Cannibal Animal, Thawing (Live Session), November 13th, 2020 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Cannibal Animal

Cannibal Animal, Thawing (Live Session), November 13th, 2020,

Nov 26, 2020 Web Exclusive
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It's strange having to make do with online gigs, especially when it's coming from a band as unhinged and unrestrained as Hull born noise terrorists Cannibal Animal. For the past four years, these pissed off post punks have been exciting those who like their guitar music loud, aggressive and raw - drawing comparisons to Big Black and The Fall for their snotty 'no fucks given' attitude and brutal deconstruction of garage rock. They've developed a dedicated cult following thanks to a growing number of headline tours showing off their true ferocity.  

But now thanks to the pandemic, they've been forced to retreat to their own private practice space and we are forced to enjoy their muscled sound from the safe distance only a streamed show can provide for what they call the Thawing (Live Session).

It's impressive to see that real thought has gone into the presenting the DIY recording of five songs as directed by Luke Hallett and Sam Kennedy, with Mike Wilkinson at the sound desk. We are given a stylised monochrome visual account complete with intro shots of the northern cities decaying industrial estate, setting a mood of desolation and despair.

The lightning fast set starts with the creepily catchy song "Thawing In The Ice Age". Wailing guitars create a sinister soundscape as singer Luke Ellerington (who doesn't half look a bit like Mark E. Smith on stage) erratically veers from snarling like a Rottweiler to crooning like a cruise ship entertainer. Ellerington is clearly giving it his all, despite the lack of audience to spur him on and continues to seethe with malice and venom throughout the set.

"Blood Of The Poor" is a vicious cry baying for violent retribution against the rich and powerful that stand on the necks of those that suffer the most. Just awe at the sheer strength of drummer Tom Gibbins whose punctuating percussion keeps raising the intensity. At a time when celebrities callously show off hiring entire perfect islands to celebrate birthdays whilst deaths soar into the millions worldwide, a fitting demand for corporal justice that sounds so satisfyingly good. 

Flashed images of torn plastic bags caught by cruelly sharp razor wire remind us of being currently caged and the constant sense of surrounding danger before the four-piece launch into "Groundhog". Towering, bearded bassist Jamie Hanson lays down a granite hard groove in a rare moment of calm before he begins swinging his four string like a burly neanderthal with a club. The tiny tears in vulnerable flesh always seem to hurt more, and "Groundhog" peels back from a rare moment of almost tranquillity to become a 9-minute intense epic.

Guitarist Jacob White signals the start of "The Drag" by summoning an incredible wall of sound, briefly bringing it down for a couple of quick clean strums before being joined by the whole band for a crash of colossal noise.  Ellerington incomprehensible mutters into the mic only add to the sense of terror as the song expands into an off-kilter krautrock / disco fusion driven on by adrenaline and the huge power of their self-created energy. 

 

Cannibal Animal are the product of a post-industrial city which has been left to rot in a shallow grave, occasionally resurrected to become the butt of sneering jokes of the tabloid papers written from the affluent comfort of the capital. They spit in the faces of the people that mock those from the forgotten banks of the lost Humber Estuary, whilst also giving an unsentimental testimony of what its like to live there. Thawing (Live Sessions) now ends with a rapid sprint to the finish ran with splintered shins and legs awash with lactic acid for last song "Heavy Machinery". A pained account of a lost soul in working-class city faced with ever fewer jobs and former glory days of being a major fishing harbour are long gone. With all pride stolen, the only refuge for the misplaced male is to refuge in the petty egoism of being a macho man. 

 

Whilst the world may be on hold with no end in sight for any of us thanks to the shit show of a government barely led by dithering Boris; we can at least all enjoy the cathartic rage and release of tensions that comes with watching Cannibal Animal tear it up in their own lair. While it isn't anyone's first choice having to settle for an ersatz experience at home, we'll take what we can get for now and this small taste of blood wets the appetite, making us hunger for the thrill of live music even more. 




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