City Of Thieves – ‘Beast Reality’: Debut Album Review
Words: Anne Estella
London melodic hard rockers City Of Thieves, a trio who formed in 2015, were relatively unknown until it was announced that they would be the main support to Inglorious during their upcoming tour. On 12th October they unleashed their debut album ‘Beast Reality’ via Frontiers Records, just in time for the Jan/Feb 2019 shows, as well as for their appearance at Hard Rock Hell XII next month.
City Of Thieves’ mission statement sets out to deliver a first hand commentary on the inner workings of their hometown as they live and breathe it, “where corruption and deceit lies just beneath a thin crust of intoxication and wild nights, providing a scream of defiance to maintain London’s proud heritage and restore the city to its former glory”. You’ve really got to admire their unfettered ambition and sheer optimism.
The 12-track album opens with Reality Bites, a frantic, head-spinning, fiery blast of pure rock dynamite condensed into three minutes. Swaggering riffs and raw, rasping vocals recount the insalubrious side of life in The Big Smoke, “The city that’s going to hell”, where “You can have any flavour you want but it don’t change the taste”.
Next track Fuel and Alcohol presents a rousing call to arms, whose hooky, unrelenting punk-encrusted chorus has The Wildhearts written all over it (never a bad thing in my book). The explosive dynamics and blood-pumping riffs are like a body-shaking wakeup call, compelling you to stop whatever you’re doing and thrust your fists into the air.
As each track speeds by, mimicking the indigestible pace of life in the big city, salient influences including AC/DC, Poison (think Flesh & Blood) and Airbourne shine through, as well as glimmers of The New Roses and Greybeards. Punchy, full-throttle tracks such as Buzzed Up City are packed with so much adrenaline-fueled energy and face-melting intensity that it’s impossible to see them as anything other than contemporary rock ‘n’ roll masterpieces.
Wild stompers Lay Me to Waste, Control and Incinerator feature more filthy riffage and crushing guitar solos and less than halfway through the record I’m already imagining what City Of Thieves’ incendiary live shows might look like… I hope the venues they perform at are covered for ripped up stages and blown off roofs! I keep thinking think that I’ve identified my favourite track on the album until the next catchy tune begins, and then Animal starts and well, to say that it packs a punch would be a gross understatement.
Right To Silence inflicts its bruising might with a strong, staccato drumbeat opening, while Damage, which reminds me a little of the Skid Row classic Piece Of Me in the chorus, includes the darkly delicious line “Come take a bite, turn out the light, gonna taste the original sin”, which could have been torn straight out of the pages of Alice Cooper’s notebook. Triumphant finale Something of Nothing, the opening of which has a whiff of the Foo Fighter’s Best of You, wraps up an all-killer-no-filler album with the words “When we lit this spark, really made our mark and to their surprise we made something of nothing… you can’t deny we made something”.
To summarise, ‘Beast Reality’ is a superb, brightly polished debut from a spunky band who have fire in their belly and an anarchistic spirit in their DNA. Having defiantly risen above the ashes of a crumbling underground rock scene, they’ve fought tirelessly to distil the essence of legendary rock ‘n’ roll, infusing it with a gritty British stamp. It’s now time for City Of Thieves to step out of the smoke and into the limelight.
The album was lovingly produced by acclaimed artist and producer Toby Jepson, mixed by Mike Fraser and Chris Coulter and mastered by Simon Francis. Additional guitar wizardry was provided by Olie Trethewey.
City Of Thieves are:
Jamie Lailey - Bass/Vocals
Ben Austwick – Guitar
Will Richards – Drums
Fuel and Alcohol
Buzzed Up City
Lay Me to Waste
Right to Silence
Born to Be Great
Give It Away
Something of Nothing