Thrash Hits

February 15th, 2012

Live: Basick Records Fest @ London Camden Barfly – 05 February 2012

Chimp Spanner promo photo 2010 Thrash Hits

British indy label Basick Records put on their own night in London, featuring instrumental tech metal(/cheese) one-piece Chimp Spanner (yes, he did bring a backing band), excellent French atmospheric tech metallers Uneven Structure and French mentalist The Algorithm. We went along to bang our heads in 17/8 time signature.

Six things we learned from when Basick Records brought their bands to London

1) The Algorithm’s frontman is vaguely reminiscent of Gareth Keenan from The Office, but despite this, the sonic fury of their music makes 6 foot blokes with jutting beards smash their faces around to the heavy dub-fodder on offer. The beats are just fucking huge, and the Barfly is a small enough venue to make you feel like you’re locked in a prison cell with a rutting rhinoceros.

2) The proliferation of utterly bonkers acts coming out of France shows no sign of slowing down, if The Algorithm is anything to go by. Basick may specialise in the well and truly crazy side of metal, but even they will struggle to get something as loopy as this guy on their roster any time soon. It’s about as predictable as a hallucinating cat when someone’s just turned the hoover on, veering from progressive house to Meshuggah-esque metal to random samples, like the ‘Trolololol’ song. It definitely makes you move though.

3) Uneven Structure are great on record, as we’ve told you before, but they’re monumental live. The six-piece straddle the stage and tear into the crowd with their insatiable djent-fused prog, and the crowd quickly respond by hurling their carcasses around in an equally frenzied manner. Switching between ephemeral synth layering and brutal off-kilter riffs, Uneven Structure are the perfect combination of dramatic build-up and sadistic completion. ‘Hail‘ is a highlight; the fucking enormity of that bouncing intro riff threatens to eject your spinal column out your tradesman’s entrance.

4) If Uneven Structure have a flaw, then it’s that they’re badly cramped on the stages they’re stuck playing for now. Three guitarists and an energetic frontman is too much for the Barfly. This is about the most critical thing you can say about them, however. Those vocals are brilliantly delivered, the riffs crush and the atmosphere is gorgeous. If there’s any justice, they’re going places. Someone playing decent sized venues needs to take them out as a support act. Oh wait. Someone is. Well done Protest The Hero.

5) If you are going to see Chimp Spanner, don’t (a) go with a mate who lists Fallout Boy in his top 5 and (b) get so cunted that you forget it’s actually a Monday night. Neither of these will help you enjoy an incredibly technical instrumental act that combines virtuoso guitars with the kind of complex time signatures that have become such a part of the whole tech metal thing doing the rounds. Paul Antonio Ortiz is brilliant at his craft, and Chimp Spanner’s live drummer spends the entirety of the set standing up and riling the crowd like a slightly more talented Bez, both of which add to the enjoyment of this experience. The songs are well constructed, and as such flow into one another making it difficult to gauge the real stand-out moments. All in all, it’s a decent showing from an act who are gaining increasing credibility for a still obscure sub-set of music. Best enjoyed without vomit, of course.

6) The new Chimp Spanner EP helps the shows hugely. They’ve been very impressive up till now, but at times could be a touch too chin-stroking to really connect. Not now. The new songs’ much-improved combination of extreme techy widdle and huge cheese (if you’re not big on your ’80s prog, think the Top Gun soundtrack crossed with Meshuggah’s more cheerful cousin – and make it about twice as daft and fun as that sounds) now leaves you smiling like a drunken twit more than carefully sculpting your beard.


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