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12 Gauge | All In

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Senior Columnist —

Twelve Gauge - All In_coverThe vast number of new Rock/Metal bands and promising debut albums emerging one after another these days prompts the question – is it a long-awaited rock revival we are to witness? And assuming more than a half of those bands base their output mainly on mimicking the ‘70s or the ‘80s music patterns, can we talk about such a revival at all – or is it just re-appropriating the same scheme over and over again? Because of such status quo, the young bands which try to define themselves without looking back and which remain in touch with the aesthetics of the modern era rather than the so-called ‘retromania’ are twice as valuable in the music scene. One of such is 12 Gauge, the British Rock/Metal outfit founded in 2012. And even though the quintet cites the likes of Aerosmith, The Cult or Lynyrd Skynyrd as their influences alongside Velvet Revolver and Alter Bridge, it’s the latter two groups that their debut album All In can be compared to music-wise.

All In starts with a bang… literally! The sound of the opening track “Sins Of The Flesh” is thick and heavy, fueled by the twin attack of low, distorted guitars and the monstrous pounding groove produced by the rhythm section. All this is complemented with aggressive, searing vocals. A dark and moody piece, it precedes the raw, unpolished metal outburst of “Touch Me” garnished with a lengthy, nifty guitar solo. Based on the distinct drum line, “Tomorrow Comes Your Way” is as heavy and dense as its predecessors, dominated by the choruses embroidered with rough vocal harmonies. The classically-infused, piano-laden intro to “Take Me Back” sounds as if the fourth track on the album was going to be ballad-esque and dreamy. However, the song’s first rapid volte-face is just one of many shifts in sound intensity and strength throughout its entirety. Heavy gunshot riffs remain heavily contrasted with an underlying ballad-ish melody, adding even more to the variety of the recorded material.

“Hell To The Morning” is the aggressive group chant against the background of gritty guitar riffs, preceding the heavy, melodic groove of guitar-laden track number six – “Lose Control.” With “From The Ashes,” Twelve Gauge combine the ballad-esque aesthetics with the ‘wall of sound’ effect so typical to the modern metal scene. Its biggest asset is rich lead guitar work that resonates throughout the entire track in melancholic, wistful manner – reaching the climax in the blistering solo. Apart from that, it features particularly outstanding performance from the band’s lead singer J. Michael Ward. A very good song overall, and one of the album’s incontestable highlights.

The acoustic flavor of another modern rock ballad on the album – “Little Things” – reaches back as far as to Blues and Country music tradition, showing yet another dimension to the band’s influences. Its follow-up “All My Lovin,” in spite of remaining still within the realm of contemporary Rock/Metal genre, has the feisty, Blues-infused vibe to it. The same flavors are to be heard throughout Skynyrd-ish quasi-ballad “Rollin,” while the album finishes on a high but certainly rockin’ note of heavy, brooding “Failed Star.”

A resultant of many varied influences, very modern in terms of sound and style, but not entirely detached from Rock/Metal tradition – 12 Gauge’s debut album is an interesting one. Having maintained a proper balance between heaviness and melody in their music, the British quintet supply it with quality songwriting and very decent performance. And even though All In may not be convincing enough for some of the conservative Classic Rock-oriented listeners, 12 Gauge’s approach that favors the modern over the old and dusty is more of an asset than a drawback in the repetitive and nostalgia-driven world of rock music. Recommended.

Genre: Hard Rock, Metal

Ian ‘Jonno’ Johnson – Guitar
Lew Hornby – Guitar
J Michael Ward – Vocals
Graham ‘Gee’ Bennett – Drums
Andy Waite – Bass Guitar

Track List:
1. Sins Of The Flesh
2. Touch Me
3. Tomorrow Comes Your Way
4. Take Me Back
5. Hell To The Morning
6. Lose Control
7. From The Ashes
8. Little Things
9. All My Lovin’
10. Rollin’
11. Failed Star


Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10


1 Comment on 12 Gauge | All In

  1. great band, shot them a few times, check out their photos on the above website

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