Zal Cleminson’s Sin Dogs have been added to the bill for tonight only which is a bit of a shame as they provided the biggest surprise of the evening.
The SAHB t-shirts were out in force, and because of the Alex Harvey connection, many could be forgiven for thinking that their set would lean heavily towards a SAHB tribute. In actuality, their set was far from this thinking. Yes, they play a cover of ‘The Faith Healer’, but they take it and add so much of their own touches that it becomes quite a staggering cover version..almost like a metalized version of the track.
With some fierce riffs from Cleminson, as well as Willie McGonagle, Sin Dogs are indeed, quite a heavy band.
Cleminson looks and sounds amazing, once the strains of ‘Armageddon Day’ fade out he addresses his hometown crowd.. “Glasgow ya bas! Are there any sinners in tonight?” Yes, yes there are. Sin Dogs are a revelation.
Rammstein and Ministry going down a progressive route without overloading on the electronica. ‘Stick Man’, ‘Euphoria’ and the crunching ‘Evolution Road’ all help make the set very memorable indeed.
The second band up were Zal Cleminson’s Sin’Dogs and as their title portrays, no smart boy image here. Zal Cleminson is probably best known as the principle guitarist with the famed Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) in the 70s, always dressed as a clown, including heavy make-up.
The clown image has now gone and so has the constant smiley grin, progressing, now along with the other members to portray being a band from another planet that you might find playing in a club in the next Star Wars Movie!
Playing tracks like ‘Armageddon Day’ and ‘Stick Man’ which are both loaded/aggressive and hard hitting tracks from the bands Sin’ Dogs album.
Make no mistake Zal’s talent is clear to see and the gift to the crowd on the night was ‘The Faith Healer’ a massive re-mix of the original Sensational Alex Harvey Band track that most in the crowd knew.
Sadly, although the crowd wanted to hear more it was time to clear the stage for the main act.
Guitarist Zal Cleminson found fame in The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) during the 70s, where his guitar playing and mime-makeup blew many a mind. Many other projects along the way, including a reformed SAHB (with vocalist Max Maxwell), before Zal took a break from the industry.
In forming a band featuring members of the tribute band The Sensational Alex Harvey Experience, this album sees a return to music. The band have already released an EP that sold out quickly.
This album kicks off with ‘Armageddon Day’. And it sounds exactly like that; a gothic build before guitars scream in. It’s rare that Zal has worked in a twin guitar set-up but he does here. It’s loud, it’s heavy, and over the grinding powerful rhythms there’s some fantastic guitar work.
Not as obvious as in one-guitar line-ups but the deft touches are plentiful.
The acoustic intro to ‘Guns Of God’, with spaced vocals, is reminiscent of Sabotage-era Sabbath, before the twin guitars beef things up.
There’s a dark edge to the song, and the guitar solo really stands out.
The mix of the lead and rhythm guitars with the vocals are often kept fairly even, but rather than adding to a muddled feel, bolsters the heaviness.
Have a listen and you’ll realise just how intricate it is in places.
There’s a definite enjoyable groove throughout the album, it’s mind-blowingly heavy, certainly compared to Zal’s more theatrical work that many will be familiar with.
The guitar work towards the end of ‘IOU’ really will leave you in awe, and the keyboard work in ‘Still Breathing’ is reminiscent of the heaviest end of early Rainbow. It duels with the guitars superbly.
Alex Harvey was the theatrical rock’n’roll poet, Nazareth were the classic rock band, this album is classic metal and Zal is clearly on form.
A new groove has been ploughed. Having spoken to Zal about the project, he is at home here. And it shows.
Following on from their debut EP a few months ago (review here), Zal’s “comeback” to the rock music scene is cemented with the Sin Dogs first full album.
For the uninitiated, Zal Cleminson being best known for stints with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) and Nazareth – and for being one of the finest, yet under-rated, guitarists out there.
If you’re expecting something in the style of SAHB or Malice in Wonderland-period Nazareth – you may be disappointed.
If you’re expecting raw, brutal, heavy as f**k rock with snarling attitude and excellent guitar work courtesy of Mr Cleminson – you’ll be in heaven.
The Sin Dogs deliver. No doubt. Ten songs which hit hard yet are not without a melodic touch. Even trippy in parts. Zal’s all over it and lost none of his touch.
He gets to cut loose here more than he did with SAHB etc, I expect because the Sin Dogs is Zal’s band and he can do what he likes……
Check out Armageddon Day – the opener has the heaviest riff with a wall of sound behind it. Monster, monster.
Guns of God is heavy, heavy too with an infectious chorus/hook. Euphoria “rocks” hard as well with a bit of a Celtic tinge to it featuring some fine fretwork from Zal.
And the rock keeps coming……..even when they slow it down a bit (I.O.U) the song remains heavy. Marvellous stuff from start to finish. Stick Man is another highlight.