A couple of years ago, I was at a festival and an unassuming duo walked out onto stage, one guy, one woman and they were joined by a drummer sat behind them.
It was the beginning of the day and they plugged in and blew away those of us who had arrived early, over the next half hour, filling the stage with a mixture of energy, power, intensity, anger and attitude. The quizzical look on the faces of those congregated around the stage, as we all looked at each other and wondered if we were alone in not knowing this ball of energy in front of us, was quickly replaced by smiles as we collectively realised we had just ‘discovered’ something very special.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-VGvbgqga8&w=560&h=315]
On the back of that performance I went out and bought their stunning debut album “We Will Reign” which had been released in 2014.
Fast forward 5 years and The Last Internationale are releasing their new album, which has been written against a backdrop of the band leaving their record label in order to preserve their editorial independence, finding themselves broke and then being evicted from their flat, so the frustration and injustice they felt has been channelled into the new songs. The fight has been real as they refused to back down in a thankless industry and fought every inch of the way from rock bottom – and ‘Soul On Fire’ is the result.
Self-produced, with Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets Of Rage) on board as executive producer, this is an album packed full of songs about freedom, politics and struggle.
You know this isn’t just another album from the first few notes of ‘Intro’ which slips seamlessly into the hard rocking first single from the album ‘Hard Times’. Paz belts out “living ain’t easy” as Pires rips the notes from his guitar like they have been living this for so long and finally, they are going to let loose on the world.
The pent up rage is carried through to ‘Mind Ain’t Free’ which captures that unique raw sound that The Last Internationale do so well, carried along on the thumping drums from Joey Castillo (Queens of The Stone Age).
The band then show us their versatility by bringing the tempo down for the slower, moodier number ‘Try Me’, where Paz’s voice rises above the backing and is in superb form from the outset. Changing direction once again and we are into the bluesy ‘Tempest Blues’, which resonates with Pires’ hypnotic riff running through it, which had me playing it over and over.
This is a band that have something to say and no one is going to stop them saying it, but amongst the calls for protest, there is solid writing and some seriously good tracks, which should not be overlooked.
We are then back in familiar territory with screaming guitars and Paz calling for “a real revolution” in soulful tones throughout ‘Freak Revolution’ against a backdrop of distortion and fuzz.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYYRYMXD07I&w=560&h=315]
I challenge you at this point to stop what you are doing, close your eyes, listen to the title track and feel that chill travel down your spine as ‘Soul On Fire’ opens with a soft piano, before Paz joins in with that powerful yet silky smooth voice to captivate you for the next three and a half minutes.
Her vocal prowess marks her out as easily one of the best female voices around at the present time and she doesn’t put a foot wrong throughout the album.
‘Modern Man’ and ‘God Is A Sound’ further enhance their growing reputation as a power duo and shows how their song writing & musicianship has developed over the past five years and I can just see Pires whipping up the audience with his wild stage antics during the live performance of the ‘Hit ‘Em With Your Blues’ as Paz belts out the lyrics with an air of Joan Jett or Grace Slick in her voice.
5th Generation’ slows the mood down allowing the drum beat to carry us along with Pires shining once again with a guitar solo that Hendrix would have been proud of. Yes, he is that good.
The standard format of the album is wrapped up with ’Outro’ which is a short a cappella track with nothing but a few hand claps accompanying Paz’s dulcet tones. However, if you are lucky enough to have the bonus track on the album then you get to enjoy ‘Freedom Town’, which is an all out protest song against the policies of the USA under President Trump, with Paz giving a gospel influenced performance, full of emotion and power.
The Last Internationale aren’t just another rebel rock band, they are THE rebel rock band for the times we live in, full of passion, anger and frustration but because of their will to remain independent and only produce music that they want, they may never reach the heady heights of the music industry that their talent deserves.
Make no mistake this is a stunning rock n roll album full of songs with socially-conscious lyrics, whilst allowing the soulful voice of Paz to soar.
There was a time when our musicians stuck their head above the parapet and sang about real issues that mattered – The Last Internationale have taken us back to those times and are reflecting the real world issues around us with their awesome powerhouse sound.
2. Hard Times
3. Mind Ain’t free
4. Try Me
5. Tempest Blues
6. Freak Revolution
7. Soul On Fire
8. Modern Man
9. Need Somebody
10. Hit Em With Your Blues
11. 5th World
13. Freedom Town (Bonus Track)
The Last Internationale are:
Delila Paz (bass and lead vocals)
Edgey Pires (guitar)
Support to Rival Sons
Sat 2nd Nov – Liverpool, University
Sun 3rd Nov – London, Brixton Academy
Tue 5th Nov – Nottingham, Rock City
Wed 6th Nov – Edinburgh, Usher Hall
Thu 7th Nov – Bristol, Academy
Wed 13th Nov – Lausanne, Les Docks, Switzerland
Thu 14th Nov – Pratten, Konzertfabrik, Switzerland
Fri 15th Nov – Milan, Live Club, Italy
Thu 21st Nov – Aarhus, Train, Denmark
Fri 22nd Nov – Gothenburg, Kajskjul, Sweden
Sat 23rd Nov – Bergen, Forum Scene, Norway
Mon 25th Nov – Drammen, Union Scene, Norway
Tue 26th Nov – Uppsala, Katalin, Sweden
Thu 28th Nov – Helsinki, Circus, Finland
Soul On Fire is released on 8 November 2019
Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw (November 2019)
For more information on The Last Internationale please visit: