Masters of melodic hardcore Shatterhand have recorded their most powerful album yet.
The Falkirk band have been preaching an extremely loud and forthright gospel according to themselves since 1998 through no holds barred live shows and five albums worth of killer tracks.
The latest offering, ‘Chaos and the Art of Dissent’ features a dozen songs that build on their reputation as Falkirk’s free-thinking, literate libertines.
A band spokesman, who may have his tongue firmly placed in his cheek, said: “Shatterhand’s fiercely held beliefs in independence and the DIY spirit, their unflinching ‘us against the world’ spirit and their borderline alcoholism have always set them apart.
“Now they have come up with an album with recurring themes of hope, unity and renewal.”
There is certainly nothing downcast or mournful about the album, which moves along at a fair clip. Only the closing ‘Demons’, which clocks in at over six minutes, has something remotely sad to say.
It comes in the form of a piano outro on a par with the tearful tinkling heard at the end of 1970s series of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ when Bill Bixby tries to hitch a ride to the next episode.
Pianos are extinct for the rest of the album as thunderous layers of guitar, bass and drums are given free reign to roam the earth.
We do get some fiddle action on the Celtic knees up of ‘Brewdog Nights’ - a tune full of “honesty and energy” - and some acoustic strumming on ‘Out on the Streets’ before the band goes into overdrive.
Like the tempo of the songs, the message is upbeat throughout - ‘Mr Nobody’ asks us if we can imagine changing our existence, while ‘Paradigm Shift’ urges “Seeds of change are getting sown/Don’t falter/Don’t fail yourself”.
The album features great gruff vocals and screaming guitar throughout with nice wee touches like the a capella section of ‘Mr Nobody’ and the spoken word intro to ‘Welcome Tomorrow’.
Lyrically the band is on fine form - as always - with gems like “I’m a broken man/Coughing blood for the bourgeoisie” in ‘Sleeping With the Lights On’.
‘Demons’ has to be heard to be believed - starting off like a gutsy Jean Michel Jarre and then morphing into guitar orchestration U2’s Edge would be proud of before bringing the disc to a close with the aforementioned piano shocker.
Shatterhand finished their UK tour last month, but they have their sights set on the land of the rising sun in 2013 with a tour of Japan lined up in the New Year.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the band and the album.