We love a bit of self-financed, self-promoted metal here at Moshville Times and here’s a prime example. Guitarist / vocalist Mooney got in touch to ask us to check out their eponymous 5-track EP which your editor duly did…
Stranger in Death are from Birmingham, a city which has a right to at least claim to be the birthplace of metal. OK, so Sabbath and Priest are a far cry from the heavier stuff being doled out today but they do lend some weight to the city’s claim. Stranger in Death show that decades later, the Midlands can still churn out some decent acts.
I’d not quite class them as a death act, and they do say they’re more influenced by classic metal and thrash which makes for a nice mixture of sounds. There are even a few off-kilter rhythmic changes that it could be argued show some prog creeping in. Vocals are generally quite clean though throaty/growled, but what makes the band unusual is that every band member has a hand in the singing, and not just the occasional background shout.
Actually, I’ll let Mooney tell you in his own words:
We’re inspired by early thrash metal as a genre but also individual bands such Mastodon, Killer be Killed and Motorhead. Every member of the band has vocal duties which puts us in a rare bracket in that department. With chainsaw like riffs, classic metal drums and catchy lyrics of myth and murder we hit hard with a satisfying blend of groove and thrash.
When we (the current guitarists and drummer) put the band together 5 years ago the only experience we each had was playing bass in older projects…We then drafted in a complete novice to play bass for this band! After taking a while to find our path it wasn’t til we all really got into the likes of Killer be killed and Mastodon that we knew what we wanted.
Our future will see us always improving and learning, getting our music out as far as it will go and above all else enjoying every minute of it. We’re all close friends and and so practicing, gigging and attending other local gigs is the core of our social lives and our hobby.
Right at this moment we’re still promoting our debut EP which came out in march. But after a busy few months gigging we’re slowing down a bit in order to improve our general band promotion and to write new tracks bringing us closer to recording a full album.
The result of these influences and the gamble on the novice bassist is a damn fine collection of songs, and a collection that contains my favourite attribute – variety. In amongst the blasted beats and head-banging, there are melodic and shouty moments. For every death growl, there’s a traditional metal guitar wail. It really is all in here.
Opener “I Am The Hunter” is a fast-paced blaster that sets everything up well. This one definitely features the “chain saw” guitars we were promised. “Jenny Greenteeth” goes for the slow, heavy start before kicking it up a gear and bringing in a nice, catchy riff with some rhythms designed to have a live crowd bouncing.
“The Passenger” is no Iggy Pop cover, instead being a nice, dirty, gritty heavy rock song with a variety of vocal styles throughout. It’s probably the most accessible track on the album, showcasing many of the band’s influences.
“Death To The Dead” wins the “daftest yet most metal title” prize and follows it up with lyrics suited to early Slayer or Exodus, but sounding a lot beefier than either band’s debut material. “The Insanity of Mr Zsasz” pays homage, I assume, to serial self-harmer and nutjob Victor Zsasz from the Batman mythos. It’s not exactly the most common of surnames and the lyrics do focus quite a lot on going all stabby.
This is a damn fine release, especially from a fledgling outfit and once again proves that there’s life in the old metal beast yet.