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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Reviews: Cancer Bats, Bullet, Blitzkrieg, Piss River (Reviews By Paul)

Cancer Bats: The Spark That Moves (New Damage Records)

I don’t recall listening to anything that Cancer Bats released apart from the rather fine Hail Destroyer way back in 2008. Ten years on and The Spark That Moves, album number six for the Canadian hardcore outfit, bristles with the same energy and riotous momentum that I heard over a decade ago. The snarling vocals of Liam Cormier and Scott Middleton’s vicious riffage remain as aggressive as ever, whilst the rhythm section of Mike Peters and Jaye R Schwarzer is rock solid. This is 34 minutes of in yer face infectious and uncontained stomping hardcore which peels the flesh at times. It’s not my usual bag but tracks such as We Run Free and Bed Of Nails certainly contain sufficient venom to appeal. 7/10

Bullet: Dust And Gold (Steamhammer/SPV)

If you want routine heads down heavy metal which has failed to move forward since 1986 then you would do worse than to check out Swedish Accept soundalikes Bullet. Astonishingly, the band have six full releases to their name and have been churning out this stuff since 2001. Quite why anyone would listen to a band that are so close to Accept that they might as well be called Accept is beyond me. Musically the metal is solid, well-crafted and perfectly listenable but the screeching vocals of Dag Hell Hoter are real marmite, and as much as I love marmite, I find his vocals utterly ridiculous and very hard to listen to for very long. Remember, this is the band who back in 2011 brought you the metal clog, a comfortable slip on shoe covered in spikes with the legend “Rock Around The Clog” emblazoned on them. That’s all you need to know. 5/10

Blitzkrieg: Judge Not! (Mighty Music)

Originally one of numerous bands signed to the Neat Record label, Blitzkrieg are yet another of the seemingly endless stream of NWOBHM survivors who continue to churn out releases. With vocalist Brian Ross the only remaining original member, and enough former members to fill the Millennium Stadium, its difficult to know whether to be in awe at their sheer tenacity or whether it would be better for them to retire with dignity. Judge Not! is the band’s eight full length release, their first since 2013’s Back From Hell. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot here to be excited about, with some pedestrian heavy metal which lumbers from track to track.

Loud & Proud and Without You are particularly awful, the former comprising lyrics from other metal songs whilst the latter verges on stalking power ballad. To be fair, this album isn’t without its moments, and there is some fine hard riffage lurking underneath, notably on the furious Reign Of Fire and the raging opener Who Is Blind. Blitzkrieg certainly retain their 1980s sound, which isn’t all bad and the duel guitars of Ken Johnson and Alan Ross, underpinned by the huge drum sound of Matt Graham don’t cause any offence. Ultimately, Judge Not! is one of the better recent releases from a cohort who should, in the main, just call it a day. 6/10

Piss River: Self-Titled (The Sign Records)

Feisty, energetic, raging and chaotic, the debut album by Piss River is an infectious 38 minutes of rampaging sub-four-minute songs which capture the raw power of bands from Girlschool to L7. A cover of Larry Wallis’ Police Car provides a retro take on the former Motörhead and Pink Fairies guitarist’s 1977 song, whilst Sparks is a tribute to L7’s Donita Sparks. Frontwoman Sofia Nilsson’s husky tones fit the band’s sound snuggly, whilst she can snarl and scream with the best of them. Tracks such as the punk crusted Thor Is Strong, the Motörhead battering of Back Off and the kick you in the balls opener Desolation all get the foot taping and the head nodding. If you fancy a powerful, no-nonsense power trip then these swedes are well worth a listen. 8/10

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