By Andrew Bansal
November 29th 2013, Loaded Rock Bar, Hollywood CA: Based out of the heart of Hollywood, Rattlehead is a speed/thrash metal band that has been around for quite a while, having started out in 2002. Of late, they went through a period of inactivity and were absent from local stages for the most part, but in the meanwhile they worked on a new five-song EP called ‘The Blackout Brigade’, and last night at Loaded Rock Bar in their hometown, they played a CD release show which also turned out to be a comeback gig for the band in more ways than one. Friday night at Loaded is always a hot, crowded mess, and this show was going to benefit from the constant stream of patrons drifting in to get their drink on and enjoy some live music while doing so. Presented once again by hard-working local underground promoter Lara Gladstone, this promised to be yet another killer lineup of local bands, with Exmortus, Kaustik and Harlequin chosen as Rattlehead’s opening acts.
Owing to the scheduling conflict created by the Morbid Angel show at the Fonda, I had to give the opening bands a miss this time, which as you might already know is very unlike me but on this occasion I had no choice. I’m sure all three of them delivered great sets and impressed the crowd gathered here. Since Loaded is literally down the street from the Fonda, I walked over in the hope of catching Rattlehead, and I managed to get there in time for the last six songs of their set, which counted for roughly 30 minutes and I felt I was able to absorb a sufficient amount of Rattlehead’s performance to be able to do this write-up. They played all five songs of the new EP (out of which I caught three) along with some of the best tunes off of their past releases, and displayed an unmistakable diversity that’s crept into their songwriting over the years, as can be clearly felt upon comparing ‘The Blackout Brigade’ tunes to the older material. Musically the band possesses a greater degree of variety now, with a style that’s not merely speed metal anymore but rather consists of a blend of solid traditional heavy metal, modern tendencies, alcohol-fueled lyrics and various other elements that have given the band a new identity, to the extent that they even belted out a ballad-type song in the set. It’s evident that this new EP, at least in its live version, truly presents Rattlehead at their best and most mature while still maintaing the fun aspect that always surrounds anything they do.
But aside from the newer, more well-rounded tunes, Rattlehead got the good ol’ thrash out with the older stuff as well, pleasing the longtime cult fans in the audience. I’ve been seeing this band play shows on and off since 2009, and led by Nick Baranov’s guitar, vocals and frontmanship along with able assistance from his band mates, Rattlehead simply don’t know how to play a bad show. They seem to be the kind of band that feeds off the crowd’s energy, and the impressive turnout at Loaded last night certainly enhanced Rattlehead’s show in that aspect. Provided they build on this show and raise their activity in the coming year, Rattlehead’s current incarnation has the potential to be crowned the king of the good times.
3. Get In The Van
4. Nightmares Never Sleep
5. Face Of Truth
6. Crack A Cold One
7. My Sweet Sally
8. Live A Lie
9. Just Stay Down
10.Bottom Shelf Shuffle (F.Ü.F.)