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Steak Number Eight from Belgium have an average age of just eighteen and it seems adolescence translates to inanity on opening track 'Dickhead' on their sophomore album, 'All is Chaos'. Commencing with a woman's voice stating - "I say, your head is somewhat shaped like a banana", as the track progresses, cringe-inducing, minimalist lyrics emerge such as "you can suck my fucking cock" and "dickless motherfucker, you can eat my shit if you don't like my dick". Oh dear. How to make a first impression. Or, rather, how not to. Very fortunately, the music itself is actually rather good. Rather fucking good in actual fact so the puerile words guitar playing frontman Brent Vanneste sings can be forgiven. And, lyrically, matters improve from thereon with a little more profundity and less inanity as the album progresses. The real joy, though, is in the music which can be best described as post-stoner. A pretentious label, perhaps, but groove-infused stoner riffing and rhythms combine with a more progressive post-metal/rock mentality throughout. Perhaps most astonishing is that Steak Number Eight are so young as the level of maturity on display in their songwriting is quite remarkable. Most refreshing is that they're in no rush to get across their dynamic, rather they give sonic motifs and themes enough breathing space to develop and mature within some, at times, fairly lengthy song structures, as post-metal atmospherics are blended with stoner groove to perfection. 'The Calling' perhaps epitomises this approach and the ambient moments in songs like 'Track Into The Sky' pertain more to a trip rock vibe la The Gathering. The album's sole instrumental track, 'Man vs Man', exemplifies Steak Number Eight's aesthetic in a near five minute refined piece of post-stoner and many of the other songs have some lengthy passages free of vocals, but when Vanneste exercises his voice, the music truly comes alive through his varied styles of singing. A choir even appears on a couple of tracks to add a little more depth. Produced by Mario Goossens and mixed by Matt Bayles, 'All is Chaos', also sounds fantastic as down-tuned guitars resonate nicely through their pervasively sludge-esque sonics. All in all, this is far from a perfect album as a few dips in songwriting consistency mar the overall effect but I predict Steak Number Eight will become a force to be reckoned with in the coming years within the post-stoner scene. Is there such a scene? Fuck it, there is now, Steak Number Eight have engendered the need for that label, albeit pretentious as it is of me to identify.
Code 7
Review by Mark Holmes
14th Nov 2011
1) Dickhead
2) Pyromaniac
3) The Calling
4) Black Fall
5) Stargazing
6) Track Into The Sky
7) Trapped
8) Man Vs. Man
9) Drowning In Your Blood
10) The Perpetual
"...groove-infused stoner riffing and rhythms combine with a more progressive post-metal/rock mentality..."