Review by Dave Evans
Last year Vicious Nature released their debut EP, Fight For Your Life, containing three instantly impressive slabs of metal that demanded your attention. So when I heard the Midlands band had recorded some new music I immediately contacted them to request a copy to review. It goes without saying that a band that contains ex members of Marshall Law, Cerebral Fix and Cloven Hoof are going to bludgeon your senses with a barrage of riffs and full on intensity.
The band continue where they left off with the opening track ‘Salvation’, JB’s pummelling drums and Andy Southwell’s stomping riffs and pinched harmonics instantly see the bar raised a notch, and with Andy Pyke’s almighty metal god vocals we are given a glimpse of what Pantera would have sounded like with Rob Halford at the helm. Vocally, he effortlessly moves through the gears, low end belly-roars one minute, lung-busting shrieks the next and the guitars soar and attack in equal measure throughout. In fact it is hard to believe at times there is only one guitarist such is Southwell’s depth in playing. The solid rhythm section nails everything down tightly in what is a mighty opening track.
The impressive intensity continues with ‘Breathless’, a very apt title as we the listener is instantly battered into submission by the machine gun assault of Southwell’s guitar. This is punctuated by Pyke’s atmospheric vocal delivery adding welcome drama to a song that motors along with a, dare I say it?, ‘commercial’ sensibility, the kind of sound FFDP have been bringing to large venues across the country. Yet vocally, I have to say it is even more impressive than the aforementioned with greater depth and variety. It is proof metal can deliver all the goods but without being stuck in top gear.
This is exemplified with the final track ‘Draggin’ Us Under’, which I must say arrives all too soon. It is a song that comes straight out of the traps like a riffing demon and then cleverly changes gears before you get too comfortable. Southwell’s guitars poke at you like a bar room bully with a broken bottle. Pyke’s vocals are spat out with venom like a man possessed. There is no room for excess fat here, the bass and drums are packed in tighter than a U.S prison cell and messers J.B and Mark Culley shake their musical fists like goading bystanders with an eye for a fight. Quite simply it is powerful music played by musicians on top of their game, there is no room for baggage everything on display is essential to the cause.
The band has produced an EP of the highest quality in terms of song writing, musicianship and production. This can only be achieved by musicians who truly know what they want and how to get it and that only comes with experience. This, however, is a band with its feet planted firmly in the present. The past glories of its members serve only to enhance what is a very special body of work, and this will propel them to new heights. There are large venues and major festival stages that will be enhanced by their presence. Of that I have no doubt.
9 out of 10
- Draggin’ Us Under