Taking a liberty

-- Tim's Favourite --

17/12/2018
Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Zen metal
Grunge
Progressive Metal
Album artists:
Jan Pauwels Vocals, guitar
Elie De Backer Drums
Gorik Van Droogenbroeck Bass

Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.

[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]

I received this album from my good friend Mike De Coene from Hardlife Promotion. Earlier this year I already met Tim’s Favourite founding member Jan Pauwels during a free cover rock and metal festival in Ninove and he also requested me to review his band’s latest release. So, it’s about damn time for me to put this album on the shredding table!

[THE SHREDDING BASICS]

“We, The Willing” is the third album from Belgian zen metal band Tim’s Favourite and is an independent release. What’s zen metal, you may ask? Well, the band incorporates elements from 90s grunge bands like Alice In Chains but expanded with lengthy instrumental parts and injected with soothing psychedelic elements. And that psychedelic atmosphere is achieved in large part thanks to Jan’s vocals. He sounds similar to the late Alice In Chains vocalist Layne Staley, so he sings in a slow, clear and almost hypnotic voice. The songs on “We, The Willing” also put a large emphasis on bass. The bass lines are very crisp and audible and further add to the meditative feel. But things aren’t always that relaxing on this album. As the album progresses, Tim’s Favourite aren’t afraid to put their foot on the gas, increasing the pace and intensity of their riffs and with Jan going for a slightly harsher vocal style. The opening track, “The Capital Lie,” in particular is significantly faster and heavier compared to the rest on the album.
Aside from grunge, Tim’s Favourite also takes elements from progressive and thrash metal. This is especially the case with the eight-minute epic “Galilei Was A Believer (Discussion Closed),” that effortlessly combines traits from the likes of Tool, Alice In Chains and Pantera together for one long but very engaging ride. Speaking of length, most of the tracks on “We, The Willing” are over six minutes long with no less than three of its twelve tracks going beyond the eight minute mark, but don’t let that discourage you. Tim’s Favourite has a variety of tricks up their sleeve to keep your attention throughout its lengthy runtime. Sometimes they go for a heavy metal breakdown, other times they let you sit down and relax with a good drink, but they always manage to entertain you.

[THE SHREDDING VISION]

The album as a whole has a socially conscious theme flowing throughout. Jan and the other guys encourage you to leave your beliefs and prejudices behind and allow yourself to discover the world. Free from the shackles of society, religion and addiction. And that’s why the front cover of “We, The Willing” features a tired and haggard version of the Statue Of Liberty looking at a helping hand in the sky. A nice visual metaphor which shows that even the most noble and wise beings in the world can sometimes lose their way in life.

[THE SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]

The album’s second track, “The Day Free Will Was Disproven,” has a main melody that reminds me of the theme song from the James Bond film “Live And Let Die.” Yes, I’m a huge Bond fan (BTW, Sean Connery’s the best!). Add to that some awesome guitar solo work from Jan near the end of the song and you’ve got yourself a badass track shaken not stirred! Another favorite of mine is the fifth track, “No Means No.” It’s the longest and one of the most psychedelic styled songs on the album and the gentle guitar riffs, softly pounding drum beats and drawn-out vocals create a very dreamy atmosphere. Only to get a couple of rough awakenings throughout the song. Like a dream, it’s a bizarre and unpredictable experience and it made me think of the Black Sabbath classic “Planet Caravan.”
Worst song on the album? Well, the third track, “Darlings We Probably Should Have Killed But Didn’t Have The Guts To Do So,” is an instrumental that may seem very long given the song’s title but actually is just a 2:30 min. track, the shortest tune on the album. It has some sweet riffs but the song’s pretty misplaced on the album. It would’ve fitted perfectly as an intro or outro track rather than sandwiching it between two six-minute tracks.

[THE SHREDDER’S SCORECARD]

8 Liberty Statues out of 10. Tim’s Favourite’s third album is a lengthy but thoroughly enjoyable album to get through. The band’s self-proclaimed zen metal is a combination of grunge, progressive and psychedelic rock flavored with occasional heavy metal riffs and thought-provoking lyrics. “We, The Willing” is an experimental yet familiar sounding album that I can well-recommend to fans of Tool and Alice In Chains as well as everyone else looking for some excellent “thinking man’s” rock music. Here’s the album’s official teaser.