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Monday 29 April 2019

Album Review: Grand Relapse by Pizzatramp (by Lee Morton)

To be honest, this wasn’t an easy review to do as anyone familiar with Welsh Thrash/Skate punks Pizzatramp can attest – they are best enjoyed live and ideally with your alcoholic beverage of choice in hand. Neither of which is really feasible on my daily commute to and from work when I do most of my music listening.

For those unaware, Pizzatramp deal in stupidly fast thrash punk songs about drinking, hangovers, working class life and more drinking, as well as more serious topics like racism and the NHS. All this is delivered at 100Mph, as 15 tracks in 25 minutes will attest to.

The album starts in blistering fashion with “Captain Sea Org”, which effectively lays down the template for the album. Fast, snotty, obnoxious thrash that speeds by in a blur. I really loved the mid-section riffs and SP/OG vocal shout-outs that so reminded me of early skate-punk legends Suicidal Tendencies.

Another thing Pizzatramp are known for is their sense of humour, which is displayed over the next couple of tracks. “Millions Of Dead Goths”, a possible homage to the band MDC, is quite simply about goths dying in sunlight and manages to reference Helena Bonham Carter and possibly others if you listen really closely. The slightly darker, more sinister guitar tones fit perfectly with the Hammer horror track, complete with doom sounding outro, whilst the faster angrier “He’s Gone Full Mitchell” hurtles along on bouncy basslines and some ferocious drumming.

Talking of drums, Danny Bang Bang’s drumming is on point for the whole record and he gets his chance in the spotlight on next track, “137995”, with a drum solo intro as the song builds slowly and ominously, interspersed with some shouty hardcore. A snippet from Scottish detective show Taggart, featuring the famous line “There’s been a murder”, starts track 5 of the same name. It’s fast, packed with riffs and gang vocals to scream along with.

As we approach the mid-point of the album things briefly take a turn to the serious as vocalist Jimmy No Whammy takes aim at people who feel that they are entitled to leer, grope and touch others without consent on the storming “Letch”. Its no nonsense attitude and aggression really hammers home the point and leaves you in no doubt of his feelings.

Coming in at an epic (for Pizzatramp) three and a half minutes, “Nobhammer” is one of my favourite songs here. An old school style hardcore thrash crossover track, with some tasty breakdowns and gang vocals to get your teeth into as well as a Black Sabbath like groove as it fades out towards the end. Tasty stuff.

I think we can all relate to “I Got Work In The Morning”, a tale of abstinence due to work the next day which starts with a loud techno/Drum ’n’ Bass intro, before the buzzing guitars kicks in and Jimmy reels off the list of stimulants he can’t have due to work commitments. Its humorous tone really shows how they can empathise with their audience, which is a great knack to have.

I’ve no idea who “Neville Clartos” is but, based on the song of the same name, I wouldn’t like to meet him. This is fast, aggressive and bludgeons you with riff after riff with Jimmy screaming the title so hard you can visualise the veins in his neck bulging.

The Self-explanatory “Stop Being A Racist C*nt” follows and is another pot-shot at the racial underbelly that somehow still exists in this country. A raging storm of a track that can be summed up by the line “when will you wankers learn”.

The last two songs, “Weekend At Jimmy’s” and “Nappy Thrash” both clock in under a minute and thrash harder than a fish on a hook but, mostly due to the quality that comes before them, feel a little by the numbers – not really delivering that final knock-out blow that great albums should.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a great album, especially if you like your punk fast and filled with attitude, but it does lose it a few marks so instead of an A*, it’s a A. What it does prove though is that with the sad demise of Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, Pizzatramp are ready and able to pick up the mantle as the fastest riff slingers in town.

Stream and download Grand Relapse here: https://tnsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/grand-relapse

Like Pizzatramp here: https://www.facebook.com/Pizzatrampuk/

This review was written by Lee Morton.

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