It is only fitting to explain how a metal band from Wales landed, literally, at my doorstep before we launch into my thoughts on their most recent release.
I received an email from someone we shall call “Ruth” (name may have been changed to protect her identity). The email simply recommended a band from South Wales by the name of Blue Gillespie. Now this initially caught me off guard for a few reasons. First, it’s Wales. With all due respect, I thought they simply went by the “UK” after being swallowed by their easterly neighbor. Good to hear from them. Secondly, when I hit play on a randomly selected track, my jaw went through the floor. I replied and said I need the whole album. I was stunned to hear what was coming from this modest region of the world.
As Seven Rages of Man opened with “Prologue” I sat back, sighed a heavy sigh and feel as though I’ve been handed something entirely unoriginal; shrieking vocals, throbbing machine gun drums and distorted heavy handed riffs. Yay…thrash metal in Wales is no different than here in the States.
Or so I thought.
Blue Gillespie, I apologize for my initial thoughts. Yes, I feel the need to formally apologize because what I was soon to experience was, simply put, face-melting and mind-blowing all in one. After listening to Seven Rages of Man it took me the better part of a day just to piece my head back together.
Reminiscent of glory I found years ago in the confines of Disclaimer and Disclaimer II I was simply thrown back with the power and artistically formed metal that would pour over my psyche for the next hour. To understand Seven Rages of Man is to hold it and read the track titles. Book ended by “Prologue” and “Epilogue” we’re handed a seven piece well-orchestrated, fluid performance filled with enough hooks and imagery, the genre itself is bound to be flipped on its head by just this sort of compilation. Obviously well-constructed and thought out, Blue Gillespie created a metal masterpiece.
Varying in length from barely over a minute (“Interlude” and “Interlude II”) to over eight minutes (“Sullen”) Seven Rages of Man slips and slides between tracks without break. This attention to detail genius melds each track into the greater story. Gareth David-Lloyd’s vocals can range from the deep macabre to the shrill peaks. It should be noted that his vocals are just and with purpose, there are no aimless vocal tantrums to be found. Nick Harrison’s ranging drums finely paint the range in which the trio performs; from simple tribal-like beats (“Sullen”) to the utmost metal (“Grim Determination”) each beat is precisely where it should be. Rhys Bryant’s guitars and bass top off the sound with just the right amount of range and restraint, when needed, to deliver a memorable metal album without becoming overbearing.
Blue Gillespie’s Seven Rages of Man is not just another metal album. Those looking to destroy brain cells by senseless shredding and head banging nonsense need not enter. Those looking for a shockingly well played out album that can only superficially be called Metal, come on in. There is far more to this than the title leads on. This record has opened my eyes to a fantastic approach to an over-saturated genre and proven just what the quiet country west of England is capable of.