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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats formed in London in 2009 and burst into the underground rock/metal scene after their second full-length album 'Blood Lust'. But, before that, the band released 'Volume 1' in 2010; an album sounding like something directly from the late 60s / early 70s. The music isn't as much metal as it is sleazy, stoned psychedelic rock a la early Pentagram (before their proper doom metal sound), and the production gives the music an overall dirty, raw feel to it.
Whilst not an extremely gimmicky band, in comparison to Ghost (B.C.) and the likes of Slipknot (eh...), Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' vocals are interesting, in the sense they sound a lot like the Beatles' Lennon and McCartney on a song like 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. Both the vocal style and the production have a hand in the outcome of that.
The music itself borrows from early Pentagram (the dirty, sleazy hard rock / proto-doom riffs), as mentioned above, the Beatles (vocals), the Doors and the Stooges(the excellent use of the keyboard) and of course Black Sabbath (Iommi-esque solos of a somewhat bluesy nature). Overall, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' debut album is a mixed package of the psychedelic rock of the late 60s and the hard rock/heavy metal of the early 70s, spiced with a creepy atmosphere reminiscent of now ancient classic horror films like Frankenstein and Dracula. Other lesser elements present on this album are elements of surf rock strongest on the main-riff of the song 'Vampire Circus' and "Wind Up Toys".
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats would go on to release superior albums later on, but 'Volume 1' is worth anyone's time, since it's a very enjoyable album with some excellent songs like "Crystal Spiders", "Dead Eyes of London", "Lonely and Strange" and "Vampire Circus"; all as good as songs that would later appear on 'Blood Lust' and 'Mind Control'.
Compared to the already retro-like production on 'Blood Lust' and 'Mind Control', 'Volume 1 is even more lo-fi. Not ridiculously graint or anything, but it sounds more like a demo than an actual album. It's a very minor thing to complain about, though, since the quality of the music is top-notch. The album loses a little bit of the edge in the last three tracks, since they're a bit weaker than the other songs, and can be considered fillers, but overall, 'Volume 1' is a solid psychedelic rock album with a creepy, vintage atmosphere.
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats' (what a wonderfully sleazy name) later material feels like the Beatles soldiered on well into the 70s and returned to their psychedelic stylings of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this process they would have met Black Sabbath at a dingy English bar, had more than a few brews, dropped some shrooms and hit the studio together. Their debut takes a larger run on the 60s and 70s classic rock pantheon, taking handfuls of everything they can and dispersing it throughout their sound. This relatively under produced ode to the era of hippies and actually good mainstream music contains a deeply vintage vibe.
Black Sabbath and the Beatles are definitely ingredients in the mix, but here they aren't at the forefront. Here, they draw from just about everything they can. They have no doubt been listening to The Doors around the time they were recording. The Stones, a bit of surf music, a large helping of occult rock, unsurprising nods to the psych rock movement and even some The Who works its way into the framework. I think I can even hear trace amounts of The Stooges on occasion.This all culminates in a well done throwback, while not really adding anything to the lexicon, providing a solid mix that encapsulates a vast array of important sounds. This isn't nearly as heavy as their subsequent work, and contains nothing that you wouldn't hear in the 60s or 70s.
Although, being self financed this is understandable, the production is a bit lo-fi considering the sound they're going for. It's not full on grainy or anything, it just sounds like something you'd expect from a demo. Although not a major detractor, bumping the production up a few notches wouldn't have hurt. On the bright side, it does add to the vintage sound. Unsurprisingly, given their allegiance to classic rock, much of the guitar work is distinctly bluesy, especially in the leads. The riffs draw from a deep well of countless bands from their preferred era. Although consistently enjoyable, this does have a few standouts. "Dead Eyes Of London" is an instant classic in the band's discography. Uncle Acid's aloof croons are at their best, the riffing is strong in its simplicity and the songwriting is incredible. The repeating of the song title is pretty much the best moment on the album. "Witches Garden" is also a high point.
With their first volume of songs, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats (still love saying their name) don't ascend to the peaks of blissfully stoned Sabbathian psychedelia they would later reach, but this is a nice rock throwback to one of the best eras in music. Doing the rounds on classic rock, these dudes produce a viable nod to the past, even if rather lo-fi. This is a good start, but really doesn't show what they're fully capable of. Nonetheless, an enjoyable record that warrants multiple spins.