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Taking the TAAS/Blood Brothers left of centre and refusing to be formulaic approach to riffs and drum slices, with added science, Bats are onto a good thing. Opening with the subtle ‘Higgs Boson Particle’ before flowing rapturously into the more energetic ‘Gamma Ray Blast: Second Date’ it’s immediately a big evolutionary step up from their ‘Cruel Sea Scientist’ EP. ‘Lord Blakeney’s Arm’ is a furious, syncopated blast, ‘Shadow Fucking’ comes laden with hooks while ‘The Barley’ rolls along darkly before erupting vocally. Absolute highlight is the occasionally erratic, yet never needlessly spastic and lyrically engaging ‘The Cruel Sea’. Good stuff.

- Rock Sound

"BATS Larverys, Belfast, 25/09/09"

"BATS will destroy you!" they roar on opener "Death To Kent Hovind", skewering the US creationist of the title with a short sharp shock of bug eyed righteousness. Then comes bespectacled singer Rupert Morris' sneering payoff: "The Facts Will Destroy You". The five Dubliners are science geeks treatises on physics, gentics and superstition. Dry? Not a bit - It's all declaimed over thrashy dance punk, converge style hardcore and enough cowbell to keep Cristopher Walken happy for months. Dance? Headbang? Do both and hope your spine stays aligned.

Chris Jones. - NME


Holy testicles batman! We could have a surprise on our hands here. Like fresh, warm blood soaking into sawdust, the Kurt Ballou influence is saturated deep within this 11 track debut from Ireland’s BATS. The rough-form template of stuttering, stop-start punk that was present on their ‘Cruel Sea Scientist’ EP has been picked apart, stripped down and reconstructed; Steve Austin (Lee Majors) style – i.e. it’s now heavier and comprised partly of metal.
The themes of evolution and sea creatures which featured so prominently on their debut EP are again present alongside more complex subject matters such as the mathematics of Andrew Wiles, surgical procedures and gamma rays. Whilst they may not be the most typical topics to put to music, like Down I Go before them, BATS manage to create a song out of the strangest issues and more importantly, they’ve fashioned a body of work that had morphed into something truly exemplary.
‘Higgs Boson Particle’ and ‘Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date’ open the album like a familiar double-act who are astute with their timing, poise and dexterity, knowing just when to deliver the punch-line (or in this case, riff and drum hit). ‘Higgs…’ plays the straight man, favouring a subtle build of punchy 1 note strumming that gradually moves stubborn percussion beats and the foreboding mantra-chant laced with trepidation. This continues to rise in sound as the guitars slice cleanly through, followed by the vocal chant which becomes more anxious, irate and maladjusted, until vocalist Rupert Morris is screeching his words under the now heavy wave of pummelling riffs. It then snaps as ‘Gamma Ray…’ muscles its way onto the scene, guitars stabbing great misshapen holes of schizophrenic-punk into the mix. The shift is immediate, similar to that of a lumbering Transformer morphing into some breakneck sports automobile. Vocalist Morris takes on multiple personalities, changing between disgruntled slovenly punk shouting, to steel-voiced quick fire intone, to shrieks of enraged joy and then to harmonised ball-clenching wails. That’s just the first 2 songs; this train of jagged, multi-song-personality head fuck continues throughout the remaining 9 tracks with zealous determination and dexterity.
‘Credulous! Credulous!’ starts with one of the best breathless exclamations ever and continues to build on this almost tribally, dance-beat, within the choppy guitar squeals and discordance. The depth of the BATS sound is stunningly apparent here, as the low pluck of the rhythmic bass, dense drum hits run steadily beneath the sometimes erratic, sometimes filth-covered, sometimes squeaky clean guitar lines.
The grind of the guitars on ‘Andrew Wiles’ hack a sodden path ruthless inelegance, before lurching into the jagged twists of dance-punk frivolity. Morris’s shriek of ‘I DESCRIBE MY LIFE IN MATHEMATICS!’ followed by a detailed account of the great mathematician’s 7 year discovery of the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem staggers forth with caustic vigour.
Kurt Ballou’s influence really starts to shine through come track 5; ‘Lord Blakeney’s Arm’ as the convulsing jerking shred of Converge picks its way through the layers of Scrooge-tight guitar stabs and rolling thrash-drum beat. The vocals spit acrid venom similar to that of Fear Before The March of the Flames, and of course give nods towards the irrepressible animal howl of Jacob Bannon. The breathless panting, unstable, yet aggressively choppy guitar screech tear and gut with see-sawing determination and complex-hardcore dynamism.
The tale of 2 oceanic beasts locked in conflict is detailed in atmospheric drone of the stomping ‘The Cruel Sea’. Guitars stab with the speed and frantic bloodlust of Roberto from Futurama, whilst vocalist Morris pleads to the prehistoric monster known as the Plesiosaur to save him and the rest of the band/crew from the dreaded maw of a creature known as a Tylosaur. In many respects, it’s the long-lost cousin of Down I Go’s ‘Gigantic! Titanic!’ which also told a tale of a horrific disaster out to sea.
It’s all about layers and the thorough usage of them. ‘Shadow-Fucking’ piles guitar on top of guitar like a furious builder constructing a mansion out of fenders. The background hum of reverb interplays within the erratic shuddering build that then twists into a hook-filled dance punk stomp and what is easily the best song the 5 piece have ever written. ‘Star Wormwood’ fits a similar template, albeit one that’s spent most of it’s time cleaning up its act, leaving the heavier elements on the shelf and instead selecting a more pop-based structure.
The flailing nature of the instruments on ‘Bats Spelled Backwards Is Stab’ gives the impression of a mad scramble to the finish line, with each band member desperately hammering the shit out of their respective piece of musical equipment, eager to for the triumphant victory. I defy anyone who doesn’t join in with the tracks title chant, which is reminiscent of a group of drunken footballers he -


BATS flew their Dublin belfry to Salem, Massachusetts to record this torrid clusterbomb of a debut album, and though it would be trite to draw too many conclusions from the place it was recorded, staying at the site of those infamous witch trials can’t have lightened the mood very much. These BATS attack without mercy, their three guitars leading the charge, ably supported by the deranged vocals of Rupert Morris and a rhythm section that’s the very epitome of tight. And shall we mention that it was produced by Kurt Ballou of metalcore legends Converge? This record is not to be fucked with.

All that said, though, Red In Tooth And Claw isn’t as all-out scary as you might imagine. The band’s spastic sound owes as much to the dance-punk of Gang Of Four and latter-day standard bearers like The Rapture as it does to the hardcore and metal traditions, while lyrically, you’re never quite sure how serious Morris is being with his many odes to scientific endeavour. His stated aim is to turn people onto the joy of science, and with an arsenal of sonic bullets like opener ‘Higgs Boson Particle’, he just might manage it. The album reaches its apex with the ass-shaking, dance-metal mayhem of ‘Credulous, Credulous’ and ‘Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date’, as well as the questing ‘Star Wormwood’, which displays a lightness of touch that, if we’re honest, is lacking for much of the rest of the album, the exhausting ‘Lord Blakeney’s Arm’ being a particular culprit. A lie-down is recommended for afterwards, then, but this is a formidable debut.

Chris Jones - AU magazine


Defn. A reference to the sometimes violent natural world, in which predatory animals unsentimentally cover their teeth and claws with the blood of their prey as they kill and devour them.

Anger is so much better when it’s directed. Outward-focused frustration is productive when there is a target – a concerted attack on that which needs to be attacked for the pure progression of art to a greater level. Though that may sound pretentious, it shouldn’t. The very notion that it does is proof itself that music today is a landscape flattened by conformity, sculpted by fear, mined by ‘indie’ and, oh yeah, populated by shit.

Bats, Red in Tooth & Claw

Nothing is applauded for being original nor for failing, even admirably. BATS have long threatened to make an album that satisfies both outcomes. The targets here are banality, ignorance and (most probably by association) some of your favourite bands.

There is a fine line between educating the listener and lauding superior intelligence over them, especially with such obscure, pinpoint subject matter as heard on this record. It’s particularly hard to make an intellectual remark and simultaneously trying not to come away sounding like Morrissey. Thankfully, BATS are very much in the former half, chucking stones at those on the other side. This album is all about raising the bar for modern music. Are you ready to get angry? Good.

Red In Tooth And Claw launches with a building-then-seizing African rhythm on Higgs-Boson Particle, swirling and rising with a hypnotic choral vocal line that nicely sets the precedent for the rest of what is to come. From then on, the album does not let up at any point – it is completely uncompromising and unrelenting. Variation is not the record’s specialty, with two or three tracks sounding somewhat similar, yet each one is full of dynamism and little hooks that keep the record interesting.

To investigate all the deeper meanings of the album here would be to spoil its many small surprises. Instead, the record encourages you to go forth and find out for yourself

Credulous! Credulous! gives the best single synopsis of the album’s capabilities: heavy, technical, vicious, exciting and catchy; consecutively and concurrently. It remains one of the three mainstays of the album along with The Cruel Sea and Vermithrax Pejorative, each expressing charm and guile enough to truly impress and entice repeat plays. These are the three standout tracks, if not necessarily the most radio-accessible. Then again, you get the feeling that isn’t much of a concern for BATS.

References to science, history and culture run deep. Don’t know what the Higgs-Boson particle is? Take a look at the work of CERN. Who was Lord Blakeney? See for yourself. What the good goddamn is a Vermithrax Pejorative? Actually, I wasn’t quite nerdy enough to know that one off hand either. To investigate all the deeper meanings of the album here would be to spoil its many small surprises. Instead, the record encourages you to go forth and find out for yourself. To discover every small meaning is in itself as rewarding as finishing Portal in a single sitting.

Converge’s Kurt Ballou is responsible for the recordings. The guitar sound achieved aims for that of At The Drive-In and hits that of Sparta, giving a more epic, less white-hot effect than what may have elevated the album to a fuller, more electrifying state. Lyrically, it can slip into silliness (Higgs-Boson Particle, BATS Spelled Backwards Is STAB), but retains full entertainment value. There are minor imperfections dotted throughout, no doubt owing to the fact that recording was restricted to only five days, but silver lining comes in the form of an intensity not heard on the previous Cruel Sea Scientist EP. Cobain wanted In Utero completed in two weeks for this very reason. The result: a record sounding somewhere between The Blood Brothers on a leash and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness strapped with carbon nanotubes to the underside of an SR-71 Blackbird.

A fine album, then. Not a masterpiece, but as fine as any Irish band can boast over the last two decades, certainly, whether scrutinised by determination, technicality, melody, ambition or all of the above. Just as you were kicking against the walls of your room as a teenager listening to Rage Against The Machine, you will sit in your living room, nodding your head and gritting your teeth, seething to this.

Are you angry yet? Get ready to be.

Drop-D Rating: 8/10 -


Cruel Sea Scientist: EP 2008

Red In Tooth And Claw: Sept 2009

Gamma Ray Burst gets airplay on Kerrang radio and Shadow-Fucking gets radio play on BBC Radio 1



Formed in 2006 by complex molecules, BATS have been dispersing their audio seed throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe with fervent vigour. Their debut E.P ‘Cruel Sea Scientist’ was released in late 2007 to much critical acclaim, and soon after the leatherwings were signed to independent label The Richter Collective. Their blend of visceral but catchy post-punk/hardcore/metal and scientific musings has attracted a wide spectrum of fans that continues to grow steadily.

Much of 2008 was spent writing new material and performing live with such heavyweights as These Arms Are Snakes, The Locust, Liars, Sebadoh, Chrome Hoof and Gang Gang Dance. In March 2009 these dynamic mammals crossed the Atlantic to record their debut full-length, ‘Red in Tooth & Claw’, with Kurt Ballou (Converge) in Godcity Studios, located in the icy heart of Salem, Massachusetts and have gone on to play shows with The Jesus Lizard and ZU.
Red in Tooth and Claw has garnered critical acclaim from all corners of the globe and the subsequent UK tour with Blakfish was roaring success. Their video for Shadow-Fucking has just been nominated for an Irish Music Video award: