Once upon a time there was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Today we get Wings of Chains by Bat, and they too bring the sound and fury, but in their case it definitely signifies something. That something being rowdy, sloppy and ill-tempered speed metal guaranteed to make old timers grin in gruesomely gap-toothed glee. Featuring former members of original crossover punk act D.R.I. along with current members of Municipal Waste, Bat sets out to fuse hardcore punk with the worst traits of Venom, N.M.E. and Motörhead and somehow succeeds in creating a power keg of explosive, good timey adrenaline rock sure to D-beat your cranium from can-see to can’t see. And while their music is conceived and designed to paddle copious fanny, it manages to include a surprising amount of little bells, whistles and hooks both large and small. Rarely has such brainless speed and noise been so coldly calculated to be digestible and instantaneous and that takes some seriously next-level scheming and planning, folks.
In the interest of keeping things appropriately simple, Wings of Chains comes out the gate in attack mode and never stops the malicious onslaught. It’s 29 minutes of whoop ass and every second of disc space is used for maximum effect. Opener “Bloodhounds” puts a big boot on your throat with raw, galloping riffs, chaotic drumming and the raspy bellows of Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste). Though simplistic there are some interesting riff-work and tempo changes mixed in and before you know it, it’s over and you feel used and abused. “Code Rude” picks up the battery and reminds me of the work of Toxic Holocaust, and “Master of the Skies” sounds like Beyond the Gates era Possessed on a meth and coke cocktail (read as: lunacy reigns supreme).
Other wild and woolly moments include the chugga-lugga thrash fun of “Primitive Age” and the NWoBHM inspired grooves and arena rock excesses of the ridiculously entertaining title track. Hell, the short Motörhead-esque bass fill in the latter is more fun than some entire albums. There are no bad songs and the whole things flies by in a happily spastic blur, ending with some righteously Maiden-inspired licks on closer “Bat.”
This isn’t one of those albums were you painstakingly dissect the choices made by the producer and engineer. You get the feeling they just pressed “Record” and fled for safe environs leaving natural selection to sort things out, and that worked just fine. The vocals are prominent but the guitar is loud and in-your-business and the drums and bass both get enough space to shine.
On that note, Mr. Waste’s bass-work is a major piece of the fun biscuit and his little fills and solos add a coolness factor and swagga to the proceedings. As vocalists go, Mr. Waste is just about perfect for the material. His monotone rasp is actually quite entertaining and he sounds a lot like Jeff Becerra of Possessed fame. The guitar-work by Nick Poulos (ex-Cannabis Corpse) is more inventive than you’d expect for this kind of metal and he incorporates plenty of nods to classic and traditional metal alongside his speed picking and punky d-beatery. His happily unhinged solos are manic and frenzied, sounding like they belong on a Bathory album circa 1986. He’s the real star of the show here and keeps the nonstop slash n’ burn pace from getting tedious or tiring. And special props must be given to the ageless Felix Griffin (ex-D.R.I.) for his exuberant drum pummeling. Considering Bat is a trio, they certainly make a large, unholy racket, and I like that.
Wings of Chains is a big dose of filthy, clunky and unpolished noise and you’ll end up liking it immediately. When this shit is done right it’s almost impossible to resist and Bat know exactly what they’re doing. This is sure to be a sleeper hit in 2016 and you heard it right here. Resistance is brutal, kids, so get this, crank it and feel the guano.