If you asked a band to describe their debut album and they said, “it is the soundtrack to a bunch of stoner space truckers ambling around the galaxy,” the kind of “stuff they’d be playing over the ship’s intercom while filling another bong and passing through an asteroid belt,” you can bet it’s worth listening to. Heavy, deep guitar riffs, the sweet sounds of the ride cymbal and plenty of dark metal rock style can all be heard on Out of the Void, a first time collaboration under the name Ultranauts, from rockers out of New Zealand.
Consisting of Gerome Mills on vocals, Malcolm McKenze on guitar, Liam Dollimore on bass and Oskar Larsson on drums, each member has played in a number of bands over the years. Their debut mixes sounds in the style of Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, Fu Manchu, Helmet, Danzig and White Zombie. The first song which has the same title, totally reminded me of the way I felt when I first heard “Black Sabbath” on Sabbath’s debut album. It’s spooky; it’s wicked and sinister and then, a little after two minutes in, those deep trademark riffs that metal is so well known for come creeping by slowly. No words to this one, just that good ‘ole sound of doom.
“Set for Stun” features fuzzy, crunchy guitars well distorted and the tempo is definitely faster compared to track one. “Vile Bodies” has just a bit faster tempo, like punk-metal, and crunchier guitars while the vocals follow the rhythm of guitar. Cool “spacey” guitar effects can be heard as well along with a killer guitar solo. “Udon” showcases prickly guitar and bass work, slower tempo and reminded me of Queens of the Stone Age. The guitar solo is heavy and deep and overall, I thought Mills’ voice fits this style of music to a tee.
“Solar Sailing” taps into that stoner space age theme the band describes. The song features a classic metal sound, catchy guitar hooks and a lively head banging beat and McKenze turns up the juice and swagger on the guitars towards the end. “Interstellar Freeway” is a great cross over metal tune for those who don’t usually listen to the genre. On “Gravitron” I loved the transitions between verses and chorus, the layered guitars and there were some elements that totally reminded me of Nine Inch Nails – a lot of good solid parts on this one for sure.
“Overrated Heroes” has a stiff, solid beat, a clever and quick guitar riff and a haunting guitar solo that was fantastic. The last number, “Esperanto” features a fast tempo, and a rhythm that really carries the tune well with its chug-chug-chug, rat-a-tat guitar lick. About mid-way through the song slows down into this deep, murky and mysterious break and just when you thought it was over, the ending comes back with a vengeance!
All in all, Out of the Void is a stellar album throughout – no weak spots as far as I could tell. It’s a straightforward metal adventure with fabulous guitar solos and a good variety of influences and styles. I’ll be looking forward to what’s next on Ultranauts’ horizon.
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