BATS - Alter Nature | Album Review

When you think of the ancient Irish capital city of Dublin, you may think of picturesque cobblestone streets, fanciful hospitality and most probably Guinness. However, within beneath it’s labyrinthine streets a technological wonder of man’s creation lies restless, one that has previously been dormant for seven years. However, this bastardised beast has arisen once more. Dearly beloved by lovers of all things avant-garde and mentally stimulating, the Irish quintet BATS have returned with their third full length Alter Nature. Whilst it may be over seven years since their last respective offering, the off kilter dynamos have certainly made up for lost time with this release, with Alter Nature being the group’s most gripping and detailed work thus far.

Taking inspiration from the realm of science both lyrically and musically, Alter Nature is a record that counters the fraudulent exercises of pseudoscience, fake news and superstition with idiosyncratic sonic experimentation. Much like theoretical studies on quantum physics, Bat's third release is meticulously detailed, distanced from the boundaries of what many perceive the norm and utterly fascinating. It’s a record that just shivers with explosive kinetic energy, one that feels dangerous to handle but remaining impossible to not experiment with and probe. Album opener ‘Summoning The Demon’ introduces the record’s angular and obtuse nature with offbeat and calculated time signatures, seizing melodies and borderline possessed madcap vocals that flow between spoken word and crazed mad scientist howls.

There’s a sense of robotic and industrial delivery throughout this record, with the quizzical groove and fervent idiosyncrasy of ‘Christian Science’ introducing dense grove and bombastic melody whilst simultaneously romanticising the twisted sensibilities enjoyed by artists such as Raketkanon and The Jesus Lizard. Despite this robotic delivery, there’s no sense of stiffness or rigidness present, only electric and untameable aqueous fluidity. With their latest opus, Bat’s have doubled down on their irregular sentiments, with each track present containing so many layers and juxtaposing textures that repeat listens are crucial to fully appreciate this oddity of a release. However, this record isn’t a grower. From the very get go, Alter Nature arrests you with it’s angular dynamics. It’s plethora of hooks grip and pierce you prior to pumping you full hypodermically with it’s respective concentrated voltaic energy.

Whilst the record does indeed borrow elements of math-rock, noise-rock and charged prog-rock, Bats continue to experiment with strangely danceable post-punk with this release for fantastic effect. The previously released single ‘Old Hitler’ and the brilliantly titled ‘In The Court Of The CRSPR King’ animate Bat’s surrealist view of avant-garde with neon and electric charm, with the tracks flirting with pop and punk sensibilities in the fashion that’s bizarre but haplessly lovable. Indeed, Alter Nature contains a range of blossoming pop flourishes within it’s obtuse soundscapes and barrages, but in truth, it’s still a record that’s engineered and crafted for the aficionados of modern progression at it’s most obtuse. Lead single ‘Ergot’ see’s the group experiment with energised adolescent punk, but in a fashion that is reminiscent of gene splicing. This is the beauty of of this release; it draws inspirations from a plethora of individualistic genres and movements before adapting them until they become mostly utterly monstrous.

With their third release, Bats have crafted an experience that’s jarring, deeply cacophonous, unique yet brilliantly and irresistibly entraining. It's a record that’s packed with so much content and contrastive textures that an attempt at dismantlement would be work on an academic level. If you enjoy your music challenging yet authentically grilling, labyrinthine yet instantly alluring, get on this record. With Alter Nature, Bats have executed an experiment of dangerous and unique proportions only to succeed and usher in a new wave of musical study.

Score: 9/10

Alter Nature Is Released October 10th Via Self Release


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