1968 – Fortuna Havana (EP)
Formed in 2013, 1968 are a Heavy Rock quartet from Cheshire. The current line-up is Jimi Ray (vocals), Sam Orr (guitar), Tom Richards (bass) and Dan Amati (drums) – this release features the original drummer Tom Drury who has since left the group. This is the second EP by the group and their proposed debut album is set to be released in the Autumn.
From the outset, you know this is gonna kick Heavy Rock ass. Vorpal comes in with the classic quiet guitar riff start before 1968 take the “louder is better” course of action. The monster riff is the heart and soul of this song but everything is up in the mix focusing the listeners attention on the whole rather than just one element (its not just about the riffs). From a standard Heavy Rock point of view the opener is an entity that motors along roaring all the way. When the breakdown happens it shifts down into cruising speed for the solo and still it maintains the energy. This song grooves along with no expense spared and sets the scene for the three tracks to follow. War Dogs has the grumble of bass and snap of drums with the scream of feedback rising through before the slow, almost shambling groove sets this stomper off. It doesn’t seem to be much of a step up after the lead track but then it is energized by a pleasantly unnecessary instrumental section which lifts the entire song in the second half – the dual guitars make an impact here along with the simple structures which dominate what 1968 do anyway. Next stop on the way to Heavy Rock heaven is Duchess. The brooding and dirt driven, mysticism fuelled third song is as big as they come on this four-track release. It makes its way surely and steadily, a progress that is unrushed. The slower groove of this song along with the less riff-centric path mark this out as something which changes the personality of the EP into something similar on the group’s debut EP (the self-titled 1968). It has a touch of Rock psychedelia about it but still 1968 can’t resist, in the second half, letting it become even more of a monster. The simple riff finishing off the song is built upon into a familiar yet rewarding finale for the listener. Havana rounds things off very nicely in a similar but more expansive way to Vorpal. As much of the passion as appears throughout the rest of the release is captured here with a definite ‘crowd pleaser’ – the solo splits in two a la Tony Iommi and all the available space is filled so that when the song finishes there is a vacuum of silence.
If you’re a fan you are going to get this anyway. For anyone who is new to 1968 this is simply going to make you want to hear more of this group (the previous EP is still available). The production (thanks to Chris Fielding) makes the entire EP an exceptional experience – big and loud as it should be. There are a few timing errors but these show that the producer, as much as the group, don’t believe in click-tracks and would much rather create a real and organic musical document instead of a digital facsimile. Overall, the way this EP sounds is professional and confident, enough to take this group further and make a definite move towards major success (even if it may seem a little out of their grasp at this time). This second release goes further than the debut EP and displays a vitality throughout that makes you want to hear more – fortunately they are currently in the studio recording their debut album. A continuing Heavy Rock dream for this quartet and the fans.
Second EP from British Heavy Rockers sees them pushing forward on their way to bigger and better things before releasing their debut album later this year.