Special effects are fun to see, and a story can be rewarding to follow. But if a rock band is good – and we mean really good – there’s nothing more exciting to encounter in a video than footage of those musicians playing live. The clip for “Empty Chamber,” the latest single from Lullwater, doesn’t feature anything fancy: it captures the Athens, GA hard rock band in the studio, deep in performance, playing the song with absolute conviction and smoldering rage. We think you’ll agree that the video requires no further embellishment. You’ll be mesmerized by their skill, their passion, and their dedication.
Hard work – and songs like “Empty Chamber” – have taken Lullwater a long way. The group, who are named after the Athens backstreet where they used to practice, has honed its skills to a dangerous, gleaming edge, and the muscular Voodoo, their third and latest album, demonstrates just how much heat they can generate. Produced by hard rock mastermind Jakob Herrman (Machine Mead, Anthrax, Manimal, many others), the new set builds on the stormy momentum Lullwater generated on their 2015 set Revival. Once again, they’re combining punk, grunge, metal, blues, and classic Southern rock in a singular fashion, squeezing every ounce of danger, anger, and exhilaration out of each bar they play. “Empty Chamber” epitomizes Lullwater at the band’s ferocious best: it’s a roar of anguish, but it’s also a cry of freedom. There’s pain here, but plenty of joy, too. Sevendust and Tremonti could not have asked for more accomplished or more exciting tourmates.
No discussion of Lullwater is complete without mentioning frontman and guiding light John Strickland, whose scalding vocal performances have earned him a reputation as one of the best singers to emerge from Athens in decades. He’s a formidable guitar player, too, and a glowering, charismatic presence in concert – and he’s a visual focus of Roy Beatty’s straightforward but strangely hypnotic clip for “Empty Chamber.” The camera swirls restlessly around the recording studio but keeps returning to Strickland, lips against the grill of the microphone, eyes a little crazed, possessed by the intensity of his own performance. The rest of the group is no less impassioned. Superimposed over the footage of Lullwater in action are outdoor scenes; they roar by so quickly that they’re effectively abstract and highly evocative. Sometimes Beatty quickens the speed of the video, sometimes he pulls back, but no matter how kinetic the cutting (and the music) gets, he never quite loses control of the wild ride.