Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Album Review - Carnivores - Let's Get Metaphysical

The last few months have spawned a number of monster rock albums.  Brighton’s Royal Blood, Leeds’ Pulled Apart By Horses and even a mammoth return from Toronto’s Death From Above 1979 have put mainstream rock music in a healthy gleam.

However, what does Scotland have on offer in 2014?  Heavyweights Biffy Clyro haven’t released new music this year and Twin Atlantic returned with an album focused at national radio play.  Scottish rock needs new champions and on the evidence of the first few shreds of new album Let’s Get MetaphysicalCarnivores seem like a pretty safe bet.

The title track, and lead single, opens the album with a soaring rock chorus that will surely shake the foundations of venues they play in the future.  Carnivores have a fantastic way of shifting between hardcore headbanging riffs and poppy melodies, the "ba-ba-ba" backing vocals working the latter on the opener.  Last year’s Insecuricor  screams and blasts its way into the fold next marking an impressively hefty start to the album.  It’s a brilliant example of the heavier side to the band, with the music mimicking the title by taking a bi-polar twist at the end and freaking out.

If you’re a fan of melodies then the record has a number of tracks you’ll fall for.  The band have worked with Bruce Rintoul; he of Twin Atlantic and Fatherson production fame; with definitely adds a new level to Carnivores songwriting.  Watching Fireworks  pans vocals to excellent effect, whilst This Sinking Ship  is perhaps a late album future single with its polished riffs not miles apart from Queens Of The Stone Age.  Album closer Lion Tamer  takes Carnivores to new ground too as they flirt with poppy bass and math rock riffs.  It’s Crooked Teeth  though that is the most aspirational sounding track on the record, Rintoul helping to take Kenny Leckie’s vocals to astronomical heights.  It’s a song begging to be played to thousands in stadium shows.

Fans of Carnivores will know what to expect from the album; walls of noise.  And they do get it.  Apathy in the UK  blends thunderous riffs with frenzied song structures to exciting effect.  Midway through the album there is a re-recording of fan favourite Scottish Football,  which is a superb fit in the overall record.  The band doesn’t let you grab a breath from there soaring into A Shadow of a Shadow,  which aside from ear-tearing riffs surprises with some gorgeous brass.

Admittedly when I listen to a rock album I listen out for guitars which cause ear earthquakes.  Let’s Get Metaphysical  definitely ticks that box.  However the band have also made a powerfully political record lyrically.  The Second Wave Of Yuppie Scum  is aggressive, punching with lines like, "Now I know that you’re not one of us, liar, faker, decision maker".  The best song on the album is also the angriest sounding.  John Maynard Keynes  is politically charged and the ultimate hardcore track Carnivores have written so far.  It’s an atom bomb sized shot at Keynes, a 19th Century economist who influenced much of today’s government.  It’s a berserk rocket which will no doubt sound incredible live and if you can’t wait to hear it then you can catch Carnivores on their current UK tour, which includes dates all over Scotland and at the Barfly in London.

- Scott Hastie

Carnivores - Let's Get Metaphysical  is released on 27th October 2014 via Smalltown America.  You can pre-order the album now here, with an instant MP3 download available when you pre-order the album on vinyl.

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