Like a doom metal behemoth trundling across the driest desert, Volume IV come full force with this latest offering Long In The Tooth.
Hailing from Atlanta in Georgia, Volume IV present all that is great about American doom and desert rock whilst giving a very knowing nod to some NWOBHM artists.
Bursting out of the gate like the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, Volume IV bring us their latest album laced with grooves and old-school energy; Long In The Tooth. Driving riffs and powerful choruses are what Volume IV do best and this album doesn’t disappoint.
First track Looking Low For A High showcases a sound akin to a mixture of Motorhead meeting Kyuss with it’s use of a simple, but effective, driving main riff that punches you in the gut from the very beginning and continuing throughout the rest of the song. Transitioning into the second track-Utero/Long In The Tooth-is done by an elegant acoustic guitar intro before pounding into the groovy and fun main riff. Towards the end of the track the focal point of the solo section has a very Iron Maiden feel to it in it’s speed and technical prowess.
This plays well into the next track entitled Wager which sounds like it could have been taken straight from the Killers album. Complete with dual-harmonised vocals this would make for a great fun song in any live setting. Volume IV so far sound like they enjoy paying homage to the great metal bands that have come before them, showcasing their influences and their metal up-bringing if you will.
Blackwater takes a far more restrained approach than it’s predecessors on this album so far, shifting focus from the guitars to the vocals which sound, more than any other on this album, powerful and competent, full of soul and spirit. However a great wah-wah pedal bridge leads into the choruses very well. The groove that we have become used to on this album comes back with a forceful blow just before and after the solo before drifting back into the slow refrains of the intro riff. So far Volume IV have shown their metal amply and decided to have a slow song, Save Your Servant, which, while sounding like a lost Black Label Society ballad including a Zakk Wylde style vocal, does detract from the overall flow of the album – even though the song itself is enjoyable. What we have next is the bludgeoning slow heaviness of Kong. This may be the music that King Kong himself listens to. Slow, striding and biding its time. There are a couple of fast moments but for the most part it sounds like everything good about doom metal. Did I mention that it’s slow and heavy?
Cabal offers us some rest from the metal onslaught so far with an acoustic guitar instrumental. However, the only purpose of this seems to be to lead into the next track Awaken The Dreamer. A song steeped in old-school feeling melodic harmonised guitars and Black Sabbath–like refrains provide a great rhythm and pace for the song as a whole. On the other, hand Save Your Prayers seems like something of a damp squib musically, but gets by with a great dark tone lyrically, all religion and evil. The final track brings the whole album back up to the tempo of the first track acting as a nice bookend. Locust Have No King also has some of the most inventive song writing on the album as a whole; including off-beats on the drums, very slight but precise guitar squeals and a great use of phase on the guitars towards the end.
Overall Volume IV have crafted a great album, but it’s not without its faults. One gets the impression that they are trying to cram too much into one album by displaying so many influence and whilst this does make for great, albeit nostalgic listening, it all seems kind of messy too. But even with that taken into account it’s still a great album; chocked full of groovy riffs, pounding drums, awesome guitar solos and competent vocals.
Long In the Tooth is an album that you can grab hold of and find many things that you enjoy about it. Power, groove and precision the greatest tools of any doom or stoner band worth a damn, and this album has them all.
For Fans Of: Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Kyuss, Iron Maiden