Steak - No God To Save - (7.5/10)
Published on May 8, 2017
London is known for many things on both ends of the good and bad spectrum but somewhere way off the former is the city’s music culture, where many styles inhabit the urban swamps. Of course, we care about the heavy here at The Metal Observer and as cruelly expensive as it can be, London has a grand history of heavy music be it with terrific bands, rad venues, and jaw-dropping festivals. And like the proverbial slab of meat they take their name from, Steak oozes its succulent juices into all three aspects of this unholy trinity: they are stalwarts of the local gig scene, guitarist Reece Tee is co-founder of promoter Desertscene (responsible for the London run of Desertfest) and, as new prime-cut No God To Save shows, are amongst the premier acts the city and the country has to offer; bringing the heat of Palm Desert to sizzle the concrete rivers dry just in time for summer, and unforgiving in its heavy delivery, Steak’s sophomore effort is one the country should be proud to occupy and chew from!
Meat-based puns aside, Steak have seen a glorious rise through all the right (and best) channels to get to where they are now with a sensational debut released on Napalm Records back in 2014 to land a spot on Ripple’s impressive roster circa 2017. Borrowing heavily from the Kyuss school of desert rock this time around No God To Save is grandiose without being pompous, pounding without being in-your-face, and colossal without being imposing. Its music is full-bodied like the finest ales flowing through the veins of Kip, Cam, Reece, and Sammy; vessels that are bursting with every neck-breaking riff and grooving rhythm they pull off until the music embodies them, unleashing a vibrant display of body-pummelling heaviness and soaring soundscapes emanating from some crisp oasis hidden from the pedestrian walks of life who negate our ways. And just as majestic as his supporting players stands Kip, a vocal shaman who is compelling and powerful as and when he needs to be – projecting his voice through the stone jungle for all to hear as well as guiding others to their inner sanctum.
Nowhere is this balance struck so exquisitely than on songs like ‘Rough House’, where a swelling motif lifts you far above the violence of everyday life on eagle wings whilst Kip towers before the stacks as if he were a bear standing tall, bellowing his chants whilst spectators take note of the words he projects, graciously nodding their heads not just in agreeance but also in time to the perfect execution of the leads behind him. Then there is ‘Overthrow’ which blasts away on heavy desert overtones, with drums pounding on a heartbeat and glistening sunburst riffs leaving the listener transfixed. Of course it wouldn’t be a Steak album without songs like ‘Coke Dick’ and ‘Creeper’, both packed to capacity with stonking stoner grooves but out of these faster pieces it is ‘Living Like A Rat’ that nabs the crown, sounding like Orange Goblin on speed before cascading the listener within its ferocious eye wall, its erupting final act pounding down on flesh leaves its victim battered and bruised. It may not sound as thick as the other choice cuts on the record but it does not hold back on the punches.
On an album as sumptuous as No God To Save, it’s no wonder these guys are rising fast through the chains of command on the local and national stoner scene as it bears all of the makings of a future classic. It’s precisely balanced, expertly executed and is immensely enjoyable. Despite being obviously led down the Kyuss road as mentioned earlier (an influence that at times cannot be overlooked), Steak have proved they have the chops to follow and lead where this is concerned. Besides, who cares? It sounds killer and will be killer live [I overtly kick myself for once again missing Desertfest and missing out on their performance]! No matter how you take your steak, you will simply wish to devour this one! What should seal the deal further is the dystopian comic book released alongside the album, with artwork designed by artist Rhys Wooton which is beyond phenomenal!
I do not apologise for the gratuitous use of meat-based points-of-reference used throughout this piece…just sayin’…