Master Charger – Origin Of The Lugubrious
Stoned Rocka Recordings
Release Date: 21/08/2020
Running Time: 38:28
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, you heinous hellions and lugubrious Luciferians! I am Dark Juan and this review is brought to you by very little sleep, thanks to the young gentlemen I wrangle for money and a distinct lack of appreciation on their part, and their steadfast refusal to GO TO FUCKING SLEEP, even in the face of my threatening the most dire recriminations (yes, I have a penal Tellytubbies DVD and I am not afraid to deploy it! If they carry on then it’s the Ringo Starr narrated Thomas The Tank Engine and if that does not work then it’s time to freak them the fuck out with Chorlton And The Wheelies) and an amount of caffeine that would make the most extreme coffee enthusiast gasp at the increase in their heart rate, and subsequently I thought it would be a wise and sage idea to commit my somewhat frothing thoughts to the electronic ether before the inevitable and canyon deep emotional crash happens. Welcome to the “sound” (because you’re reading this…) of one slightly deranged man and his collapse into utterly devastating exhaustion.
Every collapse has to have a soundtrack, doesn’t it? Today’s selection for my own personal descent into blessed oblivion is a slightly late entry into the pantheon of my ramblings – the UK’s own groove merchants Master Charger. This bunch of hairy herberts hail from, and I quote, “The blackest heart of the Midlands”, which could range from anywhere from Wolverhampton to Mansfield, frankly. Don’t go there though. There be dragons and a forest in which a man in a strange hat and funny tights runs around robbing the postman and shit with his mates and some bird called Marion.
What do you get for your money with Master Charger, I heard literally no-one apart from the 47 different personalities occupying my head ask? You get some of the filthiest, oil-stained, diesel belching, sludgy stoner metal it has ever been my pleasure to experience. There is not a word to describe the crushing, brow beating heaviness on display. Monolithic is not a big enough word to explain the fucking mahoosive riffs on this record. The riffs are that fucking huge they block out the sun and the overall sound of the record is so expansively huge that it is slightly larger than the known universe – the bass is a ground shaking battlewagon heading straight for the flimsy wooden fence you’re hiding behind, the guitar so sludgy and heavy that every step shakes another organ loose in your already pitifully broken body and the drums…. well, actually the drums are curiously lifeless. Where the rest of the band sound alive and organic (as do the cymbals, which are masterfully produced) the drums sound like someone twatting the taut bottom of one of the false god’s followers with a wet tea towel, but without the enticing squeals. The vocals are another fine point of note – Mr John James (pleasingly alliterative) employing a voice not unlike a more muscular, slightly less whiskey-soaked Spike of The Quireboys. John Jones (still pleasingly alliterative, and no, I’m not going to get bored of it) also is a fucking slamming guitar player, allowing space in the music and his playing to allow the songs to breathe, and more importantly, making them absolutely bastard groovy.
Unlike fellow British stoner stalwarts (pleasingly alliterative) Red Spektor, Master Charger have dialled down the psychedelia in favour of METAL and they have created something dangerous. The record opens with a three-minute groove instrumental which is also the title track, beginning with the sound of the crackling you hear on vinyl records before a slow build-up of wah drenched guitar. Then there is a tumultuous avalanche of sound and you are suddenly picking yourself up from the rubble of what remains of your house. Mrs Dark Juan is not pleased because she did the housework yesterday and now there is brick dust on the antimacassar. Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, MM, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre is looking plaintively at me because the radiator he was asleep in front of isn’t working anymore and it is all Master Charger’s fault for levelling Dark Juan Terrace.
Second tune in (‘Embers Of The Sun’) we are treated to John James’ (pleasingly alliterative) magnificent howl and the kind of post-Sabbath riffing that makes this hellpriest weep with a strange and unfamiliar feeling called joy. If this song was meant as a statement of intent, then it’s brutally effective. There isn’t a single wasted note in this song. It’s fucking brilliant. And that middle eight, man. It’s like a fucking double time death march to go murder some Nazis, which means it should only be encouraged.
And it’s the same, song after song. Interesting lyrics, the pleasingly alliterative John James’ voice and guitar and the thunderous bass work of Dave Hayes kicking your sorry little arse into the middle of next week and although the drum sound is a little flat, Jon Kirk’s drumming is top fucking notch. I could waste your time and mine going through every song on the record finding new tortured metaphors and superlatives to tell you how great it is, but I’m not gonna. I can sum it up really easily. Although the middle eight of ‘Blood, Sand’ is particularly sexy and deserves your attention. So is ‘Who The Hell Are You’ which has a riff of such majestic prowess it has brought forth a torrent of sex wee the likes of which has been unseen since July. Mrs Dark Juan is now even more unhappy because we are now rendered homeless in a sex wee flood zone because of Master Charger.
Master Charger are fucking brilliant. A band with roots in the classic blues rock of the 60’s and 70’s, coupled in an unholy and possibly illegal and definitely bestial sexual union with groove, stoner rock and heavy fucking metal and the music is the bastard chimera bursting forth into your unsuspecting headspace. How the fuck three men can make a noise this huge will always be a cosmic mystery. Support British metal. Buy this record. Holy fuck, buy this record.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is currently floating on giant fluffy purple clouds of enthusiasm for Master Charger and their sublime take on stoner metal and awards them 10/10. FULL FUCKING MARKS, BOYS, and you have totally fucked up my plans for my top ten of the year!
I need a lie down.
01. Origin Of The Lugubrious (Damn, I love the word “lugubrious”. It sounds exactly like what it is describing)
02. Embers Of The Sun
03. Blood, Sand
04. Who The Hell Are You
05. Buried By Time And Dust
06. Our Time Has Come
07. Earthbound Hellbound
John James (pleasingly alliterative) – Guitar and Vocals
Dave Hayes (disappointingly not alliterative) – Bass
Jon Kirk (also not alliterative, for SHAME!) – Drums
LINKS: (234. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself)
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