Monday 27 April 2015

Gladiators Eat Fire - 'Avant Garage' EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 25/04/2015
Label: Alive & Breathing Records

‘Avant Garage’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Shapeshifter
2). Smoke Tactics
3). Vertical Event Horizon
4). Duke Mongrel
5). Bohemian Decadence

Gladiators Eat Fire is

Brian Kim
Mark Blazer
Curtis Parker
Ian Iddings


Since the release of their explosive debut EP in 2008 “Keep The Beat Alive” GEF have been gaining attention with their intensely passionate live performances. Their 2010 full length, self-titled album, made clear inroads into deeper, experimental, musical territory, following with the raw and unfiltered “Psychedelic Hogwash” in 2012 and performing at various festivals including Chaospalooza they once more emerge from the shadows to uncurl, stretch and unleash the culmination of over half a decade or aural experimentation upon the world.

Seattle based hard-core rockers Gladiators Eat Fire (GEF) unveil their upcoming record; available from 25th April via Alive and Breathing Records it features some of their most ambitious material to date, ferocious, unique and psychedelic it holds a lot of promise.

Recorded and mixed by renowned engineer Matt Bayles (Mastadon, The Sword, Botch) and mastered by Ed Brooks (Pearl Jam, Portugal, The Man) they harness all their talents to throw forth ‘Avant Garage’. A five song offering that transcends from heavy rock riffs to full on psychadelia smoothly and with aplomb.

‘Shapeshifter’ immediately slaps you in the face with a heavy rock riff, insistent drum work and sludge filled bass that enrobes the vocals superbly. The stoner rock slant adds intrigue, the metal screams whilst short lived adding an extra layer to the already fully loaded base.

‘Smoke Tactics’ brings an immediate change, yet one that sits well, more metal screamage and heavy riffs makes this perfect thrash material for anyone wanting to rage, whining guitar, thumping drums make this one another win. With hints of exuberance and intoxicating backing tracks, once more this hints at the psychedelic without hitting full blown off the wall status. Hanging tight to the rock roots, it shows another dimension to a band that is slowly turning out to be a revelation.

‘Vertical Event Horizon’ with an almost sitar like guitar opening backed up with dense drums, immediately the heavy groove grabs you from the start, with a nod to classic rock/stoner influences yet fresh and appealing in its approach. Around half way through the chanting vocals with trimmed down yet substantial backing refreshes the aural palette demanding attention like a petulant toddler. Stoner riddled vibes surrounded by a fug of weed smoke; I can almost smell the patchouli oil.  ‘Duke Mongrel’ is a totally different beginning, almost chilled out in their approach; this adds a nice break to proceedings before the hefty stuff begins in earnest, this blend works so very well here. Showcasing each individual talent with riffs, solos, vocals, yet never once stepping into the egotistical wankery that could have easily captured them.

‘Bohemian Decadence’ is reminiscent of Baroness at the start, chilled and relaxed, almost prog like, they offer diluted heaviness easing the listener gently into a full frontal assault of the senses. An ethereal freak out worthy of being called an Acid trip with gritty guitar, eerie vocals, adamant drums all working together to produce a superb ending to what has proven to be an immense record.

GEF embrace the creepy, they have injected their straight talking, no nonsense blistering hard rock with a massive dose of psychedelic guitars that weave their way through every song like lost souls searching for their way home.  A perfectly haunting soundtrack that raises goose bumps from the vocals alone; repetitive, hollow and distant like they are being sung by someone trapped for years in a room down a dank deserted hallway. Add the twisted guitar and dense drums and you are not safe as GEF come to hunt you down, breathless and covered in dirt from crawling out of their graves.

Words by: Kat Hilton

‘Avant Garage’ is available here

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