Recent years have seen the resurgence of ’70s classic rock and metal styles across all sorts of heavy music genres, from mainstream appeal to stranger, more underground sounds, some in the form of Led Zeppelin, some more Blue Öyster Cult or Black Sabbath. Even I, someone whose interest in musical traditions finds its limit in ’80s hair metal, must admit that albeit far from groundbreaking, young bands like Greta Van Fleet have made the music many would call classics, bad or good, and about which most don’t care anymore, more accessible again. Interestingly enough, Buffalo foursome Spacelord avoid affiliation with any kind of trend; and instead of building an altar of worship to just one band, the four lads brew their own kind of mixture out of Led Zeppelin‘s energy and Alice In Chain‘s darker guitar sounds plus their own quirky influence befitting the outlandishly alien retro sci-fi art and concepts.
Much like their artwork implies, Spacelord‘s music sounds like an audible version of retro sci-fi flicks, movie posters and weird notions we’d all have flying cars by the year 2000, android servants and impossibly useless, sleek spires piercing the clouds. As such, Indecipher is the soundtrack to gritty yet odd space opera shows like Firefly or Cowboy Bebop. Songs like “Super Starship Adventure” prove just that with their rampant power, fun-loving attitude and whimsical interludes and influences. Said track isn’t an outlier on Indecipher in regards to quality, but in regards to speed; except for this rather speedy piece, Spacelord feel much more comfortable in classic ’70s rock, almost doomy downtempo tracks with huge, inevitable sound walls supplied by Richard Root on guitars and bassist Chris Cappiello. Indecipher‘s production quality exceeds especially in terms of the excellent instrumental sound mixing with a great attack for both guitar and bass and a clear, yet far from artifical retro drum sound, transporting the spirit of ’70s sound into today’s world as a refreshing relief from overly compressed records.
With such a great instrumental sound and songwriting it’s hard not to call Ed Grabianowski’s voice the icing on the cake, which would be close to badmouthing the guy, as without his versatile vocal performance there wouldn’t be much of a cake. From grungy lower registers to soaring, idiosyncratic Zeppelin-like wailing, Grabianowski keeps up with the amount of variety and range in styles on Indecipher, delivering a truly noteworthy sound matching the instrumentalist’s prowess.
I’d be hard-pressed to choose a best track off Indecipher, each song has its own allure, be it the extraordinary guitar riffs, quirky songwriting or simple catchiness. Spacelord cover a wide range of musical styles and influences with their most recent record, something that will appeal to lovers of heavy music of all directions, be it your dad who loves blues rock, the ’90s alternative, plaid-and-ripped-jeans-wearing blonde skater hanging out in front of the liquor store a bit too much, or the kid who just got into classic or blues rock thanks to young talents like Greta Van Fleet. Spacelord is the soundtrack for cruising with the windows rolled down, either driving along the coastline in the afternoon sun; or casually speeding through an endless wasteland on a planet far from here, looking for the next city with bounty hunters on your trail.