Trying to piece a hardcore band together in Walsall can, unsurprisingly, be a pretty tough process. After sifting through all the ads for musicians looking to play in cover bands or 80s hair-metal acts, Mikey White finally met Jon Remblance, Ben Swash and Alex Didlock-Jones through mutual friends and chance encounters and Fangs Out was born.
Starting out with the mission statement of making ‘something fun to bang your head to’, White (vocals and guitar), explains how this shifted slightly as the band began to define their sound as ‘gutter-blues’. “It’s actually taken from a line in the first song ‘01922’ which was one of the first songs that we wrote as a band. I think the sound was always going to become what it is now, but once I put a name to it it really influenced the vibe for the other songs on the EP and songs we’re currently writing.” The term is a perfect description of the band’s own brand of frantic yet grooving hardcore – think Every Time I Die by way of Gallows and you’re somewhere close.
The legendary Buffalo hardcore group seem to have had a particularly large influence on Fangs Out’s debut EP, with the vocals taking a big nod from Keith Buckley with the same pairing of fizzling energy and lyrical creativity. Lines such as ‘Abandon the soul and surrender the flesh / Mine will be a mournless death / Blow out the candle, commit me to the depths’ are spat with a sneer and just feel plain cool to shout along with. However it’s not purely the sonics which connect upstate New York with the West Midlands. “ETID are a massive influence on us, not just musically but their whole ethos as a band. Growing up watching those guys with their humour, their live shows, and their ability to keep their integrity and not change their sound to fit in with whatever is popular at the time was and still is amazing!” Fangs Out also manage to put their own spin on the tried and tested formula by weaving in moments of noughties British rock on ‘86 Death Cult Classic’, and the gang led vocals from ‘Hex Fiend’ add a little bit of the classic ‘oi punk’ style into the mix.
The later track is also notable for a special guest slot from Sean Smith (The Blackout / Raiders) who is an old friend of Mikey White and was more than happy to lend his vocals for the song. “It was literally a case of dropping him a text and asking if he wanted to jump on the track which thankfully he did! He’s always been super supportive of me and previous bands I’ve been in from the beginning. The weekend of recording didn’t exactly go smoothly as I ended up getting ill, but Sean came in and blew the track out the water and it turned out as awesome as we imagined!”
Once more, chance played its part in the production of the artwork for Curse Words, as White stumbled upon a Hexagram Prints online and commissioned the artist to design covers for each of the songs. “I stumbled onto his Instagram, fell in love with his style, and swung him a message. We hadn’t even recorded a single note at that point, but I sent him the lyrics to the four songs and a super rough concept centered around having a piece of art for each song on the EP, and he went from there. What we got back absolutely blew us all away and it fitted the music perfectly.” The resulting art is a blend of classic graffiti style skater fonts combined with more gothic imagery which immediately helps to give Fangs Out a distinctive visual presence and personality. Something which can be vital for a band trying to make themselves heard above the noise in the streaming era.
However after having luck on their side for the formation of Fangs Out and the creation of their visual style, it appeared to run out as the ongoing pandemic ended up spoiling their plans to take Curse Words out on the road this Summer. Yet like many the band are making the most of this downtime and have already started to write new music, “We’re just super stoked to finally have it out there for people to hear! We’re constantly writing so lockdown has helped us focus on the next release. As I write this we probably have enough music for an album but the plan is to record our second EP and hopefully release it or a single before the year is out.”Until then there’s plenty of fun to be had with the band’s debut release. In just twelve minutes Fangs Out blast out enough riffs and reasons to entice your ears towards the West Midlands and towards yet another brilliant British hardcore act.