Friday Release Review - Starring Bratakus, Tantrum, Metallica, and Hands Off Gretel

We have a new clutch of new release reviews for you lovely folk at NHC MUSIC! Check them out below;

Bratakus – Gigantopithecus

On their debut release Bratakus are very clearly refusing to be perceived as shrinking violets.
Instead if we go for a boxing analogy they have rushed out at the sound of the bell and are looking to deliver a knockout blow with the opening track ‘I know nothing’.
It’s a track that lyrically pulls no punches as it delivers a time served nihilistic punk rock blow that would leave a misogynist reeling on the ropes
There’s no pretence at diplomacy in the message.
It’s the sound of an impassioned manifesto delivered from source unfiltered by artifice.
When saying they know nothing it is very clear that it is a back handed attack on the bogus views expressed from a society that is still chained by patriarchal thinking.
There’s no sugar coating on the pill that this is, and no one has to peel back any layers to understand that Bratakus are saying that they have zero tolerance for bullshit.
Second track in and Minds Eye conjures up elements of the Lunachicks when they took the brakes off.
Food Chain was written when they were thirteen years old and comes with an apology in the sleeve notes, but it doesn’t need one.
The animal rights angle may be considered in hindsight by themselves as being possibly a little bit too impassioned, but instead of saying sorry for that they would be better just saying take it or leave it.
It is who they were then and that’s all it has to be.
A snapshot in time.
The three songs in their totality are the perfect length for the genre.
More, and maybe attention could be lost, but bitesize releases like this are satisfying enough and maintain focus without sounding repetitive.
Another ep coming out sooner rather than later would be welcomed.
More please.

Metallica - Hardwired..... to Self-Destruct


25 years of hate. Yes, unbridled hatred, that's been Metallica's lot for a full quarter of a century now. The hugely successful 'Black' Album seemingly turned them into some sort of metal pantomime villains (Oh no they're not), to those supposed 'hardcore' fans who felt the band had sold out. So, tell me, when was it a crime to become more popular, or to change the sound of a band a little? Sadly the intervening years have seen the level of vitriol rise to a point where you'll be guaranteed a Pavlovian response of "They're shit" just by merely mentioning their name within earshot of some folk. It's like nothing else matters to these folk.... Metallica - metal's unforgiven? Okay, they deserved a serious take down for the disastrous Lulu project with Lou Reed, but you know.... we all make mistakes.

So, here we are in 2016, with a brand new album in the shops. A marketing campaign of releasing videos for each song a short time apart seemed to work very well in the band's favour, but of course there's that background noise as always.... "they're shit" I hear you say. Well actually they're not, you just don't like them, there's a big difference, and like this review, it is just an opinion. Have you really listened to the album? This is a strong release, a fitting, dare I say more melodic follow up to Death Magnetic, also a very strong album. The overall sound on Hardwired is the best they've had in years, whether you listen on laptop speakers, headphones or a good hi-fi set up. From the opener and title track right through to the brilliant "Spit Out The Bone", this is a seriously consistent set of songs, and I can see a few of these becoming firm live favourites. A special mention must go to the penultimate track on the album, particularly the accompanying video. A wonderfully poignant and reverential tribute to their friend and hero, Lemmy, this is Metallica at their modern day best. I'm not going to dissect the album any further. Suffice to say I love it, and I see a lot of ther folk loving it too. To the haters, I will paraphrase the band themselves..... Fuck 'Em All.

Tantrum - Rough Cuts EP

When a new band quickly picks up a reputation and nabs support slots with the likes of Saints of Arcadia and the mighty Diamond Head, you know there's something good going on. Having caught the band live a couple of times myself, I was intrigued as to how they would capture their seriously high energy live performance in the studio. The very pleasant surprise is that they have managed it in spades. Fans of 80's rock of the glam persuasion will love this 5 track EP. All the ingredients are there, big hook laden shout-a-long choruses, songs that don't overstay their welcome, and a level of musicianship that to be honest elevates them well above many of that 80's era's so called stars, where image was more important than talent. So, don't be a "Dirty Little Tease", "Get off Your Ass", get singing along, and let's "All Hail Rock'n'Roll". And whatever you do, go catch these guys live, you won't be disappointed.

Hands off Gretel – Burn the Beauty Queen

In a live review (hyperlink here) a list of influences were made, the usual ones of Babes in Toyland, Hole, L7 etcetera, but it would be remiss of us not to touch base with them again simply because on Burn the Beauty Queen Hands off Gretel have managed to get a grip on a baton that was in danger of not being passed on.
Well to be more accurate was in danger of being passed on to the underground where the power of having women in charge can be diluted.
And therein lies a problem as it all becomes too much of a case of preaching to the already converted.
What the world needs now is some kick ass women taking to the mainstream that will shake things up and this is where Hands off Gretel come in as they have the ability to be that act that the underground can’t hold back.
Once the Burn the Beauty Queen album beds in the groundswell of support off the back of it could open the door to so many other female led and female bands to rush through and change the face of the music business.
And that’s a good thing.
Okay, it’s a big ask, and it more than likely isn’t going to turn everything on its head, but a slight change can lead to another, and yet another and this is a path that should be pursued.
It would be easy to throw in some names of alleged female artists who do fill chart positions that the media claim to be strong and influential in the mainstream, but even if they started off strong the dilution is a problem and Hands of Gretel are the solution.
Alt rock needs this album, this band, women need this band.
Not to represent a feminist agenda, but to push forward with carving a niche out that opens other people’s eyes to there being a real alternative.
But similar to some of the acts mentioned at the start Hands off Gretel are not overtly political.
They are not pushing a feminist agenda deliberately, but rather just by existing in the form they do they are.
Instead they are yet another kick ass rock band that are conveniently fronted by a woman and are making music that is comparable with the best that the rock scene can conjure up just now.
And in many ways isn’t that enough?
The change they could usher in is just a bonus.

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