REVIEW: BATTLESNAKE – THE RISE AND DEMISE OF THE MOTORSTEEPLE (2024)

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If your two-piece band is always primal and your trio is always supremely well-balanced, then what of the septuplet?

The answer, certainly when it comes to Battlesnake, is: Christ knows.

Here’s what we know:

1) Battlesnake are in possession of the most metal band name ever. It might have come from one of those random generator things.

2) The Rise and Demise of The Motorsteeple is their second album.

3) The music it contains therein lives up to the title.

Let’s get down to brass tacks – as Clutch put it –  shall we?

There’s a bit of an intro. Yeah, cool, a bit of bombast will do, before “Motorsteeple” steals Rob Halford’s motorbike for a race around a bit of power metal.

There are three of them playing the guitar; they’re all playing the same riff on “Pangea Breaker” as far as we can tell. Then Sam Frank witters on about Satan. Not sure why. Then there’s a bit of prog. Not sure why either. Just because, probably.

There are a couple of epic things in the middle of this. “Alpha Omega” is a proper psych freak-out, awash with strings and a bit of twin guitar that would make Maiden jealous.

And if we’ve had some fun with this—Crikey! Something this OTT almost demands you do, then it needs to say just how good Battlesnake are. How original what they do is. I mean, there are lots of bands that sound like bits of this. But is there one that fits it all together this well? Probably not.

Let’s be blunt about this: on most other records, “Road Warrior”—which appears to be racing around in Satan’s car, in some bizarre Wacky Races—would be ludicrous. Here? Well, here it’s still ludicrous, but you just go, “Oh, OK, sound. good. Good luck, Beelzebub.”

This, mostly, is about its riffs. “The Key Of Solomon” is proper trad metal for blokes that have Angel Witch patches on their jackets, and “I Speak Tongues” essentially imagines a world where The Darkness jammed some Dragonforce.

The whole thing ends with a song called “Pterodactyl Firehawk” (and I really hope it was a rejected name for the band) and it’s a thing of beauty. Completely crackers, bouncier than a 5-year-old mainlining Skittles for three days straight, and metal for those with ADHD.

I mean, conventional wisdom says that I have to write a conclusion for this. That’s kind of how it goes. A decade of doing it, though, doesn’t prepare you for such endeavours.

There is this, though. Battlesnake has opened for Kiss and Smashing Pumpkins in Australia. I saw both those tours in the UK and I’m telling you now, they would have been more entertaining than either of the Headline acts.

Then there’s this: the album came with a press pack like you usually get. This one reckons Battlesnake are for fans of: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Judas Priest, Green Lung, Elder, Queen.

I mean yeah, I’ll take most of them (never Q***n obviously) but also that’s a good way of saying “I haven’t a clue what they sound like, over to you”.

I haven’t either,  except to say “The Rise and Demise of The Motorsteeple” is utterly marvellous. And whatever you think it sounds like, it probably will…

Rating: 9/10

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