Coventry heavy rock trio Pelugion are no strangers to the scene. With performances at Wildfire and Godiva Festivals as well as a slot on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2018, there’s quite a high probability you might have seen Pelugion before if you’re a regular at pub gigs and underground festivals yourself. If you haven’t, and you’re now reading this, now’s the time to get acquainted with this heavy rock band, which sees a broad palette of influence from doom, thrash to grunge in their sound. ‘2’ comes a couple of years after ‘1’ (surprise, surprise…), and evidences the boys really hitting their stride and raising the bar even higher.
Opening song ‘Sun Feeder’ gets the ball rolling with a monstrously heavy riff and squealing feedback before it drops like a bomb. A slow headbanger, it showcases bassist/vocalist Andy Sweeney’s ear for vocal melody. Despite the heaviness of the track beneath, his bluesy vocals seem to fit ‘Sun Feeder’ like a glove. An intense breakdown closes the song, before it segues seamlessly into ‘Amen’, which sees Pelugion at their darkest and doomiest. An effective light verse/heavy chorus structure really makes the louder moments stand out more and punch the listener in the gut. A thrashy riff towards the end as the song develops truly dares the listener not to headbang along joyfully. ‘Severed’, a personal EP highlight for me, is very reminiscent of Duvall-era Alice in Chains, with soulful vocal harmonies and its brooding atmosphere. Some of the riffs even evoke Down – although this is no simple 90s throwback, sounding very much fresh with its modern production and strong songwriting.
The second half of the EP begins with ‘Odyssey’, a beautiful neoclassical-inspired guitar interlude performed by six-stringer John Pittaway. Soft and contemplative, it offers the release room to breathe amid the louder and darker moments. ‘Descend’ follows with more heavy, grungy riffing that by now feels familiar. This track showcases drummer Brandon Balou at his best, with tightly controlled fills in the song’s midsection that demonstrate his influences well from sticksmen in the modern metal scene. Closing track ‘The Calling’ is one of the most memorable songs on the EP, with its energetic, rock-and-rolling vibe at the start. It has a tangible feel-good factor, and bearing in mind the dark, brooding songs prior to it, this feels welcome and far from out of place. It gently evolves into a slow, bluesy second half. Towards the end, we hear the full capability of Andy Sweeney’s impressive tenor vocal range, as he goes into a series of high screams that would make Chris Cornell blush. A fantastic outro.
Excellent production throughout ‘2’ from Creature’s Dan Willett allows each component to stand out, doing the songs justice. Every member is allowed to shine, while (importantly) still serving each track well. Take John’s tasteful guitar soloing, Brandon’s subtle double-bass fills or Andy’s impressive doubling-up on lead vocals and bass at any point in the EP and you see the result of three talented musicians who have honed their craft and sound. ‘2’ is full of hard-hitting, riffy music for fans of Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains. If you’re not aware of them, Pelugion are definitely worth your time. Go see them live for the full experience, when gigs are back on. ‘2’ won’t be on streaming services for a little while, so give them the support they deserve on Bandcamp when this drops at the end of the month.
Favourite songs: Severed, The Calling
‘2’ will be released on 29th August 2020