Rabid Bitch Of The North – “Nothing But A Bitter Taste”
Release Date: 18/08/2017
Running Time 34:37
Review By Rick Tilley
If you were lucky enough to be at Bloodstock Open Air Festival back in 2014 you may well remember that there were flyers and stickers EVERYWHERE promoting a band called Rabid Bitch Of The North playing the Jager Stage on the Sunday. Now, not only do I like to check out a band I’ve never heard of before, especially one with such a brilliant name, but I also love it when a band goes above and beyond to promote themselves and you really couldn’t turn anywhere without seeing that name. I therefore made my way over to said stage on the Sunday at the appointed time and it took about half a song to convince me that RBOTN were awesome and I dubbed them NWOBHM meets Rush, thanks to them being a three piece and the fact that vocalist/bassist Joe McDonnell sounds like a young Geddy Lee on steroids.
I got in touch with them after Bloodstock to see if they would like me to review their, at the time, current release “Defending Two Castles” single, expecting to get MP3’s! However I was asked for my address and, within a week, the most comprehensive promotional package I had ever seen arrived on my doorstep including two CD’s, cassette, t-shirt, patch, three pin badges, business card, flyers and beautifully presented biography all of which was sealed in a DANGER: “HEAVY METAL RABIES” plastic bag! Now that is dedication to your art and since then I’ve always kept an eye on what they have been up to!
Well now it’s 2017 and the three guys from Belfast, who make up Rabid Bitch Of The North, have finally delivered their debut album “Nothing But A Bitter Taste” and all the unique promise I heard three years ago has been directed into a release that’s certain to see them progress to the next level! I said in my previous review that RBOTN sound like nothing you’ve heard before! You can argue with me all you want about that, and yes there are MANY references to other bands past and present from Judas Priest, Saxon, Tank and Raven to Anvil, Venom and yes that little bit of Heavy Metal Rush I keep hearing (listen to the track ‘Gilded Men’ for an idea of what I mean), but they put it all together into something that truly defines them and amidst an ocean of sound alike bands, all clamouring for attention, it’s somewhat refreshing to hear something just a little bit different!
Of course it will help if you are already a fan of Traditional Heavy Metal & NWOBHM as to whether you love Rabid Bitch Of The North and I think it’s also fair to say that Joe’s voice won’t appeal to everyone but bar those two things ”Nothing But A Bitter Taste” is fantastic and something that my ears absolutely adore! From opening track ‘The Missionary’ (which contains several riffs and a vocal performance that Judas Priest would be more than proud of), through the Anvil feel of ‘God Of Punishment’ and the Middle Eastern sounding bridge of ‘Demon Mind’ to the humour and Proto Thrash of album closer ‘Trapped In 1999’ RBOTN have completely delivered.
Guitarist Gerry Mulholland, who also produces all of Rabid Bitch Of The North’s material, certainly knows how to write a catchy riff and plays them like the bastard son of Phil Campbell and Brian Tatler. He may not be the world’s most intricate soloist but what he does play works within the song and no notes are wasted. As for drummer Chris Condie, well, he’s all over his kit like a virulent rash, always respecting the song structure but not afraid to experiment a little which further lifts RBOTN away from the plethora of traditional metal bands all plodding to a standard time signature.
Joe, Gerry and Chris have bonded into an extremely tight and potent force, one which can only be achieved by years and years of gigging in any hole…sorry, venue that’ll put you on. There is no substitute for getting out on the road in a battered van and living on Pot Noodle and beer and you get the feeling RBOTN have done plenty of that to get to where they are now!
“Nothing But A Bitter Taste” is anything but that, It’s a smooth and sweet collection of thunderous Classic Heavy Metal and NWOBHM with a small twist and if you see the name ‘Rabid Bitch Of The North’ advertised in a town near you (assuming it’s not an advert for the local female weirdo who ends up being an ex-girlfriend very quickly) then you need to go and squeeze into your old denim and patch jackets, throw the horns and check them out and you also need to buy this album!
RBOTN are indeed the equivalent of Heavy Metal Rabies and if you think that sounds disparaging then you’ve only got to remember how many of us Metalheads like a prolonged dose of Anthrax to see that couldn’t be further from the truth!
01. The Missionary
03. Nothing But A Bitter Taste
04. Gilded Men
05. God Of Punishment
06. Demon Mind
07. Defending Two Castles
08. Trapped In 1999
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