Cruel Sea Scientist

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As a mission statement, the debut EP of Dublin five-piece Bats is about as comprehensive as they come; a terse 15-minute introduction to their fun-loving blend of hardcore, jazz, and extreme metal is proof were it ever needed that its creators are, well, totally bats. Cruel Sea Scientist, issued via innovative local label Armed Ambitions/Organised Ideas, showcases Bats' tight fusion of dissonant, scream-infested post-hardcore with the liveliness and danceability of the Blood Brothers. Lead track "Death to Kent Hovind," the band's enthusiastic reposte to Creationists everywhere, typifies the band's working ethos: simplistic in structure but elaborate in its orchestration. It recalls Mr. Bungle implicitly and Dog Fashion Disco explicitly in its rapid-fire diffusion of multiple contrasting music styles. "These Ones Lay Eggs" and "Atom & Eve" take the same approach and expand it to three times its length, showing the band's lighter side with clean, accessible indie rock riffs while introducing yet more disparate styles and demonstrating their considerable instrumental prowess in the process. The mixing is clean, crisp, and perfectly balanced, a rare achievement for a five-piece heavy rock outfit, and only serves to highlight the intricate nature of the music. If a criticism is to be offered it's that the group's influences are a little too transparent at times, but Bats are clearly ambitious and creative enough to overcome this tendency.

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