It really is a small world! As some of you may remember, a rather long time ago I wrote the occasional review for bands that were managed by Vodoo Queen. I have remained on friendly terms with their CEO, Yvonne Loveland although we did not have much contact on Facebook. It was always my intention to write at some stage again for one of the bands they look after but as I have a rather busy life, I never got the chance so far.
Today I am nevertheless happy to write a piece about Methane following a message Yvonne sent me a few weeks ago. And this is where it gets interesting! At this stage I am also one of the few posting pictures on Instagram. 80% of the pictures are following my frequent travels and contain buildings, beaches or ... flowers. But I also use the account to post concert pictures or invite folks to visit this website. Success is limited with a mere 400 followers so far. What is frustrating is also the automated likes you get and the loss of followers if you do not post regularly. What is my point? There is no loyalty to be honest but one of the most loyal followers I have on Instagram is Methane!
Therefore I am really excited to introduce you to this band! So the first question I want to answer concerns their name. Based on a 2014 interview on Youtube I learned that when looking for a decent name, all the hard sounding stuff was already taken. So they came up with Methane and it makes sense as Methane is used as a fuel, it can be explosive and on top of that it contains four atoms of hydrogen!
Now, in regards to their music I have heard different descriptions online: elements of Groove Metal, Southern Rock, Trash Metal and Heavy Metal. I am sure that this is somewhat true but on a personal note I really don't care. I appreciate that bands are influenced by other bands and have their roots but putting a label on it is not always helpful. We need to listen to the music and make up our own mind. Putting bands into a certain drawer may limit their audience from the get go and on the other hand it may not give the full picture.
Anyhow, Methane are Tim Scott (bass and vocals) and his brother Dylan Campbell (guitar), both are Americans who live in Sweden. They are joined by Jimi Masterbo (guitar) and Olle Ekman (bashing the drum kit since 2017 and replacing Andreas Strom). So far the band has managed to release two EP's. In 2014 they released Southern Metal and just a year later Spit On Your Grave. They have also a couple of great music videos out there - I especially like the 2014 Hang Me High as it involves bikes, booze and chicks! Before you guys get bored, take a look:
The intro is beautiful and you may expect a ballad but as soon as the bikers enter the bar this changes. Do you notice something? It really is not possible to put a label on Methane or to stick them into any kind of genre drawer! The word unique may not be applicable either but their music clearly has a large variety so rather than comparing them with other bands, we better focus on Methane. Which is exactly what we are going to do by listening to their debut full length album called The Devil's Own.
The title track The Devil's Own hits you hard from the first second with nicely distorted guitars and a certain darkness that keeps you company for the remainder of this track. The vocals are quite interesting as Tim is rather shouting the words but in a controlled manner which I find quite impressive. The refrain makes this a good tune for a live gig as fans will be happy to participate and support the band by shouting things like "give away your soul"! There are some interesting riffs which somehow manage to have quite an impact the more I listen to this track. In some Youtube review (Hello Finnish Metal Heads) it was mentioned that there seems to be a bit of an echo on the drums. I did not observe that but felt that the drumming has occasionally a touch of early Bay Area Trash Metal - but that is just my humble opinion.
Scars And Bars does not have a happy beginning either and the darkness prevails. I feel that this track is more intense than the previous one and a bit harder. The rhythm of this tune is an open invitation to bang your heads - you don't really have a choice! There is a short solo around 3 minutes into the song which is the icing on the cake. This track was on their 2014 Southern Metal EP.
The next track, Blood, Sweat And Beer, has also been released previously (2015 EP Spit On Your Grave). The intro is a bit lame and too long (40 seconds) but what follows afterwards is top notch even though the songwriting is in my opinion a little limited. That does not matter as Blood, Sweat And Beer is a track that seems to be really fun when performed live (Whiskey.....drinking!) It is quite obvious that the lyrics of the refrain are not too difficult to remember. In fact, I am ready!
Pray For Death gives you a decent amount of Southern Rock influences at first. Solid musicianship but the track does not stand out. It fits perfectly amongst the other tracks on this album but it does not kick my ass. Intense yes but I am just missing something which may be due to the fact that the previous 3 songs were quite strong and expectations are getting high!
Now it is getting really interesting! Stone Garden is a bit balladesque and Tim demonstrates that he has a soft spot. Listen! Ring any bells? Find out for yourselves and feel the intensity of the chorus. At first I was worried, then I took the time to listen a few more times and now I am really delighted! This track is why I love discovering new music: there are so many hidden treasures.
The time has come for Methane to Spit On Your Grave! You don't need to be a genius to figure out that this song has been released previously. I am not a genius either but the first 3 minutes are boring. Then, hope comes up after 3:10 minutes when they step it up a bit but unfortunately the track finishes the way it started - uninspired.
72 has an interesting start with a certain delay in the guitars. I tried to figure out the technical term but I gave up after an hour of watching related Youtube videos. The track heads into the same direction as Spit On Your Grave at first but the refrain and the guitar solo towards the end makes this a track that I consider ok.
If you Peel Of Your Skin with the same force as Tim starts this track you may apply for a gig at the Walking Dead! Powerful, tough as nails and a lot of aggression. The guitars are going nuts and the impression this tune leaves is one of an organized chaos and that is what makes it interesting. I admit at the same time that listening to Methane all afternoon is intense - as is their music.
Make up your own mind, leave me a comment but before you do that, listen to Blood, Sweat And Beer!