Battalions are a metal band based in Hull. Extremely prolific, their approach to metal features a swagger and a heavy inspiration from the likes of Eyehategod. This is evident on the driving riffs and reverberated shrieking vocals on their previous album ‘Moonburn.’ With the band being lauded by the press, they release their brand new album ‘Forever Marching Backwards.’ What is clear on this album is that the production is astounding, bringing out the riffs very nicely.
Like their previous work, ‘Forever Marching Backwards is a brutal sludge assault. The musicianship is huge, where every instrument is crushing and powerful. Chris Fielding (Barbarian Hermit, Conan) produced the album and he makes these melodic riffs shine. An example of this is on the second track, ‘Cities of Ruin.’ It features a catchy riff that slowly gallops along. It is something you can drink a beer or hit a bong to, the adrenaline packing a punch.
The band affectionately describes the sound on the album as “pure Humber Sludge” and that is what it is. The downtuned riffs on the crushing ‘Goat Feeder’ are reminiscent of the wastelands of Hull, while ‘Tyskie Vampire’ is my favourite song on the record. It sounds like the band had so much fun recording it, with a creative bassline and a crushingly heavy riff. The track itself is about being on tour with their labelmates Pist, in which they dropped cans of Tyskie lager on the floor and sucked the beer dry when they split open!
Phil Wilkinson’s vocals are initially hard to get along with. The first time I heard them, I thought: “what the fuck is this?!” but spend time with the album and you realise that they complement the compelling hooks nicely, matching the grey tone of the music. ‘Brick Hole’ makes the listener want to punch a wall. It is fast and undeniably furious, the chaos is over in just under three minutes. The final track is ‘Devils Footsteps’ which demonstrate Wilkinson’s vocal range coated in a layer of heavy brutal guitars.
‘Forever Marching Backwards’ is a huge record sonically. The drums and guitars are bone-crushingly heavy, but there are big slabs of melody on the record. If you don’t want to suck Tyskie off the floor, then you’ll want to get sucked into this record!
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos