Workshed – “Workshed” (Rise Above Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh dear, the bad men are at it again. Returning after 26 years are former Cathedral members Adam Lehan (guitar, bass, vocals) and Mark Wharton (drums, concussion) to revive old school passions of grind, doom and blackness like you’ve never heard them before – put it this way, if you’re a lover of early Celtic Frost, Napalm Death and Entombed along with touches of southern sludge then you’re gonna love this! Unhurriedly composed over 5 years, but now fashioned by esteemed producer Jaime ‘Gomez’ Arellano, Workshed’s signature sound is grim and vicious through its 11 slow to mid tempo tracks, the highlights being Lehan’s harsh Tom Warrior vocals and his massive distorted bass over which Wharton delivers his own pummellings. Together they make one helluva racket, but thanks to a liberal amount of monster hooks, tidal wave grooves and plenty of catchy – if harsh – melodies, this self title debut caught the attention of label manager (and former band mate) Lee Dorrian, whose taste continues to be faultless. Opening with ‘The Windowpanes At The Lexington’, dirty doom death riffage cement mixes with that nasty bass and big drums to create one mutha of a rocking groove that Lemmy would be proud of, before getting grimmer and filthier as Lehan asks ‘..cos I’m lost…why do I feel so alone…’, eventually speeding up to end Amebix style in all its punked out aggression – ouch! Halfway through and we find ‘This City Has Fallen’ with its massive, distorted chugging grooves alternating with frantic punk slamming as Lehan’s vocals switch brilliantly in style in delivering no mercy on what I believe is the best track of this amazing album. Closing with ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way’, the dirty black n roll sound mixed with some Cathedral guitar melodies chunders to an almost military beat as Wharton’s drums only seem to get heavier eventually fading out to end this excellent release. An incredible return and definitely not one to tell the wife about!