Album review: Florence Black – Bed Of Nails

Hearty work ethic propels full-blooded Welsh rockers Florence Black to new heights on satisfying second album…

Album review: Florence Black – Bed Of Nails
Steve Beebee

The so-called new wave of classic rock has seen Massive Wagons and Those Damn Crows put albums high in the UK Top 10 recently. While that ‘classic’ tag reeks of faint praise – no progenitor of this movement is anything other than current – it has launched the careers of several equally notable British acts. These Wicked Rivers are destined for good things, and much hope remains for Mason Hill, but leading the charge is Welsh trio Florence Black, a band fronted by the gifted and scarily serious-looking Tristan Thomas.

Their 2021 debut was, frankly, hard as hell – a smash-and-grab infused with the DNA of their Merthyr Tydfil hometown; all grit, sweat and industry. Its follow-up is even better – more varied, barely less heavy, and full of the carefully considered songwriting Tristan has made his own.

The aptly named Start Again hits with disorienting guitar surges that owe more to Alice In Chains than anything homegrown, and its huge hook is the first of very many. There’s so much depth and anger in Florence Black’s sound that at times you forget who you’re listening to – there are no pigeonholes, it becomes an experience of its own. Certainly, Bed Of Nails features the trio’s best songs to date, one killer chorus following another, but its real strength is its variety – not enough to distract, but enough to adequately reflect the human experience.

The title-track comes from a place of darkness, expanding into something florid and widescreen before nailing down heaviness yet again. In contrast, Look Up is as positive as the title suggests, its pulsing flow and well-structured verses planting the words ‘hit single’ into your subconscious. A few songs later Beautiful Lover takes you somewhere else again, a summery haze of hope and happiness balanced by maturity’s gentle warning. Consider this delayed second album more than worth the wait.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Alice In Chains, Black Stone Cherry, Bullet For My Valentine

Bed Of Nails is released on February 2

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