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16.10.11

Betty Swallaux - 'Demo 2011' (self released) 4.5/5

Llanelli outfit Betty Swallaux were formed earlier this year and are currently a studio project whilst they are seeking 'the right drummer'. This is their first release and is in effect a collection of various demo recording the band have assembled over the past few months.

Now this one is very interesting indeed. It's not often that I get to hear such a diverse blend of influences and inspirations. There are bits that sound like Venom type primordial death metal, other bits remind me a little of Ramstein style teutonic industrial rage rock. Then there are bits of Sore Throat style grindcore, snifters of RATM style groove metal, touches of Rolo Tomassi style prog-core; even hints of Gay For Johnny Depp style post hardcore... and its all rolled into one overall sound that is the closest to 'unique' I've come across for a long time.

OK the production is a tad rough as is to be expected, but nowhere does that detract from the pure quality of the music on offer. Gaz Wooloffs vocals are remarkable, he manages to sound like Ramsteins Till Lindenmann, Sore Throats Rich Walker and FFAF's Matthew Davies-Kreye all at once, switching styles often bar to bar. The guitars of the aforementioned Mr Wooloff and Peter Smith and the bass of Dai Price are so bleedin' heavy they create their own gravity field. And a special mention must be made about the drums on this demo. Lacking a stickman, the band created them beat by beat, track by track from the bass drum upwards, a long and laborious process, but one that works so well here. The result is something that falls halfway between the warmth of a real drummer and the clinical precision of a drum machine, and sounds perfect for Betty Swallaux's black-groove-industrial-progressive-hard-metal-grindcore stylings.

I really do love this stuff. Tracks like the dark and sinister Change, the industrial groove of Extremist and the progressive grindcore of Give In, just roll out of the speakers like a glorious sonic assassination that can kill from several hundred yards and put a smile on your face while they are doing it. I'm hard pushed here to select a favourate track, it changes with each play, but at the moment it's In My Veins, a cut that starts off all trippy and mellow, then goes all Venomesque blast and bludgeon before ending with a section that sounds like Tangerine Dream goes happy house (I kid you not!!)

This is cutting edge stuff, I've not heard its like before, I doubt if many people have, and I'm sure if the band started to hawk this demo around some of the more left-field and open minded progressive record labels, internet radio stations and magazines, things could start to happen for them. After all this could well be the future of music.

For fan of... Ramstein, Rolo Tomassi, Saints Of Eden, Sore Throat.... 

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