Feed Her to the Sharks - Fortitude (Victory Records)

Punishing stuff...

Melbourne 'core exponents Feed Her to the Sharks are the next off the rapidly-lengthening production line of Australian acts hitching their colours to the mask of a foreign record label, the next to have a shot at proving to the world just how much talent there is lurking around this great Southern land. Are they going to let the country down, shot down in the flames of a thousand foreign critics laughing at their bandwagon-jumping antics, or are they going to fly the flag for Aussie extremity loud and proud?

On the evidence of Fortitude you’d have to say the latter, as the band brings an enlivened take on the slowly-becoming-stale metalcore genre to the party, doing nothing new but never sounding anything less than a top-notch exponent of the genre.

Wisely they load the front end of Fortitude with the more melodic stuff, with Chasing Glory in particular sounding the equal of anything these ears have heard in this field for quite some while. Burn the Traitor is something of a standout track for mine, blending the syncopated black metal rasp of acts such as The Bunny the Bear (courtesy of the supremely effective Andrew Vanderzalm) with some nice electronica and a stentorian wall of chug from guitarists Marinos Katsanevas and Kim Choo, whilst the excellent Shadow of Myself mixes the best Gothenburg influences with a fiercely melodic sensibility with (and this seems the wrong word to use) delightful results.

Terrorist, being the aptly-named hellion that it is, wages guerrilla warfare on the ears without quite matching what’s come before despite another solid performance from Vanderzalm; elsewhwere the propulsive Heart of Stone will pummel the ears thanks to an impressive display of percussive battery and a weirdly nagging refrain at the breakdown that really makes you stop and take notice of what’s going on. It’s this knack of placing little detonations of difference right in amongst what otherwise might become quite prosaic slabs of riffage that betrays FHTTS’s mastery of their art.  

Walking on Glass is a short, heavy and glorious blast of deathly thrash, whilst Fear of Failure hacks and slashes it’s way through three and a half minutes of spritely metalcore that, whilst not setting the world alight will at least set off a fair amount of frenzied activity in the live arena, which leaves closing the triumvirate of Faithless, Badass and Let Go to round things out; The former carries on where …Failure leaves off but adds a smidge of modernity to the maelstrom via the application of some neatly-placed FX, whilst Badass ups the heavy (somewhat improbable this, given the already unfeasible levels of heaviness displayed throughout the rest of the album) by deploying some of the most impressively aggressive riffwork on the entire album, leaving Let Go to bring the curtain down – not to mention the blood pressure – with a comparatively restrained endpiece that brings some nicely melodic guitsar and vocal work to the fore, enabling the album – and the listener to go out on a high.

Nice work then, and and yet another feather in the cap of Aussie metal on the World stage. 

Fortitude is out now.