It’s a real special kind of album that, at barely three tracks in, we’re already searching for our in progress “Best of 2022” draft and adding it to the list. This Sceptred Veil, the latest from Bath’s Sergeant Thunderhoof, is that kind of a special album. The kind of album that, the moment you press “play”, just immediately emits a kind of aural glow. Like, if you were in Supernatural or some Ghostbusters movie with all their gadgets and gizmos and held one up while any of the tracks from This Sceptred Veil were playing you’d get some major readings that’d probably break said gizmos and gadgets with their sheer power is all we’re trying to say. Got all that?
But I digress.
An album of slowburns and god-tier riffage, This Sceptred Veil by Sergeant Thunderhoof is a gotdam statement and then some. If The Music ever tried their hand at trippy psychedelic Desert Rawk then we imagine it’d sound something akin to what Sergeant Thunderhoof produce on the regular and especially with their latest. When last we visited the UK quartet they were impressing the hell out of us with their contribution to a split release shared with Howling Giant (Turned To Stone Chapter II, which you can check out here) and now they’re doing the same with a new full-length all their own.
“You’ve Stolen The Words” is some high holy shit to start off the new record and we’ve used this term before but “heavenly heaviness” seems like it was made especially for this song and album. Over eight and a half minutes of Dan Flitcroft’s lush vocal delivery coupled with Mark Sayer’s crunchy riffage is a pairing akin to Osborne/Iommi or Garcia/Homme in terms of diverse yet complementing styles. Then you get to the monumental breakdown deep within (You could skip ahead to about the five minute mark to hear but honestly, why deprive yourself of any of what Sergeant Thunderhoof has to offer???) and it’s all the chef’s kisses and more to kick off this monstrous new record.
“Devil’s Daughter” accelerates the tempo and lays in hard with the Groove for a ditty that’s sprawling at almost seven minutes but also spectacular in the way it leans in and completely enthralls with magical riffs that entice as Flitcroft takes on the role of the pied piper singing those sweet smooth lines to suck listeners deeper into the Sergeant Thunderhoof sound. “Absolute Blue” is transcendent and reminiscent of the trippier moments of Vista Chino’s one and only release (Vista Chino, of course, is made up of 3/4th’s of the original members of Kyuss. Do what you will with that tidbit when applied to Sergeant Thunderhoof.) with the many layers that “Foreigner” divulges over its’ huge ten minute flow following.
“Woman Call” lumbers along next, propelled by an especially groovy bass line from Jim Camp, some bluesy licks from Sayer and a thunderous percussion onslaught from Darren Ashman while “King Beyond The Gates” is momentous as an everflowing swirl of riffs and rhythm rally on a ditty that really brings to mind Rob Harvey’s cathartic croon from The Music with the way that Flitcroft accents and accentuates every broad note delivered by his voice.
Penultimate track “Show Don’t Tell” is a mover and a shaker on an album filled with them as Flitcroft adopts a gruff vocal style and comes across like Alice Cooper fronting Motley Crue moonlighting with Desert Rawk in the ’70’s. And that, friends, leads to the inevitable end which is a massive one-two punch in the form of “Avon & Avalon Part I” and “Avon & Avalon Part II” which, when put together, approximate about a third of the music on this here rekkid. As a whole, the tracks are calm, cool, and collected and utterly beyond epic. There has to be a word to mean more than epic, right? Beyond reproach? Epically epic? Regardless, it’s a thematic beast with elements of each flowing freely between the two with Camp, Ashman, Flitcroft, and Sayer curating a conclusion that is titanic and timeless.
This Sceptred Veil arrives on June 3rd through Pale Wizard Records. You can get yer pre-order on now by heading here, here, or by clicking on the stream below and for the latest from Sergeant Thunderhoof, follow them across their socials by clicking here or here.