Fuckshovel. There’s a name you don’t soon forget. To be honest though, it’s rather misleading. I can’t exactly say it does them a disservice as it makes them sound more interesting than they actually are. That name made me think of wacky hard-core misfits Killdozer and The Jesus Lizard. I imagine sore throat hollering and industrial racket.
In reality, this lairy Brit four-piece deal in fairly punkish metal. Opener ‘Germ of an Empire’ comes in on the sort of riff Amen‘ s Casey Chaos writes in his sleep and has the spirit of 80’s crusty, anarcho protest punk. See I wasn’t expecting to think of New Model Army and I don’t thank Fuckshovel for the memories. Luckily the whiff of patchouli and dogs on strings soon fades.
Fuckshovel certainly don’t want to be hanging at squat parties and the majority of this record sounds polished and professional, but still dated in different ways. That may be because some of these songs have been kicking round their repertoire for some time – ‘Long Time Dead’ was released as a single back in 1996!
The band have certainly been honing these songs and they all have strong choruses, a super confident delivery and a kind of hard-won ‘fuck you’ attitude. In fact the angrier they get, the the better they sound. ‘Vegas Nerve’ which starts of with tension headache guitars of Slipknot is a case in point. The problem is that all that is enjoyable about their sound is so readily identifiable as the work of others. Almost every track immediately sets alarm bells of recognition off, usually of John Bush era Anthrax. Most of these tracks could quite easily be out-takes from “Stomp 442” ,which gives you an indication of their calibre.
As far as I’m concerned, Fuckshovel are in good company, I love a bit of stroppy punk metal, and this rubs shoulders at the barricades with Amen, Warrior Soul and even occasionally The Manic Street Preachers. However I don’t think you can start a revolution with old ideas.