For every tawdry article written by Fleet Street journalists about the death of rock, there are legions of bands lurking in the underground to prove them wrong. Baleful Creed are a perfect example – they’ve got the songs, they’ve got the hooks, they’ve got the attitude and they’ve got the production to stand proudly alongside the bands that influenced them and if you’re looking for a high-octane, balls-to-the-wall hard rock album, then this self-titled effort is guaranteed to satisfy.
Kicking off with a self-titled anthem is one hell of a statement of intent and Baleful Creed pull it off by underpinning the track with huge, chunky guitars and the instantaneously classic lyric “stinking with beer because I’ve got to appear before the god of the afterlife”. It’s the sort of so-dumb-it’s-genius lyric that powered Motorhead for decades and which Spinal Tap parodied so successfully. Most importantly ‘baleful creed’ flat out rocks and sets a pretty-high standard for the album. Fortunately Baleful Creed don’t disappoint and the next song, ‘Autumn leaves’, taps into an Alice in Chains vibe with its fine harmonies and sludgy riffing. Demonstrating impressive musicianship and a tightness that comes with playing countless gigs, ‘Illuminati’ is a crushing highlight that cruises on a brutal Zakk Wylde groove, before ‘crazy man’ opts for a more melodic style, with flowing lead guitar and nimble bass work. The first half of the album concludes with the dark-hearted ‘Misanthrope’ which, with its awkward riffs and classic, Sabbath vibe, is once again elevated by the band’s seemingly effortless gift for melodies that stick in the brain.
The second half of the album kicks off with the grinding riff and throbbing bass of ‘Double F.S.’, a mid-tempo beast which once again offers both powerful groove and impressive guitar work. Next up, ‘hex’ brings a little voodoo magic with its gnarled guitar work and raw-throated vocals before ‘her promise’ looks to the like of Alice Cooper for inspiration with its smart melodic nous and sinister lyricism. Opening with a lengthy guitar drone, ‘Thorazine’ encapsulates its subject matter perfectly with its echoing riffs and effect laden finale before ‘Suffer in silence’ brings the album to a suitably powerful close. Short, and all the more powerful for it, Baleful Creed’s self-titled effort steadfastly refuses to outstay its welcome and, instead, sensibly leaves the listener wanting much more.
I enjoyed the hell out of Baleful Creed’s debut album. This is full-blooded hard rock played by passionate and talented musicians and it proves that there is more than a little life left in the underground. If you want a band who have melody and power in equal measure, then get yourself over to the band’s bandcamp page (linked above) sharpish – this album comes unequivocally recommended. 9