Album Review: All The Best Tapes – All The Best Tapes

Forming in 2010 as a four piece, the now three-strong experimental outfit of All The Best Tapes already have two EPS to their name and a budding fan base in their hometown of Stoke. With the release of their self titled debut LP on FXD Records, they’re promising listeners a “a glorious cacophony of skull fucking power”. And that’s a description well and truly on the money.

So schizophrenic is this album in its unfurling that its almost impossible to assess track by track. Rather, it can be scrutinised for its foray of textures and multitude of sonic ideas. Many of the album’s heavier moments play out on punk and hardcore values, such as opener ‘I Want To Believe’ or the blistering ‘New Ribs’, yet the ideas are lashed out in rapid bursts of progressive madness that skewer any conceptions of three-chord predictability. It’s a sound that will have fans of Converge and Dananananakroyd feeling right at home. Yet, there’s so many elements beyond this that may entice the listener just as easily as it may alienate them. The frenzied and highly virtuosic guitar passages of ‘Nine Masks’ sound like something from the old F Zero X soundtrack, and they are rife in their prog/ speed rock influences. There’s also the aspects of more traditional metal in the chugging palm mutes and the occasional theatrical timbres demonstrated by vocalist Marcus Barker.

Anyone looking to surface for air amidst this total head-wrecker of an album will only find fleeting moments of release. Looming, ethereal and delving into the shoegaze slurs of Amusement Parks On Fire, this side of the band is best explored in ‘Nine Masks’ and the more considered ‘Soft Lights’.

All The Best Tapes have released their debut album with aplomb. Its near indescribable in its musicality, and its left me with an insatiable need to see their live show where I’m sure further realisations are to be had regarding the scale of their ambitions. Whatever you do, just don’t listen to this record at 8am. Your head will probably dissolve like a fleshy Berocca.


‘All the Best Tapes’ by All the Best Tapes is out now on FXD Records.

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Words by Joe Danher


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