STEAK NUMBER EIGHT – ‘The Hutch’

steaknumbereightSTEAK NUMBER EIGHT – ‘The Hutch’
Despite having a collective age of less than eighty, Belgium’s strangely titled Steak Number Eight are back with their third release The Hutch, demonstrating further evolution in their brand of Post-Rock/ Stoner/ Sludge Metal. Slowly building recognition across Europe (in the UK, Metal Hammer gave away the sophomore release “All Is Chaos”) showing a maturity beyond the band member’s years, The Hutch could prove to be the breakthrough opus that this crew has been threatening.  The album opens with ‘Cryogenius’ and ‘Black Eyed’, delivering pummelling sludgy riffs and an instant recognition that frontman Brent Vanneste’s has improved no-end since the All Is Chaos days. Standout cut ‘Phototonic’ and the lengthy yet atmospheric  ‘Push/ Pull’ change direction, showing the Post-Rock influences before ‘Exile Of Our Marrow’ (!) rocks out with a crunching riff, neat hooks and an almost stoner vocal. ‘The Shrine’ and ‘Slumber’ show more solid musicianship and although generic, the energy that must have been present in the studio really starts to come across. The thoughtful ‘Ashore’ yields another shift in direction and almost sounds Soundgarden-esque. ‘Rust’ is another slowburner and at over 8 minutes, raises the tempo again towards its conclusion, making things very interesting. Closer ‘Tearwalker’ is at times too melancholy, with maximum Stoner/ Post-Rock influences that again develop rather predictably into a harder edged track.  Clichéd? Perhaps, but never lacking weight or a fine sense of musicianship.   Overall The Hutch shows that Steak Number Eight really have arrived and are ready to be looked upon as viable contenders.  Belgium can be proud, alongside Poirot and Chocolate they’ve another great export. (8)
STRINGFELLOWE HAWKE

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