Album Review : Baleful Creed – Seismic Shifter May29


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Album Review : Baleful Creed – Seismic Shifter


As album titles go Siesmic Shifter has to be as close to spot on as you can get. If this release does not propel the Belfast boys to new heights I will be gobsmacked. Living in Scotland we haven’t had much chance to see this bunch live but luckily I caught them at Wildfire Festival last year and was instantly impressed. I bought their debut and as good as that album is it is completely overshadowed by Siesmic Shifter.

I will get the negatives out of the way first, the production quality is not the best I have ever heard with the drum mix just not ideal for me but if you put it into perspective and put the recording in line with the bands which Baleful Creed obviously lean on heavily for inspiration, well, lets face it Black Sabbath were not exactly produced to the hilt until maybe the Dio era and all those early albums are still like liquid gold to my ears. Ok, I will make one exception in that…”Live At last” was hellish.

So maybe this sound was desired for the old school feel because that is what this album grabs onto with both sweaty hands. The riffs are heavy as hell, the lyrics are excellent, Fin Finlay’s vocals are like a throat full of glass and he could deliver any Danzig tune with perfection.

The sound of Baleful Creed could never be placed at the feet of a Northern Irish band and I love that. It is like finding a Welsh Southern Rock band, A Scottish Country music outfit…somehow it is so wrong but one listen to this album will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about music.

The record opens with some atmospherics and a heavily faded and distorted riff…everything that Sabbath was built around and “Devil’s Side” has everything from riffage, attitude and sheer stoner delight, what a way to open.

Memento Mori” is next up and you best get your head around the riffs because this album is jam packed with them. The song breaks down immediately with just drums, bass and vocals. Fin is on his soapbox like those “the end is nigh” preachers, mix it with a little of the Wild West cure all salesmen and you have this wrapped up.

Third track “Levy” picks up the pace and reminded me of “ Symptom Of The Universe” but sung by Danzig, Fin has went for a bit of Southern swagger and this track comes out as one of my favourites of the album. I loved the mix of genres and the chorus and guitar solo were spot on for creating a very memorable song.

Back to the preacher again with “God’s Fear” and with people of a certain age from Northern  Ireland religion has a whole different meaning. You really cannot understand what the people of Ireland went through on either side of the fence until you sit down and speak to them and over the years I have done that many times and it is inherently in built and when you get musicians it is almost always likely to come out. You just have to take a look at some of the solo work of other local boy Ricky Warwick to see what I mean. No matter what the ideology behind these songs they usually mean one thing…a cracking tune, you can take it any way you want but you cannot slice and dice quality like this.

With a title like “Grind” you can pretty much guess what to expect, yes, a riff from the groin right to your temple. When it kicks in you will be swaggering to a beat but also wanting to kick the crap out of something(should I mention that this is something else that the Irish are good at? Its not all craic and jigs you know). This song seeps into your brain with it’s groove, man, I want to hear these songs live so badly right now.

With “Faux Celebrity” we go for some humour and I wonder who this song is aimed at…will we ever find out? The lyrics are brilliant on this song so I am sure it must be quite personal. No matter who it is about it rocks like a bitch…a real hairy one with facial hair, claws and fangs.

Back to the fighting again with “Walking Wounded” ( are they expecting a scrap when the band figures out who “Faux Celebrity” is about). This has a slow intro, almost like “Mother” but it has Fin sounding very melodic. The dual guitars are lazy, hazy and almost too stoned to be bothered playing but when it kicks in you will feel those six stings, especially the heavily reverbed class of John Allen.

I am seeing a bit of a theme with “ Lose Religion”, fighting, taking the piss and religion, yip, this is an Irish band alright. This song is pure Motorhead. It is a cracking look at where a lot of problems in this world arose from and it is set to a brilliant base. This will have the old school rockers headbanging with that non existent hair. “Forgiven” dips back to Danzig but no matter how a Baleful Creed song sounds it is individual in every way. This is a chugger of a song and it takes you on a warped journey.

You can always tell how much you like an album when you get to the last track and you are saying no way and “The Wolf” is one hell of a way to leave the party, a smouldering, Doors like opening, pretty trippy with beautiful vocals before ripping you apart like a….like a wolf?(sorry).

This is a must have album for anyone who was born and bred with the likes of Sabbath and Motorhead, for those a bit later to the party Danzig is a good barometer and for everyone else…just buy it, it’s immense. The boys have done themselves proud and I hope they make it over to mainland UK(don’t you dare forget Scotland) to tour this album as live I am expecting a complete kicking.

The album is out 31st May, order your copy at

Review Ritchie Birnie