Waking Theo, by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

These days the trend is for music to be categorised in sub-sub-sub genres from metalcore to technical death metal to snarly-Donkey Kong stomp-gamer metal. Well maybe not that last one. But sometimes this genre labelling feels that ridiculous. So it’s refreshing to find a band that just simply ooze all there is to love about metal, like Waking Theo, who are rawer than the vegetable department of your local supermarket.
Formed in 2004, Waking Theo have already risen through the ranks to support major names such as Mendeed, Trigger the Bloodshed, Malefice and Biomechanical. After a year’s hiatus following the departure of original bassist Ad, Waking Theo are back – attitude still firmly intact.

Waking Theo’s Myspace page is brimming with new material, which kicks off with ‘Still Alive’. Straight away the melodic groove introduction promises good things and then vocalist Mickey’s vicious growl roars in, all hackles raised and reminiscent of Max Cavalera in Cavalera Conspiracy.

Drummer Vint drives the jackhammer melody behind the vocals, piling into the drum and bass groove-down, whilst the choruses head-bang time sequence guarantees some sore necks.
‘Forget The Weak’ s opening riff reminds of ‘Unholy Confessions’ by Avenged Sevenfold before pummelling your inner ear unrepentantly. Having teased earlier in the song, lead guitarist Ben steams in at the end of the breakdown with the swooping solo of someone who knows their craft. Or at least has done their homework. The stuttering riff that ushers in ‘Born From Ash’ makes a welcome reappearance throughout the track and the fast fingered guitar feels almost like a separate entity, scampering up and down. Dropping nicely into the centre of the track is a softer breakdown, well soft the way a pillow is over a sleeping face, before the guitar charges up again with a frenzied vengeance which makes fingers fly burn white hot and blisters on steel strings. The piano outro, although unexpected, is a nice touch bringing the song to a panting close.

Balancing brutality with technique, Waking Theo manages to squeeze a variety of different musical influences from pounding thrash to modern melodic tastes into each song, with a particular talent at producing the kind of breakdowns which spawn mosh pits.

With the band hitting the studio in November to record new material and already confirming tour dates for 2011, I recommend that you put Waking Theo’s brand of flint-tipped harmony high on your shopping list. Serving suggestion: CD player at full blast.