Sunday, July 28, 2013

Batpiss - Nuclear Winter

Batpiss
Nuclear Winter
Every Night Is A Saturday Night

Anyone who’s remotely familiar with the underground live music scene in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) will no doubt be familiar with local outfit Batpiss. Formed in 2011, the three piece outfit (Comprising of guitarist/vocalist Paul Pirie, bassist/vocalist Thomy Sloane and drummer/vocalist Martin Baker) have been out and about playing support to the likes of OFF!, The Bronx, Guitar Wolf, The Meanies, Regurgitator, Zoobombs, Blood Duster, Bits of Shit and Grong! Grong! Needless to say, the band has been earning themselves quite a reputation as a live band, and slowly but surely attracting a cult following for themselves in the process.
Two years on, and Batpiss has finally decided to commit their music to tape, and release their debut full length effort ‘Nuclear Winter’ (Through Melbourne based independent label Every Night Is A Saturday Night) to the masses.
As a live act, anyone who has witnessed Batpiss live on the stage will tell you that the band are a confronting punk/sludge rock outfit that are nothing short of an assault to the senses. But on plastic, the band doesn’t have quite the same impact.
Recorded live over a ten hour session at Collingwood’s (Melbourne) renowned live venue The Tote, ‘Nuclear Winter’ is as raw as you would expect from a Batpiss live gig. But on a sonic level, the recording (Which was captured and mixed by The Nation Blue/Harmony vocalist/guitarist Tom Lyngcoln, and mastered by Mickey Young - Who has previously worked with Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control) comes across as a muddy, impenetrable wall of noise that loses some of its bludgeoning capabilities and tends to drag a little over its long duration.
The opening track ‘Seed’ is a perfect example of what Batpiss are all about, with the song boasting some mean riffs, and a level of aggression and groove that will get almost anyone moving. But for all of the strengths evident in the band’s song writing, it’s hard to overlook what could have been if the production was just a little cleaner, and the finer intricacies of the band’s performance could be heard through the thickened production noise.
In terms of highlights, the fast paced blitzkrieg of ‘Come Here And Fuck Off’ and ‘Hollywood’ are definite favourites, while the angular riffing found within ‘Burn Below’ and ‘Couldn’t Get Out’ add some much needed variation and variety to the album.
There’s a touch of Black Sabbath to ‘Loose Screws’, and when coupled with the droning ‘Human’, it broadens the band’s sound beyond the punk/rock realm to include slow moving doom epics that incorporate touches of sludge, while ‘Portal’ (Which features guest backing vocals from Lyngcoln) has more in common with the likes of the Californian stoner rock sound, albeit with a lot more aggression on the vocal front.
Finishing up the album is ‘Drone’, which not unlike ‘Portal’, is more stoner rock inclined, but with a greater emphasis on sticking with its groove and fleshing it out with a greater use of dynamics than anything else heard on the album. Surprisingly enough, despite its lengthy six minute running time (Excluding the last minute, which is an untitled hidden track that features Bodies’ Joel Morrison, Bones and Chris Ceccini on vocals), the track passes by without sounding like its dragging on unnecessarily, and the addition of vocalist Pete Dickinson (The Spinning Rooms) in the mix, the song ends up being the true highlight on the album.
There’s no denying that Batpiss are an interesting outfit. But in terms of their studio output, the band still have some way to go before they match the reputation of their live shows.

For more information on Batpiss, check out - http://www.batpiss.bandcamp.com/

© Justin Donnelly