Elliot and Ryan Cole have been stalwarts of the international stoner doom scene since they formed Desert Storm a decade ago in their home town of Oxford, releasing five albums with that band and touring Europe like dogs ever since. They are two parts of the quintet which is The Grand Mal, signed to APF Records, whose self-titled debut was released in 2019.
Their latest project Wall was conceived during lockdown. Frustrated at not being able to tour, and stuck at home together, Elliot and Ryan found themselves seeking a substantially creative way to kill the boredom. Over the course of a few weeks Ryan wrote the riffs whilst Elliot sat next to him slapping his hands on his knees to create the grooves. As soon as it was safe to do so, they entered Shonk Studios in Oxford with engineer Jimmy Hetherington and laid down the debut EP of Wall. It will be released on the 15th January 2021 via APF Records.
Ryan Cole says of the EP:
We’re pretty happy with how the EP turned out. We went into the studio with 4 tracks and decided to do a Black Sabbath cover as well. We had never jammed them properly, as it was all written unplugged at home. Wall was initially started as a covid lockdown project, but we’re up for touring and writing more for sure…we’ll see what happens!
As we’ve said a few times over the last 9 months, if there is one good thing to come out of the ‘lockdown’ era, it is the increase in musical projects that have come about. With bands and artists unable to tour, it’s been a scant bit of positivity to see imagination and ideas created, distilled and crafted when normally there would be no time.
It’s this period that has seen the birth of Wall, where the brothers Cole have taken their love of all thing’s stoner, sludgy and doomy and crafted a thumping debut EP. Beginning with the crashing rhythms of Wrath of the Serpent. Where the heaviness doesn’t overshadow the detail in the riffs or the groovy beat that brings some wildness to things.
It’s a very strong start and it just gets better with the meaty roundhouse of percussion that dominates on Sonic Mass. Whereas the sludge is strong in the dangerous sounding Obsidian. A track that has elements of the duo’s other works but is instinctively vicious regarding how heavy it proves to be. If you’re not shifting a little uncomfortably, you might need to clean your ears out.
Legion, the last original track keeps the focus where it should be, on the stellar guitar work and heavy as balls groove. Another kick-ass ball of excitement from Wall, who cap off their debut with a wicked cover of Black Sabbath’s Electric Funeral. More than capable of doing the legendary band justice while still having just a touch of what makes Wall their own beast.
Rooted in doom, sludge and stoner groove. If those three styles, amalgamated by a very capable band, are up your street then you won’t want to miss out on this release.
Wall – Wall Full Track Listing:
1. Wrath of the Serpent
2. Sonic Mass
5. Electric Funeral (Black Sabbath Cover)
Wall - Wall (APF Records)
The Final Score - 9.5/10