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Primitive Age EP

Tankcrimes (2013)
Rating: 8/10

It’s been said you can never go home again, and in some ways that’s true. There are a lot of musical projects that intend to recapture the spirit of glory days of the players involved. If that was the intention of the guys in Bat, they not only hit the mark, but excel beyond, bringing the best of the members’ past endeavours with a new fury.

Bat is comprised of Municipal Waste’s Ryan Waste on bass / vocals, former DRI drummer Felix Griffin and Volture guitarist Nick Poulos. There’s a lot of punk and metal credibility in this line-up, not to mention a fair amount of history. The result is an album that mixes punk and metal into a frenzy of noise that’s an instant classic.

Fans of old school hardcore will immediately recognize the influence of bands like DRI on the Bat formula. The title track on Primitive Age could easily be a DRI outtake. Opening track ‘BAT’ bears a distinct resemblance to hardcore’s masters of rebellion as well. Straightforward punk riffing is interlaced with metal moments that are reminiscent of some of the masters of doom. More than a little Pentagram can be heard in this mix, especially during the breakdown during ‘BAT’. The guitar tone is pure, sludgy doom in the vein of Saint Vitus. Despite the doom sound, the band never slows below a hardcore rhythm. The result is somewhat like Orange Goblin making a punk record. It’s aggressive, and bears the imprint of punk furor and Black Sabbath groove.

Bat’s strength is in the appeal of mixing punk and metal. Much like early speed metal bands, Bat takes the most vicious of both genres and combines them to create a menacing sound. ‘Code Rude’ has the attack and groove of Motörhead, and the take no prisoners attitude of the Cro-Mags. The result gives songs like ‘Rule Of The Beast’ classic sounds that catch the flavour of early punk and metal without sounding like a clone of any band in those genres. Poulos pulls out some impressive guitar skills, offering rhythms that bring to mind Venom and leads that are surprisingly complex for a punk record. The formula Bat has employed for their debut release is simple, effective and uncompromising.

When a band full of such seasoned veterans releases a record there is always the concern that the new music either won’t live up to their legacy, or will just be a rehash of old ideas (I’m talking to you, Black Sabbath). Bat not only lives up to the expectations fans would have of its individual components, but adds something new to bring in fans. While the production is not stellar, it fits perfectly with the sound of the old school punk and metal bands that influenced these songs. Primitive Age is an aggressive release that will take the listener back to when they first heard Motörhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’ (1980), then whip them back into the present.

Jim McDonald

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