Fuckshovel: This Is What We Are

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    This Is What We Are is an album you cannot fail to become wrapped up in and find yourself recruited to its defiant brawl of irresistible noise and energy. Unleashed by UK rockers Fuckshovel, the release is a riotous storm of rampant rock n roll with no intent to compromise or accept mere appreciation of its forceful sounds, it is all or nothing and for us it is everything such the compelling and inciting muscular pleasure on offer.

Formed in the back street of London in 2005, Fuckshovel has a striking sound which is so easy to joyfully describe. The quartet stare the listener straight in the eyes with a confrontation brewed from the metallic imagination and might of Therapy?, the defiant pose and infectious punk abrasion of The Ruts, and the raw dirty rock n roll of The Wildhearts. To that you can add essences of early Anthrax and The Adicts but primarily throughout the album the first trio come to mind with the punk quartet the major spice to the music which is undeniably from the distinct ownership of Fuckshovel. The pedigree of the band members included experiences gained through playing with the likes of Cradle of Filth, Decimator, Basement Jaxx, Plan B, and remnants of Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam, the foursome infusing those elements into their new venture. The years since has seen the band share stages with bands such as The Germs, Fucked Up, Jaguar Love, Glen Matlock, and Innerpartysystem, receive an invitation to showcase material at SXSW in Texas to great success and response, as well as receiving acclaim and strong radio play upon the release of debut single Long Time Dead, something equalled by the accompanying video too.

Released on February 18th, This Is What We Are is primed to thrust the band to the widest national recognition well if Fuckshovel cover artworkirrepressible and skilfully contagious sounds are any degree of persuasion and the album has those in thrilling abundance. Recorded with producer Rohan Onraet, the album just barges through the ear from its first note to the last middle finger vocal scowl of the release. It is a merciless tempest of antagonistic rhythms, crippling riffs, and caustic emotive vocal. Opener Germs Of Empire bursts free with drums and guitars fighting each other for attention though both receive the fullest from the first bruising touch they deliver. Once settled into its stride the track brings in the Malcom Owen like vocals of Jon Stone to further inspire The Ruts flavouring already washing over the senses whilst the music spreads into a sinewy rock adventure with attitude and melodic teasing to the fore. It is a fiery encounter which starts the album off at a great height and alone makes the release and band one you want to know much more about.

The Antidote scrapes over the ear next, the scarring riffs of Ian Fisher and enslaving drums of Dave Hirschheimer demanding whilst the glorious throaty bass tones of John Faulkner bring instant submission to their predatory mastery. The track is less distinctive than the first but with ease lays a contagion and beckoning which is impossible to refuse. It takes no time in grabbing the enthused enlistment of feet and emotions whilst unveiling compelling enterprise to keep things unpredictable and inciting, the same claim which can be said of Black, another song which arguably does not venture to far into new territories but is just a thrilling assault of ravenous riffs and sonic teasing. It has a towering presence nonetheless to leave one exhausted at its departure and enamoured in its company.

The first Fuckshovel single and their newest stand side by side and both spark the richest of rapture. Long Time Dead chews synapses with its gnarly bass attack and niggling sonic riffing before unleashing a punk rock furnace of imagination and greedy raptorial addiction. Anthemic and as infectious as lustful thoughts, the track is a near demonic addiction brought through insatiable energy, rampaging sounds, and aggression veined by a bass sound you just drool over. New single Schizophonic is the same viral violation in a different guise. Once again the bass of Faulkner ensnares the heart whilst the sonic manipulations of Fisher leaves the senses twisted in ardour within the numbing result of the barbed beats from Hirschheimer. The punk and rock tempest evolves with the vocals into a presence which consumes and riles willing emotions. It is a riot which can only be devoured again and again.

This Is What We Are is an outstanding debut from a band we can only see becoming a real force in UK rock. Tracks such as the melodically snarling Vegas Nerve, the towering All You Got with its Dead Kennedys like hooks and One Minute Silence aggressive gait, and the violently cajoling Skull and Bones all continue to ignite more unbridled fire and euphoria for the release whilst the closing pair of tracks, the insistent juggernaut 2500 Days and the unruly Portia’s Box without arguably reaching the heights of the rest of the album, impressively close off an impressive and exciting debut. The release is rock n roll at its very best and Fuckshovel the worse antagonistic nightmare for all who like a quiet life.

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RingMaster 17/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

As I Lay Dying – Decas

Upon hearing the details of the new album from Californian metalcore band As I Lay Dying one just knew there would be a mixed reception towards it without even hearing a sound. The news of an album containing covers and remixes even with some original material was bound to cause a stir, because as loyal and passionate as metal fans are many do not like songs tampered with or classics tainted, or it seems even attempted in many cases. Decas is sure to split opinions once heard but as a celebration of the band’s 10 year anniversary it is a pretty fine and enjoyable release.

In some ways Decas feels like a filler between albums but if there is not enough new material ready why not pay tribute to the band’s influences. Obviously whether the choice of tracks suits the listener or not is immaterial and with all the songs extremely well delivered and interpreted one knows there was real effort and no sense that they spent an afternoon reeling them off in a hurry. One does hopes the original tracks are exclusive to this album and do not appear on the next as that would take the gloss off Decas but time will tell on that.  

The three original tracks are typically As I Lay Dying and typically impressive. ‘Paralysed’ kicks off proceedings with a solid dose of robust pummelling and insurgent riffs powered by the as usual impressive combined growls and clean vocals of Tim Lambesis and bassist Josh Gilbert respectively. The great melodic play makes the track not the most punishing the band has ever produced but does set things up for the crushing assault of ‘From Shapeless to Breakable’. Whereas the opener almost takes its time to consume this goes straight for the throat with a dark thrash metal aggressive insurgency. The drums from Jordan Mancino are attention grabbing and frame the song wonderfully as the guitars of Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso crash and entice in equal measure.

Moving Forward’ completes the trio of new tracks with a slightly mellower and more melodic flow, though the aggression especially from Lambesis and Manino never wanes. It is hard to think of a better contrasting and complimenting vocal duo than Lambesis and Gilbert anywhere their balance perfect more often than not. As with the first two songs this is impressive and continues the quality and levels of music from the previous album The Powerless Rise. There is no discernable progress from that release to be fair but as they sound this good not sure that matters.

The four covers are a mixed bag depending on one’s taste but they are brought forth with skill and character by the band. ‘War Ensemble’ is an excellent version of the Slayer track. Whether anyone can reach that band’s heights on their songs is debateable but As I Lay Dying get damn close as the track tramples all over the senses with its unbridled power and intensity. A great song matched by the Descendents cover ‘Coffee Mug’.  The band gives the punk classic real homage by not copying it but delivering their own distinct version and it is the highlight of the whole album. As much as the urge to go straight to the remixes is strong we have to mention the Judas Priest covers ‘Hellion’ and ‘Electric Eye’. Thankfully omitting the Halford screams in their version there is still no getting away from the fact if one does not like Judas Priest no cover will compensate enough to make them bearable enough.

It is not clear why the re-recorded medley of ‘Beneath The Encasing’ is included though it is decent enough obviously, this does feel like a late add on. The re-mixes are again varied and again the point of re-mixes misses the understanding of this reviewer other than to pad out something but that’s a debate for another time.  On Decas there is one track that actually works really well and engages wonderfully and though of course not a patch on its source is more than listenable. That is the Innerpartysytem remix of ‘The Blinding of False Light’, the song coming over with a flavour of The Browning without the intensity.

The Benjamin Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan) remix of ‘Wrath Upon Ourselves’ is intriguing if slightly too messy to fully get attached to but the last couple of ‘Confined’ (remixed by Kelly “Carnage” Cairn) and ‘Elegy’ (Big Chocolate Remix) are just window dressing and easily passed over.

Overall though Decas is a great and very enjoyable released and as a celebration of As I Lay Dying’s centenary is a more than worthy way to mark it.

Decas is available via Metal Blade Records November 8th

RingMaster 31/10/2011

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