27 May 2022
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Bleeding Afterglow - Album Review: Find Your Taboo

05 May 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Back in 2004 guitarist Sharne Scarborough was looking for a new rhythm section for Just One Fix, and he asked Ant Ward and Gaylene ‘G-Force’ to join. Although the bassist and drummer had bumped into each other on the circuit they were not really friends, and G actually complained to Sharne at one point that she was not sure if she could handle Ant’s persistent innuendos. Of course, the situation could not be allowed to continue in the state it was in, so the following year Ant asked G to marry him – doing so at the end of a gig for his main band Ward 10, working on the basis that she would not be brave enough to turn him down in front of a venue full of metalheads and he was right! When she became pregnant with their first child in 2007, she had to leave the band, and has not gigged since. Ant also left after two more children, returning later and is still in the line-up today.

Given that they first came to know each other through their mutual love of metal, it is no real surprise that after a while they decided it would be nice to have a jam, but they came across an issue in that they did not know a song from beginning to end which they could play together. Instead of learning something, they decided to jam and see what came out of it, the result being Red Raw. Having had so much fun writing a song, their thoughts then turned to writing more material, and what about recording it? Finally, finally, the result is here for all to hear, and we can now all enjoy a project which started in 2014 but in many ways, it sounds as if could have been from much further back.

Ant was determined that this was going to be an album they could play live without any additional musicians if the opportunity arose, which means he provides guitar and vocals while G is on drums. And that’s it. Yep, no bass, no polish, nothing which takes away from what this is, raw, visceral metal. I didn’t realise there was no bass until after I started playing the album, and during opener Leg Cuffs I kept looking at the player wondering when the bass was going to come in. There is no doubt that initially it just felt wrong that there was nothing underpinning the sound, but the more I listened to it the more I realised it was a stroke of genius. Yes, it would be easy to say this is White Stripes plays metal, but that is just lazy reviewing and what we actually have here is something which strips metal back to when it was out to shock and slapped with Parental Advisory stickers. Take it from me, this is the type of album and band which PMRC were formed to destroy.

Lyrically this is, um, focused. Yes, that’s a good word, and all I can say about the subject matter is that Ant’s brain needs to be taken out and scrubbed with bleach (I can’t believe G had anything to do with the lyrics as she is just lovely), but it is something he is heavily focused on, and consequently I can’t believe he only has 3 kids. This is classic debut W.A.S.P. back when they had real shock value, and I can imagine Ant finding a kindred spirit in Blackie Lawless. That isn’t the only similarity, with brutal riffs which could easily have come out of that L.A. scene. What makes this even more fascinating for me is the lack of bass means there is a hole in the music which is filled by the drums. While I am sure the sight of G at her own wedding taking over the drumkit and breaking the pedals while playing in her wedding dress was a sight to be seen, she is here because she is a very powerful drummer. The lack of bass and layers means there is plenty of room for all her work to be easily heard and appreciated. She is one of those drummers who inherently knows not only when to hit but what to hit, using toms to great effect, while the kick pedals also have an important part to play, both in when being utilised at speed or when she provides a more laidback pattern.

This is rough, raw, raucous, rowdy (great alliteration, eh?) metal which takes me back to a time when bands didn’t take themselves too seriously and it was all about having a blast, upsetting the normals, blowing out some eardrums and having a beer. Tongue in cheek, crude, disgusting, bloody, loud, and a whole lot of fun. Metal can be messy, and if GWAR need an opening act if they come back then these guys will fit right in. I love it.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Bleeding Afterglow

Bleeding Afterglow started as just jam sessions, and ended up being an 8 year process to release their first album. A literal work of love the album was created and brought to life with the two members basically doing it all themselves. Influences range from classic 80’s metal through to the latest heavy music.




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