A concept demo decrying the Irish economic catastrophe through the metaphor of the White Star Line and Titanic? Never let it be said that Irish bands don’t stretch themselves.
Sellafield Surf Club play a decent if uninspiring mix of straight up metal influences, majoring on Metallica of the latter day variety. Perhaps Black Label Society would be a closer comparison, with the chugging, fat riffs and belly-slapping drum work.
If nothing else, the sound is suitably Titanic. The Trackmix job on this is as solid as ever, with the band’s tight performance allowing an incredibly heavy tone to make its presence felt.
But the huge advantage conferred by such a production is unfortunately wasted on this demo.
As usual, it takes a great singer to really cut the mustard, and Sellafield Surf Club don’t have one. It’s never pretty picking out individuals, but vocalist David Ryan is not the man for this job. He sounds an able guitarist, as proved by solid rhythm and lead work. Vocally however, his notes are strained, unconfident and generally miles off.
This band need a dedicated frontman with attitude and a ballsy delivery. Not what’s here.
Initially it seems as though this is the killer for the whole cd. Repeated listening however suggests that in truth the band’s songwriting could use a push toward better melodies, better hooks and more variety generally. Yes it’s heavy, and yes there’s a few decent sections. Overall however it just falls short of memorable.
There’s a neat reference to Prong in ‘End Of A Dream’. It’s a track that takes that snappy, tight style and delivers it with good punch. Similarly ‘Grasped By God’ shows promise with a nice left/right speaker division for the guitars near its end. That kind of stuff enlivens the material and brings it out of simple riff metal.
The rest though is just a bit vanilla. There’s not much here to really set the band aside from the pack, and unhappily it just all sounds a little tired. Ironic given the power behind the actual sound recording.
I had the same complaints recently of Double Wide from Co. Antrim. Like their release, a lot of time and effort has clearly gone into this. Now more than ever though, originality or at least outstanding quality is demanded for bands to really shine.
While entirely competent, it would be my opinion that while sounding a million dollars, the Surfs don’t really deliver either. Sorry lads.
– Earl Grey ::: 08/02/11