I don’t get to do many metal reviews often for Medway Jellyfish; metal’s had a bit of a hard time over the past few years. Ever since metal decided to rebrand in the early 00’s and gained itself a prefix it’s just felt a little bit tame, and I guess we all moved on a little bit too. Parting in the night like a couple of swingers in a bus station, metal got ear stretchers and became doomier, sludgier or instrumental and here we are. Well imagine my happiness when our favourite Jellyfish called and asked me to review an exciting new Rochester based metal band. He said they’re called Spyder Byte and they have a new album out named Addictive, and it is really really, very very good. He repeats his words a lot when he’s excited, bless.
Addictive opens with ‘Infestation‘, an impressive hark back to when metal really was metal. Opening with big roaring crunch of guitar, the rhythm section complements perfectly in intense thrashing tightness. The leads through into a soaring (proper) 80s metal vocal from Daniel David Cooper Lawrence and boasts the requisite indulgence of a (proper) 80s guitar solo. It is fantastically impressive work. For a band 30 (40?) years too late, it’s interesting to consider where the band hold their influences. It’s pure 80s so there’s Maiden obviously, there’s always Maiden; but there also is a strong nod to Saxon and Judas Priest too. Spyder Byte also don’t seem to have the gaudy American influence of hair metal or glam and even seems to keep their thrash influences at bay aside from the excellent tone present throughout. It all feels very British really.
Track 2 ‘Heartbreak Babe‘ is just good time rock and roll. The track is great, with the wonderful build and push of verse and pre chorus, it really feels like the song is building towards something huge. The group vocals are a delight, the drums heavy and the guitars seem to promise stadiumesque massiveness in the impending chorus. However, the chorus feels a little flat after all that teasing and seducing and just drops a little. I may be being pernickety as ‘Heartbreak Babe’ is a fine song, it gives everything it should but the chorus feels like being given a Mars bar when you really fancy a Snickers. ‘Yeah, it’s really tasty thanks mate. But you promised me a Snickers. This is a Mars. I want my kidney back’. All being said, Spyder Byte are very talented guys who clearly know their metal inside out and I can’t help but be a little in awe of the impressive musicianship, so feel free to ignore my little chocolate bar related meltdown if you want to.
‘In your face‘ is another amazing song, the drums snap and pop delightfully before lead guitarist C.C plays a line that genuinely made me have to check that I’m listening to the right band. Yep, right band. Shit, they’re younger than me. Might have wasted my life a little; nevermind eh. But yeah, this is really really really good. Like Ozzy back when he could stand up. Hell, it sounds a little like Maiden when Ozzy could still stand up. It’s that good. I won’t say more as you’ll have to go hear it for yourself.
Throughout Addictive, the rhythm section of Luke Naylar (guitar) Connör Godfrey (drums) and Nathan “Scamp” Hammond (bass) are immense, restrained and exact in their duties, providing Spyder Byte with the tightness required for the rest of the band to really get stuck in while C.C provides the intricate melodic guitar that really makes a good rock band stand out. Among the classic metal gems Spyder Byte then change it up adding a little variety in the sleaze of ‘Love Bomb Ticking‘, ‘Strip Club Blues‘ and ‘On Time‘, while ‘Moonshine‘ is a little more punk in places. The production is crisp and on point and doesn’t feel bloated or crowded ensuring that Addictive is an absolute joy to listen to. The album morphs and changes as it progresses, opening with its pedigree 80s metal before slipping into more accessible hard rock. Excellent though these later tracks are; Spyder Bytes talent shines brightest on the tracks where they’re at their most metal. There’s something for everyone here, so give a listen and enjoy! Spyder Byte are playing the Camden Underworld on the 15th April and will be well worth a watch. Now, where’s that Mars bar gone.