Ah, Belgium. The home of chocolate, great beer and, er, Michael Preud’homme. Not so much known for its metal, though. That’s where Steak Number Eight come in. The quartet who play a mix of post- and sludge metal have had a steady rise in the UK; their second album All Is Chaos was released as a free CD with Metal Hammer in 2012 to great reception and they’ve played with the likes of Marmozets this year along with an upcoming tour supporting Prong. The Hutch, their third album, was actually released two years ago across Europe but 17th April marks the official UK release of the record, with the band already at work on album number four. So whilst we’re slightly late to the party, we can still enjoy the goods, right?
I will freely admit, having seen them on tour with Marmozets a couple of months ago, that they weren’t the best match for the bill; their music is much more geared towards the sounds of Black Sabbath and Mastodon than the punk nature of their tour partners and it seemed to be lost on an audience wanting something a little more bouncy. On the basis of The Hutch, however, they’ll be far more at home on the Prong tour. The mere opening to ‘Cryogenius’ is doom laden and sounds like something messrs Osbourne, Iommi and Butler could have easily plucked out from thin air, with the clean vocals bringing in a tinge of the harmonies that William DuVall and Jerry Cantrell laid down for Alice in Chain’s Black Gives Way to Blue. Don’t fear, though; Steak Number Eight are not about to go all grunge on us. It’s not a out-and-out crush-fest; there are the lighter moments in the shape of ‘Ashore’ and ‘Push/Pull’ whilst ‘Black Eyed’ is a full on anthem for the moshers amongst us. It’s a long record at an hour and ten and the last two songs are a combined eighteen minutes (although if you include bonus track ‘The Sea is Dying’, that pushes the overall length beyond an hour and 20 and the last three songs to nearly half an hour), so it can be a bit of a slog to get through, but definitely worth sticking it out until the end.
The only this that doesn’t fit here is the fact that I’m listening to this with a glorious sunny day coming through my window. Give the album a listen when there’s a dark sky with rain and a bit of thunder and it’ll make so much more sense in atmosphere, vision and style. They might not be reinventing the wheel, but Steak Number Eight are certainly more Eden Hazard than Daisy Duke.
Brent Vanneste: guitars/vocals
Joris Casier: drums
Jesse Surmont: bass
Cis Deman: guitars
Pilgrimage of a Black Heart
Exile of Our Marrow