Review: “Alter Nature” by BATS

Returning after a 7 year absence with their third studio album, Dublin based Science Metal meets Avant Noise-Rock band BATS are about to “Alter Nature“. They have a rich history having previously earned critical acclaim from the likes of Metal Hammer, NME and Kerrang! for a trio of releases in 2007 debut EP “Cruel Sea Scientist“, 2009’s “Red in Tooth & Claw” and 2012’s “The Sleep of Reason“. This new album was actually recorded and engineered at The Meadow in Co. Wicklow in August 2018 by Rían Trench and Robert Watson otherwise known as Deaf Brothers (No Spill Blood, Alarmist, Wild Rocket) who also handled the production alongside the band. Mastering was completed by Alan Douches (Baroness, Throwdown, Rivers of Nihil) at West West Side Music in New York City. Add to that mix a string of guest appearances (Space Guitars from Vin McCreith
Saxophone from Pete Fraser an Amorphous interlude from Bryan Robson & Cian Walker and guest vocals from Matt Hedigan, Patrick Kelleher, Ronan Jackson, Lizzie Fitzpatrick and Sam Burton) and you’ve got a pretty impressive looking script.

The album starts with “Summoning The Demon” which plays on an idocycrantic riff with some bass heavy touches while having a tension that is broken by some schizophrenic laughter. There are some Placebo esq moments while the flow between sweet bursts of melody and antagonistic post-hardcore infused fury is a juxtaposition that finds balance. The intelligence behind the subtlety of the lyrics is as clever as they come, saying nothing and everything all at once. “Christian Science” takes a poly-rhythmic riff and that builds a frenetic sound while the tongue in cheek humor pokes fun at the belief that you can be healed by God through prayer rather than seeking the help of the medical professional. Playing off a pair of screams at different pitches gives builds the undercurrent of tension and there is a lead part that isn’t too far away from the Knight Rider theme. “The Call Of Cthulhu” is a reference to the short story by HP Lovecraft that is based upon a tale of a sea monster called The Kracken. A blend of storytelling verses and screamed single word chorus lines creates a tale of horror that unfolds with discordant energy and crowd chant-able moments.

First single “Old Hitler” changes the direction by injecting melody into the opening half, while an eerie whisper drop off and build up “Save Our Souls… coz we are drowning!” is a mid track moment. Oscillating between avant garde riffs and a seemingly random collection of thoughts keeps you engaged and enthralled, not knowing what is coming next. “In The Court Of The CRISPR King” owes something to the likes of The Strokes with some curious electro-pop sounds broken by a battering of post-hardcore noise and guitar squeals that intentionally destroy the image of the song being more commercial. The siren esq guitars and big pick slide piece make way for repetition of vocals that end up on a Weezer note. Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s vocals intertwine during “Egot” which takes things in a heavier direction with chugged guitars and some early 1990’s grunge moments blended up with some Melodic Mathcore, booming bass sounds and Tech-infusions. Imagine taking a cup of herbal tea to a Deathcore show, standing front and center, nodding and sipping along while saying things like “Rock on Dudes!” between tracks. That’s the level of contrast there is between these songs.

Taking an ambient approach to their sound with the introduction of “Dyson Sphere”, BATS build up the guitars gradually before building to a crescendo of rockier crashes with “computer, have we died yet?” before an epic Saxophone solo that is a one take wonder of squeal. Going in a Destrange direction with “Family Planning” that throws bullets in the fire and runs away as they ricochet off in all directions, the song points at the abortion laws and says plan your family and save the life because lets face it, nature always finds a away and lands up being one of the stand out moments on the album. Continuing down the rabbit hole “Current Affairs (Topsy Rides The Lightening)” takes us on a frenetic head long rush into a summary of the albums sound, while blazing up some mindless self indulgence with swirling rants and cyclical riffs [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Summoning The Demon
  2. Christian Science
  3. The Call Of Cthulhu
  4. Old Hitler
  5. In The Court Of The CRISPR King
  6. Egot
  7. Dyson Sphere
  8. Family Planning
  9. Current Affairs (Topsy Rides The Lightening)

“Alter Nature” by BATS is out 10th October and available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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