Charger – S/T EP (Pirates Press)

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Fusing metal and punk is nothing new, but it still manages to wind up purists in both camps, which is all the more reason to encourage it in my book! When it’s done well (say…Discharge) it is incredibly good, and when it’s done badly (erm… Discharge) then it makes for painful listening, so it’s not always easy to pull off. Time for the Bay Area’s Charger to enter the ring. Having been involved in the likes of Rancid or Operation Ivy the punk pedigree is never going to be in question, but sew some Motorhead and Saxon patches onto a sleeveless denim jacket alongside the punk rock paraphernalia ladies and gentlemen, as we’re heading into unknown territory. Opening with a hurricane of drums and bass before settling into a galloping d-beat, Crackdown kicks things off and brings to mind Motorhead and Venom, powered by that punk rock fire. And so the tone is set.

Veering all over metal road, Victim is next up and incorporates the same influences but with the crossover sounds of GBH or Broken Bones mixed into an already heady cocktail. Moving on with Damage, it’s not going to be a new Matt Freeman record without some red hot bass licks now is it! This song has a more laid back Hawkwind/ Zeppelin groove to it – if you can remember when Nuclear Assault covered Good Times, Bad Times – well that’s the vibe I get here. And so the record progresses, with punk and metal sounds of the 70s and 80s trading off each other, culminating in closing number Dragdown with its top Iron Maiden/ Angel Witch style riffage. As this is a brand new band that has come out of the blue – Charger have nothing to prove and so really they are onto a winner. They play what they like and to hell with what anyone else thinks. They have literally let their hair down, turned the amps up to 11 and let fly with the riffage. And it’s all rather good. Tom Chapman

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