Here There Be Monsters
Black Match Records
13 February 2010
by Hugh Platt
Genre-pigeonholes are the sad crux of the modern record reviewer. Can’t think of a decent opening gambit for your review of the latest record from Band X? Simple – just throw some half-baked tangent out there about whatever micro-niche you think you can shoehorn the band falls into. Fuck it – make up a new genre. No-one will know any different. They’ll just pretend they’ve already heard of post-swervecore just so they don’t look clueless. And it’ll piss off the shitcunt pedants on Wikipedia, at any rate.
Except that tactic won’t work for a band like Here There Be Monsters.
Oh, I’m sure there are some people out there who’d try to railroad this into a whatever-core corner, and others who’ll mistakenly interpret my claim that the Inherent EP stands above genres is a claim that it is somehow transcendent of them because it has reached some idealised plateau of musical excellence and purity (as that’s not what I’m saying at all).
Does this mean the end result is wishy-washy? Of course it fucking doesn’t. Inherent sees a band wielding a hefty momentum that we can only describe as being straight out-and-out metal. Anthony Giles’ sore-throat screams aren’t gruff enough to be called a death growl, but retain enough blood-spitting roar that not even the dirtiest, most disease-ridden hobo could ever hope to describe them as anything approaching “clean”. The production given to the deep chug of the guitars – well-spaced out, rather than sparse – keeps the band from sticking to any safe grooves.
If there’s any weakness, it’s in the occasional stretching out of breakdowns, and lyrics that sometimes weigh in with a little bit too much blunt simplicity. Despite offering two minutes of no-intro-no-surrender metal, ‘K9 Vs Feline’ features a clumsy section where Giles’ seems to go through a rote of -ations: abomin-, termin- and extermination are all fired off in quick succession. It’s just that bit too cheesy for my liking. And yes, they do really dare to us the lyric, “unleash the dogs of war”, too.
But you know what? That’s just nitpicking. ‘Driven’ has that same overwhelming steamroller-sound that Bristol’s Onedice once shook the West Country with. ‘Welcome to Barbados (Have A Nice Day)’ rides on a base of almost-thrash riffs, before an old school UKHC vocal snap brings it up for air. If anything , it hammers with the same kind of cross-appeal that Romeo Must Die and their ilk have been peddling.
Watch Andy Parker’s live video of ‘Trojans’ by Here There Be Monsters
For all its strengths, its local scenes, and historic record, the UK metal scene can still suffer from a collective mob mentality. People spend all their time looking over their shoulder – sometimes to see what their peers are up to, sometimes to see what my fellow Americans have been digging, and sometimes just to steal a lick or two from their forefathers. Here There Be Monsters aren’t doing any of that. They’ve made an EP that is furiously, unmistakably British. Stuff it in a pigeonhole at your own peril.
Sounds Like: Metal. Fuck you if you need more than that.
Top Track: Welcome to Barbados (Have a Nice Day)
Here There Be Monsters – Inherent tracklisting:
K9 Vs Feline
Welcome to Barbados (Have a Nice Day)