When deciding on which May Blitz album to get, I listened to samples from both the debut and this one on YouTube. The song "Snakes and Ladders" really stuck with me and so I decided to go with "The 2nd of May" (nice title), though since then I have found that the debut is rather expensive as an import and that both albums have been released on a single disc. No matter. I have gone back to listen to samples from the first album and I am so far convinced that this was the better choice, even though the ratings say the debut is better.
May Blitz really kick off, as in kick ass, with the opening track "For Mad Men Only", a charging drum beat and ultra-pulsing bass overlaid with a thunder of distortion-heavy guitar and a second guitar delivering the melody with all the subtly of a steam drill boring through rock. The guitar solo unfortunately seems to search without tapping into any really good vein and there's a spot or two that could have used a retake. Nevertheless, this song has the elements of a demolition team bearing straight ahead through a concrete building.
There's a quick change of pace with the low-slung groove of "Snakes and Ladders", featuring a cool baseline and some hip percussion before the song gets overtaken by heavy minor chords that provide an awesome template for early doom metal. As the guitar distortion effects lay out the audio track for Hell awakening, the vocals replicate a demonic choir chanting the sinister theme to Armageddon (the event and not the movie).
"The 25th of December, 1969" is a partially lighthearted take on an enjoyable Christmas Eve spent together among friends without much of the trimmings and a political message about Nigeria's invasion of the Biafran capital on December 23, 1969 and the ensuing fighting and killing that continued through to January 7th. Perhaps well intentioned, the song stands out as the weakest track on the album. A disappointment after such a strong start.
Never fear because May Blitz deliver another funky n' heavy number with "In Part" which features some groovin' flute as well. The last part of the song is dedicated to yet another obligatory early seventies drum solo, the second disappointment as the song was actually really going somewhere.
"8 Mad Grim Nits" is a frenzied instrumental track with more of that full-on bass thing and a showcase of guitar soloing and distortion effects. At times the guitar gets really dark and heavy. Plenty of tasty tidbits to be found here, though still quite freeform.
The sonic assault and battery of most of the album thus far has been a treat; however, "High Beech" slows us down in the right way with an acoustic number that is both haunting and beautiful while steering into that cool funky groove that the band are very good at conjuring. One of my three favourite tracks on the album.
"Honey-coloured Time" seems to attempt to make better that serious part in track three. It's developed much better, imbued with images of cool swirling purple and blue flows of colour (or are they amber?). There's a smooth jazzy bit and more psychedelic groove. So much groove on this album. Then surprisingly, the song concludes like a heavy blues rock number. Not sure of the logic behind that.
Now we are almost into Pink Floyd country with a simple acoustic number tripping with wavering guitar notes. "Just Thinking" sounds partially inspired by "Ummagumma" but still tries to hold together in the form of a song without becoming overly experimental.
"The 2nd of May" is a true product of its time, at once heavy and rampaging while maintaining a certain grooviness about it and also more laid back in late psychedelic atmosphere of the early seventies. Sometimes mellow and tripping, sometimes bombastic and aggressive. There are some who will want to check this one out.