Every now and again, things slip under the radar; Obviously besides running this website we have hectic lives and so it came to pass that I was offered this for review before Xmas, missed it, and then found it, listened, and then got sidetracked before getting the review online.
Apologies from the bottom of my blackened heart.
XII Boar (that's pronounced 12 Bore, shotgun fans), come bursting out of the military town of Aldershot in England with a quite frankly storming four track EP here.
In a time when a lot of underground English Metal sees bands becoming ever more enshrouded in weed smoke, or writing ever more arcane and occult lyrics, it is a refreshing change to see bands like XII Boar (and countrymen Mage and Asomvel, for example) who hold no qualms about writing a tune or two for you to have a few beers with your mates and stamp your feet to, songs that you'll enjoy just as much blasting out of your stereo as you drive down the motorway in summer heading the festival of your choice.
There's a perfect balance struck between the old-sound and feel of uniquely British groups like early Almighty and the transatlantic swamp-groove of the mid nineties, all wrapped up in a Motörhead shirt and bullet belt, with a slight Southern-states feel, although they come across a lot more homegrown than any of that.
At times, they are reminiscent of Uprising-era Entombed, or even mid-career Cathedral, it's just a shame that there's only four tracks on offer here as I think a full length release must surely be imminent.
So, what do we have?
The first track, Smokin' Bones, rolls out of the speakers all studs and headbanging, like the aforementioned Asomvel do so well, Tommy Hardrock's vocals and guitar giving it the whole feeling of twenty regal and a few cans on payday before you head to the pool hall to meet the lads; sliding effortlessly into a mid paced singalong that reminds me of proper british rock/metal like early Wolfsbane, especially during the solo (check out David's drumming in the background during the solo).
When the three of them (rounded out by bassist Adam Bad-Dog) jam it out at the end, it's a total fist in the air moment, and we are only four minutes into the EP!
Hellspeed Viper (boss title) starts off frantically, and also has the whole mid-nineties groove thiing going on - I know I've only just said this about the previous track, but these lads must play together every night because they fit together like a jigsaw.
They slow down about five minutes into the track where you can hear Bad-Dog's bass a bit clearer, it's only when they slow down that I guess you'd really class them as being "stoner" in any sense of the world; I'm going to cringe if I ever see anyone describe them as such.
Moving into Slamhound, another greasy mechanic of a track, it's lead breaks, rolling drums and headbangable basslines right through, overlaid with catchy sing-along stile lyrics. I can't wait to see this band live.
The closing track, Triclops is the band's tour de force, Adam and Tommy taking a line each at the mic whilst the music chugs away behind them, this is their most doomy song on the EP, encompassing many moods and ands with another great solo and the band bashing it out to the finish.
I can't believe I let this slip under the radar, as I am under no illusion that it would have been in my best of 2012. I love this, good time classic rock style British metal.
It seems to me that British Rock/Metal is about to be back at the position I've been waiting for siince the early-mid nineties, and groups like XII Boar, Mage, Orange Goblin, Asomvel, Arkham Witch, Age of Taurus, Ravens Creed and Black Magician are going to be up at the forefront of it, and it's a very exciting time.
You can find the band at:
XII Boar .com
and also at: