Tough Love


Sorry for the Tough Love.
April 28, 2024

The meaning of AARDVANK is “earth pig” and it is a cute animal from Africa that likes to eat ants. It is also the name of a british prog band from the 70’s that became cult for releasing 1 album only,  and for not having a guitar player. Then in 2024 we have our third AARVARK , and it is another band, this time from Australia, and they have 2 guitar players.This new band is a four piece that seems to have appeared in the metal scene out of nowhere and now is opening for bigger bands like the North Americans CIRITH UNGOL and RIOT CITY. AARDVARK is releasing their debut album Tough Love with 9 tunes for our enjoyment. Let’s see what they have to offer.

The first tune of the album is the long “Ankh” which is an Egyptian symbol for life. You can find this same symbol on Vinnie Vincent's face when he was the guitar player for KISS. The sound is pretty much like RATT and CINDERELLA. The second tune “Tough Love” reminds me of “Somebody Save Me” from CINDERELLA with a similar guitar riff. Simple song structure following the same old recipe of versus, chorus, versus, guitar solo…The energetic “Don’t Call Me A Liar” starts  and we can notice that the band has good musicians, but the overall production and sound of this album is a little rough of the edges as expected in a first release. With A solid bass and drums combination provided by Danny Smith and Dylan Lieberman, the band reminds me of the hard rock from the late 80’s. However, the compositions and music structure are very simple and direct and lacks a little more originality. This can be seen on the tune “Fire”. You will notice that the riffs are fine, but the vocal melody and power is a little lacking.  I believe this is expected from such a young band, and the only way to get better is  by composing more and more.

The next one is the fast “Destructor” and is another nice effort.  It reminds me a little of ACCEPT from the "Fast As a Shark" era. The band has 2 guitar players and Ed Vaark also sings. However I believe he is a better guitar player than a vocalist unfortunately. The vocals are a little lacking and the screams on  “Fight Back” did not help much despite being a good tune. A little more vocal range and tuning would help. We reach “Killer” and not only the title, but also the song reminds me of IRON MAIDEN early years. Good energy and another good guitar solo by Sorcha Wilcox that gives the band a nice female touch. The songs are well composed but they are not much captivating or memorable like in the tune “The Dream is Nearly Over”. This seems to be the inevitable ballad and it hurts a little to listen. Especially the vocal performance which is not very good. In this tune, the backing vocals sound better than the vocals. Ballads are a complicated thing to do and when it goes bad, it really goes bad. This one has a nice solo arrangement that I can praise but when the vocals come, it destroys the mood. We end our journey with “Too Old To Cry” and it is another speedy one. For me, this one is the best of the album despite the weak vocals.

Good riff and good energy to end this debut. AARDVARK is a good band that has good ideas but is lacking on the delivery. With more band experience, new ideas and live performances that only time can provide,  I do believe they could have a good and productive future. The songs are well composed and performed, but the band could use a more impactful singer, and memorable songs. Putting your personal stamp instead of trying to reproduce the hard rock bands of the past, would also help to pop your head out of the crowd.

4 / 10

Nothing special








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"Tough Love" Track-listing:

1. Ankh

2. Tough Love

3. Don't Call Me a Liar

4. Fire

5. Destructor

6. Fight Back

7. Killer

8.The Dream is Nearly Over

9.Too Old To Cry

Aardvark Lineup:

Ed Vaark- lead vocals & guitar

Sorcha Wilcox-  guitar

Danny Smith-  bass guitar

Dylan Lieberman- drums

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