Bite Back 'Bitten & Twisted' – album review

Bite Back ‘Bitten & Twisted’ (Antipop)
Available now

With their debut album packed with raw, energetic and tightly produced songs, Bite Back can rightly stake a claim to be the essential UK punk band.

Bite Back hail from Liverpool; formed from the ashes of two scene stalwarts; Instant Agony who imploded as the pace of their playing reached its natural zenith, Mere Dead Men dissolved following a triumphant farewell appearance at the Rebellion festival in 2011.

This three piece have years of experience behind them, and with ”ËœBitten & Twisted’ they have drawn upon all of it and done what so few punk bands seem capable of ”“ producing an album that captures the spirit and the aggression of punk, and at the same time understanding the importance of actual song writing, the use of melody as opposed to just trying to pummel the audience into submission.

Album opener ”ËœNo Imagination’ sets the tone, an instantly memorable lead riff before vocalist Hocky; previously the Agony bass player unleashes a surprisingly subtle gravel tinged vocal attack on those who declare themselves to be ”Ëœindividuals’ whilst wearing the uniform of individuality, before the rabble rousing chorus develops to drive home the assault; it’s played with grit, with passion and serves as a solid opener nicely setting up for ”ËœDangerous Minds’ ”“ again Bite Back utilise a great rhythm, the pace is heightened and there are some deft guitar flourishes courtesy of Richie Rocker, the whole thing been built upon solid no nonsense drum patterns…conveniently ”ËœStrip It Down’ offers up the Bite Back ethos in two and half minutes of adrenaline fuelled rage “play it loud, play it mean, and you just can’t go wrong” this is raw, its hungry, the primal drums rain down powering this track as it threatens to career out of control, fortunately the break down and “Strip it down” chant reins them in, but Hocky is off again “Keep it basic, keep it simple, keep it short and sweet….three chords is KING”

Bite Back clearly have no intention of reinventing rock’n’roll; the songs are simply constructed verse/chorus compositions, but with well written material isn’t that all you need? They find room for plenty of cascading riffs and the odd guitar lick all driven by engine room efficient drums and classic sing-along hooks.

‘Bitten And Twisted’ is set to be the bands signature tune, it progressively builds to a harmonised “bite back, bite back” chorus that will have the mosh pit loons punching the air in time to the primitive beat.

This is a glorious noise, consider the pace of the Sex Pistols; they wrote chugging rock’n’roll songs crafted around Steve Jones guitar, recall those early memorable SLF riffs, and perhaps the harmonies the Clash used so well ”“ it’s clear Bite Back have an intimate knowledge of such; each of the songs here are constructed in similar vein and easily show that as a musical form punk is not dead, Bite Back are a vibrant and much needed shot in the arm of a genre that is at times beginning to look stagnant ”“ they have recorded a debut album full of power and bite that needs to be heard.

Bite Back…the simple undeniable power of basic rock n roll, stripped down and played with fierce passion…

Track Listing

1. No Imagination
2. Dangerous Minds
3. Don’t Say Sorry
4. Know Ur Rights
5. I’m Not Listening
6. Bitten and Twisted
7. Wrong Reasons
8. Open Ur Eyes
9. Strip It Down To The Bare Bones
10. Growing Old Disgracefully
11. Those I Remember
12. She’s A Rebel
13. Ignore All Those Fools
14. Smash Up The Town

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Phil Newall is from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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