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Bats

Ireland Country of Origin: Ireland

1. Prologue: Under The Pyramids
2. Egyptron
3. Living Dead In Beverly Hills
4. Rusted Gold
5. Materialize
6. Mask Of Anarchy
7. Don't Get Your Hair Cut
8. Dreamstealer
9. Speed Funeral
10. Secular Saw
11. Bats In Your Hair


Review by Felix on December 11, 2023.

Fun thrash (or speed) is not my metier. Of course, it’s not the thrash which is problematic. It is the so-called fun element. Party till we puke and so on does not make my day. Thank God, Gama Bomb’s humour was always less flat, less idiotic. Nevertheless, they have the same situation like any other fun thrash band. As soon as they dilute the musical approach, it is just the “fun” that remains and the whole thing loses its balance.

The eighth full-length of the Irish comedians with high-pitched screamer Philly still celebrates thrash / speed metal. Nevertheless, they cannot hide their weakness for less harsh tones and external influences. The rapidly thrashing The Terror Tapes celebrated its 10th birthday this year, and in my humble opinion it is their absolute masterpiece. Therefore you will hopefully understand my position. I don’t think that Gama Bomb’s bats fly into the right direction. It is still a good album, no doubt about it, with definitely more positive than negative aspects. Nevertheless, it cannot compete with the aforementioned masterpiece and it also stands in the shadow of Untouchable Glory, Tales From The Grave In Space or Speed Between the Lines. The loss of velocity and boisterousness cannot be compensated. This is not to say that less insane tunes cannot work. A highlight of Bats holds pretty melodic sequences and a relatively mild chorus.

Yes, you are right, I am speaking about the dynamic 'Rusted Gold'. Regardless of its more or less open-minded approach, it fires some speedy parts into the crowd and the solo is excellent, too. One day Gama Bomb’s “Best Of” compilation will be released and either this song is included or the album is incomplete. But this is the exception, the norm is that the “open-minded” songs do not reach the highest levels of quality. The classic Grieg element in 'Living Dead In Beverly Hills' makes no sense and who the hell was waiting for a saxophone to leave its mostly terrible tones on a Gama Bomb album? The actually good and typical 'Bats In Your Hair' falls victim to the indecent activities of the sax. Of course, when it comes to a new bombinable work, I expect some madness, but I don’t want the dudes to sound like Madness. 'Dreamstealer' and 'Secular Saw' have almost nothing in common with speed or thrash metal. I cannot say that they impress me in any way. At the latest since Priest’s “United” or Accept’s “Metal Heart”, the world has already heard too many mediocre songs.

But Gama Bomb still have a juvenile, somewhat crazy side. The somersaulting 'Mask Of Anarchy' breaks with high velocity through the barricades, 'Don’t Get Your Hair Cut' follows hot on the heels with a similar configuration. And I may not forget 'Materialize'. It opens the high speedy triple strike. Gama Bomb were always good in offering straight, light-footed speedsters and another brilliant feature is also still strong: just like on the previous albums, Phillys flexible voice produces unpredictable screams, surprising vocal lines and unexpected changes. From time to time he almost sounds like the drug-imbued little brother of Overkill’s Blitz, for example in the chorus of 'Materialize'. By the way, its great lyrics appear like a late parody of Mercyful Fate’s classic “Gypsy”. By the beard of Satan! And that’s just one of the humorous lyrics of this full-length.

'Egyptron' marks a solid start after the superfluous intro, no more, no less. Its nonsensical 'Egyptian' part is another experiment gone wrong, but some fast-paced guitar lines are enjoyable here. However, Gama Bomb can do it better. I am of the same opinion as their fans, they are still too competent to pen a lukewarm work, and the airy, clean and direct production leaves no potential of the material unused. I just wish they would present more songs that follow their tried and tested method. Do not get me wrong, Bats does not break with the band’s past, definitely not, it just adds some comparatively useless attributes. Some of you will maybe love this expansion of the band’s sound, I am sceptical. Thus, I want to reinforce the headline of gasmask, the first reviewer of Bats. Gama Bomb, my musically charming, very appreciated distant friends, don’t leave the family. Keep the balance.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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Review by Michael on November 19, 2023.

All of a sudden I stumbled across a new video ('Speed Funeral') by Irish thrashers Gama Bomb where they unfortunately celebrated the passing of Snowy, their monster mascot. So I looked up what the reason for this was and 'ta da' they have a new album at the start.

Opening the secret chamber under the pyramids and celebrating the discoverer of whatever (“I'm so freaky, I'm magnificent”) they start with a really goddamn catchy riff and a brilliant thrash attack. Very melodic vocal lines (sometimes two-voice singing) and gang shouts invite us to a trip into ancient Egypt. In this song they dare to do a lot of new stuff, too. For example some almost Yngwie Malmsteen-like guitar riffs, a saxophone and a rap part done by the rapper “The Egyptian Lover”. Do you think that doesn't match – no, it matches perfectly into this song. They obviously found some interest in some more classic tunes because if you listen to 'Living Dead In Beverly Hills' you will surely discover some melodies you might know from Edvard Grieg, the Norwegian composer who lived in the 19th century (“In The Hall Of The Mountain King”). Again this is an amazing but really well matching contrast to the rest of the song. In some songs the vocals sound a little bit like Rob Halford on speed, very high-pitched and aggressive like in 'Materialize' which has a lot of Slayer-like rhythms and a very surprising plot twist which shows again some more focus on classic guitar work. But don't be afraid, there are also the typical crossover thrash songs like 'Mask Of Anarchy' or 'Don't Get Your Hair Cut' that fully kick ass and are two really catchy bangers. The same goes for 'Speed Funeral' which is a hyperfast song with fantastic riffs like Megadeth did back on “Peace Sells…” and apart from that the video for that song is really funny (as always when they do a video). 'Dreamstealer' and 'Secular' might be the most unusual songs with a lot of hypnotic, repeating riffing and a lot of NWoBHM borrowings in the guitar work. Especially the chorus lines are traditional heavy metal and probably the most melodic thing they´ve ever written and in 'Secular' the galloping drums and guitars might have found some roots in Steve Harris' and companions’ band. 'Bats In Your Hair' finishes the album and this one is a highly diverse song. Starting almost danceable the track develops into a cool thrasher into some classic metal song into a groovy stomper into a saxophone whatever song. Cool shit!

There will probably be one or the other who won't like the direction the bats are flying to because of some more progression in the song writing but I really enjoy Bats because of its fresh approach to not always repeat what Gama Bomb already did and because of the non-typical metal elements like saxophone (although I usually hate this instrument) and a rap. So don't cut your hair and catch some bats with them!

Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Snowys (R.I.P.)

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