Review: The Rupture Dogs – ‘Cold Hard Walls’ EP

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There’s always that question of whether material recorded in the airtight assurance of the studio can really seize what’s great about the band when they’re onstage. With the ‘Cold, Hard Walls‘ EP, The Rupture Dogs of Belfast and Newcastle, County Down have nailed a teeming, breathless assault of unapologetic rock’n’roll, bringing you the sweltering havoc of a gig through the safety of your headphones.

Following on from their album ‘What You Live For‘, the only catch of this four track release is that it’ll only be available to snap up at live shows, but seeing as the ‘Dawgs will soon be bound for their own UK tour this shouldn’t be too much of an issue – and after seeing them live you can relive twenty minutes of that intensity through this handful of bare bones rockers.

So exactly how raw are we talking then when referring to these tunes? Well, when asked to liken the filthiness of the EP to a famous woman, frontman Allan McGreevy responded with “a female version of the Elephant Man”. Severely foul.

Although he says the drums sound “disgustingly live” the meat that makes up this serving is far from undercooked. The minimal spit and polish is down to The Rupture Dogs recording the tracks all by themselves in March this year, with mastering then done by local producer Clark Phillips. Finishing with the style offered up on their debut, the band hope to settle on this harder edged approach for the next album further down the line.

The Rupture DogsWhat should you expect then from these tunes? There’s some foxy back-and-forth riffs between lead and bass, distortion rougher than revving a wasps’ nest and kit-bashing that isn’t scared of battering the crash cymbal into a coma. On top of that you’d be hard pressed to find any trace of Irishness in the band vocally, instead Allan takes nods from Fighting With Wire and In Case of Fire’s slightly more Americano-stylised accents.

The danger of this would be the pitfall of sounding like any other MOR aggro yank-rock band out there but The Rupture Dogs are inventive enough for their riffs not to come off boneheaded. The clever segues and shifts from almost mute-silence to thundering loudness along with Allan’s rasping screams (at times resembling a less raging-at-the-world Keith Buckley churned through Julian Casablancas’ busted megaphone) set The Rupture Dogs apart from your average riff/chorus band.

My only nitpick would be how the demo-like quality restrains the thrashing drums of Gareth McGreevy (brother of Allan). While the rest of the instrumentation including the throaty voice-work is complimented, I think more clarity in the rhythm section could help these tunes pack a heftier blow to the chin.

But as the EP stands overall, the sheer filth and smut of the likes of ‘Joe‘ and the fuzzbox Plug In Baby-isms of Hangman‘ should floor most listeners with one strike. Lights out.

Head over to The Rupture Dogs MySpace now to hear some tunes new and old, where they’re soon expected to announce a UK tour for the new year. Before then you can catch them all over Northern Ireland at the following places:

Nov 27th: The Coast, Newcastle, Co. Down (Supporting Alabama 3)

Dec 15th: Stiff Kitten, Belfast

Dec 17th: Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast

Dec 27th: The Hideout, Warrenpoint

Jan 1st: Masons Bar, Derry

Jan 3rd: Sandinos, Derry

Feb 12th: Cellar Bar, Draperstown

You can also watch some videos on the making of the EP on YouTube.

(Daniel Robinson)

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