The latest offering from Bad Elephant Music, a label that has signed many independent artist in recent years is Saul Blease’s The Great War.
Saul Blease, the labels most recent artist signing has produced a very thought-provoking album, one that will be released Armistice day November 11th, exactly 100 years after the end of the first world war, known to many as the Great War, or the war to end all wars. It was war on a global scale that brought down four empires, and left the world a very different place.
Saul studied music at degree level and it was during this time he released the album Daybreak, before embarking on his Great War project and was planning on the final track 1918 to complete it. However, he was approached by BEM and encouraged to expand his project and this has become The Great War album. It’s been described as a fusion of alternative rock, electronica and Industrial rock, and for the subject matter is perfect.
The album consists of 10 tracks, some of which may seem familiar but have been re-worked to create the album, Its running time could be argued by some to be short, but don’t let that fool you, it’s an explosive thought provoking masterpiece. For me personally I found the track Listen to the man, extremely powerful and compelling.
“Listen to the man, what does he say, friends are coloured khaki, your enemies are grey” is a line from the Twelfth Nights song Sequences. It details the rush to enlist men to serve their country, with the promise that the war would be over by Christmas, and it takes its title from that very line.
Saul has been able to create some fantastic soundscapes, images conjured up from War Machine, left me feeling that I was there on the battlefield, shots and all. The War Machine itself changed hugely during the war. From the initial Shoot to Kill, about the Battle of The Somme, with the initial “Breath in. Aim. Breath out. Shoot to kill!” approach resulting in so much carnage, it highlighted how ineffective trench warfare had become, and as a result, it changed so much during the war. Passchendaele throws many more soundscapes my way and Saul’s haunting keyboard work, with lyrics that are set back in the mix almost becoming subliminal. In ‘you can smell the fear’, the gun attack and the sudden shot at the end is particularly effective.
Doughboyand Hellfightertake on a different slant using the guitar to drive the tracks forward, and the overriding line tell me how to feel makes me question how weaponry changed over the years and how detached warfare and the killing machine had become. The final track The End closes the album, “I’m out of time and the sky’s on fire” as the album fades out does leave you thinking exactly what did the great war achieve?
Saul has produced a fantastic album that is best enjoyed loud, the subject and genre work so well together, and BEM are onto a winner with this album, especially given the subject matter and the timing of its release, a definite five out of five from Flick of the Finger.
The album is available to pre-order now and available from here