In a world where stories of falling label revenues and music industry woes are commonplace, the UK’s Basick Records are an anomaly. From their beginnings as a bedroom industry at founder Nathan “Barley” Phillips’ mum’s house, to their current reputation as one of the most respected and forward thinking labels in metal, it’s been an impressive rise. With US distribution and a roster revered by fans and critics alike, it’s also a rise which shows no signs of stopping. Tonight’s label showcase is part of the HMV ‘Next Big Thing’ series, giving further evidence that the mainstream industry has had to sit up and take notice – no mean feat for a label that specializes in intelligent, and challenging, heavy music.
After a few pints of Guinness and a decidedly dodgy Chinese takeaway it was time for the show to start. First up was new signing The Algorithm [4/5], the brainchild of French producer Rémi Gallego. I didn’t know much at all about this project going in, and my mind was about to be well and truly blown. It’s very difficult to describe exactly what it is The Algorithm do, just because they do so damn much. Gallego has seemingly taken everything he’s ever listened to, and in the style of Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote, mashed it all up in a bucket, (with eggs on top). You have everything from heavy guitars, to dance samples, to massive bass swoops, taking in house, metal, dub, and even the fucking trololol song! But yet it works, incredibly, incredibly well. I was truly rapt whilst watching this, and I’m praying I get an opportunity to experience this in a tent in the summer in a, ahem, more “euphoric” condition. The addition of Monuments’ Mike Malyan for the first half of the set added a real element of heft to the proceedings, and I hope he will be a regular part of the live show. Traditionalists beware; this is not your Dad’s heavy music. Those who endorse the public hanging of Andy Copping for booking The Prodigy at Download may as well leave the room now, as this is not going to be good for your blood pressure. However for those that are prepared for a wild ride, strap in and let The Algorithm take you on a ride. Don’t just take my word for it though, as the whole set is available on Youtube – although, it doesn’t quite do it justice – you really do need to be there.
Following that was always going to be tough, but Uneven Structure [4/5] are more than up to the task. For an album as intricate and complex sounding as Februus (reviewed here) turned out to be, my concern had been that it wouldn’t come across live, and the richness of the sound would be lost. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. The band were on great form, delivering the huge dynamic riffs that make Februus so great, but the revelation here was frontman Matthieu Romarin. The power and clarity that he was able to bring set him apart from lesser singers, and make me even more certain that Uneven Structure are a band to expect big things from in the future. My only criticism is a slightly unfair one; I’d have liked to see some more movement from the band. However, when you have so many guys cramped together on a small stage, it’s hardly their fault. Looking forward to seeing them again supporting Protest the Hero.
Finally, Chimp Spanner hit the stage with their vast, spacey brand of progressive metal. I was only able to catch the first few songs before an irritating public transport dilemma meant I had to leave, or not make it home, but the songs I did catch ensured I will definitely be at the next show possible. Expansive and technical, and delivered with an increasingly confident stage presence, Chimp Spanner are totally deserving of all the plaudits they are receiving.
The Algorithm’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAlg0r1thm
Uneven Structure’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unevenstructure
Chimp Spanner’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chimpspanner
Basick Records’ Website: http://www.basickrecords.com