Fancy some real crunchy rock to go with your burger and beer? Well, try some Slap Betty from the Baltic Sea city Kemi in Finland and their newest item Nothing out of Nothing. Complete with hot, runny-nose sauce and sticky fingers. Their smoky, raspy brand of punkish Hard Rock with a metallic hue will certainly wake you up alright. And help with digestion too, ’cause you are gonna do a little dancing and headbanging once you start listening.
Looks like, at least for the time to record the disc, Slap Betty were able to keep track of their guitarist and did not lose him somewhere in Russia. Because at the time of writing this review, this seems to be the case. Nor did they cut off other people’s electricity this time or get into car accidents. Slap Betty already formed some time ago already in 2007 and chucked a few EPs out into the world for a number of years. But they only really came out in 2013 with their first full length studio album called 94720, which got on the charts in Finland.
The band now released their second full length record Nothing out of Nothing this February 2016. And this is one succulent piece of old-style Hard Rock with a lot of Heavy Metal in there. The record is full of these punkish and grungy AC/DC meets Bear Bone Company type of rock elements. Complete with crafty riffs and stellar solos, plus one or two (sort of) rock ballads in this tasty rock stew. So very Rainbow at times, believe it or not. A great and refreshing sound, reminiscent of times long past. The album is loosely themed around the displeasure of the Finnish working class with those in power and other more personal matters of interest.
Now, before the hooraying gets out of hand, let’s get back down to earth: This is not something we have not heard before of course. The style and this kind of delivery were around for a while. Slap Betty however master the art of wrapping this old apple-pie into a new type of dough and serve it to us piping hot in this new, kind of gritty, scratchy rock robe. I am just constantly reminded of some of the stuff Fall Out Boy did in the past when they were still hungry. Only that Slap Betty do that with some more passion and much better than the latter ever managed.
I love the style of their front man Teemu Ylnikka. Delivering vocals in this crusty style just gets this special flavor to their tunes that turn their second full-length Nothing out of Nothing into a record to reckon with. The influences he states on the Slap Betty website just match his vocal delivery perfectly. On top of that, the guitar work and especially the solos and riffs pushing this piece of work just one step farther. Further we got Antti Toppinen driving bass, Juso Kompulainen torturing drums and Juhana Länttä on the rest of guitars.
Nothing out of Nothing will just put a rocky smile on your face! Believe me. The rock starts rolling with World We Leave Behind bemoaning the fate and current state of the working dudes and dudettes up in Scandinavia. This one got dedicated to Alexander Stubb, former PM of Finland, now having been degraded to Finance Minister. I guess to admonish him for former sins – or something. The lyrics on that one are outstanding, by the way. And I am of a mind to send him a copy. Or perhaps the band already did that.
Now, AC/DC with a large dose of Krokus as shown in their last sound-alike Dirty Dynamite are showing up in the second track List of Things I Hate. And it is some list, by Loki.
Here you go, have a taste of this:
I really liked 27. Bitching and moaning about age, imploring the god of rock’n’roll that at age 27 one is not yet ready to leave. Dude, you ain’t seen nothing yet would be my reply. And the questions is: What is will he do once that big numba 30 will appear on his back?
And there must be a decent ballad on any rock record worth its salt. Right? Nothing out of Nothing is no exception and – lo and behold – here comes Perfect. In the beginning this is some weak grog. But then the track garners a lot of power and speed – big time. Cool riffing and some good soloing included.
Now, the second half sees a bit of loss of steam, but nothing unnervingly so. The two most remarkable tracks in this part are Piece of Me with a stellar solo to boot and the very last song Shame. Not that the other tracks are bad in any way. There is not one bad track on this slab of rock’n’roll. Compression is however getting the better of some of the last tracks, whereas it was pretty well balanced out in the first part of the disc.
Nothing out of Nothing is a tasty one. Their gritty way of presenting rock is irresistible in more ways than one. It gets you to revisit places thought long lost back in time. Should you check it out? Yes, definitely. With a glass of good whiskey and a headband. So that the headbanging will work better without getting into a bad hair day all of a sudden. But only after you finished the burger, of course.
And congrats, this record successfully made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome III.