At first glance, there may not appear to be any correlation between Georgia-based bands Deerhunter and Baroness, other than a shared home state. Sonically, they bear few similarities, other than a sound built from guitars and distortion. How these bands use said guitars and distortion, however, is a different story, as the former engulfs its sound in reverb and effects to create a dreamlike world, while the latter beefs up its sound with meaty riffs for an epic yet melodic take on metal. Yet if you consider these two bands mutual starting points with maximum speed trajectory toward one another, their point of collision would occur somewhere around All The Saints, another Georgia-based band whose unique sonic creations marry the ethereal to the ultra-heavy.
Like fellow Killer Pimp band A Place to Bury Strangers, All The Saints base much of their sound on a heavy use of effects pedals, often bringing to mind the feedback driven sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain or the swirling layers of My Bloody Valentine. And yet beneath that phase-shifting sheen lies a Black Sabbath-like muscle, dark and meaty and willing to take on anyone that dares challenge it. That unholy heft is exactly what makes the band’s debut album Fire On Corridor X such a welcome addition to the class of 2008. Everybody’s playing with effects these days, but only All The Saints are willing to blow off the doors with some rock and fucking roll.
As the dirty mattress on the cover of Fire On Corridor X might indicate, this band isn’t afraid to get a little dirty. Whatever sense of serenity “Shadow, Shadow” may conjure is negated when “Sheffield” comes crashing with a sinister groove, pummeling as much as it enchants, All the Saints’ contrasting qualities of muscle and mystique counterbalancing each other in an odd sort of unsettling harmony. “Farmacia” carries the darkened, reverb-shuddering twang of The Gun Club on `roids, with Jim Crook’s furious drums providing the bulk of the adrenaline surge. The downright evil-sounding “Regal Regalia” boasts the kind of goth-inspired American rock `n’ roll that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has failed to capture since their first album, driven by Matt Lambert’s careening, hell-bent riffs. The band’s name, one of the few decipherable lyrics through a layer of fuzz, becomes a choral rallying cry, as jagged-edged riffs slice through with a menacing fierceness. And damn, does it sound cool.
Even when the volume level drops, All The Saints’ immense sound permeates the atmosphere, leaving the listener to swim inside of their lush creation. “Hornett” is a molasses-paced dream blues seemingly amplified through a waterfall, but its soul penetrates any sonic barriers in its way. The acoustic “Leeds” is the exception, its reverb-heavy folk sound revealing little more than six strings and one voice. Being the exception, its low-key sound is offset by the title track, which then cranks up the volume, the distortion and basically every other knob until the dials all fall off. Somehow they manage to rein it in a bit for the seven-minute “Outs,” but even then, All The Saints can
Not just the loudest, nor merely the heaviest, All The Saints skyrockets to the top of both categories, delivering one of the most awesome displays of rock `n’ roll power in 2008. Hearing Fire on Corridor X is simultaneously an adrenaline rush and a punch to the stomach. As familiar as some of the sounds on this album may be, they’re amplified beyond any logical extreme, making it a truly exciting debut, but also a potentially dangerous one.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.