Fatality (Can) - Beers from the grave 3/5
1. Victims of the dead
2. Bleed me useless
4. No use for the living
5. Today I will hang
6. Meet me at the graveyard
It’s funny how quickly things change. A couple of years ago the masses were crying “where’s the thrash?” Fast forward to more recent times and the new complaint is that you can’t move without tripping over a group of kids in white hi tops and sleeveless denims. It’s always the same in this game when something hits a bit of unexpected popularity – both the inevitable backlash and the sad fact that the market invariably ends up choked, restricting the chances of even the more promising acts of finding a few square feet in the spotlight.
Toronto’s Fatality have been chipping away from well before this whole “revival” kicked into gear and have taken a little longer than may have been good for them to make their full-length debut with ‘Beers from the grave’. Originality is in short supply of course, but (and not to come across as an apologist here) the naysayers really ought to have figured out by now that’s hardly the point.
The low-budget production, in fact, could actually see the band mistaken for a B-tier late 80s outfit like Intruder, and in fact I’d go so far as to say I’d defy anyone to tell the difference if going in blind. Everything sounds clear enough, and only the clanging, echoic drum sound becomes an occasional annoyance, but the guitar tone is pretty mean and in fact a bit of a welcome change from the overly-mechanical modern Exodus sound everyone seems to want a shot of these days.
Short and sharp at only 8 songs and 32 minutes, there is a strong emphasis on simple, forceful aggression. With the exception of the closing instrumental “Thrashterpiece” (which, despite the title, actually carries stronger shades of Sabbath than anything else) there is little dallying around and Fatality go for the jugular at the first attempt every time. Despite the iffy sound, the drums are dynamic and varied, and the lead guitar recovers from occasionally sounding just a bit over-familiar to really ripping through the speakers. The piercing harmonising with the vocals on the chorus to “Meet me at the graveyard” is a really cool touch and shows a band well capable of thinking for themselves. Similarly, the, slowed-down bass playing under the chorus to the band’s title song is a nice moment of inspiration.
If they have an obvious weakness it could maybe be found in Spencer Le Von’s vocals, which fall into the snotty, punk-ish bracket. This is not to suggest that he is an incompetent vocalist, and on the choruses his attitude more than gets him through, but there are occasions when he just fails to dominate the verses the way you would hope a thrash singer would. More studio time and more expensive equipment would no doubt fix this right up of course, but the band get by well enough with what they’ve got.
They aren’t quite there yet, as despite the blunt force of the songs making the CD demand attention while playing, not everything sticks in the memory after it has stopped spinning. A bit more digging for inspiration in the areas they found the afore-mentioned moments of stand-out quality, and a bit of an improvement in the vocal department would certainly go a long way to helping them stand out from the ever-expanding pack. Warts and all, ‘Beers from the grave’ is definitely well worth a listen, and will hopefully make enough waves to stop its creators from slipping through the cracks.
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