BAT – Live Review – The Metro Gallery, Baltimore MD (April 16th, 2014)

In my last review of SATAN (which you can find here >http://wp.me/p2hj3p-63) I mentioned that BAT, who were the direct support at that show, deserved their own review, so here it is. First, as is my custom, let me set the scene here starting with who the hell is/are BAT? That is the easy part of this story – BAT comprises Ryan Waste on bass and vocals (also of Municipal Waste and Volture), Nick Poulos on guitar (also of Volture) and Felix Griffin (formerly of DRI).

The slightly harder question is how did they come about – in essence the ‘why’? To understand this we need to travel back in time to 2007, when Ryan met Felix met at a Municipal Waste gig in Austin Texas, and the story goes the two immediately hit it off, both having a very similar punk/metal taste. As time passed the idea of doing a project together became more than a passing topic shared over a beer or three whenever Ryan would pass through Texas; initially the vision was for a studio thing with Ryan handling all the vocal, guitars and bass, with Felix taking care of the drums. Fortunately for the rest of us, the idea grew and the desire to take the project on the road, in other words a ‘proper band’, became reality with the recruitment of Nick who is also guitarist in another Ryan Waste band, namely the heavy metal monster that is Volture.

The first visible output of the band was the Primitive Age recording which is labeled a demo, but can be heard via the BAT bandcamp website (see here > http://bewareofthebat.bandcamp.com/) you can stream the five tracks here, or you can step-up and contribute a ‘donation’ of your choice and download the tracks at higher quality. This was a truly retro affair with all the recordings going down on analog tape, just like the “old days”! Most modern musicians would find this a very anarchic move, but it gives the recording a really cool old-school warmth. Initially Ryan and Nick put the tracks down as a demo with Garage Band drums, and sent it to Felix to work on. Eventually all three would find themselves in a rehearsal space in Richmond VA for a few quick rehearsals and then spent just one short day in the studio laying down the recording. Obviously you can judge for yourself, but my immediate reaction to the demo was a Motorhead-meets-Venom groove, with my personal favorite being “Rule Of The Beast”.

So enough of the history lesson, fast forward to now, and notwithstanding the awesome news that the mighty SATAN were doing a limited tour of the East Coast, more good news was slipped in to the announcement; the last three dates of the tour would have BAT appearing as support and performing their first ever live dates. Excellent!

I have already covered the venue and other bands that appeared this night, so I can skip all that and address BAT directly. When we arrived at the venue we met Ryan at the merch table and he immediately indicated he was nursing his voice…! However, fear not, you’d have been hard pushed to know this from what followed, aside from mentioning it between tracks later on. BAT have pretty damn cool logo, so it is hard not to want some BAT merch! We picked up a copy of the demo (on cassette!!!! Yes people, cassette!), a patch and some stickers. BAT also has a cool t-shirt design (which I don’t think was on sale at the show, but can be found here > http://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=bat).

So after enduring a local opener who seemed hell-bent on either blowing my ears out with their bass amp or blowing up their bass amp (neither of which happened, the latter being a bit of a shame really…), BAT took their place on stage, and with little more than a quick line check for sound, were off. Opening with the first pair of tracks from the demo, we had BAT and Total Wreckage, and immediately the sound in the room was clear and tight, with the drums cutting through nicely and we were rockin’. Any concerns regarding Ryan’s vocals were immediately put to rest. My immediate impression was more on the Motorhead side of the fence, but others I spoke to were clearly hearing the Venom influence, though I should be clear that isn’t all that’s going on here. BAT certainly have their own groove and I suspect this is going to come into more focus the more time they have together.

The set comprised nine tracks total with one being a cover of the Motorhead song “Speedfreak” from the Iron Fist album. One thing I particularly noticed which was more evident live than from the recordings, was the tight and fast guitar playing of Nick, who was really tearing it up. There’s some pretty fast riffage in some of these songs and he totally had it all under control. Felix was just a complete master behind the kit, and you would have been hard pushed to know that this wasn’t a seasoned band with a hundred gigs behind them. With the three-piece format, there isn’t any room for error, and none was evident from start to finish. My description of BAT live would be a speed rock’n’roll band with a light sprinkling of thrash. For me they have a mercilessly crushing sound but with an old school r’n’r groove that makes you want to bang your head. My score for gig was a solid 8.5/10

P.S. Beware of the BAT!

– Neil Waterman

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One Response to “BAT – Live Review – The Metro Gallery, Baltimore MD (April 16th, 2014)”

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