This Place Is Death & The Magnapinna @ Fred Zeppelins, Cork 19 August 2016

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Photography by Shane J Horan.

This Place Is Death’s Debut Single ‘Caught Inside’ Out Now Via Sound Hub Records.

Fred Zeppelins is absolutely baking on this balmy August Friday night. I think my pace was a little too quick on the way to the wonderfully dingy Cork venue and I probably should not have chosen a denim shirt. Upstairs in the corner of the venue, Howard from The Magnapinna has the right idea and is sporting a fine pair of shorts. He’s not just a hat rack. Tonight the mighty squid are playing a supporting role to Cork alternative rock stalwarts This Place Is Death on the release of their debut single ‘Caught Inside’ for UK indie label Sound Hub Records. A promising proposition.

M&M, the first support act, are quite the surprise for an alternative rock gig like this. A country/folk duo, their set comprises mostly of covers. Their versions of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’ and The Cranberries ‘Zombie’ are highlights. The latter is particularly impressive as its righteous anger is distilled into a more subdued resignation that gives the track extra impetus. Of the two originals they play, ‘No Regrets’ shines brightest as it possesses an angry bite and dissatisfaction with “back stabbing bitches”.

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M&M @ Freds.

Alternative rock/sludge quintet The Magnapinna are an odd but amazing beast. Their songs careen wildly from alternative rock to sludge to pop punk (“say hey hey!”) and include stream of consciousness raps and sections in Japanese and German. Weirdly, it all works perfectly. It’s as if they took all the good parts from Mastodon, Faith No More, and Neurosis, and created something wonderfully heavy, playful, and creative. I mean there’s a portion of their track ‘Koi No Jellyfish’ where they just shout the name of the band repeatedly.

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The Magnapinna dominate.

Tonight they mostly play new tracks which will hopefully make an appearance on an upcoming EP or LP. These are a step up from their previous material from the Sex Tape EP released earlier this year. Which is pretty impressive. ‘FFF’, an ‘ode’ to Franz Ferdinand, begins a bit like the Scottish indie band’s signature track ‘Take Me Out’ but quickly descends into a rap that one presumes is not complimentary. Another, titled ‘Uniform’, begins rather atmospherically for the group with just bass and drums. This respite does not last long though as the track takes a detour into Oi! before making its way round to a slow sludge. A tough act to follow.

This Place Is Death have been around the Cork scene for a few years now, so it’s heartening to see their hard work pay off in the form of a deal with UK indie label Sound Hub Records and the release of their debut single ‘Caught Inside’. A fiery three piece, they lead us through a set tonight that covers the breadth of their career thus far. Songs like set opener ‘Clown’s Pocket’ and ‘Co-Pilot’ possess a drive that hinges on the enthusiasm and dexterity of the rhythm section. The group can also delve into more pensive and subdued material with ‘Soundtrack’ exploring the classic grunge loudQuietloud tactic and ‘Crash’ with its dreamy, reverse reverb led guitar riff.

It is obvious when the band plays ‘Caught Inside’ that they have upped their game. This track follows the same template as what they’ve produced of the last number of years but the vocal melody is stronger and more memorable, the bass and drums more focused, and the guitar has an added punch that was not always apparent in the past. Watch this space.

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