Saturday 21 April 2018

Henry Blacker - The Making Of Junior Bonner (Album Review)

Release date: April 13th 2018. Label: Riot Season Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Making Of Junior Bonner – Tracklisting

1.Cag Mag 04:42
2.Two Shapes 04:04
3.Roman Nails 03:28
4.A Dredger Thirst 05:02
5.Shingles To The Floor 03:44
6.Cellmate 05:32
7.The New Evil 04:22
8.Keep It Out Of Your Heart 04:51
9.Little Lanes 05:13


UK Sludge Rockers - Henry Blacker - come of age with their splendidly heavy new album - The Making Of Junior Bonner. Henry Blacker has been more recognised for being a spin-off band from Henry Blacker. Though that's going to change with this album. As Henry Blacker are three albums into their career and this is perhaps their most complete and most confident record to date.

The previous two albums saw Henry Blacker creating a Punk/Sludge/Stoner sound with varied results. I'm a huge fan of their first two records but The Making Of Junior Bonner is in a league of its own.

Opening track - Cag Mag - is a sludgy driven number with heavy outbursts of Punk driven Stoner Rock sounds. The song wastes no time in creating a not so subtle atmosphere where the music drifts from one psychedelic sound to the next. The doom based guitars can be quite melodic and heavy at the same time with the pounding drums adding quite a progressive feel. Henry Blacker's overall sound does feel inspired by the "Miami/Florida" sound that spawned such killer bands such as Torche, and Floor. Though Henry Blacker still retain a certain British charm with the delivery of the vocals.

Second track -Two Shapes - offers a more "upbeat" kind of sludgy groove with the music being slightly louder than the vocals. When the heavy psychedelic sounds appear the music becomes that little bit heavier. The one part I enjoyed the most about this album is how Henry Blacker added elements of Desert Rock to their overall sound. So the whole feel of the album can be quite upbeat and sunny in places whilst still offering a bleak atmosphere on certain parts of the album.

Third Track - Roman Nails - is one of the loudest songs on the album with Henry Blacker unleashing a trippy amount of aggression.

The Making Of Junior Bonner has its fair share of experimental moments with the band changing their overall sound on certain songs of the album with fourth song - A Dredger Thirst - offering a fine line between Psychedelic Stoner Rock riffs and the bleak Sludge Rock vibes. The lyrics are slightly depressing in places and shows you how Henry Blacker have improved as songwriters since their debut album.

My complaint about Henry Blacker two previous albums that they were on for too short. Mostly under thirty minutes. So it's good to see this album being on for a more reasonable forty minutes. The second half of the album is equally good and heavy as the first part with Henry Black playing a more daring sound on tracks such as: Shingles To The Floor, Cell Mate, Keep It Out Of Your Head and Little Lanes.

The production is good for the most part. However there were a few parts where I had to increase the volume on my portable music player. It won't stop your overall enjoyment of the album but it's something you should lookout for.

The Making Of Junior Bonner sees Henry Blacker at the top of their creative powers and offers one of the most entertaining Sludge/Stoner Rock albums you'll likely to hear all year. A definite contender for one of the year's best albums.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Andy at Riot Season Records for the promo. The Making Of Junior Bonner is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Riot Season Records now.