BATS – Red In Tooth & Claw BATS – Red In Tooth & Claw

BATS - Red In Tooth & Claw

BATS - Red In Tooth & Claw

Remember in school, when the teacher would let you watch a Disney film to try and get a certain message across, some sort of lesson in morality. Or in science classes where you got to do a fun quiz that involved lots of shouting out answers and laughing. Red In Tooth And Claw by Dublin rockers BATS, is a bit like that Physics lesson. Buried under the blisteringly jagged dance-metal howlers lies the band’s main idiocentricity: An obsession with science. As the band describe it, “I think it’s pretty important to promote and give kudos to it because it gets a lot of bad press and it’s the most important thing in the world. It’s the only thing that can save us from what we’ve done to this planet.”

Well erm, yes. Thankfully though, as with the quizzes and Disney films, the real message is more or less diluted to the point of non existence. “But da planet iz important!!!” Well yes it is, but I don’t want to hear it preached to me from my surprisingly good condition apple speakers, least of all from a punk/metal/dance rock band. Singer songwriters can moan about pollution, music this daft isn’t meant to have a message.

And it is daft. Produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, BATS manage with Red In Tooth And Claw (much like label mates Adebisi Shank) to ensure that the pace never lets up for a second. Steady opener “Higgs Boson Particle” is a good snapshot of what’s to follow; some funkay drumming and looped guitars pave the way for some math rock guitars and some very Cutting Pink With Knives-esque vocals, before cutting straight into “Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date”. Apart from the nerdy titles, one isn’t really sure how much weight should be put on this whole science thing, (On the album….not in general….that’s for you at home to decide…..ahem) as this incredibly fun math metal track seems to play completely oblivious to minute particles or the breaking down of matter. Likewise, any highly intelligent vocals are lost in either hammering metal guitars or highly intricate widdling; you can usually guarantee that whatever track you’re listening to, it’ll be one of the two. It’s a similar story on highlight “Credulous! Credulous!” , whose bassline borrows somewhat from Northern Irish contemporaries LaFaro. Despite flicking from heavy to funky to punishing, there are speckles of poppier moments strewn throughout. The same can’t be said for the brutally unsubtle “Lord Blakeney’s Arm”, which lets the side down somewhat. Contrastingly, album closer “The Barley” treats the listener to a steady 6 minutes of sinister guitars and an incredibly tight rhythm section.

Red In Tooth And Claw won’t be to everyones tastes, and whilst its full on nature ensures that you won’t be bored whilst listening, there’s almost too much going on, preventing certain ideas to expand and develop. Its ever so slightly too edgy for its own good, often annoying more than captivating. Still, the fun and catchy side of Red In Tooth And Claw ensures that there’ll be certain tracks you’ll keep returning to. Whilst it’ll be interesting to see where they take it from here, it’s a reasonably solid debut album from a band with ambition. Perhaps they could move on to Disney soundtracks, or something.

Track Listing:
1. Higgs Boson Particle
2. Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
3. Credulous! Credulous!
4. Andrew Wiles
5. Lord Blakeney’s Arm
6. The Cruel Sea
7. Shadow-Fucking
8. BATS spelled backwards is STAB
9. Star Wormwood
10. Vermithrax Pejorative
11. The Barley

BATS - Red In Tooth & Claw, reviewed by Lemon on 2009-10-07T10:30:57-07:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

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