The Arteries - Blood, Sweat and Beers (Cover Artwork)

The Arteries

Blood, Sweat and Beers (2009)

Household Name

Cast your mind back to the mid-to-late-`90s and you will be reminded of a world that seems almost imaginary: a pre-9/11 society where the violent mind of Dick Cheney was less of a public concern than the dick dwelling in the trousers of Bill Clinton; a world of Punk in Drublic; So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes; Everything Sucks; the Punk-o-Rama compilations; a time when Epitaph seemed to rule the universe.

It's easy to get nostalgic about such a vibrant period, and even easier to get depressed at the prospect of a band like Bring Me the Horizon bearing that once sacred ‘E' logo today -- but while the quality of Epitaph's present output may not have a patch on the aforementioned ‘golden age' of the `90s, this is not to imply that there are simply no longer bands crafting tunes of a similar merit. Enter the Arteries.

Swansea's the Arteries illustrate with Blood, Sweat and Beers not only the fact that those old Epitaph releases continue to have a massive, ocean-conquering influence, but more importantly that the sound and energy that so often characterised the releases of that period can today still be regurgitated and sound as relevant, as sharp, and as fresh as way back when. And this is not to detract from the innovation of the Arteries, for undoubtedly they have taken something old and manipulated it into something new -- they have made it their own, which is no mean feat in itself.

Blood, Sweat and Beers is an album that NOFX wish they could make. Fat Mike has long since lost the spark that Jamie Morrison and co. show here -- which is ironic, considering this is an album that pays blatant homage to NOFX, whilst it at once puts them to shame; five boys from Wales show the legends how it's done. A frenzy of guitars; a riveting, rapid, punchy bass; watertight drumming -- it's all underpinned by astounding attention to detail, neurotically cohesive songwriting, a technical ability that complements rather than complicates, and a rare ear for a cracking melody. Songs like "Divergence", "Three Cats" and "No Guts No Glory" are simply exceptional.

This album will knock you off your feet. Brilliant.