By Shane Douthwaite
-AR- are a three piece band hailing from Cambridge, signed to Dead Before Dawn Records. Their sound as a whole draws influence from right across the boards and creates something which their Facebook page calls 'Twat Metal'. Yet I see them as a love child of Metallica and Pantera. 'Mantera', if you will.
The two track promo consists of two well produced, riff-laden metal monsters entitled 'Chaffinch'and 'The Trade'. Both tracks rely upon intricate rhythms and encapsulating melodies, full of groove, to keep you hooked; rather than just melting your face with relentless shredding.
'Chaffinch' contains some of the best Metallica riffs never written and will have any metalhead hooked as soon as the opening notes fade in. Leading the way vocally, John's voice ranges from Hetfield grunts to flowing melodic lines which give the track a totally different vibe. This track is also a great example of how a tight rhythm section is a vital component in any band. This is evident by how well Simon's bass and Lox's beats accompany John's constant riffing, which really helps the tempo changes have a greater impact.
'The Trade' similarly features a vast catalogue of riffs, including a great opening chopped riff and a looping cascade similar to those favoured by Dave Mustaine. The thing I love about this song is how it seamlessly changes tempo and is impossible to second guess what's coming next. For instance, mid-way through the song slows to a dead halt. Then an acoustic guitar plays a soft melodic riff, under an equally as epic guitar solo which then builds to the afore-mentioned Mustaine-esque riff. Genius.
After talking to Simon, I have learnt that he and the guys are making great strides in the scene. This year they have played Hammerfest IV, supported INME at the Cambridge Junction and played the official Mastodon after-show party in Brixton. With these types of gigs, the great material on this promo and a new record on the way -AR- are heading in the right direction and should be ones to look out for in the future.
Devil Horn Rating: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/