The Welsh onslaught and domination of the heavy music scene continue to build momentum. Bands such as Those Damn Crows, Skindred, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons are flying high, and other acts such as Valhalla Awaits and the fantastic Zac & The New Men are also snapping at the heels of their peers. Merthyr monsters Florence Black are about to enter the big leagues too. The lads have worked their way up from playing every shit hole in the country to currently playing a mostly sold-out UK Tour.
Their debut album ‘Weight Of The World’ introduced us to the band’s amazing ability to mix super heaviness with beautiful melodies and hooks that grab you instantly. The long-awaited follow-up ‘Bed Of Nails’ is finally here and it doesn’t disappoint. We have been drip-fed singles from the album and they are already part of my musical psyche. Songs like ‘Start Again’, ‘Don’t Hold Me Down’, ‘Look Up’, ‘Warning Sign’ and the title track are superbly crafted songs.
Vocalist/guitarist Tristan Thomas has developed into a mature frontman and his voice is a thing to behold. Jumping effortlessly between full-on screaming to crooning, not to mention his exemplary guitar work. There are riffs on display here that Messrs Iommi and Cantrell would be proud to have written. Take ‘Start Again’ for instance, With massive riff, huge chorus, drummer Perry Davies with his four-on-the-floor thump builds into a head-pounding crescendo. Superb. ‘Don’t Hold Me Down’ is another great example of what Florence Black do best, riffs for days and another earworm of a chorus. Let’s not forget what bass player Fozzy brings to the party, listen to the title track to hear him hold the song together with his low-end rumble. Together with Perry, they are a world-class rhythm section.
There’s not a weak track on display here, ‘Tax Man’ and mid-paced Chugger ‘Look Up’ are great examples of the lighter side of the band. ‘Beautiful Lover’ has some genuinely heartfelt lyrics and more wonderful guitar work from Thomas. ‘The Way Home’ gets us back onto more familiar territory, I love the way that drummer Perry Davies utilises the aforementioned four-on-the-floor technique, he really drives the band while still having a natural swing to his playing. Lovely stuff.
Solid 9 has a punishing groove and more of those wonderful vocal melodies, Rockin’ Ring is an absolute belter of a track, building from the gentle intro we get another neck-breaking riff that stinks of Alice In Chains inspiration. The Forest takes us in another direction with a chilled acoustic intro. The album closes with another highlight; Back To The End showcases Thomas’ vocal range beautifully.
The songs are of perfect length, the production values are crystal clear, and the album artwork is superb. In Bed Of Nails, we are hearing a band climbing into the stratosphere of their genre. A wonderful listen. We have been given twelve tracks of perfection. Get it now, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are lucky enough to be catching Florence Black on their current run of live dates, make the most of seeing them in smaller venues, they won’t be there for long.
Author: Kenny Kendrick