritable epics. Vibrant leads and solos like in "Breaking Balance" or "Adrift" are too few and far between, conventional (Sabbath-)grooves and well-worn song structures as in "Rest Of The Sun" way too rampant. On the plus side, there's still the broad-chested "Under Siege" and the quick bonus "The Right Time", yet that's not enough to rank Isaak among the top acts of their field. The air is getting thin ...

words by Andreas Schiffmann


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