Album Reviews

Electric Eel Shock – Beat Me

(Demolition) UK release date: 4 July 2005

Yet more metal madness from Japan. Joining Mad Capsule Markets in a battle for our hearts and our fists in the air are Electric Eel Shock.

Anyone who has caught this band live in the last two years will know that their name is more than appropriate. Put them on a stage and they fill up with energy. They’re constantly moving, scaling speaker stacks, thrashing guitars within an inch of their lives, and on the odd occasion they seem to lose the majority of their clothes rather quickly. Live then, an awesome prospect, preaching the word of “MEEETTTAAALLL” with both hands raised in the air and formed into a reasonable likeness of Beelzebub. I’m happy to report that Electric Eel Shock have managed to transport the feeling of their live shows to CD. Beat Me is a real treat.

Those of you familiar with the band should know that they have moved on a little bit, but it’s not really such a change that it’s going to offend anyone. If anything they’ve tightened up, bought a lot of classic metal and stoner albums, and got even better. The grunge blues of 2000’s Slayer’s Bar Blues has been left well behind, and now the Eels are running on pure rock’n’roll gasoline.

Beat Me opens up with the kind of riff that Kyuss would be proud of, and that Josh Homme wishes he could still remember how to write. It’s a pure lesson in rock: duelling guitars, pounding drums, one of those endings that Iron Maiden used to do at the end of the show before yelling “Thank You and Good Night”. A band that can include something suitable for the climax of a Maiden show on the first track of their album must be on to something good.

Bastard! recalls the punky feel of their 2002 album Go America, and will prove to be a live favourite of that there is no doubt whatsoever. Elsewhere, I Can Hear The Sex Noise raises eyebrows with its title, and then goes on to prove itself as the best Rock song that Ween never wrote. Don’t Say Fuck is also an absolute gem, taking Motorhead‘s all-conquering blueprint, peppering it with lyrics about not saying fuck, while saying fuck quite a bit. To top it off, there’s the addition of lyrics that you wish bands from the West would think about including in their songs: “You smell of fish / you disgust me!”, pure lyrical genius, and one can only wonder why Chris Martin didn’t think of something similar for Coldplay‘s latest effort.

The album is packed full of metal gems. There’s the incredibly pacy Slow Down, the classic stomp of Mile End, the Zeppelinesque title track Beat Me, and of course the bizarrely titled and stupendously catchy, I Love Fish But Fish Hate Me. In case you were in any doubt as to where the Electric Eel Shock are coming from they finish up with a pretty sublime cover of Black Sabbath‘s Iron Man. Admittedly, it’s not as an inspired a reworking as The Cardigans‘s stab at Sabbath a few years ago, but it’s far from a laboured attempt.

Electric Eel Shock may not be trading in the most fashionable of styles music at the moment. They may not even be trading in the most fashionable style of rock, but Beat Me kicks ass like Godzilla in an ass kicking contest.

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