Lizardmen Premiere “Steady Rolling Man” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan


German trio Lizardmen may have had their moniker in mind when they decided to call their 2016 StoneFree Records debut release Cold Blooded Blues (review here), but the truth is there’s very little frigid about it. Instead, the full-length comes across with an immediate tonal warmth, basking in neo-heavy fuzz and a post-Truckfigthers energy to which Lizardmen — the lineup comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nikki Engelbrecht, bassist Niklas Giese (also Into the Wild) and drummer Tobias — bring their own spin in the form of a blend of thickened grunge and weighted blues rock. Opener “Dust” sets the tone in a hook that owes as much of its churn to the ’90s as to the late ’10s, and where the subsequent “Turn the Screw” feels in part derived from the post-Queens of the Stone Age quirk of “Monte Gargano” by the aforementioned Truckfighters, the way the track takes off in its second half belongs more purely to Lizardmen themselves, and offers a clear signal that they’ve begun a process of exploring and discovering their sound and set forth to distinguish themselves from their influences.

That thread holds as “Seven” introduces more of their side rooted in blues progressions, and this will come up again later in the album on the penultimate “Steady Rolling Man” as well. The six-plus-minute track builds off a Robert Johnson original, “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man,” recorded circa 1937, a sample of which also leads off in Lizardmen‘s new video, as if to emphasize the point. From there, however, Lizardmen coat the Delta blues vibe in fuzz riffing and a hard-driven groove, turning the line “You can’t give your sweet woman everything she wants at one time” from Johnson‘s version into their own “I ain’t got what you need — fuck off” as they rock out in an open space with their tour van behind them, standing ready to carry that message forth to any and all ears willing to hear it. As they add a psychedelic break and album-highlight solo in the song’s midsection, joints are rolled, weed is smoked and what looks like good times are had, so clearly, despite their protests to the contrary, they’ve got what somebody needs.

“Steady Rolling Man” caps with a final chorus before giving way to the crashing opening of nine-minute finale “The Cannibal,” which unfolds a chaos of its own in a more fuzzy bounce, psychedelia, and a particularly aggressive march that caps with a return of its initial thrust, so while the song before is catchy, righteously and thoroughly baked and born of multiple sonic traditions, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the entirety of Cold Blooded Blues from whence it comes. Fortunately, the whole thing is streaming on Bandcamp — also at the bottom of this post — for those who’d seek a deeper dive.

And the video makes a solid argument for one. Check it out below and please enjoy:

Lizardmen, “Steady Rolling Man” official video premiere

LIZARDMEN – you can hear the social isolation of the cold-blooded, feel the scaly saurian skin that spurns all touch. Sometimes, a guitar solo cleanses you like a venomous fang, and the white-hot pain creeps through your blood vessels straight into your heart.

Beasts in disguise invite you to revel in playful melodies or driving rhythms, but as soon as frontman Nikki approaches the mic, the grimy Grunge inevitably cracks the surface. His vocals are rough and alien, like after decades of silence – but at the same time gripping in his subliminal ire. The hooks implant themselves in your lobes after the first playthrough, as stubborn as termites in a rotten tree, hollow you out, may yet wrest a tear or two from your eye – would not the bone-dry sound swallow them up in the same instant.

Lizardmen are:
Nikki – Vocals/Guitar
Tobias – Drums
Niklas – Bass

Lizardmen, Cold Blooded Blues (2016)

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Lizardmen on Instagram

Lizardmen at Stone Free

Lizardmen on Bandcamp

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Review & Full Album Stream: Lizardmen, Cold Blooded Blues

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

lizardmen cold blooded blues

[Click play above to stream Lizardmen’s Cold Blooded Blues in full. Album is out today on Stone Free Records.]

At some point, it makes sense that at some point heavy rock and roll would veer back toward grunge. Of course the roots of the sound go back further, but if one looks at the branch of riff-driven fare that began to surface in the mid-to-late ’90s, it was basically the other offshoot of grunge and noise rock which, unlike nu-metal, received no commercial push. What makes a release like Lizardmen‘s Stone Free Records debut full-length, Cold Blooded Blues, engaging is the bridge it then creates between grunge and what heavy rock has become in the quarter-century since that style first came to public consciousness.

The Osnabrück, Germany-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Nikki, bassist Niklas and drummer Tore might leave something to question at first as to where the “blues” part of the record’s title comes from, because early tracks like “Dust,” “Turn the Screw” and “Seven” don’t really interact with that aesthetic, but by the time they get around to “Prey to the Lord” and “Steady Rolling Man” and even the early-Truckfighters fuzz of closer “The Cannibal,” they’ve broken out the slide guitar and a swinging groove to match. That change occurs right at the midpoint of Cold Blooded Blues, as “Karma” gives way to the stomp of “Mammoth Creep” — countrified and tin-can vocalized in a way that reminds of Larman Clamor — and so the album winds up with a distinct two-sided feel that only emphasizes how vinyl-ready its eight tracks/44 minutes seem to be.

Admirably, Lizardmen skirt the issue of ’70s boogie rock almost entirely in their revisiting of heavy rock’s sonic past. Well, mostly, at least. Part of that might be generational — many of the bands who started in the late ’90s and early ’00s with a heavy ’70s influence were tapping into their youth; Lizardmen are clearly younger — but there’s plenty of retro rock around these days and no shortage of it from Germany, so to hear a band come along with something of a different take is immediately refreshing. Despite its bummer album art — because violence against women is awesome, right? — Cold Blooded Blues digs in early on “Dust,” “Turn the Screw,” “Seven” and “Karma” to a sound that rolls out weighted fuzz tones and rawer vocals atop dirty, thick low end. Nikki is a vocalist of noteworthy presence and developing style, and the bounce and pulled notes on “Dust” seem to come from a place pre-Queens of the Stone Age.

lizardmen (Photo by Bob Sala)

It’s a vibe “Turn the Screw” follows up with a more melodic take that brings to mind underrated UK troupe Crystal Head, building in intensity early only to find catharsis in a wash of wah and prominent tom hits in the second half before a noisy final chorus closes out. With a tambourine behind it, “Seven” has more of a party sensibility and a friendlier fuzz, but “Karma” contrasts that quickly with lines like “Everything’s going down the drain” and “I never gave you my heart/But you fucked it up anyway,” etc. This been-done-wrong spirit ties into the bluesier side B still to come, but doesn’t quite yet make the sonic leap, holding to its gritty snarl for the duration and rounding out with some impressive snare work from Tore.

As for the task of making that leap, it falls to the aforementioned “Mammoth Creep,” heavy on kick drum, slide guitar and lyrics like, “I’m working nine-to-five to keep you satisfied.” Familiar all around, but in the context of where Lizardmen were only minutes prior, a considerable shift to get there. They carried themselves well through the earlier rockers and they do likewise through “Mammoth Creep,” “Prey to the Lord” and “Steady Rolling Man,” basking in fuzz-tinged blues that only grow more engaging as they move forward, “Steady Rolling Man” proving to be a catchy highlight of the record that seems to bring in some of that grungier perspective as well as its hook efficiently states, “I ain’t got what you need — fuck off.” Sometimes the simplest statement is the way to go.

Closer “The Cannibal,” also the longest track here at over nine minutes, presents something of another turn. It brings in elements of psychedelic jamming for a surprisingly hypnotic midsection after opening with some of Lizardmen‘s largest-sounding fuzz and shouted vocals — best nod on the record, hands down — and plays itself out on a huge march topped by echoing vocals that manage to come back to a central upbeat riff for a measure before crashing out to a noisy finish. There isn’t much blues about it, ultimately, but the groove is there and it nonetheless ties Cold Blooded Blues‘ two halves together while also building on them in a different way. It will be interesting to hear if Lizardmen can work going forward to bring the varies personalities developing in their sound together or if they’ll keep the feels distinct and just build a multi-faceted songwriting approach from them, but the framework they set down on Cold Blooded Blues should offer plenty of intrigue among the converted seeking a next step from modern heavy.

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