31 May 2019 (released)
20 June 2019
Huge, dark, bleak and troubled. One of the best things I’ve heard this year.
Ben Hemming has had two previous albums out, both in this dark nu-Blues genre, but this is a breakthrough for him, all of his previous strains coalescing into a an album that has you on the edge of your seat, ears pricked to find the depths of his music and a nervous feeling that he is standing right behind you while you listen.
The energy in the music, replete with a sense of exhausted passion, carries the songs forward while some truly deranged playing creates a cacophony that perfectly suits his growling vocal.
The songs deal with inner demons and from the opening number ‘Dead Man Blues’ you are instantly focussed on his vocals and his words. There are touches of Tom Waits and Bone Zeno in the sound, especially in the thumping bass and drums (courtesy of James Hosking and Luigi Rampino) and Hemming’s own screaming guitar.
That leads into the low and impassioned ‘Inside’, much the same recipe and then into ‘Feeling Holy’ and you are feeling that Hemming is putting some really dark thoughts into song – if it works as catharsis for him, it works for the listener as well.
Much of the music here would work equally well as Heavy Metal, the intensity is almost palpable and the commitment so strong.
Marc Waterman’s production is giving Hemming’s music an entire new layer of structure and bringing out all of his talents.
A terrific album