This is the first word that came to mind after listening – under no little duress, I have to add, thanks to Sentinel Daily Editor Scott Adams – to the opening track from Brit metal hopefuls Sister Shotgun, Sacred Heart, on their new album Fragments. I’d had a look at the promo shots, and, I’m ashamed to say, written them off as being far too ‘modern’ for my tastes. A typical, second division British pub version of whatever’s shifting units in the US and Europe right now. And yes, they do have a very ‘now’ sound thanks to the uber-crisp production techniques of Romesh Dodangoda, who has worked with some of the biggest names in what passes for metal in Britain in 2019… But – and it’s a huge, hairy and menacing but, clad in size ten DM’s with blast furnace breath and a wild look in it’s eye – they also have one of the best new female rock voices I’ve had the pleasure of contact with in a long, long time!
In simple terms, Britain at last has a truly world class female METAL vocalist on it’s hands in the shape of Chloe Ozwell. She’s classically trained, natch – you can tell from her superb control of the frightening power at her command – and she can sing the veritable arse off of anything placed in front of her. This is a good thing, because at times the material on Fragments is a tad mundane. Not actively horrible, you understand, but there are an awful lot of bands out there trotting out this kind of melodically-inclined modern metal, and it takes a lot to break free of the pack, which tracks like power ballad For The Love of Hate just wouldn’t do without the impassioned lead vocal. But on the likes of the afore-mentioned Sacred Heart and the superb From the Ashes you really do get the sense that here is a band ready to go toe to toe with the giants of this genre from overseas.
One listen to the crushing radio metal of Miss Fortune underlines this fact.
It’s not all Ozwell, of course – Benji Tatlock and Niall Wills both provide admirable guitar work, with crystalline lead playing littering the album, but we are honestly in the presence of vocal greatness here, people, and I don’t want to diminish that fact too much. If Halestorm are a bit too ‘corporate rock festival’ for you, if Amaranthe appeal but are just a bit too polished, then Sister Shotgun are well-placed to become your new favourite band. And why not? They’re bloody ace!
Fragments is out now.