The self-titled debut from Distilled Tongues is a phenomenal showcase of imaginative heavy rock music with a delicious progressive edge.
The debut release from Detroit’s Distilled Tongues is mind-blowing. In the course of six songs, Distilled Tongues unveil a gift for writing incredibly addictive rock music. Their tunes have the perfect mix of power and passion that make this album extremely enjoyable.
Distilled Tongues is a power trio with Mike Hopper on guitar/vocals, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Sean Cecil on bass/vocals. The cover is a tripped-out acid flashback study in green created by Nick Wilson. The album mix and production were handled by the band.
Distilled Tongues comes out swinging hard with the opener “Drawing Shapes.” Beyond the luscious and burly grooves, you find yourself enthralled by the incredible tones that the band has captured on this album. The bass is punchy, thick, and throaty. The guitars have a gnarly bite with face-smacking clarity and just enough distortion to get you hot and bothered. The drums are a party in your pants with plenty of pop and splashy cymbals.
The song “In Your Veins” features a beguiling bass line before the single-note guitar melody catches hold. The syncopation and melody convey the sense of a thrilling chase. The drumming by Jeremy Johnson is top-notch on this song. The side stick work accompanying delicate arpeggios makes for a compelling transition into a solo where the lead guitar tears open the sky. While creatures of the night always make for intriguing songs, Distilled Tongues give the genre new life on this magnificent tune.
The fist-pumping anthem on Distilled Tongues’ EP is “Living Like You’re Dying”. The main riff reels you in and won’t let go. You’ll find yourself jumping for Jesus as the spirit takes control. Crank this one loud on your next road trip for the full experience.
On a record full of excellent songs, “A Witness” stands out. Written to the theme of witnessing your own death, it begins with a stark acapella launching into the chase. The proggy riffs and fills are exquisite when paired with Sean Cecil’s vocals. The kicker is the lead guitar solo. I can hear hints of Michael Schenker and Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless). Imagine an extended jam live and heaven awaits.
While the pace slows on “Backslide”, the power is amplified. Guitarist Mike Hopper takes on lead vocals with Sean Cecil adding harmonies at the chorus. Big foot-stomping riffs ring with each hammering blow.
The final song called “Prey On My Soul” sends this album out with a bang. As with the first song, we are greeted with super-duty grooves. This is the sweet spot in the Distilled Tongue recipe. They bang out riffs that stick like glue and force you to move. A jazzy bridge segues into a searing lead full of bluey licks and pyrotechnics.
This album by Distilled Tongues is fabulous. Taking a page from 70’s proto-prog rockers Captain Beyond and adding elements of Graveyard and Earthless, Distilled Tongues is heavy, thoughtful, and inspiring. Rumor has it that the band has a few more songs to complete a full LP. Labels take notice and get these guys signed, so we can enjoy this ripping album on vinyl.