The notorious second album is a hard beast to wrestle. Tax the Heat's acclaimed debut, Fed to the Lions propelled them onto the rock scene with a modern twist on big-hearted classic rock; for their sophomore release, they have indeed changed their position. Their sound is bigger, the vocals are phenomenal, and the songs are nothing short of epic. Quite literally they have turned up the heat, and it's so hot they might break the grid.
The album is self-assured from the off with a massive riff on Money in the Bank marking its territory. The overall sound is of stadium quality and more commercial than their last record, but they are still unafraid to go for the jugular and wear their hearts on their sleeve too. Playing With Fire boasts some exceptional musicianship that sees the band playing with syncopated percussion lines and Alex Veale stretching his vocals with aplomb. At times his vocals are a cross between the belting falsetto of Freddie Mercury, the forceful air raid siren of Bruce Dickinson and the cocksure swagger of Robbie Williams – in short, he is a born frontman.
The dynamism and edge of their first album remains, but like The Beatles who have a substantial influence on the band, they are not content to rock the same groove over and over. All That Medicine is the lynch pin of the album that layers things up in with hypnotic Bowie-esque rhythms and showcases their newfound experimentation. Taking the Hit is a wall of sound that whacks you like the Scissor Sisters on steroids. Wearing a Disguise combines soaring classic rock melodies with the dirty guitars of grunge and just a tint of blues, making an exceptional track. It's like they are a different band: confident, adroit and masterful. There's little room to take breath between the crazy energy that underlies the tracks. There are a few riffs and references to other influences like Fleetwood Mac, Queen and Pink Floyd by way of lyrics, harmonies and riffs to listen out for.
Fed To Lions dipped their toe into the biz, this second album opens the cage and unleashes a hungry animal worthy of carrying the rock name forward.
Groupie Rating 5/5