By Brian Tucker
New local music keeps on coming, this time it’s the second full length album from groove-laden, and very heavy, metal band Predecessor.
The band performed Saturday night at Ziggy’s alongside another local band, ASG, and headliner Black Tusk. There the audience got the first real live taste of the band’s new album Through the Winter’s Cold which was uploaded Saturday to Bandcamp for streaming and download.
Listening to the new album over the weekend words like whiplash, scorching, and relentless beating, lingered. It’s a punishing sounding record, from Kyle Watts’ witchy, red throated vocals, to the varied twin guitar attack of Zach Rogers and Mike Naluai. Sounding like a mix of buzz saw and spastic machine gun fire their playing stomps and dances around beginning to end across eight songs.
“Like Spiders” opens the album and essentially defines the band’s sound – frenetic, hard driving guitar and percussion against Watts’ vocals that oscillate from wrenching to guttural hoarse cries of anger and confusion. The song has this great bit of guitar playing that underscores it half way through. Its quaint and somber, lying just under the surface faintly like choir music.
“The King, the Crown” may be the album’s biggest punch, curdling guitar work and bass playing that pops throughout, even after a bit of noodling at the song’s beginning. The title track is one of two lengthy songs. It begins with a fearful, new dawn ambiance before turning into a slow street brawl.
“Hell is On My Side” is the second mini-epic, one taking things slower in the beginning. Watts sings, “Not gonna make it home tonight, dogs are on your trail, Not gonna fake what’s wrong or right, the stars will lead me strong, this hell.” It’s a murky opening, and then Watts quickly bellows “Lead me from this hell!” The last section of the song is great – a lead guitar run that plays wonderfully off the track’s main heavy handed section.
The lead soars while underneath it all the band is hammering away. It’s the sound of something good winning out over something terrible. This section slowly deflates, instruments getting quieter as it comes to a close. The remaining moments are Mckenzie Bell’s drumming and cymbal crashes fading out, leaving only as piano playing.
It’s a raucous closer with a delicate dénouement for what is a consistent, albeit heavy and coarse eight track album. Watts has played in a handful of local hard rock/metal bands around town over the years. Here his vocals have reached a summit, sounding more focused and personalized than before, merging deftly properly with musicians sounding crisp, fiery and self assured.