Mason Hill is the self-titled debut EP from Glasgow based heavy rock band Mason Hill. They are Scott Allan Taylor (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Bird (guitar, backing vocals), Craig McFetridge (drums) and Mathew Ward (bass guitar, backing vocals). Produced at Foundry Music Lab in Motherwell by Sandy Jones this is one of the most accomplished debut releases I’ve heard in a long time. The production values are through the roof and the band are on absolutely blistering form. I first came across them this summer when I reviewed the debut gig of another Glasgow band, Dyorlich. Support bands come and go and some are more memorable than others but this one really stuck in my head, for their own tracks as much as for an excellent cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses You Could be Mine. I saw them again last month when they opened for Snakecharmer and I was once again blown away by the raw talent on the stage. They announced that night that they were about to go and record their debut EP and I’ve been looking forward to hearing it ever since.
The finished release is four tracks that will have the band’s existing fan base turning cartwheels and will garner them new fans by the bucketload. I should say, actually, that Mason Hill has been a band for a couple of years, but have had a few line-up changes and only started playing together in this incarnation earlier this year. To have got to the stage where they’re opening for bands at the level of Snakecharmer, releasing music of this quality and to have a dedicated fan base that turn up and support them at every gig in such a short space of time is quite extraordinary and bodes very well for their future.
First track Survive showcases everything Mason Hill are about. As the opening guitar note evolves into a scream from Scott they lay out their intentions from the very beginning. It’s a classic hard rock track, all crashing drums and wailing guitars, paired with a powerhouse vocal and an optimistic lyric from a new band with the future wide open in front of them. “Try to shut me down but I’ll go on, I’ll survive.” The positivity is a welcome change from some of the brokenhearted, depressed lyrics I hear so often these days. Your Memory is a chance for the whole band to show off thier talents. The drum work from Craig McFetridge, paired with Mathew Ward’s bass sets the tone and keeps the track building towards a crescendo, while James Bird comes to the forefront with a guitar solo that is quite Sambora-esque. That along with a vocal that really shows off Scott’s range creates a massive track. Now You See Me is the debut single from Mason Hill and has been hugely popular at their live shows as well as gaining them radio play on rock stations across the country. It has all the hallmarks of a classic rock track, singalong chorus, guitar solo, loads of potential for audience participation and will stick in your head for hours afterwards. Closing track Where I Belong is the standout track on the EP, which is saying a lot. If I don’t find myself at some point in the future in a packed out stadium listening to Scott belting that out while the crowd goes absolutely bloody mental I’ll be amazed. It’s a classic hard rock anthem in the vein of November Rain or Bed of Roses. I’ve listened to it at least eight or nine times now on repeat. It starts off quiet and really focuses on the vocal but soon builds into an absolute epic.
I have in the past reviewed releases from artists who have been established for decades and have less musical ability or talent in their pinkie finger than these boys. I hope when they make it huge, as they deserve to, I get to stand in the front telling everyone who’ll listen I was there from the start. Mason Hill is released on December 18th, which leaves you just enough time to add it to your letter to Santa.
- Your Memory
- Now you See Me
- Where I Belong
Mason Hill can be see around the UK on the following dates:
Dec 18th – Madhatters, Inverness.
Jan 29th – Fox and Goose, Southport.
Jan 30th – Jan Boulevard, Wigan.
Feb 12th – Dreadnought, Bathgate
Feb 20th – Green Room, Perth.