Hard rock comes in various different flavours but it’s always best when it shoots straight for the hip as a feral beast, raw and uncompromising. Hell’s Gazelles manage that perfectly with their quintessential British hard rock sound. Whilst Oxford may not seem like a town to spit out a dye-in-the-wool denim-and-leather band, in amongst all the high-falutin academics, it’s now given the world one.
From the minute you hit play, you know Take Your Medicine comes from a band who know what they’re doing. Spitting out the hard rock sound you’d expect from the likes of Heaven’s Basement, The Darkness, ripping out the bluesy tones of Thunder for something more primal and the edge of NWOBHM’s glory days to add a metallic snarl.
Opener “Give Me Something” is as flamboyant as The Darkness in a sequined jumpsuit with the bravado to match it. Full of screams from Cole Bryant that you’d expect certain parts of his anatomy in a vice, he switches to a huskier boom on the dark and crunchy “Stone Cold”. With bass heavy enough to punch you in the chest, the juxtaposition of these tracks show not only what Bryant is capable of but indeed, the entire band.
Meanwhile, “Out of Time” has the brooding and winding riffs of prime NWOBHM before descending into hard rock territory with its solo. As for the title track, it’s where the Heaven’s Basement comparison is most prevalent to the point where you wouldn’t be surprised if it’d been left on the cutting room floor from their solitary album. It’s also a perfect summation of Hell’s Gazelles wrapped into a three-minute track. There’s melody, riffs, a chorus meant for crowds to chant along with and doesn’t waste time in getting to the point.
Take Your Medicine is a lesson on how to release an EP for a band with a straight-forward hard rock sound. The songs are short and snappy, it shows what the band are all about and is sure to keep fans happy between full-length releases. More importantly, it leaves newcomers like myself wanting more. Whisky-soaked and tobacco-stained, these are the kind of songs you’ll be giving yourself whiplash for in a sweaty underground venue.
Take Your Medicine is out now