In recent months, from not knowing their existence to two brilliant opening slots, Mason Hill became a band to look out for. Not long after their triumphant opening slot for Snakecharmer in November, the band announced they would be entering the studio for their self-titled debut EP.
Going by the updates on Facebook, the guys knew exactly what they were going to record when they stepped into Motherwell’s Foundry Music Lab. Recorded in almost no time at all; it’s a far cry from the finished product. There’s an unmistakable polish and sense of professionalism which addresses something which flies in your face from the minute you hit play: the band are assuredly confident in their music and identity, insistent on guaranteeing their influences are present yet carving out their own space.
Full of big, chunky riffs, it’s hard rock for a modern age. Yet there’s also a good helping of melody amongst the aggression, namely on final track “Where I Belong”, a slow-burning ballad which builds up to a bombastic crescendo. Throughout the EP, Scott Taylor’s voice is equal parts menacing growl and ear-splitting melodic screams David Coverdale would have been envious of in his prime. Guitars from Taylor and James Bird show off the band’s modern influences. There’s the dark, brooding element in Alter Bridge’s recent efforts and early Black Stone Cherry’s hunger and winding riffs (or as it’s also known; when Black Stone Cherry made good albums).
Craig McFetridge is a brilliant sight as he hammers his drums when watching the band play live. In fact, the four of them are but it doesn’t fully show off McFetridge’s skill. Mason Hill hasn’t sanitised them by any stretch but the band are far more fierce in a live setting. It’s almost reactionary to the way the music is becoming. Make the EP a taster to encourage people to come out to the live show where they’ll knock your socks off.
It’s a great taster to get you to a live show and see them in their element. Or if you pick it up after they convert you into a fan, it’ll keep you ticking over to the next show. There’s a few on the horizon, including a slot with The King Lot at the Dreadnought, Bathgate (and it’s a Friday night!) but if you can’t make it and plans to step things up a gear, it shouldn’t be long before you catch them. There’s no denying Mason Hill have lovingly crafted their debut EP, it hums with energy and passion; clearly the guys have been wanting to get this out for some time and I can assure you, it was worth the wait.