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Tundra EP

Self-released (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Now I’ve got to say that one of my favourite metal bands over the years was a New Jersey act called Revenant, who released one of my favourite extreme metal albums Prophecies Of A Dying World way back in 1991.

This Revenant, however, is a completely different kettle of metal (if that’s possible, as there have been so many bands called Revenant over the years) in that it’s a UK female-fronted metal band who formed in March 2013, and Tundra is their debut three-track EP.

The Bristol-based quartet is fronted by Anna Williams, who really takes this opus up a notch with her approach. Exuding soul and grit, Williams is the perfect ingredient to enable the rest of the band to ply their trade.

On the opening title track there is a strong groove showcasing the percussive talents of Matthew Davis, the superb bass work of Andy Bevan, but above all this pop-edged slab of weighty rock is beefed up by the twin axe attack of Williams and Stuart Fouweather.

Maybe it’s me but I’m hearing a peculiar mix of old school metal, Alanis Morissette, and Skunk Anansie! The riffs are strong, the melody catches the ears quickly and the bass clunks with conviction. Immediately, Revenant become a band with a sound that is difficult to pin down; there are elements of doom, elements of blues and even a hint of soul, along with traditional metal and a sprig of thrash, so it all makes for a rather intriguing experience in its fluidity.

‘Defamation’ varies in that’s it’s a straight up driving rocker featuring another catchy riff, as Williams soars above the stabbing drum kick which takes us into darker yet consistently melodic waters.

Often it takes several listens to get into the work of a new band, but such is the quality of this EP that after just one spin I’m tapping along as if I’ve been accustomed to these numbers for many years. The trouble is, the EP is way too bloody short and by the time the final track ‘Devil’ has sewn its seed in the brain – only this time in the form of a simmering guitar / drum flow – I’m left gagging for more, simply wondering why they didn’t throw at least another one or two tracks on there?

But as it stands, Tundra is such a natural sounding composition, that I hope these guys really take their time with a full-length release, because these guys could well be responsible for one of the best albums to emerge in the last few years. In Anna Williams, Revenant have an agile singer who one minutes can caress the framework constructed by the band, but the next really add an extra punch to the mid-section.

Forget the occult rock trend doing the rounds, because this is real female-fronted heavy rock that demands your attention… so you’d better give it.

Neil Arnold

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