Beltane Fire - Different Breed album review

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Cover Artwork for Beltane Fire - Different Breed

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Extraordinary then and extraordinary now, Beltane Fire’s Different Breed remains a startlingly original record that still defies pigeonholing. With their roots in the UK’s early-80s rockabilly scene, but determined to push sound and image away from the trad rockabilly template, they ignited Beltane Fire to signify a new start, the main clue to their genesis being Mitch Caws’s double bass, which had many a prog fan somewhat perplexed when they supported Marillion in ’85, dressed like extras from Robin Of Sherwood.

Cinematic and atmospherically ambitious, Different Breed combined thumping bass, iron-clad drums and wailing guitars with Clint Bradley’s brilliantly ripe vocal delivery, imbuing every syllable with shameless conviction; when he spat out the words ‘We are a different breed to you!’ he wasn’t kidding. Add to this a slightly bonkers Arthurian fixation and you had an approach unlike anything else. There isn’t a duff track in earshot, even now, and Excalibur (I Believe), Fortune Favours The Brave and the piratical Captain Blood absolutely demand fist-raising participation.

Completing the picture, this first-time-on-CD collection throws in another album’s worth of B-sides and extras, the best being Further Up Further In, which perhaps hints at where Beltane Fire might have headed had they not been dropped soon after by their label Sony.

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.