June 30, 2011
“They got melodies the size of Texas, hooks that could catch a Great White… and an album that needs to be played really fucking loud while driving up the coast in a convertible sports car. Slam Cartel will be a force to be reckoned with.”
Billy Morrison (Billy Idol, The Cult, Camp Freddy, Stimulator)
Praise indeed. But, for London based hard rock band Slam Cartel, it’s not just about the music. Obviously they too are in thrall to the power of their own songs – and the fact they can count Billy Morrison and Russell Brand as fans is a bonus – but what really sets them apart is the pride and delight they take in delivering their killer combination of cuts, hooks and jabs to the solar plexus. Like the aural equivalent of a Peter Howson painting, all rippling muscles, taut sinew and striking tattoos, Slam Cartel are not to be argued with.
Giles Van Lane (vocals), Marc Neudeck (bass), Tommy Hendriksen (guitar), Steve Campkin (drums), Adam Lee (keyboards, guitars) and principal songwriter, Terence Warville (guitar), have been together three years. United in their dedication to breathe new life into the cause of hard rock, their very first gig was played in a bikers bar and subsequent shows have included auspicious dates at the 100 Club, Scala and rock fest, Sonisphere, where they have recruited a battalion of loyal followers. Their knockout debut album, Handful Of Dreams, is produced by George de Angelis (who, as Trevor Horn’s right hand man, worked with Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Pet Shop Boys) and was recorded at his Soniczoo Studios. Packed full of demon hooks, coruscating riffs, boss grooves, and rousing choruses, if the overall sound is somewhat reminiscent of legendary rock outfit, The Cult, you can also hear the shards and splinters of grandstanding influences, the Chilli Peppers, Guns n Roses and the Foo Fighters.
Largely written by guitarist Terence Warville (ex-Stimulator) in Ibiza, he and a mate found themselves sans TV and Internet one day and began the process of recording on mobile phones and Dictaphones. Using various buzzwords (faith, hope, unity) to inspire a feeling of transcendence, Handful Of Dreams soon became reality. “It took over a year to record the album,” says Warville. “There was no rush – we were doing it because we enjoyed it and everything seemed very organic and not forced.” Having toured in support of Motorhead and Anthrax with his previous band Stimulator, Warville describes the Slam Cartel firm as “amazing” and the writing and recording of Handful Of Dreams as his finest accomplishment.
From the opening rock press favourite, Wishing Eye, through the glorious title track and the inspired roughing up of Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime, via the sophisticated balladry of Breathe to the schizoid Shine and penetrating Hold Me, all the way through the dark splendour ofFree Again and the thunderous, stadium riffing of Mismatched Ties, Goldenstream and Powerstorm to the contemplative mood piece, Maybe Sometimes, and the surefire hit and vaguely Nirvana touched Sundown to the frankly outrageous orchestral sweep of Walk A Mile, Slam Cartel have carved out an hour’s worth of enervating rock music for a new generation. For all the solid, traditional rock posturing, Handful Of Dreams showcases a sense of commercial scope and drama worthy, in all the right places, of Manic Street Preachers or Robbie Williams. No wonder they’re exciting pundits stateside.
“Every now and then you get an album that absolutely blows you away – Handful Of Dreams is a killer debut album.” Paul Anthony, Rock Radio.
Slam Cartel release their 13-track debut album, Handful Of Dreams, on 26th July through all digital formats. A tour in support of the album is in the planning stages but you can catch them at Sonisphere on July 8th in support of heavyweight metal merchants, Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.
Slam Cartel: See them, hear them, believe them.