There are just some things that the United Kingdom do better, it cannot be denied. We Americans are denied access to some of the most talented underground acts because of our disconnect and superiority complex but I will stand up and admit, we’re getting our asses handed to us. There are some musical acts I would trade for legions of our own acts. So what exactly would manifest if, say, Nick Cave and Iggy Pop joined together in perfectly nasty rock and roll whoopee? I think the end product would be a little rock and roll devil child known as The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. They are worth at least two legions. Their collective is a tightly knit fusion of Hellbilly Rock & Roll spliced with the chaos and fuck-off attitude of The Birthday Party, while maintaining a perfect crispness in their delivery; it’s the music you turn to when you want to burn the world to the ground. Their place and purpose on this earth is a nasty path walked with a dashingly sinister grin. Start with a delectable serving of twisted bedtime narratives peppered with inspiration from the likes of Brothers Grimm and other gothic ne’er-do-wells, throw in a dash of thrash and slash manic lunacy and you’ve got the album Royal Society. These fellows aren’t trying to be bad, they simply exist on the toxic ingredient with which they were conceived and that’s what makes them so incredibly legit.
Their first album, Horse of the Dog, is a completely out of control collection of songs that will have you jumping through glass and punching holes in walls if you’re not careful. The trail blazing guitar is sharp as a tack, the bass is nefarious and pure wickedness, and as for the drums…well, they’re fucking murderous and they’ll stab you repeatedly if you let your guard down. The album is over as quickly as it began because they leave no room for recollection, it’s pure adrenaline to the cranium that’s likely to leave a trail of blood running down your ears.
Their second release, Royal Society, is a different breed, but more of the same sonic brutality. The album seems to be split like some two-headed serpent slithering up through the bowels of Hades. The first half; crunched and jingly tales of caution and madness dipped in a witch’s brew of devil’s hymns; The songwriting gives the impression these lads put pen to paper in some thick wooded cabin listening to the darkest of Black Sabbath’s catalog. The songs ‘Puppy Dog Snails’ and ‘Drunk on the Blood’ come to mind with their demented chorus recalling some of the most impish of medieval folklore. And then there’s the obscene and chunky Rock & Roll stomp of “Rise of the Eagles.” But where “The Dancing Girls” creeps to an unsettling close “The Fool” takes over and a second personality takes hold, grinding the psychobilly fanatics of The Cramps through a thrash metal coalition of country fried western and the best of British garage rock. “Give me your heart cuz I feel like the tin man!” Lux Interior would be proud. The album screams to a halt with “The Way of The Men of The Stuff” and its clunky, unrelenting, gothic, ball clenching Rock & Roll hellishness.
It’s an experience that leaves me fascinated by music’s versatility and potential. It’s hard to describe in words the atomic force behind the mad preacher vocals riding the guitar like a ghost rider tearing straight out of hell. It’s a soundtrack for that long infernal drive through Death Valley on a summer day. Pop it in and fly like a bat straight outta hell! My hands have been nailed to Royal Society for more than four years and the zest hasn’t worn. It’s time tested and just as exhilarating. Find it somewhere, get it imported, it’s a tough one to find but very worth the search. It’ll put faith back into the void of great rock and roll acts, it’s music to be celebrated. The only tragedy is that the group disbanded, but the various members should be kept tabs on, for there will no doubt be interesting projects in the future. We were left with some truly visionary Rock & Roll!
Review made by Hunter Gatherer (The Forgotten West)/2014
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