With a title like Welcome To The Slaughterhouse we were bound to be naturally drawn to the debut album from UK metallers Bang Bang Firecracker, being a sucker from blood promising drama, and it was an instinct quickly rewarded by a collection of tracks which grabbed ears and attention with ease.
Bang Bang Firecracker is the solo project of guitarist/vocalist Kieron “K” Berry, a musician who previously has added to the successes of bands like Razorwire, Pain Control, Extreme O.D, and Enemo-J. On leaving the latter Berry took time to recharge, though it proved a brief break once he answered an advert for a ‘Musician Wanted’, which led him to support one of his guitar heroes in Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.). This inspired Berry to write and make music again, recruiting old friends in Marcus Wrench and Russ Gwynne to provide bass and drums respectively to a sound nurtured in the rich essences of metal, classic and modern rock. With Charlie Cooper now behind the swinging sticks, Welcome To The Slaughterhouse is the first encounter with Bang Bang Firecracker and provides all the reasons and ingredients to find an appetite for the prowess and potential of the band.
The album’s opening title track is like a contemplative dawn, the lone intimation of piano provided by guest Shaun Lowe an evocative coaxing leading to the fiery eruption of metal tenacity. Berry hollers as his guitar casts a web of rapacious riffs and sonic dexterity, all the while rhythms giving the blaze a darkly predacious and compelling imposition. With inspirations ranging from AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne through to Slayer and Guns N’ Roses, there is openly something familiar to Berry’s sound across the album but it swiftly shows itself a fresh and individual incitement.
The great start is followed by The Non Believers, a song instantly prowling the senses with Wrench’s bass a great growling scowl within its barbarous air. It is a disposition just as potent in Berry’s vocals and makes for a great contrast to the melodic prowess of his guitar, a craft and agility which gets the following All Thriller No Filler off to a captivating start. Again the bass provides a great dark alter-ego to the melodic caresses and flames of the excellent track though it too has an instinctive coaxing rather than irritability to its presence; a mix which continues across the evolving and gripping lure of one of the album’s major highlights.
Devil Dolls is pure drama from its first breath, the initial swipes of Cooper’s beats addictive corruption matched by another delicious bass grumble. Soon bound in the sonic and acidic melodic strands of Berry’s guitar, the song echoes the success of its predecessor in its own individual manner before Immortalized swaggers in with its voracious classic meets groove meets thrash metal tinted holler. It is that fusion of flavours which gives the band’s such its familiar yet freshly adventurous lure and the song its rousing impact.
Through the rapacious bordering on grievous but keenly contagious stroll of Witch Proof and the even more carnivorous antics of Tasting Hatred, the album continued to hold its grip on ears. Both tracks for all their feral instincts equally cast a manipulative melodic enterprise and inescapable infectiousness, traits just as potent within next up Hellbent For Pleasure; a track with Gwynne providing drums, unapologetically embracing classic hues from the styles it weaves its confrontation from.
Ending on a gang baiting call, Welcome To The Slaughterhouse hit the spot with ease. Originality is maybe a breath more than a wind at times but that earlier mentioned freshness fuels every current and an appetite soon found for the Bang Bang Firecracker uproar.
Welcome To The Slaughterhouse is out February 22nd.
Pete RingMaster 22/02/2019
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