Firmly entrenched in a 70s riff rock vibe, US based Here Lies Man offer a wholly new approach to the genre by incorporating African stylised beats to their enthralling songs which will hook you instantly with their innate catchiness. I actually stumbled across this band by accident in my usual trawls through the internet seeking something new to listen to and the moment I heard this outfit I was completely transfixed. Their previous two full lengths, a self-titled debut and “You Will Know Nothing” had large quotients of the said stylised structuring but here the band takes it to new levels of ingenuity. Of course I love 70s rock music, and when that riff is centred round a Sabbath like aura then who wouldn’t be.
This album listens like a concept album and indeed that is where the band seems to place it, though each song is an individual composition between which are various tranquil and psychedelic segues that produce a listen that is immersive yet experimental. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes each tune is a short but intense sonic experience that begins with the excellent “Clad In Silver”. The gritty opening riff is embellished with percussive instrumentation that threads their way through the album continually. As the opening riff yields for more percussiveness the track ingrains a subtle melody and beat that makes it so intoxicating. Whilst the riffing may be interpreted as simplistic the way the percussive tribalism is engraved is totally unique as “Swinging From Trees” follows with a psychedelic riff as that tribalism is enhanced and intensified momentarily before the vocals sweep in. Clean and rife with the texture the vocal lines add to that 70s vibe hugely but in reality it is the music that really stands up above the crowd.
“Long Legs (Look Away)” is completely addictive with the opening riff being extremely catchy but riff of the album goes to “Washing Bones” which begins with an eerie guitar piece adorned with drum fill that adds to the creepy nature right before the colossal riff I mentioned takes over. It really is a gargantuan hook that will infect your head for days if not months to come. Splashed with the percussive strains the song has an innate ghoulishness to it that is created by the brief pauses and solemnity. “Iron Rattles” has a full African beat opening with multi-instrumentation linking into the percussive elements sublimely right before a loose bass hook is added in increments creating a hypnotic aura, before the song channels its energy into another awesome riff that runs my previous favourite to a very close second.
Closing the album is “Man Falls Down”, which again is loaded with African beats before the riff filters in. The massive amount of percussion here envelops the listener and indeed listening to this album multiple times you will hear new things every time as I urge anyone into 70s riff based rock and especially early Sabbath to check this album out pronto.
(9/10 Martin Harris)