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Lower The Veil: The 100th Monkey

Singer, guitarist Damien Baldwin and bassist, backing vocalist Rob Lampe first connected back in 2008, releasing an album under the band name Friends Of Bill Wilson. After hooking up with local "talent buyer" Renee Ludwig, the New Jersey duo slimmed down from a four-piece to a trio, brought in drummer Casey Ferry and changed their name to much less artsy Lower The Veil. The 100th Monkey is the band's debut effort, and while I was lucky enough to be seduced by a three track sampler earlier in the year, the efforts displayed on this full length rookie release are decidedly impressive. Landing somewhere between stoner rock, acoustic like grunge and blues fuelled rock, with the odd progressive diversion, the ten tracks that make up The 100th Monkey are assured powerful slabs of grizzly riffs and stunning harmonised vocals, that make for a mighty, yet aurally arresting thump.

The album lurches into gear via the rough, ready and royally excellent, "The Giving Tree", which is an ode to the leafy plant all stoner rock bands get their "inspiration" from. However it is the ability to combine hard hitting, stomps of guitar with galloping snare smacks and crystal clear vocals that mark it out as something a little special. From there the slabs of molten rock come reigning down fast. "Celebrate Murder" adds a Bob Mould like slice of glittering grit to proceedings - a mixture of powerful music and well thought out lyrics never hurt anyone, did it? "Stand" eases off slightly on the power, with Pearl Jam kind of being brought to mind, what with the authoritative beat and impassioned vocals bouncing along on a neat staccato riff. "Burning Whale" operates in a similar style, although "The Way It Is" comes across as a less gargantuan sounding Clutch-alike, while "Tess' Song" offers up a more refined statement where the vocals really come to the fore, illustrating just how well suited Damien and Rob's voices are.

Drawing from a variety of influences, while carving out a path of their own, Lower The Veil have really shown it is possible to provide a caress of steel, making The 100th Monkey a classy slice of gritty and rough, yet smooth and shiny rock, that shocks, seduces and soothes as it slams home.

Track Listing
1. The Giving Tree
2. The Sawyer
3. Burning Whale
4. All That's Real
5. Tess' Song
6. Celebrate Murder
7. Once Upon a Time
8. Stand
9. The Way It Is
10. The 100th Monkey

Added: July 14th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lower The Veil on Reverbnation
Hits: 2953
Language: english

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