Vertigo Records Album Review: TROUBLED WATERS by DENIZEN


vertigologo2011One of the best parts of working at is meeting cool people from all over the world.  The internet has made it so easy for people from all corners of the planet to get together and share their love or rock music.  This week, from the south of France, we received an email from the folks in Denizen to see if we’d like to take a listen to what they have to offer.  Well, we love that.  We had a listen, and holy shit this band is heavy.  Released earlier this month, Troubled Waters quakes bowels with the best of them.  The riffing is fuzztastic and full of great leads, and the overall sound fits right into that stoner rock mould.  The drum sound has that big ride feel, but also smashes those crashes like a banshee.  I can hear Clutch.  I can hear Monster Magnet.  I can hear Sabbath.  But, as happens with many bands, and usually means their downfall, the vocals fail.

Learning to play guitar and drums is one thing, as those are instruments anyone with the time and gumption can learn to play.  It’s singing that needs to come from a talent within.  Some folks have the chops, and sadly some don’t.  Unfortunately, it’s usually the first thing people hear when a song comes on.  The vocals hold the melody most of the time, and sit right out front.  I, for one, love a good fuzztastic guitar sound, and bottom end always quakes these bowels, but for most it comes back to the singer.  Denizen needs to work on the vocals.  Now, there are many stoner rock bands that have gone on to be legendary (ahem, Fu Manchu) without being able to sing a damn thing, as it is that riffage that listeners want in this genre.  So, all is not lost, but I would recommend looking a litter harder at the melodies when it comes to vocals when writing new material.  Outside of that, the album sounds great, and it’s right fucking bouncy and heavy.  Check out the full record here, and get yourself a digital copy while you’re at it.  From what I hear, the vinyl should be ready real soon.  Contact the band to find out how you can a copy for yourself. – FATS

Here’s a bit more info about Denizen:

1265716_590013024394207_626553675_oDenizen formed in south of France between Montpellier and Sète in 2003. After a first demo/EP and a first demo/album, ‘Far From Common Strategy’ (2006) issued on the label Prototype Records, the group participates in a split tribute to Black Sabbath with the bands Illtemper and Stuntman.

Denizen then appears on a compilation produced in collaboration by Prototype Records and the Temple of Noise fanzine which found among other Tantrum, Basement, Marvin or Year Of No Light. A second album, ‘Snatches Into Uproar’ was released in 2009, still on Prototype Records. Denizen begins to move towards a more rock groove with Sludge and Stoner influences.

‘Whispering Wild Stories’ is the third album by Denizen, out in 2011. Classic Rock influences are even more assertive : a 70’s typed riffing, the wah-wah and a more melodic singing. The group incorporates a standard of Rock’n’Roll, Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream.

In 2013, ‘Whispering Wild Stories’ is re-released by english label Stargun Music (Enos, Sada…). Artwork was made by Jimbob Isaac, singer / guitarist of HARK.
Denizen played in 2013 many shows in France with bands like Steak or Black Rainbows and toured in Spain and Portugal.

‘Troubled Waters’ is the new album of Denizen, recorded during year 2014. Although you can feel a more melodic Heavy Rock feeling with Blues influences, the band’s main concern is focused on the riff.

As on the previous albums, the mastering is entrusted to Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonella, which have long proven themselves with groups such as Keelhaul, Converge, Scissorfight to name a few.
Artwork was realised by Brice Cossu, famous french comic book designer.