Bart M. : After a self-titled EP and an album called 'Fortuna Havana', the English rockers of 1968 are now officially debuting with 'Ballads Of The Godless'. The band named themselves after the year in which the whole of the music scene was beginning to change, in which slowly but steadily we were saying farewell to the birds and the bees and room was being made for darker and heavier music. And what a great time that must have been! 1968 is inspired by many of the bands that were up and coming then, giving them an interesting, old-fashioned sound with a lot of heavier, more modern influences.
The album starts out nice and heavy with 'Devilswine', a song with repetitive riffs and the pleasant and convincing voice of Jimi Ray. A little sludgy, a little psychedelic, a very nice opening track. Even the solo sounds as if it was recorded on some forgotten, sandy dune as it resounded in between stony cliffsides. The next song, 'Screaming Sun', shows even more diversity and nicely hammers the eardrums, as does the interestingly titled 'Temple Of The Acidwolf''. Nothing to get in edgewise there. The next song is instrumental and very quiet, a nice diversion of what has come previously, but not so good as that I can see the use of it. After this the heaviness gets build up slowly again in 'Chemtrail Blues', a song that has both heavier parts and, as the title indicates, more mellow and bluesy bits. What comes next certainly still sounds very good, but it does show a certain lack of inspiration. This does not make songs like 'McQueen' or 'The Hunted' any worse, but it does make it all sound a little more of what we have already heard. Maybe I am missing out on something here but this is the reason why I really do not get why 'Mother Of God' was chosen as last track: an instrumental with some vague, distorted vocals, not a bang but a whimper.
1968 is a great band, I am glad I found out about them, but I hope they will continue to develop from here and thus command a nonstop interest from listeners. 'Ballads Of The Godless' is a good record and with a little more variety the next one can be even better.