The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
www.therockpit.net Anthrax-Worship-Music-CD-Review

REAPER'S RIDDLE

 

WITH SMOKIN' ACES AND HEADLINERS HELLS BELLS

 

THE ROCKET ROOM, NORTHBRIDGE. 23RD DECEMBER 2011

 

 

 

 

 

SMOKIN’ ACES

 

 

 

 

At first listen Smokin’ Aces stink of the Sunset Strip. Hell, the opener even has a siren in it, and their bassist is admirably doing all he can to keep the bandana alive. In truth though their music has more blues than Motley and more substance than most bar bands. ‘Livin’ for the Weekend’ (and I apologize in advance if I get the titles wrong here as it’s the first time I’ve seen them)  is simply a great song, with some nice backing vocals; and whilst the lyrics to ‘Live Fast Die Young’ may be from ‘Rock clichés 101’, the song is pretty infectious too. This is good stuff and to be honest not what I’d expected at all. 

 

 

The bluesy opening to their second number won’t win any prizes for original riffs but you know what? These are damn nice songs, and to these ears at least there’s a real Almighty meets Junkyard sound going on here. In fact three songs in they remind me even more of Junkyard, riding that southern whisky tinged blues vibe with balls the size of a rhino. There’s variety in the set too from the low down mellow start to one of the songs mid-set, which ramps into a kind of Georgia Satellites on speed, to the heavy groove of almost Prog-Rock meets Badmotorfinger Soundgarden beautiful ly deep bass grooves of the number that follows. Fuck this is good shit…

 

 

Song six, whose name escapes me scratches before it grooves, but there’s still that southern boogie and great verse before a more traditional blues rock, it’s not the best in their armory, a little  generic maybe and perhaps lacking a killer chorus , but it’s saved by a solo and the singer going walk-about in the crowd. ‘Six to Midnight’ is a nice chugging rocker, but again not their best, Deeze the singer is coming across all Bobby Durango vocally (apologies to the band if my comparisons are a bit obscure the young fuckers don't look old enough to have heard of any of these bands) and whilst he may have the stature of Chris from Junkyard he’s got the pipes of the Rock City Angels main man the more I listen to him. All of this is a very good thing indeed in my book.

 

 

Closer ‘Sex and Violence’ definitely  has more of a punk edge to it, a heavier blues more akin to Ricky Warwick’s Almighty meets a blusier Motorhead with a few Sunset Strip stylings thrown in for good measure. So if you like your Rock City Angels and know your Junkyard from your Boneyard with a side of good old fashioned 80’s rock and a side of punk check these guys out – all I can say is that it’s a shame the lazy bastards don't have anything out for us to review, but when they do we expect to be mightily impressed.

 

 


By the end of the set we're happy to say we've found yet another reason to get out there and support our great local music scene.

 

 

 

REAPERS RIDDLE

 

 

If you like your metal dark around the edges and dark in the middle too with just the hint of Zombie in the air then Reapers Riddle just might be a band for you. Metal to the core and then some, they deliver a powerful show full of shade, and just that hint of light to give you feint hope of survival.  There’s definitely Rob Zombie in the mix, but also Priest, Dio- era Sabbath and bands like Disturbed and old school Metallica get to rear their ugly heads too. And live they do it so well.

 

 

Despite their crispness tonight the band has gone through a number of changes in the last year. Since the ‘A Touch of Death’ EP launch earlier in the year only Clayton on vocals and Jason on bass remain, so tonight really is like a rebirth for the band and despite the issues mid way through the set they pull through beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing a new song second up is a gamble that pays off: with Prog elements to the fore; it’s a searching slower number that allows Clayton’s theatrical nature to shine through. One thing you have to say about Reapers is that despite how easy it would be to fall into the trap, they resist the temptation to overplay everything. Here elaborating on the basic structure they produce a roaming, yearning paean, underpinned by solid drums and sweeping score and a great solo from new guitarist Michael Willis. If this is a taste of the new stuff then watch out for more great songs to come.

 

 

‘Disintegrate’ is simply a stomping rocker that can’t help but to draw in the room. And we’re already on a roll with ‘Fall Away’ also very well received by the crowd, with its catchy but heavy chorus, that gets the room moving.

 

 

 ‘One Red Rose’ is dedicated to a local girl, sadly murdered recently and is set up as an acoustic number, there’s a warm round of appreciation from the audience but sadly the sound cuts out on guitar acoustic before the song can come to life. Clayton sings a capella and the band handles it well despite being obviously distressed at the promise broken by failing technology. You can feel the pain especially on this song but Reapers play on admirably and in a strange way its one of the highlights of the night.

 

 

The band ends with a number of their heavier songs, playing a longer set than anticipated due to the cancellation by the Sure Fire Midnights. It’s all big crunching riffs and old school metal abandon. There’s also the promise of a t-shirt or two to keep the crowd competitive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old school Metallica is channeled for ‘Devil’s Fire’: ‘C’mon fuckers its Christmas’ intones Clayton as the call goes out for some real headbangers down the front.  There’s a few more t-shirts and merch thrown to the eager crowd before the last song: ‘This is a song about Christmas’. I can see Paul from The Rockpit, who is videoing the set, singing along as they launch into ‘Zombified’.

 

 

Like the best metal Reapers is not generic, and not content to play it by numbers. There’s a great bass groove from long term bassist Jason, some cool guitars from the new section, and solid as hell but not overdone drums. Despite being a conceptual metal band, unlike most metal there's no unnecessary desire to overplay, the band is surprisingly tight considering the number of new players and they generate a helluva crunch.  Of course most important of all they have the songs. Long live the Reaper!

 

 

Sadly we’re double-booked tonight and we have to shoot through before catching headliners Hells Bells who we are told absolutely blew the place apart – one to catch next time!

 

 

 

 

Words and Images by Mark Diggins