Saturday, 28 September 2013

Review: Black Spiders - This Savage Land

by Steve Dale.

If there was ever a band to prove that straight-up fist-pumping rock ‘n’ roll is still very much alive in the 21st century, it would surely be Sheffield’s rising superstars Black Spiders. Following on from their excellent debut, Sons of the North, The Spiders are back in 2013 with their second album, This Savage Land, cementing their position atop the modern British hard rock mountain alongside the likes of The Answer and Heaven’s Basement.
Opening track ‘Knock You Out’ kicks into life with a command to “let the mayhem ensue,” followed by a riff so infectiously energetic it would be near impossible to stay standing still if they broke it out at one of their live shows. By the time this song is over, it’s already apparent Black Spiders haven’t softened up one bit since Sons of the North, indeed the production makes everything sound heavy enough to flatten a herd of stampeding elephants.
Next up is ‘Stick it to the Man’, essentially an adrenaline filled punk rock song in places with the lyrics to match, before ‘Balls’ takes us in a more of a 4/4 stomp direction. Lead single ‘Creatures’ (anyone with insectophobia should probably avoid the video) is also very much in a 4/4 time signature and features a hugely catchy chorus in which singer Pete Spiby takes a more relaxed approach compared to his usually quite intense performance.
Other clear highlights from This Savage Land include the stonery slow-burner ‘Sleepy Demon’; ‘Teenage Knife Gang’, which could easily be mistaken for a lost Motörhead b-side if it wasn’t for the fact Lemmy Kilminster sounds like nobody else in the world; and ‘Put Love in its Place’, a notable departure for the band that nonetheless goes down incredibly well with its brooding atmosphere, quite frankly fantastic vocals and hard hitting riffage towards the end.
This Savage Land doesn’t suffer from any of the ‘difficult second album’ issues some bands struggle with, and this is essentially because they have expanded their sound without breaking from their core ingredients. The album ought to see Black Spiders continue on their current upward trajectory and move into bigger venues to become a full time headlining act.
Album number three can’t come soon enough.

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