Going to flip all the cards here and say that much as I like some kinds of hard rock and metal, I originally thought Auckland's Jackal probably weren't going to be my band.
Dense, nail-gun riffery and hammered-down drumming I like and they deliver that early up with Rivet Head . . . but on this, their third album, they stretch into areas beyond the familiar attack.
Stealing a Glass Eye is an almost mischieviously slice of prog-mathematics in its construction and you cannot deny the considerable musical skills on display before it shifts gear into an ear-scouring workout, again with impressive guitar work which might owe a nod to King Crimson's work after Crimson King.
And Spike and Associate with a spoken word delivery is whimsically silly and squelchy. No metal band would ever do stuff this amusing and I admire them for that. (I constantly remind people the Beatles did Yellow Submarine and Tomorrow Never Knows on the same album, and don't you wish U2 and Coldplay could loosen up that much?)
Elsewhere of course they take their work Very Seriously Indeed (the crunching Where We Came In) but the vocal delivery often lacks the stentorian gravitas the material demands (The Woken) . . . although the 10 minute title track at the end opens up new possibilities between rock and prog although it takes far too long to grip.
So over the short haul (seven songs, 44 minutes) just not enough here sticks . . . which makes this a curate's egg in which the good parts are rather tasty. Then there are other bits . . .
Seems they might have been putting onto this album "only everything" when "just something" might have worked better?
I have no doubt you will hear more from these guys at some point, if not as Jackal then as something else.
Check the interview below and they are right, their album deserves to be heard . . . and you can download it for free from here (so what's that gonna cost you but 90 seconds) so you can decide for yourself. I encourage you to give them a shot. And dammit, it's free!
By Graham Reid, posted