DEATH PENALTY - s/t 2LP
The riff has been refined and redefined so many times over the last four decades that ownership of a guitar and half a brain should be all that’s required to at least have a decent stab at getting things right, and yet very few people seem capable of tapping into the true essence and ethos of what made Tony Iommi such an all-conquering pioneer and overlord of six-string power and glory. Over the last 25 years, discerning metal fans may have struggled to pinpoint any bona fide contemporary greats amongst the never-ending proliferation of also-rans and wannabes, but as chief composer and guitarist for UK doom metal legends Cathedral, Gaz Jennings has more than earned the mantle of the modern age’s most consistent and supremely talented Riffmaster General. A perennial unsung hero of the heavy underground, Gaz has already contributed a vast number of classic songs to the metallic canon, but when Cathedral finally called it a day in 2013 it looked as if another guitar hero was destined to disappear into the shadows. Gloriously, he has now returned with a brand new band, Death Penalty, and an eponymous debut album that once again proves his absolute mastery of the form.
With such a formidable reputation to uphold, it was absolutely vital for Gaz to select the right musicians to work with in his new band. Enter vocalist Michelle Nocon and Fredrik ‘Cozy’ Cosemans, members of Belgian doom warriors Serpentcult; a band that Gaz greatly admires and fellow Rise Above alumni, and not forgetting to mention bassist Raf Meukens (ex-Gorath). Although resident in Belgium, Michelle and Cozy were simply the right people for the job and kindred spirits that Gaz suspected would be perfect for helping him to realise his new musical vision.