Rabid Bitch Of The North | ‘Nothing But A Bitter Taste’
There’s an authenticity deficit in metal.
Or at least in the place most of it lives: granted, if you know where you’re going, you’ll never stray far from people who mean it.
But I’m sure you understand me. We are surrounded by bores and impressionables.
I’ve waxed lyrical alreday about RBOTN’s lack of pretence, honest approach and infectious enthusiasm. The only trouble in the past was a sort of eccentricity in the compositions that just kept them from being the fully formed article.
Well, the dangdest thing has happened.
They’ve now turned exactly that eccentricity into an absolute virtue. They have found themselves, and now use their idiosyncracy like a weapon.
All the things you love about them remain firmly in place. Joe’s vocals have that Lawless / Diamond falsetto rasp just down, and the songs are as varied and left of centre as ever.
What makes the difference this time though is just the absolute fucking coolness of what they do: to wit, songs like the absolutely stellar ‘Chance’.
The guitar is metallic, in a way that KK Downing might have had it around ‘Electric Eye’; the beat is downtown hunt from 2045. The pre-chorus is masterfully syncopated and the guitar riff is to die for – as is the hammer-ons glissandoing into that low E chord… it’s just a thing of perfection in that short moment.
All but every song is memorable.
And then there’s the mix. Not raw, just right, authentic, honest, real. Loads of room for the air to interact with every single element of it – the drums, the guitar, even the bass and most certainly the vocals.
Slough Feg’s spirit suffuses it, particularly on the title track, while a crispy Cirith Ungol legenda seems to run through it as well.
In a more traditionalist mood, you can hear Horslips bursting out of ‘Gilded Men’, with its swing time signature and bite.
‘Defending Two Castles’ makes a reappearance from the tape of the same name (reviewed yonks ago), and it’s a good reversion. ‘Demon Mind’ has Joe on absolutely blistering falsetto with a killer singalong chorus.
I’m just lost for further praise. So… you want some critical points?
Well, I’d love some guitar harmonies and real sweepy and/or ballsy solos over all this, and there isnt any of that.
But who can complain with the rhythm guitar shift put in here, which is about voice and touch rather and a signature sound, rather than all the flash?
Every single damn part of it is so them that it’s a joyful celebration of pure metal, unencumbered by trend, compression, expectation or condescention of any kind.
I’ve been absolutely loving it, and for that reason it’s an easy Album Of The Month.
Funny story, just to finish. I dont know the band or anything. But I did once stack shelves in a big name supermarket.
One night I was filling out the margarine when I said to a girl I worked with “what’s the mad graffiti in the Holy Lands, saying ‘Rabid Bitch Of The North’?
And she said it was about her, sprayed there by an ex.
Was it one of the band?
I need to know. Because if not, then it’s still a shit name!
5/5 – Earl Grey ::: 14/08/17