Tuesday 1 December 2015

HAG - Fear Of Man (Album Review)

Release date: January 08th 2016. Label: DNAWOT Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

Fear Of Man – Tracklisting

Fear of Man
Kingdom O
Rainbow Dust
Trauma Yauma
Metal Detector Man
White Lion
Beaten At Your Own Game
Wrong Bar

Band Members:

Tom – Drums
Robin - Bass
Ian – Vox/Guitar.


Has it been 5½ years since HAG released their S/T debut EP. Damn, it is. Well better late than never as HAG return finally with their debut album – Fear Of Man. A sprawling Psychedelic Punk/Sludge/Noise Rock odyssey with HAG proving they have something different about them. Though Fear Of Man won't be to everyone's tastes as HAG will frustrate and delight you in equal measure.

Opening track – Fear Of Man – is a noise rock driven number packed with a hypnotic Sludge Rock groove that will appeal to fans of Harvey Milk and Torche. It's a very down-tuned affair with Ian's vocals adding a gruff exterior to give HAG's sound a gritty lo-fi edge. It's a great song to open the album with but do go expecting the same sort of songs all the way through as HAG wisely change the mood from time to time.

Second track – Kingdom O – is a fast-paced distorted Punk/Sludge Rock kind of affair with the guitars slightly out of key matched with Tom's superb frantic drumming. Ian's vocals are quite different to the opening song as HAG blend different noises and rhythms for a song that feels out of control and pissed off from the start.

Third track – Rainbow Dust – is where HAG start to expand their sound as they unleash some trippy psych based noisy riffs. I can hear shades of early Soundgarden mixed with Kowloon Walled City noisy gloomy atmospherics on this song. Though it's the vocals that make this song one of the standout tracks as Ian's vocals have a certain grunge vibe to them.

Fourth Track – Trauma Yauma – is a song that promises so much but delivers very little. HAG create a few exciting riffs here and there but the song doesn't deliver on it's early promises. I really want to like this but this one bored me slightly. The riffs and vocals don't really come together on this song. Maybe it would have been better if the band left this song off the album.

That's my only complaint on this otherwise excellent album.

Fifth Track – Low – sees HAG return to the albums earlier Punk/Sludge Rock driven sounds that is pure ROCK AND ROLL. The lyrics have a rebellious feel to them which is what you would expect from a band like HAG. The psych noises deliver some thrilling moments to rock out to.

Sixth Track – Metal Detector Man – is perhaps the albums finest track as HAG delve further into their Punk/Sludge Rock psyche with the band taking their time delivering some blistering fast-paced riffs. This is perhaps the loudest the song on the album as HAG go all out in creating heavy sludgy riffs to lose yourself in.

The final 3 songs – White Lion, Beaten At Your Own Game and Wrong Bar – offer more of the same down-tuned Punk/Sludge Rock fury that you will find almost impossible to resist. Ian's vocals are impressive yet again though it's the riffs that hold your attention. The final song – Wrong Bar – is perhaps the song that has the potential to become HAG's trademark anthem as it's a brooding, heavy and psychedelic sludgy noise rock opus that will leave you in a hypnotic spell.

Fear Of Man is an exciting and superb debut album from HAG. We will be hearing a lot more from these guys over the next 12 months or so as the album will appeal to a wide majority of Sludge/Noise Rock fans. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Fear Of Man will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from DNAWOT Records on January 08th 2015.