OK, so it’s mid-week. Who’s ready for a beer? Everyone? For a site with the word “mead” in its title, we don’t do nearly enough stuff on choice brews, but we do supply you with musical accompaniment options for your own drinking adventures in case you need a companion. It’s never fun to drink alone, so if you have someone or something making racket in the same room with you, it’s more fun.
Pittsburgh’s Carousel, while not a band making songs about drinking per se, is perfect fodder for what ails you. Their steady grasp of late ’70s/early ’80s heavy metal is as tight as anyone else trying this same thing, and maybe it’s just me who feels this way, but it’s the perfect match for when I want to pop open some cold bottles with very high ABVs and see where the night takes me. It certainly doesn’t hurt if you like the classic NWOBHM bands such as Diamond Head, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest, as well as the Scorpions and Thin Lizzy, because these guys take those influences, roll them into one propulsive cauldron and rock out all over the place. It’s a good time.
Pittsburgh is a town that bleeds classic rock, but not necessarily in a good way. The local stations play the same goddamned songs over and over again a million times until you want to punch someone next time to year “Gimme Back My Bullets” or some Steve Miller shit, and the local bands they serve up pretty much are intolerable. Yet, for the more adventurous types in town, and all over the world for that matter, Carousel would make perfect sense on those airwaves and would be something fresh and compelling to get people off their asses. They have incredibly fun lead guitar work, that blends into twin leads and pure classic metal glory, the vocals are a little gruff but melodic enough for you to sing along to, and the drums bash the sides of your head in. But you will have had 30 beers, so you won’t care you’re being beaten up. It’ll just make the whole experience that much more rewarding.
Carousel take their name from the death contraption from “Logan’s Run” (as if you needed another compelling reason to check out this band), and their ranks are made up of dudes who have been plying their trade locally and nationally who have combined to form this great monster. Vocalist/guitarist Dave Wheelers and drummer Jake Leger (who plays for the equally tremendous Karl Hendricks Trio) started the band three years ago, and they’ve since been joined by guitarist Chris Tritschler (of Pittsburgh metal titans Lady Beast) and Jim Wheeler on bass to complete this band of crazies who are taking guitar rock to ridiculous new levels and are infectious and bombastic playing together.
We get right into our title track from the word go, with chugging guitar thunder, NWOBHM thunder, and catchy chorus with Wheelers bellowing, “I can’t deny the spell you’ve got me under.” Trust me, that line will stick in your head for a while. “Long Time” is just as catchy, and it has vintage-sounding opening that could have you pining for early ’80s radio rock, if you go back that far, and the dual guitar lines should be enough to whip you into a frenzy. The song is just a blast, especially since it also has a rock solid chorus. “Crippler” keeps the momentum going with more charged up riffs, leaning heavily toward the Thin Lizzy side of things, and they hit a shuffle that might make you want to throw the couch into the yard. “On My Way” sounds like what it might if you put Motorhead and Diamond Head in a blender, as it’s fast, rowdy, and headed right toward your face.
“Waste of Time” teases you at the start with a start-stop riff, but then it melts with wah-infused guitar lines, drubbing drums, and some psychedelic backwash. “Light of Day” unloads the cowbell, the cymbals get a good workout, and the fellows hit a shuffle-heavy riff that could make air guitar acceptable just this once. This song would sound great coming from an old beat-up car that hasn’t had air conditioning in 25 years. Just sweat that shit out. It’s totally worth it. “Nightfall” pulls the reins back just a bit, as they embrace a mid-tempo pace, but they keep the thunder coming with strong guitar work that gets a little mesmerizing at times, even-keeled vocals, and presentation that could bring a tear to the late Ronnie James Dio’s eyes. “Contrition” is an acoustic interlude that sets the stage for album closer “Penance,” a hard rocker that doesn’t seem like it’s all that concerned with making good for some wrong, and it’s an ideal album topper for this killer collection.
Carousel might not fit rigid metal standards for some people, but that’s their problem. If you love classic metal, want to have a good time, and care to have beer outside by a backyard fire, you pretty much need “Jeweler’s Daughter” by your side to make everything just right. That doesn’t mean you need to be trashed to hear them, because they sound just as mauling if you’re in your right mind (many of my listens, I have been clean as a whistle). Whatever your state of mind, Carousel are more than ready to knock you down, laugh at you, help you up, and do it all over again. Ah, you can’t stay mad at them.
For more on the band, go here: www.facebook.com/pages/Carousel/220084014687656
To buy the album, go here: teepee.hasawebstore.com/
For more on the label, go here: www.teepeerecords.com/