Death Alley – Live at Roadburn (Tee Pee Records, 24 February 2017)
Hey, have you heard the news — the Netherlands’ biggest annual hard rock party Roadburn is coming up this weekend! (Oh wait, of course you already knew that — because you read this review yesterday of a band who’ll be playing there!)
But first, why not check out this local (well, only about 100km or so away) band who appeared at the festival in 2016? Following their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut Black Magick Boogieland, Amsterdam’s Death Alley was invited to perform at Roadburn, where their set was reportedly so “moving” and “magical” that Tee Pee decided to document it and make it available to the public in various physical and digital formats.
To start with, I’m not usually a big fan of live records, since they don’t usually seem to do much justice to capturing the energy a band puts out, compared with experiencing it in person. And furthermore, I especially wouldn’t have very high expectations for a live album by a band I wasn’t already familiar with — since it rarely would be a way to gauge what they sound like under ideal circumstances. Having said all that, Live at Roadburn turns out to be a great-sounding album and a perfect introduction to Death Alley.
Of course it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise I would take an immediate liking to this band, as I’ve had such an overwhelmingly positive response to other bands that included a former The Devil’s Blood guitarist among their members. And on that subject, this album kicks off with a cover of that band’s “It’s On” — showing a somewhat more straightforward blues-rock, with plenty of psychedelic attributes, but only a faint glimmer of the occult aesthetic that TDB often took to an excessive extreme.
The mostly-ambient instrumental “66666” manages to hang onto to the listeners’ attention by branching out into noodly guitar solos just often enough; then the band takes this concept to ludicrous heights with a version of “Supernatural Predator” from their debut album, stretched out to twenty-two minutes — an exploratory voyage that should certainly be appealing to fans of past classics like Frampton Comes Alive or even At Fillmore East.
After half an hour or so, the proceedings come to a close with a new song called “Feeding the Lions” — again rooted in a straightforward rock style, but embellished with so much psychedelia and progressive tendencies, it’ll surely have you eagerly anticipating what’s yet to come for Death Alley. As it turns out, just a few months back there was an announcement that the band had signed on with Century Media Records for their second LP, due to be released in early 2018 …
Check out Live at Roadburn (stream/download/cd/vinyl) here.
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