I recently caught up with Willis Drummond, a Basque band formed in the city of Baiona (Bayonne in french)in 2006. The last time I saw them live was in Ostabat and with the exception of the beast Gojira (also based in Baiona), I have never seen another band that commands a stage better than these guys. This rock quartet are on their own trip. Drawing from the tradition of hard rock and the more emotional and melodic indie guitar rock of the 90s, Willis Drummond forge a sound that’s at once powerful and impassioned. What stands out is their proficient songwriting, that allows them to write tracks rise above average.
Willis Drummond’s latest album, Istanteak, has all the traces of a hard rock band with a much heavier sense of musicianship. The guitars are heavy, the drums are loud, and what you get is total rock ‘n’ roll. The tracks in this album are tiny nuclear bombs for your brains. They take less than a minute and half each to destroy your humility. If you ever get a chance to see them LIVE you will restore your faith in the power of rock ‘n’ roll or convert to some form of evangelical localism.
A huge reason why Istanteak appeals to many is the depth of the music here. This is not an album that sounds like one long song all the way through. The variety of songs kept me coming back to this album again. You have fast hardrocking tracks like Ez da Dudarik, and even Begi Erreak seem made for mass appeal, especially when the band’s meaty vocal hooks start to get under your flesh. These tracks are offset by the album title song Istanteak, and Gaztetasuma eta zahartasuna, two beautifully crafted songs that are reminiscent of the great epic rock anthems.
This is the record I was hoping for and for many years. I think that if any band or solo artist is around long enough some changes are going to occur. To my knowledge, there are only a few artists that have stuck to their original sonic guns over a long period of time (AC/DC, the Ramones, Motorhead and Slayer…) and even then, when the same basic formula remains, the sound definitely changes somehow, whether due to changes in the lineup, recording techniques, etc. In the end, all bands change and grow as they create more and more – this is called perfecting your art.
Jurgi on vocals (he’s a really great guitarist, but it was his voice that convinced me that he is a major asset to the band), Rafa on guitar and Xan on bass (both with super awesome style), and Felix on drums (he beats the s**t out of them elegantly), this is a rock band that have put out an enticing album which should appeal to the masses and help them establish a good following in Europe and around the world.
1. Araua (Gurea)
2. Begi Erreak
3. Ez da Dudarik
5. Noiz da Gero
7. Oino Pixka Bat
Willis Drummond – Gurea
Willis Drummond – Gaztetasuna eta zahartasuna
Willis Drummond – Ez da dudarik