About five years Hookah The Fuzz was founded by two friends from Birmingham: vocalist, guitarist Si Jefferies and drummer Ross Hawkins. After several line-up changes, their first eponymous album is now ready to conquer the world. With Alexander Louis on guitar and Roger Ash on bass, the line-up seems to be steady now. However, the album credits also mention Harwood Shing on keyboards, but on their Myspace-site it seems he has vanished.
What can I say about the music? I guess this will be a band you either like or hate. First track (D)illusion starts with an orchestral intro, double bass drums and riffing guitars leading to a strange, but enjoyable vocal part. The vocals sound like bands as Savatage, Primus and Metallica fused with Linkin Park. The guitars in the vein of Iron Maiden or even Dream Theater combined with the piano make the outcome sound quite special to me. The band has absorbed many of their influences in this song; this looks promising for the remainder. Next is The Girl Do Voodoo. The smooth opening shows emotional vocals on top of a piano and a soft guitar. In the heavier parts the vocals resemble Jon Oliva (Savatage), but Si Jefferies blends these parts with melodic singing and while doing so he creates a magical atmosphere. As the song continues the stunning and ingenious guitar solos really stand out. Skin And Bones is a more progressive metal song with many keyboards in the background resembling Rammstein. It's built nicely to an instrumental piece where the guitars take over from an odd sounding keyboard ending in a way Savatage do. Preachers Suck More opens with a short piece of jazz (!) continuing with a staccato guitar leading to a relaxed middle-section that evolves towards an apocalyptic end. Camp Refoogee begins with a double bass drum building up to a heavy song, but I also heard some stuff in the vein of Frank Zappa.
It seems that Hookah The Fuzz blends different musical styles to a melting pot that works out great! Munchkin Fever is kind of a progressive epic with a great middle-section. The relaxed guitars turn into Rammstein-riffs just to end in another wonderful solo that takes you to the end of the song. The speedy piece Addict contains again many changes of moods and influences, but also melodic vocals. The guitars and keyboards in the background lead you to a beautiful reggae-like piano solo. Reggae? Okay, we didn't hear that yet, but Hookah The Fuzz does it all. In the guitar parts that follow we hear a combination of Pink Floyd and Dream Theater which leads to an enjoyable piano passage ending the song. Closing the album is Hang The Hooker containing double bass drums, vocals similar to James Hetfield, which easily changes into a more melodic way of singing. The structure of the omnipresent piano and keyboard layers in the background of the entire song is pretty ingenious. That also applies for the amount of guitar solos backed up by some fine bass playing and a stunning synth solo.
Some bands create new music and they always will be remembered for that. Hookah The Fuzz doesn't create new music, but they are no copy cats either. They create their own music by blending all kinds of music and musical influences. The outcome really is a unique musical style consisting of a great diversity of styles that can be best described as Hookah The Fuzz-music. As I said before: you either love or hate it, but I think you have to love it since this band is a big promise for the future. With this album they have taken a huge step to great renown.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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