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Avenge Thee + Naime - "Open Carpet" (self released) 4.5/5

Experimental sludge 'n' grind outfit Avenge Thee + Naime are a funny lot, they never play on a stage - even at major festivals - preferring to set up in the middle of the crowd instead, they have two drummers and claim to '...eschew the usual heavy metal traits of machismo and raw anger, instead preaching a message of unity and optimism'. But then you notice they hail from Canterbury, home of the likes of Soft Machine, Camel, Caravan, Gong and Todd Dillingham, and the Canterbury music scene has never marched instep with the rest of the musical world.

In fact as you listen through this eight tracker you begin to notice that despite all the doomy sludge grind sensibilities the true anarchic spirit of the classic Canterbury sound still shines through. The music on offer here is gloriously left field, very trippy and strangely uplifting.

Tracks such as Maximum Purity (Buy My Water) with it's soft acoustic intro, slow doomy and discordent build up politically aware lyrics; and the almost death jazz Wound Licker with its complex riff structure and sub-Amebix drive, go to show that this is the new 'hippy' rock for post 9-11 generation. This is the sound of future free festivals, the anthems for those who say NO to the system and want to do something about it.

To say I find this album engaging, accessable and highly enjoyable is a great understatement. My personal highlight has to be The Chode with its relentless post tribal beats, angry rant vocals, primal scream backing vocals and relentless driving beat that does indeed sound something that Gong would have recorded if they had invented sludge grind back in the early 1970s'.

In short this is a great record, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to hear something a little outside the box.

For fans of... Amebix, Gong, Rolo Tomassi, Leather Nun, Somnus.....

The Famous Class - "Have You Ever" (pledge music) 2/5

London self styled 'pop-punksters' The Famous Class have been building a bit of a reputation around them over the past year or so. Headline tours of China, bill topping Belgium festival apperanaces, 02 Academy tours.... They must be doing something right. But What?

I gotta admit I'm at loss to describe it. After all there's nothing remarkable on this four tracker at all. OK its it competent and well played, but its so bloody generic it could be by any one of the hundreds of 'You-and-Green-182-at-Six' clones that are chancing their arms all over the world. You can play through this ep and tick all the right boxes for 'pop-rock cliche 101' on every track; wall of fuzz guitar sound, teen angst/coming of age lyrics, mob yell stabs and backing vocal, chorus key changes, middle eight breakdown... hell this stuff is so formulaic it could have been penned by machine.... That's a thought, are TFC the result of some evil Frankenstein experiment to make the most perfectly cliche commercial pop-rock band in the world? There is a hint in the press blurb that came with this ep. Apparently the band applied to be the band in the adverts for a certain diabetes inducing commercial energy drink... and failed. Could it be that even the band themselves see themselves not as musicians but product?

(Note - the question can be answered by a short visit to the bands website, where your bombarded by a series of adverts for pot noodle type snacks before you can explore it... This is not a band, they are an ad agency)

As you can guess this leaves me cold. In a time when the UK music scene is alive with great music by outfits such as The Skuzzies, Elimination, I Divide, Dakesis, Awake and many many more this ep can only be a retrograde step, as it is nothing more than a clone of what the mainstream music industry has been pumping down our throats for the past few years via the likes of Kerrang!! fm etc, and does nothing to help raise the profile of what is really going on on the UK rock scene.

Still horses for course I suspose. You teenies who have yet to experience real music and fans of disposable teen agnst pseudo punk might like it, and good luck to them, but real rock and punk fans will want to give this one a very wide berth indeed.

Not recommended at all.

for fans of.. Greenday, Blink 182, You and Me at Six, Razorlight....