If Kurt Cobain had been a bit more positive and came from Nottingham, Nirvana would have probably sounded like Stonepit Drive. The four-piece have been together since 2011 and just got round to releasing ‘Dystopia,’ their debut EP. And while they have the same fuzzed up guitars and anguished lyrics as a certain Seattle group their world view isn’t quite so depressing. Sure, there’s a post-apocalyptic theme and a couple of moments where frontman Ant Howley roars like a mountain lion, but they sound more like the soundtrack to a party than a lonely heroin binge. Plus there’s a Minotaur riding a motorcycle on the cover because subtlety doth butter no parsnips.
Opening number ‘Blue Flame’ for instance kicks off with the sort of riffs that tend to accompany driving videos. Sure, it might be a song about insanity but listen close and you can almost hear them smiling. ‘Full Throttle’ then moves things up a gear, its distortion-laden grunge-rock is essentially a party condensed into three minutes and forty eight seconds of music. Maybe this was intentional, maybe not, but either way it’s impossible to have a bad time listening to these two.
It’s a bit of a surprise then to hear ‘Rise Of The Bull’ for the first time. This one has the impressive fretwork and upbeat pace of the first two songs, but it manages to go a lot darker. There are lines about suicide and mass death along with a few guttural shouts that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lamb Of God album. It’s still emphatically the same band, but whoever made the coffee at the studio that day did a bad job.
Finally, ‘Suffocate’ rounds it all off and manages to sound like the three previous songs mixed together. This one isn’t as defiantly optimistic as the first two tracks, but there’s still a vibe of hope running through it even as they pummel their instruments to fragments.
Stonepit Drive are off to a good start with ‘Dystopia,’ there’s no weak links here and aside from occasionally sounding a bit too much like their heroes, they don’t put a foot wrong. That Minotaur mascot is bad ass too.
Stonepit Drive are off to a good start with ‘Dystopia,’ there’s no weak links here and aside from occasionally sounding a bit too much like their heroes, they don’t put a foot wrong.