April 19, 2019 Sister Shotgun – Fragments (Album Review)
There are many clichés that haunt the Hard Rock/Metal world. For starters, a new band can come off as cookie cutter, carbon company of others previously, or currently on the scene. Even worse, they can appear to be insincere in their approach. All these daunting possibilities in mind, there are still those bright spots amidst the waste land of ordinary. That is where the young band Sister Shotgun comes into play as they prepare to release their debut full-length album, Fragments, on Friday, April 19th through Pavement Entertainment.
Out of the UK, Birmingham in the West Midlands to be exact, the band was brought together in 2012 by Guitarist/Songwriter Niall Wills looking to create a heavy band with a big sound. Plotting a plan of attack, he soon joined forces with Chloe Ozwell, a fellow songwriter, as well as a vocalist with a soaring range and ton of edge. A few years later, Tim Chambers came on as a full-time bassist, while Dave Harvey took over on drums, and Benji Tatlock rounded out the lineup on lead guitar in 2018. Together, all from different influential backgrounds, they united to create something that is intense and ear-catching with Sister Shotgun.
Fortunately for the eager band, they did not immediately thrust themselves into creating a full-length album, and in 2017 put out the 5 track EP Devour. A nice introduction for listeners, the independent effort was enough to grab the attention of Pavement Entertainment, who signed the band up, prompting them to move forward. Spending time in 2018 touring the UK with Vixen’s Janet Gardner, they would also go into the studio with Romesh Dodangoda, who has worked with everyone from Bullet for my Valentine to Bring Me the Horizon to put the pieces together for an album. With their goals and firepower in place, does it all translate into Fragments?
Ten songs in total, eleven with the bonus offering of “No Hope,” there is certainly no lack of energy in any of the moments that pass. Potent, crunchy and at times very heavy, each track has a punch that is sure to, if anything, have you turn your head. With your attention now in their hands, Sister Shotgun aim to go for the jugular with catchy, melodic riffs, and some lively guitar solos. This is evident throughout the entirety of Fragments, highlighted by songs such as opener and single “Sacred Heart,” “From the Ashes,” as well as the title-track.
Matching the very tight instrumentation of each member, Ozwell’s very powerful vocals stand above it all. Naturally as a singer, her brightest moments range between reaching high with held out notes, to other times where she roughens up her voice in order to put more emphasis on certain lyrics. That in mind, songs to seek out for a dose of her broads range of ability consist of “Silhouettes” and “Scorn,” a blistering cut where she lets loose at various points. Ironically, the dirtiest most Rock-n-Roll vibed track on the album is the aforementioned bonus piece “No Hope,” which should also not be overlooked.
All things considered, Fragments is a well-executed, enthusiastic debut effort from a talented, promising band. It is evident the different backgrounds of the involved players make for a no-holds-barred approach to the music that combines Rock, traditional Metal, and even some Melodic Death Metal styling into it all. The only critique is that it would be fantastic to hear Ozwell let go of the reins some and unleash a bit more fury. Not at all a knock on her, it is just clear this lady has a hell of a lot of talent and it would be awesome to see her given the platform to let loose; much like Tina Turner might have done in the younger years of her career. All of this said, Cryptic Rock gives Fragments 4 out of 5 stars.
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