La Muerte – La Muerte

Who would think that a thirtieth-anniversary gig would lead to a band reunion for a new generation of fans? It probably wasn’t the first thing on the minds of Belgian cult legends La Muerte, who have been revered and reviled in equal measure during their long history. The tricksy genre mash of their past continues into the present with new full-length La Muerte (Mottow Soundz), which should pique the curiosity of all manner of Metal fans.

The Indie keyboard intro of opener ‘Crash Baby Crash’ gives way to a swelling Punk riff, vocalist Marc du Marais screaming through a loudhailer as the track begs to be let loose. It’s a sound indicating a possible inspiration for King810’s visceral angst but there’s a brooding ferocity here, a tethered maniac, that heightens the tension. The ensuing ‘I Was A Wreck’ blends the “fuck off” attitude of Guns n’ Roses with the bar-room snarls of Sham 69, while ‘Gun In My Hand’ spits squealing lead guitars onto those buzzing riffs, a trammelling, dirty Rock ‘n’ Roll bluster with a rutting midriff that explodes into a body-twisting crescendo.

Despite the vehemence, there’s an air of seventies Glam insouciance, as if the New York Dolls suddenly got an injection of hate. ‘Suis-Je Un Animal’ is a slow-burner with its spoken French lyrics again fed through a microphone: The Stranglers with an effete David Johansen stance straddling the fizzing coda. ‘LSD For The Holy Man’, meanwhile, marries the political fire of Warrior Soul with the irreverent, crashing joy of The Stooges.

There’s a true angst in ‘Welcome Tomorrow’, however, the harrowing screams and Post-Black squall chilling the soul in a rhythmless Amenra fashion and showcasing the band’s diverse sound in a stirring way.

‘Darkened Dreams’ retains some of that post-Punk sensibility, the lead riff adding flesh to the portentous tempo, emitting sinister hues à la Joy Division and Type O Negative. ‘King Kong – Godzilla’ isn’t the rampant bloodbath the title suggests, instead tweaking the nerves with its snarling tension, and the same feeling is triggered by the B-movie of ‘Lost’, its eerie lead twangs and howls giving way to crunching, savage yet measured riffs matched by du Marais’ crawling larynx.

The delightfully-named closer ‘She Did It For Lust’ is a floor filler, a groove-machine full of sass and split by a scene-setting centre-piece. It’s this swagger that really gives the album its identity and after so long away, a display of vitality this strong is to be seriously admired.

It’s a cracking listen.

7.5 / 10