For Fans Of
As AFL nutters will tell you, “ABC MATE!!” As an avid GWS supporter I have to agree- Anything But Collingwood – except for Batpiss! The charmingly named Collingwood sludge-punk trio have already carved out a strong reputation both nationally and internationally, having toured Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, as well as sharing the stage with the likes of King Parrot, Clowns and The Meanies among others. With the backing of Poison City Records, the band has dropped their second album ‘Biomass‘, and boy does it leave the ears ringing!
From the outset it is apparent that Batpiss are a band which knows how to pace themselves. Opening number ‘The Store‘ is a slow, clunky beast that gradually builds in both tension and dynamic, occasionally breaking into a thrashy sprint, before gradually slowing back down to its doomy stroll. In contrast, second cut ‘Death Will…‘ provides a straight ahead drive, a pleasing tempo shift. Bassist/ vocalist Thomy Sloane performs a variety of screams and snarls, at times not dissimilar to Slayer front man Tom Araya’s earlier work. The sound of the bass in the mix is also a pleasing factor, with the fuzzy tones of Sloane thickening the texture of the songs considerably. This is particularly noticeable on the Foo Fighters-esque ‘Orchard’, with Mart Baker‘s uncompromising and hypnotic groove locking in beautifully with Sloane, especially in the outro. The result is an atmospheric, demonic slice of blues, which is garnered to be a live hit.
The doomy atmosphere of ‘Biomass‘ certainly adds an extra dimension to the songs. ‘Daredevil’ sees the band making use of Sloan’s blood curdling screams, as well as seeing the trio transition seamlessly between a variety of unique, bluesy and balls heavy riffs courtesy of guitarist Paul Portal. Batpiss engage their audience and attempt to take listeners on a musical journey in each song, a majority of which clock in at no more than three and a half minutes. ‘The Idiot‘ keeps up a steady thump without spinning out of control, while Portal weaves through different riffs and melodies, eventually descending into a thick and sludgy chorus before taking off again. Batpiss have a talent of storytelling both lyrically and musically. It’s this quality which sets them apart from the punk movement.
At times it can, admittedly, be repetitive. ‘Heavy Smoke‘ recycles a Mastodon like stomp, which breaks into a roaring riff. However, the song doesn’t travel much further afterwards, with the riff seemingly squeezing out any room to breathe. ‘Spiritually Challenged‘ is a great tune by itself. But, after back to back cuts of ‘The Idiot‘ and ‘Orchard‘, the love that Batpiss have for sludgy, straight ahead power chords can begin to take its toll. Despite this, the chorus of ‘Spiritually Challenged‘ is one of the highlights of the record, with Sloan and Portal combining beautifully with the grooves of Baker, resulting in a relentless amount of toe tapping and head-bopping. Batpiss allow Portal to let each riff take different forms, whilst Sloan and Baker provide a solid foundation off which to work from. The six minute epic ‘Pull It Out‘, notable for its gradual tempo builds, and the rhythmic ‘Waking Up At The Wheel‘ close out a very enjoyable listen.
‘Biomass’ is a listen that is as entertaining as it is transfixing. Coupled with its doomy, dark image, the album produces an ecletic mix of punk, sludge and blues, a concoction which sucks the listener in and leaves them wanting more.
1) The Store
2) Death Will…
4) The Idiot
6) Spiritually Challenged
7) Heavy Smoke
8) Pulling Out
9) Waking Up At The Wheel