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Music Review

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Alter Nature


Artist: Bats
Label: Great Old Ones Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 October 2019

Bats is described as a science-inspired Metal/Post Hardcore & Post Punk band from Dublin in Ireland. The line-up consists of members Craig Potterton, Noel Anderson, Conor McIntyre, Timmy Moran and Rupert Morris. There are guest vocals by Matt Hedigan, Patrick Kelleher, Ronan Jackson, Lizzie Fitzpatrick and Sam Burton. There are also guest musicians. Bats formed in 2006; their debut EP Cruel Sea Scientist emerged in 2007, followed by the full albums Red In Tooth & Claw (2009) and The Sleep of Reason (2012). Alter Nature is their first album in seven years...

We’re straight in at the deep end with 'Summoning the Demon'. It’s a Metal/Post Hardcore or Post Punk sound with many other influences. The idea here is to create a chaotic cacophony of surprisingly rhythmic and melodic pieces you could even dance to (if I didn’t dance like a disco dad!). I do like the Industrial beat and sound effects in 'Christian Science'. Even the mostly-processed spoken vocals seem to fit this well, and the whole possesses a main theme of sorts. I was curious to hear how a story from one of my favourite authors would be tackled in 'The Call of Cthulhu'. This one’s both unexpected and quirky, considering the subject material based on the great H.P. Lovecraft’s literary fiction. The weird-sounding vocals are exactly right for this – although they’re being exclaimed like a newspaper seller!

'Old Hitler' is the single lifted from the album. Ironically, it’s the least enjoyable and the most disjointed track on the entire album. There is no accounting for taste. 'In The Court of The CRISPR King' has more of a traditional song structure, but is different enough to keep it interesting with unusual direction. The vocals are clean and sung but understated. At the end it seems to run out of ideas. 'Ergot' (which is a fungus that can make people very ill via the ingestion of wheat and rye-related cereals) is, again, a rather disjointed song and somewhat silly. But it is unusual. There is a nice off-kilter intro to 'Dyson Sphere', with a drumroll pattern. It does momentarily lose something until the introduction of the chorus, which is catchy. It’s a good song but too repetitive.

With 'Family Planning', it’s as though a veil has opened-up to reveal that an advertising mogul has released an album of statements set to music. It’s a curious impression, probably subconsciously promoted by the use of spoken, chanted or exclaimed vocals. 'Current Affairs' wraps things up with an energetic, driving beat, and a middle statement section. But this time it doesn’t overshadow the song, which is probably the best of the bunch.

This is a somewhat unique balance of influences which succeeds as a whole. There are some nice little music ideas and touches in each song which tend towards the surreal. This isn’t the normal Metal/Rock/Punk I listen to, but I did enjoy the experience. It’s tantamount to experiencing an excellent film that you have no inclination to watch again. These things are subjective though, and I’m sure this will make the required impact in the relevant circles. The sound effects and Industrial aspects stood out most for me.


Ty Power

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