Pet The Preacher

The Cave & The Sunlight

Written by: AP on 23/04/2014 21:13:18

In 2012, Copenhagen based heavy rock trio Pet the Preacher spat out in my opinion one of the most potent rock albums Denmark has bred since the D-A-D and Dizzy Mizz Lizzy heyday: the conceptual LP "The Banjo", which chronicled a man's struggle to escape Hell with the aid of a magical variant of that instrument. It was an album which saw the band emerge as the heir apparent to those legendary acts (never mind the absence of any notable similarities to them, mind you) with a barrage of hair-chested, beard-faced, bourbon-drenched bad-assery of a quality not far short of similarly inclined international heavyweights like Clutch and Kyuss. Nearly two years have passed since, and in that time Pet the Preacher have managed even to unleash their two EPs "Meet the Creature" (2011) and "Papa Zen" (2013) as a single package ("Short Songs") exposing both from whence they came, and the direction in which they intended to push their sound with this sophomore effort, "The Cave & The Sunlight".

Where "The Banjo" was in many ways the archetypical debut - all intent and purpose and burning passion, yet lacking somewhat in the ways of strong song-writing - "The Cave & The Sunlight" is an equally characteristic sophomore album; more mature and full bodied, and unmasking a degree of talent the trio had hitherto only hinted at. In retrospect, my enthusiasm for its brazen immediacy may have clouded my judgment of "The Banjo" when really it deserved a full grade less. But then, aren't we all wiser than we were yesterday? This age old proverb certainly applies to Pet the Preacher, who have spent the past two years polishing their tradecraft to such luster even Napalm Records felt compelled to tip their hats and offer them a deal.

I will happily join the choir of critics and fans alike, who decree that Christian Hede Madsen is one of the best, if not the best rock guitarist this country has to offer. His technical proficiency on the instrument sings its own song, but above all, it is his exceptional ability to spill his heart and soul into playing it that has earned him the reputation of something of a living, breathing rock'n'rolla. But although the music stands very much on his shoulders, his attitude, charisma and powerful gravelly voice still setting the tone; one of the key differences between "The Cave & The Sunlight" and its predecessor is that Torben Wæver Pedersen's bass grooves as well as Christian Von Larsen's imposing percussion have conquered much more presence in the mix, and as a result, Pet the Preacher now sound much more like a unit than was the case on "The Banjo", which had a tendency to feel a little like Hede Madsen plus band, and much heavier.

Consequently, as each musician seeks to impress, the ripples from their labour take a little longer to reach the listener this time, especially in the more contemplative takes like "Marching Earth" (parts I & II), "What Now" and "The Web". Mind you, Pet the Preacher sound as audacious and muscular as ever, but even in the more straightforward bangers "Let Your Dragon Fly", "Kamikaze Night" and "I'm Not Gonna", room has been cleared for rolling drum solos, dusty bass jams, and Hede Madsen's trademark slide guitar histrionics. Speaking of which: that technique is utilised more often, and to more dramatic effect than was the case with "The Banjo", from which only the single "Devil's Door" comes to mind in the effectuous use of such. And when coupled with the slight overdubbing of his singing in the slower, blues ridden tracks such as "Remains", there is no banishing the image of tumbleweeds tossing in the wind around a lone rider in the arid landscapes of Texas, Arizona or Nevada.

One thing "The Cave & The Sunlight" arguably lacks is clear cut highlights and traditionally arranged songs which would be easier to latch onto. It's a grower type album for a certainty, and once its chest of treasures has opened itself to you, it becomes nigh impossible to select favourite picks from it. It's almost frightening, the consistency of this stuff, and there is so much intrigue in the often long-winding compositions which explore everything from blues, classic rock, stoner, desert rock and doom across the eleven tracks. It is not an album looking to please those with an eye for a quick fix of accessible, catchy rock; rather, it is an album aiming to satisfy the true fans of rock music with ideas both retrospective and forward-thinking, and an attitude blustering with shameless arrogance - the kind possessed only by musicians with virtuosic abilities doing exactly as they please.


Download: Let Your Dragon Fly, Kamikaze Night, The Pig & the Haunted, I'm Not Gonna, The Web
For the fans of: Clutch, Kyuss, Monster Magnet
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.04.2014
Napalm Records

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