28 May 2020
The Self Titled – Bears and Bulls EP
I am a simple bloke. I get confused very quickly. The Self Titled confused me, actually the name did. I initially thought the band and record were called Bears and Bulls, which I liked, but it wasn’t. I will confess I don’t like the band’s name but hey what do I know, and at least the name didn’t involve either a dark colour, hard material, flying creature or alcohol? On came my big boy pants and I pressed play. The 4 track EP is the 3rd release from this UK 4 piece who formed initially in 2003, there was the debut LP Defaced in 2014 and a follow up single 3 years later called Airlock. During the first listen it is clear that the influences of this band come in the form of RaTM , FNM , SOAD and Korn . The production is clear and generally balanced, I felt the drums were too much up front due to bombastic playing and overpowering in places, but it’s the subtle brutal funkiness of Philip Halls guitar that grabs the attention. Tom Proctor on vocal does a fine job, the change in range and tone is not dissimilar to Corey Taylor without the latter’s larynx splitting growls. The opener Disintegration gives no warning, and hits you like a rampaging elephant, Steve Burwell on bass with his rhythm buddy drummer Paul Brander create a sonic wall of noise from which Proctor and Hall bounce off. Breath is the gem of the four, the expletive venomous tirade from Proctor is vintage Henry Rollin and is a tour-de-force cemented with a skull cracking riff attack from Hall , the line … the bogeyman is real and he’s coming for you … just before the best chorus of the week , even if its loaded with F bombs is refreshing as it is sing able. One for my playlist. Fear and Loathing starts low and dark, with Soundgarden like harmony fillers proving that heavy doesn’t have to be fast, then it ups the ante as quick as it and slows back down. Bears and Bulls for me is the weakest of the bunch but that’s because the intro is too close to RaTM (Bulls on parade) or maybe that’s the point. To be fair the track develops into a decent chugging beast, but I can’t get that connection out of my head. TST are a band that have cut their teeth in the live circuit and know how to perform, there is an edge to their music that will make people take notice, however, they must make sure that they don’t get pulled to close into the orbits of their influencers which may put some listeners off. Bears and Bulls is a strong EP containing four tracks that could easily unleash sweaty tinnitus inducing fury live and hopefully this will pave the way to a new awaited long player. A recommended purchase without a shadow of a doubt.
Reviewed by Skid
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