Coming out of Barnsley System Of Hate are made up of Dave (Vocals) Patrick (Guitar) Martin (Keyboards) Paddy (Bass) and Carl (Drums) If I had to choose one word to describe the band and their style that word would be ‘uncompromising.’ There are no frills, this is just straight up punk take it or leave it.
Insanity is only the band’s second EP but the majority of the band have been involved with the music scene on and off since 1978. This is something which I think comes through in the music, there are definitely echoes of that period back in the 70’s where punk bands were just everywhere, and everyone had something to say whether people wanted to hear it or not. Back in the day you were mad at the world you formed a band, shouted, drank and did drugs until you weren’t angry anymore. These days seemingly you just sign up to Twitter. Anyway… back to the record.
The EP’s title track gets things under way in typically high energy fashion. Straight away you get what the band all about. As I said in the intro, the sound is just uncompromising punk, and for me really does hark back to a bygone era. (Even more so when you see the song length is just over 2 and a bit minutes)
However my major problem with this record emerges very quickly. Personally I find the vocal to be a little too uncompromising and a bit too abrasive. Things sound a bit forced. Granted back in UK punk’s golden age many of the vocals on show were from a technical point of view horrendous, (I’m not saying that this is by the way) but that was part of the whole DIY feel. It gave the impression anyone could do it. But in this case I can’t warm to it.
‘Ashes of Divinity’ starts off with a brilliant intro, on paper its nothing technically mind-blowing but it sets things up well before the track really kicks into gear. Much like the rest of the record ‘musically’ it’s great and the lyrics are almost spat out with a real passion. The breakdown towards the end is also very well done.
Another great intro, this time with rolling drums gets ‘The Dogs Of War’ off to a flying start. It’s hard not to feel the anger and power of this record especially when this track opens with the lyrics. ‘The fires of vengeance eating away, Fuelling the tension the lying betrays.’ I don’t think that needs much of an explanation from me to be honest.
Final track ‘Infected’ picks up where all of the other tracks have left off. Fast paced, hard hitting and vocally abrasive, almost growling at certain points. As mentioned above the actual music instrumental element of the song is nigh on flawless, but the vocal remains too harsh.
I am hesitant about being too harsh on the record as I think that the premise and the idea behind it is a good one. Music wise everything sounds on point and you can’t really pick fault with the production but I just can’t warm to the vocal style. I applaud the intent, and I get what the band are trying to do but I can’t help but feel that the execution falls a little short.