Spinefarm/Search And Destroy
Words by Jimmy Glinster
Last time I saw these guys, it was the best click track show I’ve ever experienced. They were going absolutely sick but all we could hear from front of house was beep, beep, beep, beep.
They appeared to be tight as fuck though, and the metronome was absolutely flawless. That’s a whole other story, though, so let’s get down to the review of this self-titled effort from the Welsh lads.
Surprisingly, the intro to the album opener Parasite reminds me of similar technical issues before blasting in with some seriously heavy riffage. Savage versus and choruses keep the song pumping, and the solid 4 to the floor drumming holds the groove behind the technical guitar riffs. We get a lit bit of a sing along in the bridge, then a short breakdown and a shredding solo. More heavy, more singalong, and more technical riffing. Absolute cracker of an album opener!
Chug-chug, chug-chug, chug-chug, chug-chug, chug-chug … riffy riff. Spectacular intro to Knives which shows the band really means business. The verses drop back to just drum and bass, which let the spoken/spat lyrics play out uninterrupted. Then the choruses pull back to a slower groove while vocalist Matt Tuck spits some volatile screams at us. Rolling tom fills create a short interlude into a driving bridge which then leads us back into the heavy grooves of the chorus, and outwards to the outro.
My Reverie gives us a taste of the softer side of the band, for about 30 seconds, until they please us again with some heavy riffage. The versus slow back down again, and we hear some pop style vocals. There’s only so many clean vocals I can stand, but luckily there’s enough edge on these ones to make it sound like they are being performed by a metal
vocalist. When the choruses kick in, so does the heavy, and by the second chorus we are led into a very tasty guitar solo. Another verse, and another chorus lead us to the outro with a killer half-time finale!
Nothing like a good old-fashioned drum solo to introduce a song, and that’s just how No Happy Ever After goes down! Some classic thrash riffing follows as the drums thump a thunderous rhythm, and we are introduced to the first verse, which drops back to hi-hats and snare and a thinned-out continuation of the intro guitar riff. The rest of the band jump back in for the pre-chorus, which drags us into some clean vocals and serious double kicks for the songs chorus. This formula repeats itself, but this time around we skip the pre-chorus and then jump into a fastly chugged breakdown followed by a wah solo … clam down Kirk. Great song, probably the fourth possible single on this album.
Bass solo take 1, well, not really, but some dirty bass and thumping toms lay down the footings for Can’t Escape The Waves. A quick few bars of thrash throw us back into the intro bass line, which forms another clean vocal verse. The song shifts between the thrash and bass groove and eventually rests on some rung out chords, which I guess form the chorus of the song. It’s a little too nice this one with all of its clean vocals, but it’s still heavy, so I’ll let ‘em have it.
Last time I heard a song called Bastards, it was some kind of political folk song which divided that particular bands’ fan base, and saw them accused of ripping off Dropkick Murphy’s. And justly so, but let’s just hope Bullet doesn’t follow suit.
Initially it doesn’t, and some heavy tom fills slowly roll us into the track before the guitars, bass and vocals jump in to join the fun. The guitars pull back with some simple quick palm muted plucking in the background. Unfortunately, it sounds like these lyrics are very politically based, and ain’t any of us got time for that. Somewhere mid-track the song picks up some legs, and it starts sounding like a Machine Head song from the same album as that Dropkick Murphys song. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I’m a Machine Head fan, and I even like the weird stuff they do that the anti “Nu-Metal Rob” elitists hate. I also like this song, and may or may not have cut all my hair off and spiked it up in the mid 2000’s.
We’ll talk about the jumpsuits some other time.
Just over halfway through the album and it seems it’s time for the token album slow burner. It’s cool, and it’s called Rainbow Veins. Was it necessary, though? Sure, it’s got its place, and it eventually gets heavy as fuck, for a short stint, and then another short stint right at the end.
Oh, shit just got cathartic, and then shit got groovy with a very simple but very heavy riff. Bar the brief toned back verses, Shatter is banging hard! It does get a bit weird in the middle with the cathartic gospel vocals, but they almost save grace with a wee smidge of a guitar solo. Solid track for a late starter!
Paralysed possibly could have been called Spasmatic as the riffing is more like a spasm then it is paralytic. It’s a thrash song when it comes down to it. A thrash song intertwined with big melodic choruses, heavy grooves, the odd pinch harmonic and random whammy squeals. For a heavy song, it’s catchy as fuck and can easily be sung along to. Is this another single on this album?
We’ve reached the end, and apparently, we are about to suffer Death By A Thousand Cuts. Some heavily effected guitars lay the background noise for the toms and vocals to roll in over the top. As we hear a scream of “cuts” the band kicks in with possibly the heaviest riff so far on the album. The choruses kick into a very singalong vibe which reminds me somewhat of Avenged Sevenfold, but the verse vocals are so thrashed out that it really makes it its own beast. A beast with a solo, every beast needs its own solo, even if it is another single.
I think that this is the first metal album I’ve ever listened to where I’ve thought that every track could be the lead single for the album. Here we are, though, and there’s even a couple which may have some kind of mainstream viability. And not because they are not heavy, they are definitely heavy! There’s just an element of matured songwriting within this album that works, and it works really well!
Banger, absolute banger!