Time for something very much closer to home than my normal reviews. And a little shorter than the average magnus opus I receive.
This one is an EP from Spiral Dive – those who have listened to my Heavy Rock Rapture rock show will have heard tracks on there as well as the odd interesting interview or two with guitarist Tony Coleman.
As a brief background, they formed in 2000 to pursue a life of sex, drugs, beer and rock 'n' roll (their words not mine). They are still waiting for all that and having to do with bacon and marmite in the meantime but the good news is they haven't been idle and have been playing literally thousands of gigs, recording and releasing tracks as bands do.
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First up is 'After Tomorrow' and a good old fashioned rocker it is too, guitar driving it all along, riff entwining themselves around your nuts, powerful vocals over the top, menacing and with intent. Rhythm section galloping faster than red rum on amphetamines keeping everything as it should be. A good starter, guitar licks colouring the track throughout, vocals tonally a little Ozzy like in tone and feel, just better.
'Traitor's Gate' is the next one in line, and more beef comes straight out the mix, drums standing out at the start filling space before it gets any funny ideas. Vocals taking over for the verse, crunching guitar before the next one. The vocal patterns on this one are straight to the point and a step away from the standard rock fayre, hurrying everything along.
'The Only One' kicks in with a very different feel, guitar a lot more sedate but don't worry oh head crunchers we aren't talking ballad. It is still heavy – melodic and heavy is a good recipe you know. Vocals again with a nifty pattern, rocky and very very catchy. Two thirds of the way through, it all drops down with a bit of bass before changing tack to a rocky bit of six sting fiddlery from guitarist Tony Coleman. A well crafted song, simple but very effective.
There is a radio edit next, the original track featuring later on but this version of 'Rock Starving' is the radio edit. It isn't an edit on grounds of song length but content. The content isn't that bad as you will discover when listening but then again we are living in an age when Aerosmith have to edit 'shit' out to get airtime. It is very amusingly done though in this case and a middle finger to the corporate halfwits and their equally halfwitted political correctness.
Musically, if you like your Metal with groove you will love this one – involuntary foot tapping and shaking of body parts will ensue. Heavy, shifting riff, vocals in perfect harmony with the groove of the guitar, drums adding to it perfectly and chugging bass keeping it all together. Guitar solo sliding in, drums going into overdrive before vocals kick in again. This is perhaps the type of song they do best and when played live live you just have to hope the venue's floor timbers can cope.
Perhaps strangely the next one is the non radio edit version of 'Rock Starving'. At least it favours those who want to make a comparison and aren't blessed with the best of memory. As you will know by now you can get full lyrics this time around and as lyrics go they are superb: "You're just a walking talking cliche"... "If the truth be known you're a bit of a dick". Marvellous and definitely very descriptive.
Next to scream at you is and the last one as well is 'Voodoo'. There is also a radio edit to this one which comes complete with some F words. First impressions especially from the guitar sound,in my mind anyway, is latter day Thin Lizzy. It is another very well written track, riff powering along, Andy Blackman singing like he means it, rhythm section daring you to interfere – and as you know, never interfere with a rhythm section as at the very least it will involve a long convoluted conversation.
The chorus is a catchy affair, well the whole song is but it's the riff on this one that really stands out – some things just sound good.
So there you are, that for the uninitiated is Spiral Dive. Music is meant to be fun and as well as being good, this lot have fun. If you don't like humour in music then you probably won't get some of it but then again you probably won't have many friends either so you are fairly insignificant (sod off and listen to some Coldplay).
Musically it is very classic rock but with a few twists thrown in and much as you can pick up some of the influences of the band, it never hangs around for long enough to be too much.
Do yourself a favour, and them, and go and see them playing live – they tour incessantly so you have few excuses.
You can find out more online at http://www.spiral-dive.co.uk/ as well as all the usual haunts – Facebook, ReverbNation and MySpace
Andy Blackman – Vocals
Tony Coleman – Guitar
Gazz Fuller – Drums
Simon Scott - Bass