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Reviews

Evil Blizzard
Everybody Come To Church Julian Marszalek , October 15th, 2015 09:00

As displayed throughout Everybody Come To Church, the second album from Preston's masked purveyors of aural terror, Evil Blizzard successfully engage in much straddling without actually ever sitting on the fence. Their sonic template draws from both the post-punk pioneering of Public Image Limited and the anarchic psychedelia of Hawkwind without relying too heavily on or the other; they balance the onslaught of their live shows with an ability to use the studio to their advantage and crucially, they don't so much write protest songs as make sharp social observations that refuse to freeze or date them. Moreover, sticking to their delivery of four bass guitars and a singing drummer, Evil Blizzard have managed to transcend what could be a constricting modus operandi into a weapon of sheer force and power.

There are two things that immediately leap out from this powerful collection – sound and theme. Dispelling any notions that their debut album, The Dangers Of Evil Blizzard, was a one-off bound by something that could be cynically dismissed as mere schtick, here the band sounds absolutely massive. A huge, swaggering, ten-footed beast that crushes all before it, Evil Blizzard have harnessed the power and force of their live shows and captured it for posterity and much credit is due to Richard McNamara – yes, he of Embrace fame – for a production that is both sympathetic and perceptive.

Thematically Evil Blizzard explore the notions of belief and betrayal from all manner of sources – religion, politics and trust are all examined and explored with the precision of a pathologist's scalpel. "Beware the evil that lies behind the smile," they warn on explosive opener, 'Are You Evil?' - a sentiment made all the more poignant in the wake of conference season. Indeed, 'Stupid People' takes on even more powerful resonance in light of last May's election result. The shortest track on the album it packs the biggest wallop; a sharp slap round the head that's fuelled as much by disbelief as it is righteous anger.

'Spread The Fear' is where Evil Blizzard dial back the fury and increase the palpable sense of menace and dread thanks to a series of dynamics that owe more to dub than their usual touchstones. Coupled with an almost childlike motif played out on a xylophone, Evil Bizzard's condemnation of media manipulation avoids the pratfalls of the tin-foil helmet brigade to make a compelling case for the perils of materialistic distractions while slowly and methodically turning up the musical pressure.

The themes of religion and politics intertwine on the epic finale, 'Watching'. Here the band toy with the idea of an omnipresent being just as pervasive as the surveillance culture that we've allowed ourselves to walk into. Perhaps they're one and the same thing as neither seems to do anything to help but instead gazes intently at our foibles for no other reason than amusement and malign influence. It would make for a depressing listen were it not for the music that fuels it. Evil Blizzard's ability to pile on layer after layer of sound is precisely what stops this from falling into mere hectoring or paranoid ramblings. These are storytellers that have mastered the art of communication with sound as much as words.

With Everybody Come To Church, Evil Blizzard have fused anger with commentary, psychedelia with post-punk influences and have created something that's wholly their own. The ceremony is about to begin and you'd do well to join this congregation.

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