Lonely Kamel

Shit City

Written by: AP on 24/12/2014 11:51:25

Although they’re far less recognised than the torch bearers of the 70’s revivalism, Lonely Kamel have since their inception in 2005 always ranked among the upper echelons of that movement, not least by virtue of their refusal to follow conventions. Grounded in the same ‘Sabbath & ‘Zeppelin inspired foundation though their music may be, the Norwegians take pride in diversity, dusting their albums with a broad variety of stylistic influences ranging from doom, stoner and blues, to rock’n’roll and balls-to-the-walls metal. This latest outing of theirs, bluntly entitled “Shit City”, continues that tradition in strong fashion to forge their finest piece of music yet - one which every fan of vintage rock should take an interest in.

On the eponymous opening track guitar toting vocalist Thomas Brenna couldn’t resemble Lemmy Kilmister more if he tried, the swagger and bombastic gallop of the thing sounding like a page ripped out of the alphabet of Motörhead. It’s an explosive and instantly engaging start, and despite the overt similarities at first, Brenna and his compatriots lead guitarist Lukas Paulsen, bassist Stian Helle & drummer Espen Nesset twist the song into their own halfway by transitioning into a slower, jammy part in preparation for the following “White Lines”, which draws its ominously rumbling foundation riff from the school of ’Sabbath. As such, within the space of just two songs Lonely Kamel establish their intention of unfolding the full breadth of their influences and manage to create the kind of intrigue that’ll have the listener at the edge of his or her seat for the remainder of the record.

Indeed, the variety broadens further with the moody blues infusing rock’n’roll of “Is It Over?”, its intro and bridge paying shrewd tribute to ‘Zeppelin by virtue of one of those riffs that sticks like self adhesive film; and the successive “I Feel Sick”, which blends the smoky singing and catchy strut of Chris Cornell & Soundgarden with another slab of stoning, ’Sabbath-y doom. But while this quartet of tracks contains its fair share of standout moments, there’s still the nagging feeling that some edge might be missing. It isn’t until centerpiece “Seal the Perimeter” that Lonely Kamel truly reveal their hand; wasting no time in busting out the most unforgettable riff “Shit City” has to offer - a dense and groove laden colossus reminiscent of the likes of Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet - the track is built around its heavy, intoxicating groove, while Brenna takes a space trip with elegantly psychedelic, effect laden singing.

The swelling prog dynamics and soulful blues of “Freezing” (which incidentally houses the album’s best solo), as well as the cool stomp’n’rollick of “BFD” (acronym for “Big Fat Dolly”, judging by the lyrics) produce further standout moments thereafter, and although the remainder of material never reaches comparable heights, I find myself at pains to point out any distinct weaknesses in them. Lonely Kamel accomplished in “Shit City” the admirable feat of consistently writing songs that sustain the listener’s interest whilst retaining a quality of elusiveness - like there’s always something just behind the veil left to discover during the next listening session. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better stoner record released this year, and while the relative lack of truly striking moments withholds it from the greatest grandeur, it’s a must have on the shelf of any self respecting connoisseur of vintage rock.


Download: Shit City, Seal the Perimeter, Freezing, BFD
For the fans of: Glowsun, Graveyard, Soundgarden, Troubled Horse
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.08.2014
Napalm Records

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