The Last Barbarians
Don’t mistake the Last Barbarians for a thrash band. While there’s enough guitar shrapnel on Weekend Warrior to puncture gaping holes in your bedroom wall, the Last Barbarians are more versatile than that, concocting a stinging brew of heavy metal, punk, funk, grunge, prog, and even psychedelia. The group is definitely of their generation, adopting the current rock aesthetic of embracing musical chaos and then stitching the wildly diverse elements together into forceful, exuberant statements. In other words, System of a Down’s no-rules rock is leaving an imprint on the young.
The bracing “Coming for You” explodes with a powder keg of teen angst and the James Hetfield-ish bellowing of Mike McCaughan. Adam Phaneuf’s drums roll with the hyperactive velocity of punk, one of his several shining moments here. “Drive” cruises into Suicidal Tendencies’ funk-metal swagger but fueled by the urgency of early Pearl Jam and the bone-crunching rage of Metallica. “(Beware) the Gnomes” opens with an ominous Tool-like riff before surrendering to System of a Down’s dramatic tempo shifts, eventually flirting with psychedelic atmospherics.
Guitarist Dan Reilly and bassist John Walters add a funky undertow to the white noise that’ll probably draw Red Hot Chili Peppers comparisons, especially on “One Way.”
The Last Barbarians: www.thelastbarbarians.com