Underground kings make their bid for stardom

There’s always been a lot to like about One For Sorrow. They’ve always been one of the best and most popular unsigned bands on the circuit, but one too, who understood the only way out of that cycle was to work hard, get in the van and take their music to people that might want to see it. It is, ladies and gents, how you build a fanbase. After all, a real punter buys a ticket and an album. 200,000 fake Facebook likes do not.

In fact, they’ve been knocking around the live scene so long that MV had to do a bit of a double take when it was said that “Blood Songs” was their debut full-length. It is, and though it emerged last year first as a cover mounted CD on Metal Hammer, if you didn’t get it then, just pick it up now, because its superb.

If you’ve seen OFS live then you know what happens. Joe Thompson smiles, wishes you good evening, then proceeds to rip your head off for half an hour. “Blood Songs” to be honest is similar. Basically its taken the aggression of bands like Pantera and Lamb Of God, mixed the downtuned stoner riffs of Corrosion Of Conformity and the like, but – and here’s the clever bit – taken a whole heap of classic rock influences and mixed them with a pinch of Alice In Chains and deliver it all with the intent of a thrash band.

Sounds good, huh? Yeah, and it is.

And that’s led to brilliant songs like “Headstrong” which grooves like a bloke listening to “Walk” on his iPod while working a wrecking ball, but still retains a British feel, the bluesy and mournful “Said And Done” and the outright aggression of album highlight “Return To Dust” which mixes mellifluous guitar from Jason Putter which the idea that it’d like to take a concrete block to your nutsack if you get in its way.

A lengthy affair, “Blood Songs” feels very much a statement of intent. Testosterone fuelled and muscular, “420” for example, won’t be denied, but it can also take itself into more unsettling waters as “Bigot” proves rather neatly. The metallic attack “Fools And Liars” on the other hand has been a staple of their set for a while and shows why here and surely has its eyes set on the moshpit and “Merciless” is the heaviest thing on offer.

There is admirable ambition on “Blood Songs” too – and this is why One For Sorrow will make their breakthrough with this record. “First To The Fight” is the kind of title track and sees Thompson exercise his full range, while “Spook” is an eight minute acoustic led ballad with a hint of Led Zep about it.

Another eight minute long effort ends things too, and the monolithic swirl of “Into The Woods” is a fitting conclusion to a record that deserves only best.

All too often you see a band who perform live and their recorded output doesn’t quite match up. Not here, One For Sorrow have, in “Blood Songs” made the record you hoped they would.

Rating 9/10

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