Virginia may be for lovers but don’t tell Bat, as their debut full length Wings Of Chains is a head on charge of dirty speed metal best played at a biker bash rather than in a ballroom. On the back of an instantly sold out demo and a two track EP this trio flawlessly delivers on the blazing promise of both. Equal parts eighties speed metal and thrash the band rip through just under a half an hour of hard charging metal without ever coming up for air. Which results in a debut that won’t be leaving your player for quite some time.
In case you missed either of their previous works, the pedigree of this band should give insight into what you can expect — Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste), Felix Griffin (ex DRI), and Nick Poulos (Volture). Unless you’ve been under a rock thats one hell of a lineup. And then there’s the artwork which is, in and of itself, a throwback to the eighties scene but also something that would make a perfect MC patch.
While this album does hit all the right spots for an excellent throwback it’s not that simple, not by a long shot. This is the sound of a band taking all they know and love and creating something that is absolute ear candy to listen to and furthermore appreciate. Early party anthem “Code Rude” kicks the punkish percussion into high gear and as well on “Total Wreckage” but here, some sneaky NWOBHM solos surface. But it’s the early Nuclear Assault inspired riffs of “Primitive Age” that really gets the blood pumping. Nostalgia is a beautiful thing, particularly when done as impeccably as this band seem to effortlessly pull it off. Don’t be surprised to get stuck on this track for an hour or more.
Waste’s vocals are a sort of gruff yell that, throughout, remain intelligible. It’s always been a plus to hear speed/thrash metal that features rough enough vocals that fit the music but that can also be made out no matter how much destruction is going on in the background. “You Die” turns out to be the anthem track of the album and mostly due to the vocals. Lines are barked out with speed but are clear enough to stick in your brain so that by the second time around of the chorus it’s easy to sing, or yell, right along with Waste. There’s much to be said of the collective effort through each and every song but the title track features some of their best songwriting, hands down. The infectious, groove filled riffs lock in perfect step to the wild but completely controlled drumming. Not to mention the time shifts and high flying solos.
The production on this album might as well be the fourth member. It’s clear enough to hear good seperation between all the instruments but dirty enough to please any fan of early Motörhead or Venom for that matter. In listening to this album on a marathon repeat, one thing is for sure, if any of the thick bottom end would have been altered, even slightly, in the transfer it would have lost that smoky, sweaty small venue feel. And after all what is speed metal without that dirty and raucous feel.
On Wings Of Chains, Bat come out with all guns blazing and keep firing until the last note of the closing track fades. They prove that an album can be a throwback to a near perfect moment in time without being a tryhard rehash, which we’ve all heard too many times. Bat take nods to each of its members past and present but mold all of it into something new and extremely exciting to listen to. Plus they do it quickly, in and out in a flash, leaving the listener in a pool of sweat and with no choice but to hit the repeat button.