A murky seedling grown from an amalgamation of QOTSA and Muse comes from Cardiff’s undergrowth. Enter: HIMALAYAS.
The Welsh four-piece have put everything into this debut album… and it shows.
Cardiff’s HIMALAYAS story began when teenagers Joe Williams and Mike Griffiths started performing in small shoebox venues around Wales and soon captured the attention of hungry power-rock fans and industry stalwarts alike. With strong snappy vocals and rifled riffs, they were later joined by drummer James Goulbourn and Louise Heaps on the bass. Before too long, they had their first entree to serve. Fired and flared, 2017’s Thank God I’m Not You was the dark and gritty fledglings of rock they were looking for – turns out everyone else was too.
Another appetiser was Sigh on a Hurricane in the same year. A more polished gleam for the sticky floor belters, it saw them land a cult-like following happy to follow them through the swamps of dirty rock.
2023 is a year of prosperity, style and new adventures. Above else, it’s a year to tear sh*t up in a fast-paced rock world that has become all too lethargic of late. Newly signed to Nettwerk Records, a raw roster of artistic creatives fitting to the HIMALAYAS name, including the likes of Bleach Lab and Grizfolk.
SONG FOR SONG
An outlandish marvel of cinematic gaming rock, HIMALAYAS “From Hell to Here” is pretty much ready for the sound to fill stadiums up. The debut starts with self-titled From Hell to Here, a righteous claim to the album, its skittish riffs churn through discoloured drums – “and now I don’t wanna sleep / I hear voices calling me” – before we’re thrown into Darkest Before The Dawn, a blemished alternative of really wading through the mud, as the doom bass cut into a jolting guitar solo of brazen electrics. These boys aren’t messing about are they? The final passage in the song draws real comparison to Royal Blood’s How Did We Get So Dark? before we’re held up with Somebody Else.
Really feeding into the dark imploring of bass and drums working as a unit, Somebody Else embraces the mutual love of QOTSA as their darker projects of ’07’s Era Vulgaris start to seep in here. Not a concern in the slightest as the album tears a new one.
If you dabbled in the smatterings of singles released prior to this day, you’ll hear familiarity with Into The Trap, a haunting alarm of blaring stabs and tightly-wound quips, “And when the night comes do your secrets come back to haunt you? Solitary moments in the darkness, another door shuts.”
Mistakes, meanwhile, plays into Royal Blood’s dank-disco rockabilly of Typhoons from ’21 with The Mirror playing a bartering into some of HIMALAYAS funkier edges. The build-up for From Hell to Here of course, all tumbles down for Alone – the first released single which gave us a taste for their debut this week. A fired-up muscle of dirty rock edged with William’s snarling vocal style, was a fitting release as any to mark the return of the rock outfit. Leave This Place and Out of the Dark and Into the Light were the next to follow suit as singles, really emphasising that they’re a band with playing dirty hooks through gritted teeth. Both Will We Make It? and After Time feels pre-Tranquility Arctic Monkeys, tracks at their boomiest; which sees HIMALAYAS at their most fleshed-out.
From Hell to Here brings about a snarling buzz-rock sound in the bleachers. An emphatic four-piece that fits handsomely amongst the likes of QOTSA and Royal Blood.
It’s an embarking for the Cardiff band into unknown waters with their first; but IT certainly won’t be their last.
Least: The Mirror
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