Sunday January 21st 2018

Test Meat – “Demo/EP”


Test Meat – “Demo/EP”


I am not a metal head.

Andy Bang is one- or rather, a hardcore/metal fan.

He’s five years younger than me. While in my teenage years I was growing up on glitter/glam rock like Bowie, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and Roxy Music- Andy, as a teen, grew up on metal, on the likes of Sabbath, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Motorhead before he was privileged enough to meet up with The Ramones.

Though I always greatly respected the metal scene, and still do, metal music is like Spanish music to me- music in a foreign language.

That being said, I’ve learned a lot about metal from Andy during TNB’s time. Not only do I know what grindcore and d-beat is, (I think), but I really enjoy those styles, as well.

When I do metal reviews, I try to keep in mind Andy’s views; though I’m quite comfortable with traditional metal, his taste has moved on to more cutting edge, abrasive metal- mostly displayed in the hardcore/metal crossover bands.

So I’m not sure if he’ll like Test Meat, but I’m still betting that he will.

One of our favorite local bands, from the mid to late eighties, The Bags- were, at the time, a unique crossover band. They mixed long haired members with short and metal influences with punk ones. But they were definitely more on the metal side, unlike any bands that had played the Boston punk clubs before. They kind of played Metallica music for Ramones fans.

Also, their sound was quite similar to what became known as grunge in the nineties. Test Meat reminds me a lot of The Bags. Metal music that is basic and rocks hard, like AC/DC, with lyrics that are so basic they recall early Ramones.

There’s a bit of grunge in their style (I was pleased to see another review make note of someone I felt needed to be mentioned- the obscure, Seattle band Tad,  another great band who they sound a lot alike.) Also, there’s a bit of noise/sludge is in their style, too.

But really this is simple, powerful, minimalist stuff that hit me hard and real and strong from the first moments of this “Demo/EP,” until the last.

And when they say demo, the lyrics do sound like someone ad-libbing with a melody knowing that they’ll eventually change the words. (Paul McCartney said “Yesterday” was originally sung as “Scrambled Eggs.”) But it all works perfectly here- simple and concise music that rocks hard and is pure in spirit.

Let’s test the quality of this meat:

“Cuffin Season” starts with a riff and vocals that recall Rob Zombie and White Zombie to me, a great reference in my mind. With a solid, headbanging riff and music that takes no prisoners, that suggests AC/DC in intent if not sound. The lyrics are repetitive and not complex. “Stay here, don’t go anywhere…Sit down, right in that chair…Why are you asking? Show me,” are almost the complete lyrics. This song slams and pounds like a workman slamming rivets with a sledgehammer into a railroad line. The bass buzzes ominously while the vocals slither in menacingly. “Tell me how much your care…Tell me loud and clear…Tell me why you’re scared.” Is this a kidnapping? An arrest? Not sure- but I do know that this is a driving, impossibly awesome tune.

“He Don’t Know,” comes charging out with a swinging, upbeat rhythm. “Get away…get away now…all the way…all the way now.” This song collides and crashes with a lyrical bent that is as unswerving as a Ramones song while rocking as hard as the best hard rock/metal band you can name. “Find a way out…all the way…all the way down…He don’t know.” I do know that this is power, passion and guts distilled into to one pure shot of adrenalin, emotion and heart. Another great tune.

“If You Wanna” starts with a garage guitar riff and a tight, headbanging beat. Again complex lyrics unfold- “If you wanna stay home. If you wanna be alone. If you wanna save me, go ahead and save me. If you wanna be free, go ahead and be free.” The drums hit hard while the ballsy bass buzzes and backs up the grinding guitars and grunge-like melodic vocals. And a simple, but effective solo sprouts up at one point. “Oh, no. There you go. Oh, no. Stay with me.” If you wanna ‘nother great tune- here it is.

“Permanent Festival” busts out with some fuzzing, crashing chords and bashing beats. “You’re gonna waste it, if you don’t use it…You gotta take it when it’s given, or you’ll miss it.” This song chugs along in grunge-y glory. There’s a guitar breakdown that ends with slicing bass along with the drums slamming- building up the intensity. “You’re gonna waste it,” the excellent singer repeatedly wails but I don’t think you’ll waste a second in hearing every moment of this great EP.

Test Meat is a new band made up of folks that have a bit of experience.

They play music that kicks ass, forgets about genres and makes songs with pulverizing, power and the passion of pure punkness.

This band delivers emotion without any pretense- one hundred percent true.

I’d order this meat, without a second though, in my next sandwich. With some spicy mustard and maybe some tomatoes, too.

But I’m sure it won’t have as much nourishment or be as tasty to the tongue, as this EP-

But then, this is probably the best metal recording I’ve reviewed all year.


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