When Ginger from the Wildhearts formed Supershit 666 some years back with members of the Backyard babies, many assumed it would sound something like Eight of spades (see what they did there!?) – essentially The Wildhearts playing Motorhead covers in hell. Alas it turned out to be an amusing if ultimately forgettable detour and it’s taken until now for a band to channel the energy and song-writing nous of both bands into a single, furious assault on the senses.
‘March of the lambs’ is an excellent opening piece. With the track literally blasting out of a soundscape straight from Dante’s inferno, it is a high-octane blast through the aforementioned band’s back catalogues with hints of Tim Armstrong’s atonal vocal delivery. More punk thank you (TM) – the band seem to have an unquenchable thirst for hair-raising punk riffs allied to a blisteringly powerful production that makes the whole thing feel like you’re being kicked repeatedly in the head. ‘Revolt’ continues the punk feel with a terrace-chant chorus and simplistic structure before ‘come with me’ finally nails the connection between Slayer and punk by offering up a riff and vocal not dissimilar to ‘angel of death’ while simultaneously dragging it kicking and screaming away from thrash’s grubby clutches into the spittle-soaked environs of hardcore punk. However, just as you’ve figured the band have got as heavy as they’re going to ‘destroy’ kicks off a riot in your bedroom with all the subtlety of Alec Empire on PCP and now the vocals really do sound like Motorhead and it’s awesome. Anyone not jumping, shouting or punching the air by the end clearly hates heavy music.
Given that this lot are about as unlikely to hit you with a ballad round about now it is of no surprise that ‘ride’ starts with the sound of multiple orgasms before taking on a sleazy, stripped-down Rob Zombie approach which works remarkably well and, given that their artwork is pure comic book horror, you wonder what took them this long. ‘Take it’ steps back into furious riff territory with guitars, drums and vocals all flying past at light speed while you hold on for dear life in the hope that you’ll survive the rush. If you’re already exhausted from too much bouncing then ‘survive’ will hardly help matters; another track that cleverly takes the hard rock of Motorhead and punks it up just enough to make it a thrilling, vaguely accessible blast that’ll stick in your head and shake your limbs no matter how much you try to fight against it. ‘Driven by hate’ veers off course again, heading for ‘kil ‘em all’ era Metallica via the sturdy pop/metal of the Wildhearts at their best and with a sigh you’re off again, safe only in the knowledge that most of these songs are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them affairs that exist purely to send your adrenalin glands into overdrive rather than have you contemplating high-philosophy from the comfort of your armchair. ‘Hey you!’ is another prime slab of heavy rock with a riff to die for before the crackly sound of vinyl introduces the gloriously silly ‘high speed rock ‘n’ roll’ which is admirable even as it is pure, unadorned Motorhead. The final track ‘eight of spades’ maintains momentum right to the very end when, you can imagine, the band collapsed upon the studio floor in a mess of sweat and broken strings.
‘Driven by hate’ is a great rock ‘n’ roll album. True, it offers little in the way of innovation, but it nicely highlights the common ground shared by thrash and punk and there’s more than enough quality tunes here, played with remarkable passion and vigour by a band who clearly live for this sort of thing. A hugely enjoyable blast of mayhem that will see you grinning from ear to ear for the majority of its brief run time.