By Chasing Dragons
In December of last year, with the release of their first EP just a few short months away, Chasing Dragons faced the thankless task of finding a new member with bass player Joe (who has no surname apparently) departing. Now if Joe was the lead guitarist, I would have been worried for the band, but unless he got the call to replace Rob Trujillo in Metallica, or just can't stand heavy rock music, I'm starting to think the guy may have been stricken by a bout of unbelievable stupidity, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was sat in a corner somewhere right now, crying about what an idiot he's been. Why, you ask would he be doing this? Well, because it's rare that you come across a band with so much commercial potential as Chasing Dragons; I really can see them hitting the dizzying heights of Kerrang! magazine front covers and top 20 album sales - one day.
Thankfully though, a bassist called Ant (who also has no surname) has been recruited to the role, and now all seems well in the Chasing Dragons camp.
So, on to the EP then, and I have to be honest and say that it's a long way from being the best heavy rock/metal record I've heard from a band at this level, but unlike many of the others, it does have those little sparks of magic that my lead them to future success. First of all, there are the vocals; any band wanting to go somewhere needs a vocalist with a great voice that fits the music, and singer Tank (seriously?) certainly has this. More often than not it's the difference between a major label deal (and let's face it, any artist who says that they are happier with an indie label are lying) and your demo being tossed in the bin. Secondly, the lead guitar work; it's very Adrian Smith, and is as good if not better than most of the stuff I heard at Download last year; this chap definitely knows how to write a solo that is quick, yet appealing to those of us who don't appreciate that DragonForce style showing off nonsense. Also, it became apparent quite quickly that these guys, or those advising them at least, are wise enough to know that music alone isn't enough to take a band to the next level; their website is polished and professional, they're doing the right things to build a decent fan base, and they have the look-very important indeed.
Opening 'Take Flight for a Firefight' is a track called 'Spawn of the Succubus', and after almost 4 minutes of research, I found out that a Succubus is not just a monster in South Park; it's a demonic female spirit that steals semen from the men she seduces, used it to impregnate human females, and then this, for some reason, produces children that are deformed and prone to evil deeds - these are the spawn of the Succubus - maybe Eric Pickles is one? Or Carlos Tevez? Anyway, the song itself is built around a guitar part that comes straight out of the Zakk Wylde school of riff writing; very heavy, very energetic and a great way to kick things off.
As far as possible singles go, 'Seeds of Tomorrow' must definitely rank high in the list; its strong melodies, rebellious spirit and poppy overtones will scream 'buy me' to any teenager with dyed black hair, piercings and whose preferred method of communication is grunting. It is very different to 'Spawn of the Succubus' though, and this brings me on to the problem Chasing Dragons have at this moment; their song writing is very inconsistent, not in quality, but in style - it's like they're not sure if they want to be Bullet for my Valentine, Paramore or Iron Maiden - and I'm afraid this kind of inconsistency just won't wash in today's one chance industry that demands instant success and a quick return on its investments.
The EP ends with acoustic versions of two of the record's full instrumental tracks - 'Spawn of the Succubus' and 'Into the Pit' - and like when Nirvana did their unplugged session, it's a great insight into the band's song writing and shows just how stunning even some of the heaviest and most mosh-worthy music around can sound when stripped down to the bare bones.
The artistic maturity that Chasing Dragons need will come with time I'm sure, and in a genre that promotes long hair, tattoos, make-up and beards, judging someone's age is difficult, but I'm fairly certain that the clocks are on their side. In the meantime though, these guys should probably be given the same kind of nurturing and protection any smart business gives to its cash cow, because y'know what? One day, they may very well be one.