An invigorating splatter fest of styles upon a nu-metal canvas, The Fundamentals EP from UK metallers Spirytus is one of those slaps around the chops reminding you just how thrilling the core genre to their sound is when explored with imagination and a snarl which ignites the primitive inside. The use of the word splatter in our description should not be read as meaning it is a random approach with flavours by the Nottingham and Leicester based band as they thoughtfully and skilfully weave those spices into a voracious attack which constantly hits the sweet spot. Not since those halcyon days of Korn at their best and when early Drowning Pool gripped attention has nu-metal sounded this good.
As mentioned there is plenty to entice and seduce in the band’s sound, its funk rapaciousness showing seeds bred in the likes of Limp Bizkit and Sugar Ray whilst their almost carnivorous side and the spicy elements of the sound holds a close relation to bands such as Rage Against The Machine and even more so Clawfinger. It is a scintillating mix which the The Fundamentals EP brings in feverishly exciting encounter even if one you feel does not quite reap all the potential you suspect is brewing in the band’s inventive belly. It is a magnet of an EP all the same from a band which formed in 2004. though it was three years ago they truly erupted into action. Their self-titled debut album of 2010 sparked keen critical attention upon their presence with the band equally earning an impressive reputation for their live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of Skindred, Panic Cell, Breed 77, Ill Nino, Wolf, Evile and many more. Since that debut Spirytus has brought a shift in their sound through the loss of a guitarist and the welcome of a turntable master in 2012, a move which has only added depth and diversity to an aggressive and mouthwatering confrontational sound. The EP is the first seduction since the album and simply a masterful treat of metallic grooving.
The quintet of vocalist Ryan Walton, guitarist Alistair Bell, bassist Ben Edis, drummer Ben McAlonan, and Daniel Jones on the turntables from an opening sample go straight to the passions with a sturdy rapacious snarl of riffs and equally intensive rhythms. The bass craft of Edis immediately stands out, intimidating and skilled but it is fair to say the guitar and drums similarly steals their share of the imagination whilst the excellent vocals of Walton toys with air and syllables in a varied and thoroughly enjoyable vocal delivery and incitement which never relents across opener Fundamentals and the whole EP. The track bounces and twists with a creative rabidity around its sinew driven spine of almost disorientating rhythms and predatory riffery. It is an incendiary mix for senses and emotions which to the rear of the song dips into a restrained yet still urgently excitable passage allowing the vocals clear rein to tease and coax. It provides the icing on the feisty cake whilst the British feel to the band’s sound where most might and do emulate the American tone and breath of the genre, is a final potent ingredient to the blistering triumph.
The following Qandahar strolls in on a resonating throaty bassline before sending streams of riffs and sonically cast grooves around the ear. In seconds though the track is roaming thoughts with a simple but inciting reserve of guitar and vocals before all collude for a fiery infectious chorus which brings not for the last time on the release that Clawfinger reminder. Though not as explosively gripping and dramatic as its predecessor the song is another to swing funk clad hips and forge a groove sculpted swagger which sees the already awoken appetite licking its lips.
Next up comes the outstanding forthcoming single Mandem, a track also with an accompanying video to eagerly latch onto. A Korn like sonic nagging opens the track whilst the bass again lays down irresistible bait before the song leaps out forward with melodic flames and the ridiculous potency tempting turntable skills of Jones. The antagonistic flow of vocals and the surrounding gritty sonic invention reminds of Hed (PE) at times whilst the groove and table splattering taunts as well as the alternative infectious air of Walton’s delivery is definite Limp Bizkit bred but all soaked in a juice and invention all of Spirytus’ own making. The guitar craft of Bell not for the first time is impressive and perfectly controlled furthering the virulently contagious lure of the song.
Horses Will Bleed is an eyeballing blaze of provocation and again a track which merges intensity and clarity into a compelling mix which is incredibly addictive and powerfully resourceful without bludgeoning the ears with an overload of greedy ideas. The challenging breath of the song develops another funk toxicity which is irresistible and only the guitar solo, which this time feels a little like showing off and a little at odds with the track, a minor niggle.
The senses carving electro start to Patience Of A Saint is another thrilling entrance to a song on the EP, an invitation which the track takes through a melodically fuelled smouldering, which again merges Clawfinger and Sugar Ray like essences, plus a pinch of early Papa Roach, into a sultry sonic heat rife with plenty of biting vocals. A slow burner of a track compared to those previous triumphs on the EP, it emerges as one of the most exhilarating and inventive propositions on the release to steal top honours.
The final stretch of the release does not tempt and grip as strongly and feels like a lost opportunity. The brief instrumental/sample piece Horses is fun but wasted whilst All Because Of Me though again impressively presented and crafted lacks the spark and fire of the previous songs; not a filler but a song too far for this particular release and not really offering anything new upon it. It makes way for the Tribal Riot Edit of Fundamentals featuring Dave Chavarri of Ill Nino; it a more percussive endowed version of the great track which reprises the towering start without really stretching it further, but it is such a thrilling song there are no complaints here.
The Fundamentals EP is an excellent slab of nu and funk metal devilry, a release soaked in old inspirations but forging its own path. Spirytus have re-ignited an arguably forgotten genre and are right on course to become one of its most inspirational tempters. This is a breath-stealing release from a thoroughly impressive band and they can only get better.
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