Since they returned in 2020, from who knows where? Some underground dungeon where all sorts was going on, I imagine (I don’t like to ask), Black Spiders have resumed exactly where they’d left off.
A cheery middle finger in the air, an “eat thunder, shit lightning attitude” and the overriding thought that if the world is going to end, we might as well go out swinging. Like that moment at the end of The Young Ones TV show when the van drives off the cliff, just because (Black Spiders fans are of vintage to understand the reference). They’re the epitome of the idea that if the four-minute warning has gone off, that’s 240 seconds to pack something into.
Their last one, 2021’s self-titled affair, was described on these pages with the simple “Black Spiders are back in town and no one is safe” and “Can’t Die, Won’t Die” almost dares you to take them on.
“Intro” is ominous. But then there’s always something ominous with Black Spiders, something that says – as much as Pete Spiby (the bands’ singer) reckons it’s a party album “from top to tail, every one a banger” then it’s a shindig where you wouldn’t drink the punch of your own volition.
“Hot Wheels” is rock n roll – whatever thet means to you. What does “like a Baker needs his bun” mean? Should you care? No, as the solo hits, all bets are off.
That’s what they do. “Driving My Rooster”, is almost literally bursting to rock, it sweeps you along, bombarding you with its riffs. Lead licks coming at you. Ozzy “Owl” Lister and Mark “Dark Shark” Thomas, (there’s a Marvel episode in here, surely) slash and burn.
Then there’s “Destroyer”. OK, so not many songs start with a chanted “Jean’s obscene”, in some homage to Marilyn Manson, but then in typical contrary fashion what breaks out is the heaviest one on the album. I mean, it could be about Gene Simmons for all I know, but whatever.
“Alright Alright Alright”, showcases their ability to be supremely catchy. There’s a groove, but the words are violent. “Kill a snake” sings Pete Spiby. You’d be best to avoid him, if its about you.
In interviews they’d promised a “few surprises” and Traitors Walk” is a change of pace and unlike anything else in the canon. There’s a melody, Maybe they should explore this avenue a little, certainly they have the talent.
Its one of a few that take the odd turn. “It Is What It Is” is built around a militaristic drumbeat and imagery. More metal than hard rock, for sure. “Strange”, though, is “classic” Black Spiders. In both their incarnations, at their best they’ve always sounded filthy.
Readers Wives, not Playboy, the percussion makes this, Wyatt Wendels hits his kit as if it owes him money. It’s primal and beautiful.
“Another Weekend” Contains a simple plea, “We want to have a good time” sings Spiby. And later he explains how they’ll pay for it. “I’ll sell my Cheap Trick records, they’re never played”. I can only assume he saw them open for Def Leppard and never listened to them again, but anyway, I digress.
A record of astonishing consistency, even in the deep cuts. “Make Me Bleed” is one of the highlights. Trademark soaring chorus. Lead guitar low slung, this is the music they’ve always made. The best of the lot though, is the glorious “A Rat Is A Rat”. If it’s about you, be afraid. If its not, just enjoy the boogie and join in when they sing “snitches get stitches”, like you live on the wrong side of the ttracks.
And as “End Of The World” hits, you ask the question, if its the end of the world, so what do you want? The answer is probably nothing. We are British after all. These just boys want to party all night. Maybe rock n roll all day, but only after a nap. They’re not Kiss. Gene tried to kill them, you know?
Black Spiders know what they are doing, and they do it real well. The paraphrasing of Motorhead is entirely deliberate too. Because although they don’t sound like Lemmy and the boys (who could?) they do share a spirit. They are a gang. Don’t get in their way. “Can’t Die, Won’t Die” is testament to that, but it’s also the dirtiest rock n roll anywhere on these shores.
If the Hells Angels need a soundtrack, they’ve got one.