ADMIRAL BROWNING (Magic Elixir) MCD
Maryland's ADMIRAL BROWNING have a guitar and bass sound which is as huge and massive as the Mount Everest. I know that sounds like a typical phrase from someone who writes about music, but this time it's just the truth. 'Magic Elixir' is their third self-financed release and offers an excellent combination of progressive rock, doom and heavy rock. There are no vocals which doesn't bother me, because they arrange their songs in varied ways that no boredom arises certainly. The opening track 'Vortexer' alternates between crushing doom riffs and more melodic parts. Particularly notable is the virtous guitar playing of Matt Legrow who is capable to integrate a beautifully melodious solo into the song. That brings to mind other guitarists from the Maryland area like John Brenner, Dale Flood, Kelly Carmichael and so on. The next song is 'Ol' Martini Man' that is much more complex than the first one, including a bunch of technical riffs.
Nonetheless, it's still catchy and groovy. 'No Good Stones' is the first surprise here, because ADMIRAL BROWNING reduce their heaviness in favour of a slide guitar which is interweaved with an entertaining sample. This all sounds very bluesy and provides an interesting contrast to the first two songs. My personal favourite is the multi-layered last track 'Speaking In Tones'. Here in particular, the band shows what they are capable of. The beginning of the song brings back memories of Pink Floyd until an overpowering riffs breaks into the atmospheric first part. Suddenly I found myself in metal territories with driving double bass grooves. Once again ADMIRAL BROWING shines with super tight musicianship. Every now and then the pace will drop, to allow a cooling down period, before the band intensifies the pressure. Although 'Magic Elixir' is only an E.P. the complete playing time is approximately 35 minutes that will pass too quickly. Maryland is still a fertile ground for outstanding bands and ADMIRAL BROWING continues the tradition in their own, individual way. Here we have another positive surprise in 2009. Thanks a lot!