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Rabid Bitch of the North
Defending Two Castles
Released: 2014, Self Release
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Connoisseurs of old school thrash/NWOBHM rejoice, for Belfast metallers Rabid Bitch of the North have released another EP containing a new batch of songs that will surely ring the bell for every discerning metalhead out there. The EP, entitled 'Defending Two Castles' and released in March of this year is the band's second, following 2010's 'Outta the Kennel'.
RBOTN seemingly appeared from nowhere and already fully formed in early 2010 when they released their first EP. Its mix of thrilling vocal performances and classic old school metal was a hit, and the band immediately began gigging the length and breadth of Northern Ireland. Following their DIY ethic, both EP's have been self-released.
This EP opens with the title track, its galloping beat carrying the listener back to a time when metal was simple and exciting, and the words on everyone's lips were 'New Wave of British Heavy Metal'. Even a casual listen reveals this influence; RB are all about that classic sound - early Metallica, Judas Priest, Accept. And when vocalist Joe McDonnell hits those high notes -well. It's a thing of beauty, ladies and gents.
Song number two, 'Sisyphus', up the pace slightly as well as displaying McDonnell's impressive range. Sisyphus, it transpires, was king of Ephyra in Greek mythology, whose punishment for repeated deceitfulness was to be compelled to push a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again and have to begin his task again, for eternity. A metaphor for the band's struggles or simply a cool topic to write a song about? Whichever it may be, the song is sharp and punchy with some excellent riffage throughout.
Final number 'Us Against Them' is the 'rallying cry' song that almost every metal band will write. "Dare you to change us, we'll fight you all the way' howls Mc Donnell over a classic NWOBHM beat complete with pace-changing instrumental break and an extended outro that really demonstrates the quality of this band as musicians.
Although this is a short EP (too short - where's 'Help! I'm Trapped In 1999' lads?!), it nevertheless delivers a complete picture of RBOTN in terms of both their skills and their influences. The songs are energetic and potent, taking the listener back to the time of no-frills, denim-and-patches metal - before all the sub-genres and pissy Facebook squabbles broke metal into many, many pieces. The band's crunchy riffs and thunderous, charging beats wear their influences on their sleeves - then push those sleeves up and come out swinging. The result is an EP rich in promise and reverence, with an eye on the past but assuredly facing the future. It's unique, fun and above all - it's metal. The new NWOBHM is here.
Review by Melanie Brehaut
1. Defending Two Castles
3. Us Against Them
Joe McDonnell - vocals/bass
Gerry Mulholland - guitar
Chris Condie - drums
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