Being a sucker for riffs which prey on the ear and rhythmic encounters which rumble with an anthemic lure, it took little time for Vol 002: Mercy Fight, the new EP from UK rockers Left For Red to grip attention tightly as its opening track stomped into view. Proceeding to entice and captivate the imagination as it blasts through three heavyweight provocations, the band continues to impress and raise suspicions that with the promise flowing through the release they have the potential to be very formidable antagonists within UK metal. Still arguably searching for originality, Left For Red make a sinew driven declaration with their second EP which cannot be ignored or left alone.
Formed in 2010, the Stourbridge quintet merged early influences of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest into newer discoveries of bands such as Strapping Young Lad, Tool, and Deftones as their own take on heavyweight metal emerged. The five-piece soon grew a strong reputation and following for their live performances, which was only enhanced by the release of their debut EP, Vol 001 – Empty Shell. The band since starting has shared stages with the likes of Beholder and Breed 77, supported Chimaira and Revoker on their Age Of Hell Tour, as well as undertaking their own successful shows including headlining a sold out gig at the 02 Academy. Recently crowned winners of Kerrang!’s TNA competition Left For Red is on a sturdy ascent, one which Vol 002: Mercy Fight will only add extra fuel to.
As soon as the forcefully beckoning drums beats of Rob Hadley probe the ears it has to be said that opener Kneel Before You Die is halfway to recruiting a hungry response. Once the gnarled bass tones conjured by Dan Carter and carnal guitar riffs also add their intimidation a major appetite is awoken as passions begin to stir for what is on offer. It is a primal start, one pinpointing and exploiting the rhythmic savage in us, and irresistible lead into the equally rapacious expanse of hungry riffs and melody soaked enterprise which erupts from its temptation. Into full stride the song is an accomplished and magnetic blaze of endeavour, the vocals of LC a firm and expressive antagonist around which the riffs and invention of guitarists Aaron Foy and Phil Smith carve and paint a skilled and pleasing adventure, even if there is nothing dramatically original to the event cast. Despite that it is an impressive and increasingly contagious start which leaves a healthy appetite for what is to follow.
My Obsession enters on a weighty carnivorous prowl from the bass skirted by sonic ambience, a presence soon enveloped in a cage of rhythmic predation and brewing intensity. With an air of doom and foreboding to its breath, the track slowly stalks the ears; circling them with preying riffs alongside the emotive narrative provided by LC. All the while though it is brewing a web of virulent temptation which shows its face in the chorus and evolving grooves. There is an undefined familiarity to the incitement though there are moments where Breed 77 comes forcibly to mind to add extra spice to the already delicious recipe. It is a magnificent song making its predecessor look slightly pale in comparison.
The closing Mercy Flight breeds from the success of the second track to unleash a perfectly crafted fury of rampaging riffs and rhythms clad together in a brawl of ferocious energy and rapaciousness. Again there is something recognisable to the song especially when it opens its melodic rock arms, though even then the track is eating your children and having it away with the wife. It is a tantalising conclusion to a compelling release, an EP which is not bothering boundaries yet or setting truly unique marks down for the band but one to thrust them onto the radar of newcomers and confirm the suspicions of something special evolving as seeded in the previous EP.
Left For Red has some way to go to stand out from the crowd but on the evidence of Vol 002: Mercy Fight it is certainly on their horizon which can only be an impending treat for us all.
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