[sic] Magazine

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Blood & Fire

The dark rock from under which the UK’s finest contemporary psychobilly-punkers crawled in 2002 was full of ghoulish blood, and now with Blood & Fire, they are finally back to wring it dry. It’s been six years since The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster ‘s last long-player and in between albums they’ve been beset by multiple changes in guitarist and by the indignity of having to return to “normal” jobs.

Only the caustic In The Garden EP, which housed some ferocious live versions of fans’ favourites and a few new rockers bridged these barren years, and, albeit with the slight concession of being studio produced, Blood & Fire picks up where it, not previous LP The Royal Society, left off. The silly schlock-shock of tracks like “Puppy Dog Tails” is nowhere to be found. TEMBLD have been on a diet, and Blood & Fire’s no-messing rock is the result.

Guy McKnight remains the band’s unpredictable firebrand, yelping and screaming as appropriate. There’s nothing to rival the fireworks of the debut’s “Celebrate Your Mother”, but “I Hate The Blues” is nearest to the close Goth-metal shimmy of that period. The album’s opener and lead single “Love Turns To Hate” utilises a literally smashing intro rife with whammy bar indulgence and juggernaut riffs. It’s a considered stomp, and, with its clear chorus, suitable for getting the darkest of parties started.

The balladesque (for this band it’s close enough) beauty of the reflective “So Long Goodnight” provides a little surprise but little overall weight, but elsewhere Blood & Fire is largely macabre cabaret-rock by numbers. Lurching tempos compete with the band’s trademark filthy bass, as best heard on “Mission From God” before the track breaks into breathy pummelling. In both its senses, the drums take on battery duty for “Under My Chin” and accordingly they sound thoroughly unpleasant and beefier than a summerful of barbeques throughout. “Man For All Seasons” even thinks to throw in a 80s power-metal riff at the last minute.

Though otherwise fairly predictable, the album is nevertheless exciting. Blood & Fire is primal and eleMental, and great surges of energy such as on the screamo thrash of “Monsieur Cutts” prove it. TEMBLD have been more appealing, but never more consistent, never angrier and never louder. Do them proud and crank it up in their honour.

Advised downloads: “Love Turns To Hate” and “Monsieur Cutts”.

Blood & Fire is out now on Black Records .