For Fans Of
Oh boy, this is bound to go down well, I’m sure.
As I write this review, I anticipate that I’m going to cop some kind of flak for daring to like Superheist in 2017 – a thoughtcrime to many, I’m sure – but seriously, fuck that nonsense. For tempering your own enjoyment of an album or some other piece of art, for fear of being ridiculed by others, is utterly spineless and just disingenuous. As is loving and talking something up that you actually dislike or loathe in order to capitalise upon hype in certain circles, or in some cases, just to play the contrarian towards any previously and widely voiced negativity. And I’m not about to be dishonest in my writing, nor am I about to be contrarian – in whichever extreme – for the pure sake of it. Not even when it comes to Superheist.
(Also, I’m well aware I basically used a current year argument at the start of the above paragraph, deal with it).
So yes, I’ve now really come around to Superheist’s music, and that is solely because of their new three-track release, ‘Raise Hell‘. And I make no apologies for that. I mean, just imagine being that fickle and that unconfident with your own interests and what you personally like that you’re scared to voice them. But hey, whatever.
Now, when the band said that this would be the “biggest, heaviest and fattest offering Superheist has ever produced“, they really weren’t fucking around, as is in terms of sonics, this is the quintet’s beefiest and punchiest work thus far. And when frontman Ezekiel Ox told me earlier this year that this new release has “got a new emotion and aggression behind it all“, he wasn’t yanking my chain either, as this indeed the revitalised Australian group at their most aggressive.
Written, tracked and produced in-house, this very short but quite solid three-track release from the Heist is exactly what 2016’s ‘Ghosts Of The Social Dead‘ should have been – the band acting at their heaviest and staying in your face throughout. Well, better late than never, I suppose.
The opening song and latest nu-metal single, ‘Raise Hell’ excels at exactly what I previously pointed out in my review of ‘Ghosts Of The Social Dead‘ as the band’s strongest element – their heavier side. The switch to 8-string guitars and their churning riffs was a smart move, and with grooves galore, a solid, memorable chorus that fully maintains the song’s energy and pace, that also doesn’t get in the way of things, all marks a truly new and improved Superheist. Speaking further for my own self here (which is, really, what I always do), the band’s taken what I personally loved about ‘Back To Base‘ – for my money, the best offering from their last record – and they’ve turned that shit right up 10! So yeah, cheers guys.
Second off the ranks is ‘Got The Bounce‘, whose chorus, hip-hop undertones and bouncy rhythms exemplify the mindset of writing songs with the live stage in mind; an environment that this kind of rock and metal always works best in over the recorded counterpart. The song’s quieter, less busy verses lead by simpler drum patterns and thick bass lines underpin Ox’s lyrical axe-to-grind with the music industry and the fickle artists whose heart just isn’t in their music. While it’s not a bad song – not at all – it is the weakest of the three. Also, ‘Got The Bounce‘ does rely far too heavily on air-raid siren samples in its choruses, as well gun cocking/gun shot samples throughout the track. After their first couple appearances, those sounds do start to detract from the song, but only slightly. Though, I think we can all agree that the best example of such sample implementation was done best in Body Count’s ‘Black Hoodie‘ from this year’s ‘Bloodlust‘. Man… what a fuckin’ tune!
Anyway, the third and final song here, the self-empowered and dire warning of blind obedience of ‘Fully Loaded’, slightly backs off on the aggression and punchy nu-metal sound with massive choruses that let Ox shine. However, unlike most of the songs from their previous full-length, this execution feels natural instead of jarring, powerful instead of cheesy, and it works for the song rather than against it. The very same can be said of the choruses on the preceding pair as well.
Across this triptych, recently added drummer John Sankey (Devil You Know, Devolved, Fear Factory) swings his tight weight around with well-placed fills, solid grooves and some snappy double kick patterns, and he fits into Superheist’s sound perfectly. Hopefully, his stint with this band is far from over. This sentiment also applies to the band’s other new lineup additions; bassist Si Durrant (of In:Extremis and Acid Wolf) and DW Norton’s guitar wingman, Keir Gotcher (of Insolence and Snot).
Of course, you’d have to try really fucking hard to mess up a three-track release such as this, as these kinds of releases are rarely if ever, going to have the issue of quantity reigning over quality nor should there be any issues with release’s track sequencing. After all, you’ve got just three tracks to work with! Now while I do quite like this AAA Side release, I wouldn’t go any higher than a 70/100 score. Because at the end of the day, this is still the alternative/nu-metal style that has favoured Superheist’s and many other bands careers; a sound that hasn’t really moved past the early days of the previous decade, save for a couple newer touches (the shift over to 8-strings, for example).
But even so, and once again, this short but solid release from this heavier Superheist is exactly what ‘Ghosts Of The Social Dead‘ should have been, and hopefully, the band’s next record follows suit.
There you go, Ox. You won me over, mate.
Oh, were you looking for a succinct, final summary as to why I much more enjoyed ‘Raise Hell’ over 2016’s ‘Ghosts Of The Social Dead’? Well, tough shit son. Go read the full review above to find out why you skim-reading scum.
1. Raise Hell
2. Got The Bounce
3. Fully Loaded
‘Raise Hell’ is out now. And yeah, it’s good, surprisngly!