The New Saints – Songs for the Black Hearted

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Review by Rob Stanley

I always credit one band in particular for kick starting my love & passion for music. The band in question took the traditional rock sound and turned it on its head thus regenerating life into a genre that had become rather stale. Looking back ‘and I could be wrong’ I don’t feel that the national press / radio ever really gave the band full credit for what they achieved and instead concentrated on the negatives, but I digress. What I’m trying to work my way round to is that every once and awhile a band stands out above the rest and gets those juices flowing and in my case the band in question was local boys ‘Slade’.

Although there are a few decent local rock bands out there at the moment the local rock scene in general is pretty much the same as it was pre Slade era. So nothing pleases me more than seeing yet another local band giving it a damn good shake up stamping their mark and making a difference.

I first saw ‘The New Saints’ two years ago at the Wharf bar in Walsall and was pretty impressed at their performance and have seen them many time since, but when they announced they were heading into the studio to produce an 11 track CD even I was doubtful that they would have enough ‘quality’ material to be able to pull it off.

But I was worrying for nothing. TNS have managed to create an album that just screams quality and mass rock appeal.

From a vocal point front man Connor ‘and I’m not sure if he will appreciate where I’m coming from with this’ is a pleasing mix of Hetfield & Kiedis (Metallica & RHCP) which gives him a fantastic vocal range and tonal quality, an individual sound that just caresses the lobes and demands that you listen. With hooks and licks a plenty and deliciously syncopated bass lines supported by ‘for want of a better phrase’ rhythmatic skin excursions the lads have certainly made their mark.

This album is so crammed full of good strong material it really is extremely difficult to choose a favourite track, but if push came to shove then for me “Promise and Prediction” just edges ahead of the rest. The combination of soulful vocals ad haunting guitar just nudges it into top spot.

It really is hard to believe that “Songs For The Black Hearted” has been produced on a shoestring budget. Not only have TNS managed to capture that majestic live sound that is missing from so many big budget productions, but against the odds they have also managed to produce a defining Rock album..

In short this is the best Rock genre CD I’ve had the sheer pleasure to listen to in the last 18months.

Phenomenal!

9.5/10

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