There’s an altogether heavier offering from the metal titans of High On Fire.
And we check out US classic rockers cum progsters Bat Racers as they bid to make an impression on this side of the Pond.
After the bombastic slab of straight ahead rock that was 2008’s Capital this downbeat, introspective effort will come as a bit of a shock to recent T-T devotees.
Volume-wise it barely gets out of second gear and, as a result, there is an even greater emphasis on the singer sonwriter’s ability to pen and deliver the perfect tune.
If he achives that on the keyboard/organ-heavy title track – this is one of the finest and most emotive songs you’ll hear all year – then what this album does do is expose a few flaws in a performer we really want to succeed. Market Square makes your toes curl such is its childish refrain – and perhaps that’s what Chris meant but it just doesn’t work – and Elephant In The Room threatens to explode into a rifftastic anthem only to fade with a disappointing whimper.
We prefer Mr T-T (think BA Baracus X2) rocking out and even opener and lead single Nintendo doesn’t hit the mark as it should. Patchy is the word and that’s not what a record by this bright new hope for British pop rock should be.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 T-Tentative
This is full-on metal like it used to be made, occasionally threatening to break out into a full-on old school thrash assault but always retaining a melodic edge and a more measured approach.
Vocally it could be better and Matt Pike might just be finding the dual role of kicking out the riffs and rolling out the vocals too much to handle as his ambitious three-piece bid to hit new creative heights.
And that’s the thing. It’s incredible to think there are just three blokes behind a beast of a track like Frost Hammer and just three men responsible for the aural assault that is Bastard Samurai. Yet Motorhead apart (include Foo Fighters if you like but in all honesty they’re pop poodles compared to these metal bulldogs) it’s difficult to cite a hard rock band capable of pulling off this kind of trick without at least one more axe slinger added to the mix.
All power to Pike for putting everything he has into this fast improving Oakland CA crew but just imagine the noise they could make with a fourth member and a different focus. Just an idea guys.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 High On Potential
First off all let’s get three things out there. This band has an awful name, the name of their record is even worse and as for the artwork? Since when dod classic/prog acts with ambition dish out the sleeve design duties to a work experience boy?
But of course this is all about the music and if you can get past the terrible first impressions there’s some pretty decent stuff right here. Pitching themselves somehwere between Journey, Meat Loaf, The Police and Rush there’s a definite prog vibe underpinning some straight ahead rock and, for the most part, it works.
Openers Big Cash and She Might Be are average tunes and possibly the wrong choice when showcasing Bat Racers’ talents to the wider world. Again, however, sticking with these guys finally reaps rewards. Gradually getting into their stride and letting their music breathe, the US band display genuine talent with Pull The Trigger and All The Same. Closing with the sprawling I Thank You leaves the listener wanting so much more.
So after a number of flase starts, we thank you. But not for giving us that name, that album title and that cover.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Bats Out Of Hell