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.
Review by Joe Geesin
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.