There is nothing that swells the heart of a rock music fan than a song that instantly compels them to head bang. Dublin band Val Normal’s début album, ‘Plans? What Plans?’ does just that with opening track, Hailstone(ers), and continues to do so throughout.
Listeners are given a slight chance to recover from the pulsating opening track with a more mellowed out number, Solidify the Idiocy. The brilliantly named song adds an emotionally mature quality to thumping drums and an a whining grunge guitar rift. This is a pleasurable album written by three Dublin boys who found music was a lot more encompassing than college. They are masterful musicians that have no qualms about showing off their skills in instrumental tracks such as the opening number and Metal Gear Salad (Why has no body released a song with that name before?!) which ends a vicious tirade at, well, everyone.
It is inevitable from the phenomenal drums, interchangeable guitar and vocals and the quite-loud-quite-loud formation of each of the songs on this album that are influenced by a number of genres. There is a taste of heavy metal, which is most evident in the screaming and noisy finale of Infected.Boy.Guitar.Sky. There is also a flavour of angst-ridden grunge to be found in Our Friend the Seizure, which also contains some of the socially-damaged sounds of nu-metal, new-punk acts of the late ’90s and early ’00s.
This album will find a comfortable spot in the hearts of those who entered their tween and early teen years in that period of time, as these guys clearly did. You will find your mind wandering back to your baggy-jeaned, rubber bracelet days, when Blink 182 were still cool and Papa Roach were the next big thing. Already a contender for album of the year and we’re not even past January. CYOF Records have done well to release another fantastic album that haemorrhages quality. In short: This album kicks ass.