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Billy Alexander - Hammer Of The Gods (self-released)

11 March 2024

The “industry,” for want of a better word, makes a lot of noise about debut albums. The word seems to conjure images of fresh-faced youngsters breaking onto the scene with plenty to say and new ideas to propagate. But, and this is a gross generalisation, of course, such newcomers often have little new to add to the artistic conversation. How could they when they only have a few adult years of life experience to draw on?

It’s much better to spend your time in the sonic company of someone who has, with all due respect, been around the block a few times. This is why a debut solo album from Billy Alexander is such a much-anticipated prospect. Yes, it is a debut album because it is his first solo outing, but as someone who has racked up countless miles playing for YYNOT, John Waite, Anna Nalick and numerous other artists, writing and producing for the great and good, winning awards and earning his musical stripes the hard way, he is the best of both worlds, a seasoned hand and a new voice.

Ahead of his forthcoming album, Rock & Roll Diary Billy offers us a taste of things in the form of “Hammer Of The Gods.” Yes, he treads a traditional rock and roll path but he does so with a brilliant blend of muscle and melody, delivering the expected big riffs and gritty grooves, but embellishing these well trod roads with melliflous guitar lines, neat changes of pace, and heavenly harmonies. A perfect blend of groove and grace.

And for those who need sonic sign posts, it isn’t hard to think that had Led Zeppelin still been going today, and had journeyed through and been influenced by the years of 80’s metal and 90’s alternative rock, this is perhaps the sort of thing that they would be turning out. Good company indeed.