So, at last, Random Hand's long-awaited 'Seething Is Believing' is ready for launch - well, it will be in ten days, anyway. With one song already handed out generously as a free download and another breaking cover with a fancy music video attached, now mightn't be a bad time to have a preview look at the upcoming opus before it's release on the 21st March.
The first impressions are good. The two tracks revealed thus far show differing ends of Random Hand's musical spectrum, and their ability to mix balls-out aggression with as much melody and hook potential as they see fit. You'll be pleased to know that the band haven't 'matured' and decided to start adding string sections and jazz time signatures just yet, particularly not vocalist Robin Leitch, who still sounds like he swallowed a handful of broken driveway tarmac and industrial-strength sandpaper before recording his vocals. The familiar rough-edged burr permeates the verses of free download 'Find What's Out There', and an unbridled bellow snaps through the guitar histrionics come chorus time with as much snarl and zeal as they always did. Conversely, his manic exchanging of 'Heys!' with guitarist Matt Crosher in the verses of video track 'Bones' contrasts nicely with the anthemic soul of the chorus vocal lines, helped as always by his fellow bandmates' harmonised backing vox.
Crosher approaches his guitar playing with the same glee that a small child approaches stamping on his brother's sand castle, with all manner of tricks being dragged out of the toybox for '...Out There', including quasi-metal atmospheric licks, clever bursts of harmonics and whale-blubber-thick powerchords raining down all over the bridge. Much like the similarly multi-talented Ian D'Sa of Billy Talent, Crosher has the unique ability to play one guitar and make it sound more interesting and powerful than many bands with two guitarists can manage. The unsung hero of the piece is bassist Joe Tilston, who's basslines rumble purposefully underneath the whirling dervish guitars and lock into drummer Sean Howe's pounding beats to form a foundation so sturdy that, if it were a house, it would've survived the earthquake in Japan without even breaking sweat.
All of the above sounds eerily familiar in relation to Random Hand, and that's because it is; if the two tracks described above are indicative of the overall tone of the album, there is perhaps a danger that it will feel like 'Inhale/Exhale 2.0'. But if it is a direct expansion pack of their last record, then it'll one where every little constituent piece of the Random Hand jigsaw puzzle has been improved; sticking with the formula they have crafted and polishing it to a mirror shine. And I respect that; having worked their collective nards off to forge an imaginative and powerhouse sound unique to themselves alone, tossing all that in a skip and trying to do something else for innovation's sake would be a pointless gamble to take, not when the sound they have right now is so thunderously enjoyable.
They have the talent to mesh melody and raw fury together in differing levels consistently across 10-12 tracks, and 'Seething is Believing' is looking, from the evidence we've seen so far, to be another barnstormer that will carry on from where 'Inhale/Exhale' left off as if the last three years or so never even happened. Bring it on.
Oh, and y'know that video to 'Bones' I mentioned earlier? Here it is, courtesy of Warped Noise. Enjoy.