Over the course of the last few years, Nottingham’s iconic Earache Records have moved away from the extreme metal that made the labels name over the past quarter of a century. This has seen them release highly acclaimed records from the likes of Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke and The Temperance Movement. The latest release from them is US rockers Biters with their debut release ‘’Electric Blood’’.
From the first chords of opener ‘Restless Hearts’ its pretty obvious that this is a band that wear their influences on their sleeves. Kicking off with an AC/DC style riff, the Atlanta based four-piece show how much they have been influenced by classic rock from throughout the last thirty years. Unfortunately, by setting themselves such high targets to aim for, they fall somewhat short, and it fails to live up the promise. There is plenty of bravado in the lyrics, but the tracks lack any of the real edge that made their heroes such great acts. ‘Heart Full Of Rock N Roll’ aims for a 70’s sound, but comes off more like something from ‘’Mechanical Animals’’ era Marilyn Manson, but again, without any of the attitude that the original had.
The middle of the album peters out and slows down, before picking up again with ‘The Kids Ain’t Alright’ – although it still remains a little restrained. There are some decent ideas and some nice melodies, but it all sounds a little too safe. Some of the tracks could have been improved upon if the band had opened up a little and let go occasionally, producing something a bit more menacing. The whole thing is the equivalent of throwing the TV out of the window, but opening the window first and making sure someone was there to catch it, so it wouldn’t get damaged.
The main downfall for me is the production. It is far too clean, if it had been left a little rough round the edges and raw, it would have given it that punky edge that it sadly lacks. Instead it comes across like a more mainstream pop rock album and that seems a strange choice for Earache. Some of the tracks like the ‘1975’ and the Thin Lizzy-esque ‘Space Age Wasteland’ will have a totally different sound live, and could be made for that environment. On record however, it all falls a bit flat. The closest comparison I could come up with was the 90’s band Warrior Soul, but even they had something extra. Disappointing, but live, this album could be a totally different proposition.