Review Summary: Exactly what Post Hardcore needed.Red In Tooth and Claw
is a brilliant example of young talent using advanced skills in their music. The Dublin quintet go up and beyond their previous effort in every way possible; creating an album that is fun, technical, interesting, and new sounding. Take a listen to album opener Higgs Boson Particle
, which is basically a musical sampler of what’s to come, if you don’t believe me. The scientific lyrics, Rupert Morris’s harsh screams/ infectious singing, gang vocals, catchy guitars, and even some cowbell are all there and offering a new unique sound to post hardcore.
The uniqueness of the strings section is particularly interesting. The BATS
’ string quartet is simply brilliant at coaxing the groove out of their respective instruments. Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
and Credulous! Credulous!
are incredible back to back examples of this. With the former starting off with thick, dense chords before breaking off into a very interesting bass line and a catchy guitar riff (and that’s just the first 30 seconds!). But don’t let me fool you into thinking this is only copious amounts of wanking. Just listen to the short, compact riffs of Lord Blackeney’s Arm
if you don’t take my word for it. Track after track the three guitarists and bassist intertwine flawlessly to create a plethora of complex riffs and rhythms that will have you begging for more. For me to point out all the interesting or technical parts of this album would be a waste of your and my time because it’s just something you have to hear to appreciate.
You couldn’t have come this far in the review without noticing the scientific references made on this album, for even the uneducated would be able to understand that BATS
loves their science. The combination of these interesting lyrics and Rupert Morris’ vocal delivery are attention getting to say the least. His shouts and singing compliment the music and lyrics in their entirety throughout the whole album, no matter the track. I’d even go as far as to say that some passages are lyrically perfect. Take the first verse in Andrew Wiles
for example, “I describe my life in mathematics / as a darkened mansion / I stumble into furniture seeking the switch / to cast a feeble light on my secret endeavor / a black raptor’s feather
.” A passage that on its own is good, but it’s the quirky way Morris sings those lines that just make it that much better. Songs range from 5 and a half minute epics (Vermithrax Pejorative
and The Cruel Sea
) to some “not as serious” 3 minute tracks (BATS Spelled Backwards is STAB
), and everything in between. From Gamma Ray Bursts (the most luminous electromagnetic events to occur in the galaxy) to Andrew Wiles (a British mathematician who proved Fermat’s Last Theorem) to Vermithrax Pejorative (a 400 year old androgynous dragon in the 1981 film Dragonslayer), BATS will be sure to have taught you something by the time you’re done listening.
Although a wonderful debut this is, it still has its negatives (although they are greatly over classed by the positives). After repeated plays I found that the album does tend to drag a bit in the second half. I personally would rather have more of a good thing than less. Also, the initial shock I received when I first heard this has worn off with time, but that’s anticipated. The only track I don’t find above average is the closer The Barley
. If they had just closed with Vermithrax Pejorative
they would’ve had a stunning closer and they would’ve shortened their album length by 7 minutes. I’d love to see drummer Noel Anderson go out of his comfort zone a little more and try some more fills or solos but regardless he does a good job behind the kit; generally following the other instruments and keeping the beat.
An unforeseen gem of 2009, BATS
redefine a genre with their latest release, Red In Tooth and Claw
. There’s not a boring minute to be found on this almost 50 minute experience. From the outstanding scientific lyrics to the impressive technicality presented by all the band members, BATS
are pushing the limits of what we know as post hardcore. A must listen for anyone who’s into hardcore music, and even for some people that aren’t. Red In Tooth and Claw
will leave you screaming for some more cowbell.
Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
The Cruel Sea