Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Album Review: Hyemen & Metalfunkel - Coasters

Hyemen & Metalfunkel 
***and1/2 out of *****

Have you ever asked yourself the following: What if Simon and Garfunkel reunited and decided to only do covers of 70's and 80's metal tunes? If you have, then do I have an album for you! Coasters by Hyemen & Metalfunkel puts that premise to the test and surprisingly the end result passes with flying colors; who knew Ronnie James Dio would hold up under soft textured examination?

Apparently Sean Ferguson and Andy Wagstaff knew, as the duo behind the project they tackle some of the better known metal efforts from the era with nuanced acoustic playing and gorgeous harmonies. Dio's best known track "Holy Diver" twinkles along before light drums enter as Wagstaff and Ferguson support each other vocally, jumping on the tiger before a flamenco inspired solo. All of the tracks are expertly textured, and lovingly played.

"Th Trooper" by Iron Maiden is a studious display, lending itself amazingly well to this folk-metal interpretation (with added cello Isabel Castellvi) while the dour take on Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" it is nowhere near as fun as  Ozzy Osborne's  "Crazy Train" or the country shuffling of Motorheads "Ace of Spades" in this rollicking format.

Even better efforts are White Snake's "Here I Go Again" whose upbeat drums from Paul Greenhaw add a spritely sense of adventure while Judas Priests "Breaking The Law" in this arrangement could be mistaken for a 100 year old folk song written for serfs rebelling against vassals. All are solid but the track that stood out most to these ears is the dynamic record closing "Peace Sells". The technical playing, lyrics and extra backing harmonies added by Abigael Upton Brown really feel as if this is a perfectly crafted folk protest song rather than a chugging metal anthem from Megadeth.     

The production from Ferguson and rich vinyl sound add to the overall feeling of retro success as if this was a relic of a different era, and in some cases it is. Folk fans, metal heads, all are welcome to put on a black turtleneck and snap your fingers and bang your beret to these heavy metal yet coffee house friendly classics. Coasters is worth a listen because beyond the laugh appeal, the playing, singing and production all add new dimensions to old warhorses.
Support the band, buy the album on bandcamp and peep some streaming songs below:

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