Brewing a striking fusion of fiery hard rock and ravenous melodic metal, UK ’s Chasing Dragon is one of those emerging propositions which you can only see going in one direction. Taking new EP Checkmate as evidence, the quartet from Leeds is on a potent ascent pushing an already strong reputation into a new spotlight. Consisting of six tracks which are as rigorously captivating as they are creatively potent, the new release is a striking marker on the progress of the band. It is probably fair to say that they are still finding their unique sound and voice, the EP bred well within heavy rock and metal boundaries with plenty of familiar assets to its successful persuasion but you can only feel the band is well on the way to finding that distinction and thus further recognition.
Formed in 2011, Chasing Dragons has built a formidable live presence which has seen them share stages with bands such as Pendulum, InMe, Death Angel, The Sweet, Fearless Vampire Killers, Attack!Attack!, The Headstart, Skarlett Riot, and The Dead Lay Waiting whilst lighting up the likes of Rock and Bike Festival, Highway To Hell, Leeds Fringe Fest, as well as many of the LGBT Prides around the UK. Checkmate follows the band’s debut EP Take Flight For A Firefight of 2012 and the single Hindsight’s A Bitch of last year. Their first EP made a striking and immense impression here which sparked a big anticipation of and expectation for Chasing Dragon from there on in. Whether Checkmate pushes the band forward as much as maybe hoped is still under debate but undoubtedly it reinforces the quality and potential of the band with ease, to reassert belief that the quartet can become a major force in British rock/metal.
Checkmate opens with Prelude, an atmospheric portentous piece of melodic drama and vocal whispers. It is an evocative piece which makes a stronger incitement when ravenous and coarsely sinewed riffs shape its closing narrative before making way for Throw Down Your King. The guitar of Mitch Sadler fires up its sonic bait first, entwining acidic twine around ears before being joined by the eager punches of drummer Kate Bullock and the bass snarl of Ant Varenne. Guided by the excellent vocals of Laurie ‘Tank’ Carnan, her tones simultaneously seductive, antagonistic, and powerfully potent, the track strides purposefully into the imagination with familiar attributes to a fresh roar. It is a song very easy to join in with, catchy and inviting, but also unafraid to slip into something melodically comfortable and evocatively persuasive to temper the charge. There is also a folk metal like twist midway to the riffs before they cast a carnivorous temperament to their predation which in turn slips back into the vociferous hard rock adventure which started the excellent incitement off. It is a great track feeding assumptions but equally unleashing unpredictable imagination.
The following That’s Not Love opens with a fire of hard rock colour from the guitars which makes way for a thumping rhythmic frame around the bluesy growl of Tank’s delivery. It is an irresistible enticement which loses some of its potency once the song opens up into a fluid melody washed stroll. It is not that the full appeal of the band is lacking anything, just that the aligned beats and outstanding vocals is so good, as proven again when it steals the main stage again in the passage of the song. Across the song’s body riffs chip away at the senses and rhythms bring an anthemic lure to match that of the guitar enterprise whilst vocally the song is firing on all cylinders, but it is the inventive twists and turns within the track which steals the show and passions.
For The Sake Of Murder brings a smokey blues texture to its initial blaze of guitar before again voracious riffs and rhythms stab from within the melodic gaze of the song. Backed by strong vocals from Mitch, Tank tempts ears with a resourceful delivery whilst around her the track teases and tempts with a sultry air and climate to its inventive scenery. As in all tracks, hooks grip deeply whilst grooves and melodies entice like a wanton temptress yet it is all with a respectful touch within a magnetic creative rabidity.
Next up The Last Defence catches thoughts off guard when it opens with an evocative classically spawned piano coaxing over which Tank vocally soars effortlessly and enthrallingly. With a lesser singer the beginning possibly would not work but Tank owns thoughts and emotions at this point to make a decent entrance stunning. Keys add extra hues to the emerging landscape which is coloured richly by the guitars and rhythms. Gaining weight and energy all the time, the song evolves into a powerful and anthemic croon which is simply compelling and breath-taking.
The EP ends on Broken Jaws, a riotous rocker of a track which has nothing surprising about it but everything virulently contagious and mightily enticing to create a highly satisfying stomp. It is the least adventurous and impressive track on the release but also one of the most magnetic and infectiously enjoyable which ensures the band leave on another high, parting with another reminder of their irrepressible strength and appeal.
Checkmate is an exciting and impressive offering which keeps Chasing Dragons on course for a richly rewarding career, for them and us so a recommendation to check them out could not be fuller.
The self-released Checkmate is available digitally and physically at www.musicchasingdragons.bigcartel.com now!
Check out Chasing Dragons upcoming live dates below:
Saturday 14th June – Salutation, Nottingham
Saturday 21st June – The Riverside, Selby
Thursday 26th June – The Corporation, Sheffield
Friday 27th June – The Pot and Kettle, Rhyl
Wednesday 2nd August – The Shed, Leicester
Friday 22nd August – The Club That Rocks, Consett
Friday 19th September – The Underworld, London
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from