Firstly, let me start this review with a complaint aimed directly at the band: why did you change your name from XII Boar to Twelve Boar, and was it for any reason other than to mess up my ipod’s alphabetically artist orderings? Answers would be appreciated sirs. Now that’s out of my system, onto the good stuff, and damn, is Twelve Boar’s ‘No Forgiveness’ ever loaded with good stuff!
Opener ‘Steppin’ Up’ is as autobiographical as any song could get, a rocking anthem to accompany a stiffly raised finger aimed at a whole variety of nay-sayers, armchair critics, and liggers that swarm around the music scene. I’m particularly interested in trying to find out who it was that tried to blag onto the band’s guest list at Bloodstock 2016, a show where the lads played a blinding set, drawing a solid crowd on the SOPHIE stage even when put head to head with metal legends Venom. I’ll let the reader guess who had my head banging that afternoon, and it wasn’t a Geordie in bondage gear! After the romping stomping no frills blast of hard rock that opens the album, the band shows they are far from a one trick pony, entering the realms of the bizarre with the rapped ‘Golden Goose’, a number that sounds like it escaped from the vaults of Primus rather than being put together by Aldershot’s finest three piece! Normal service resumes with the sonic pounding of ‘The Curtain Call’, Mr Hardrocks’ vocal chords channelling his inner Lemmy whilst Messrs Thomas and Wilbraham prove that they are one of the tightest rhythm sections working in hard rock right now.
By the time title track ‘No Forgiveness’ comes around, the band pull another trick out of their bag, throwing in a country blues sound with an acoustic guitar opening that builds up into a foot stamping beauty of a song reeking of whiskey and no regrets. If you’re not sold on buying the album yet from the review, let me assure you there is so much more to enjoy in the album. You looking for Lovecraftian Misfits style horror-punk? Yep, the band have that covered in ‘Elders From The Deep’. Dirty riffs your thing? ‘Snake On A Lead’ is what you’re looking for. A stoner rock tribute to the underground music scene that is a million miles from the stadium rock and excesses of touring enormo-bands? Twelve Boar present you with ‘All The Heavy Griftin’. If some mournful harmonica what you need, then ‘Panama’ is right up your street, and all this goodness is rounded off by the head-on collision of Deep Purple and Motorhead that is ‘Hellspeed Truckin’, with an added surfer guitar riff topped by hellish screams. That may sound like an awful mess, but trust me, it somehow works when played by this fine trio.
The nine tracks that make up the thirty eight minutes of unadulterated joy blast past all too quickly, and if you get even a small percentage of the joy I’ve had so far from ‘No Forgiveness’, you’ll be hitting the replay button time and time again. This is not an album to play whilst glumly gazing at your shoes and cultivating your inner grim demon. Twelve Boar will just slap the corpse paint off your face, pour a beer down your neck, and nail a massive grin to you. Next party I have, you can damn well bet this album will be played at volume, the way it is clearly meant to be played too. So, don’t be like the dickheads of the opening track and do some free downloading, buy the album, buy the merch, get to the shows, and buy the band some drinks. Oh, and before you wonder if I’m one of the liggers in question, I pre-paid for the CD/T-shirt bundle the day it was announced, and long before getting sent a download for review; that’s how bloody good they are!