Published on September 4th, 2009 | by Rob Cumiskey4
BATS – Red In Tooth and Claw
With the release of their EP ‘Cruel Sea Scientist’, Richter Collective’s BATS blasted onto the Irish Alternative scene impressing critics and crowds alike. Their truly energetic live performances have drawn many a punter to see them, and they now sit happily at the top of the ‘Most likely to…’ pile.
You’ve heard of ‘Math Rock’. Well BATS brand their music ‘Science Rock’ and it’s apparent from the first word that they utter on ‘Higgs Boson Particle’. How many bands have you heard of that discuss topics such as scalar elementary particles that are predicted to exist, but haven’t been proven to? Remember the Large Hadron Collider that briefly came online last year? Well that was supposed to provide evidence of Higgs Boson’s existence. I’m not even going to pretend that I knew that already. It was a Mr. W.I.Pedia that divulged the info…
One could think that going to Godcity studios in Salem, MA to record a bands debut album with legendary Converge guitarist and producer Kurt ballou could change a bands sound drastically. Thankfully this isn’t the case. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics, ferocious guitars, intricately interesting bass and frantic drums are still present.
‘Gamma Ray: Burst’ is a straightforward indie rock tune Ala math rock bands like Foals, or Friendly Fires. (Note: It would be a disservice to the band to brand them with being influenced by currently popular indie, but their influences are so broad that I couldn’t begin to try to list off who they really sound like). Lead single ‘Credulous! Credulous!’ is a blast from start through finish, showcasing all that is great about the band.
‘Lord Blakeney’s Arm’ has the heaviness stepping up a gear. I had briefly heard of this guy before. Apparently he was an Irish soldier way back in the 1700s that was unsuccessful in his attempt at defending the Island of Minorca for the Brits, but valiently held on against the French for over 70 days. He also must have lost his arm. Apart from the quality of music here, the subject matters are fascinating.
So, back to album, things don’t let up until the very last note rings out on ‘The Barley’. There’s a bit of a nod towards BATTLES on the first few notes of ‘Star Wormwood’ and the squeals and riff throughout ‘Vermithrax Pejorative’ are quite excellent. Some more interesting info, Vermithrax Pejorative is actually the name of a dragon from the Disney movie ‘Dragonslayer’ released in 1981. Has anyone seen it? “The Wyrm of Thrace who makes things worse”.
It’s rare that the subject matter of an album will interest me as much as the music, but BATS embed fascinating snippets from history, science and pop culture in their music. In the case of this album, it seems that they are intrigued by cases of overcoming the impossible. Never before have I lamented the lack of a lyrics booklet in a press copy as much. I haven’t found such a quality Metal/Hard Rock album on these shores before, and a very bright future lies ahead for these guys.
You can buy ‘Red In Tooth and Claw’ in Tower Records or online from The Richter Collective.