Have a listen to: "Broke Neck" and "Heart Of A Traitor"
John Coffey – The Great News
Release Date: 11th May 2015
My first impression after coming across this band was “what a rad name!”. For those who don’t know, John Coffey was the name of the prisoner in The Green Mile played by the enormous Michael Clarke Duncan. He made for an imposing character onscreen, whilst the band seek to make their impression on your eardrums. Unbeknownst to you, you may also have actually seen a video featuring the lead vocalist. David Achter De Molen was recently filmed impressively catching a beer that was thrown at him while crowd walking at Pinkpop Festival in Holland and the clip went viral.
‘The Great News‘ is their most recent album release and follows on from 2012’s ‘Bright Companions‘. The latest album was produced by Jag Jago (former guitarist of The Ghost of A Thousand) and his influence seems to have definitely been stamped on the album, enhancing the punk driven guitar work and vocals. Scratchy thrashing guitar styles and anthemic, shout-along vocals are very much the order of the day, driven by erratic and varied drumming, nailed down with solid bass rhythm. John Coffey are extremely tight musically, especially considering their roots are primarily driven by punk-rock, a genre notorious for irregular musicianship.
This co-ordination within the band has enabled them to create an extremely diverse record, encompassing many different musical styles and transitioning between them seamlessly. They open with a punk assault in ‘Eagle Chasing Flies‘, heavy guitar riffs and chanting vocals are present throughout the track as it rises and falls throughout verses and choruses.
They then move onto the chosen single from the album ‘Broke Neck‘, a track that sounds like a combination of Refused and Red Fang. Very catchy and high energy, it is one of my favourite songs from the album and it would probably be the one I recommend to people if they were unsure of what to expect from John Coffey.
The high pace and punk rock attitude continues throughout the first half of the album, with the foot-tapping rhythm and catchy choruses remaining a strong feature. That is until ‘Jean Trompette‘ – A 1.5 minute long section featuring a smooth Jazz style trumpet solo. Yeah you read that right, a trumpet solo in the middle of a hardcore punk album. I was cynical as hell until it linked so fluidly into ‘Heart Of A Traitor‘ with guitars perfectly following the melody that the trumpet had built into. It’s extremely cool and is an excellent showcase of how really talented bands can combine musical styles to create something unique and memorable.
After the unusual interlude in the middle the album picks the pace back up again, some of the tracks towards the end having a slightly pop-punk feel to them vocally, while retaining the heavy guitar tone, with some parts of ‘All Horses‘ feeling almost like radio friendly rock.
The album comes to an end with ‘It’s Beginning To Change‘, a long track, almost half of which is a droning introduction that wouldn’t sound out of place on a sludge metal album, then building into chanting, clean vocals. It’s a strange way to end a fairly high-energy record, but from a band who manage to seamlessly combine so many styles of music, it’s hardly surprising that they want to do something different to finish the album off.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Great News‘. It felt like the guys in John Coffey were out to promote creativity and uniqueness in a scene where it’s so easy to become a cookie-cutter, carbon-copy of every other band out there. They effortlessly combine genres and end up with a product that is not simply a mash up of everything, but actually becomes its own style.