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ARMY OF FLYING ROBOTS – Life Is Cheap (CD, SuperFi Records)

Posted: September 26th, 2007, by Dave Stockwell

I have to start this review with a confession: Army Of Flying Robots are a Nottingham-based band who have played all over the city in a myriad of venues (including a good friend’s kitchen and an erstwhile art gallery), yet I have somehow conspired to miss their live performances for 4 solid years. Please take this as a guarantee of objectivity for this review of their debut album then, dear reader, than of incompetence on my part.

After incongruously beginning with what sounds like a pick-scraped guitar slowed down and run through enough echo to make worthy of a horror film soundtrack, AOFR quickly establish their blueprint for grinding twin guitars underpinned by heavy bass and manic drumming, supporting a truly larynx-shredding vocal performance from frontman Henry Davies (seriously, you can almost hear the fibres from his throat coming away one at a time). AOFR are a band that love to occupy that middle ground between hardcore punk-rock and grinding metal, but with intelligent beatdowns, the odd flailing thrash and even an occasional let-up or slow build-up in intensity, they bring far more to the table than yer average so-called ‘grindcore’ band. Not bad considering most of the songs barely scrape the 2-minute mark.

Davies’ singing does conform to the general standards of indecipherable howling, so it’s handy to have the lyrics written down with explanations about subject matters in the liner notes and it’s always good to see nuclear weapons, American foreign policy, casual male chauvinism and globalisation of corporate interests getting a bashing. I’ve got to mention the truly ugly artwork you have to plough through to read these things though – not aesthetically pleasing in any way. Even if they have a song called “How’s That For A Kick In The Cunt?”.

Back to the music: at barely 29 minutes, these 11 songs will leave your body exhausted and your ears squealing with pain. That’s probably nothing compared to their infamous live shows, but you’ve got to say it’s mission accomplished, don’t you?


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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