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Johnny Main

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steak number eight

Steak Number Eight? Yes, it's possibly one of the strangest band names I've seen for a long, long time, but what's in a name anyway I suppose?

The name isn't actually as silly and throwaway as it sounds because it was chosen very deliberately by front man Brent Vanneste as a tribute to his late brother Thobias, who died in 2005 whose own band, Voidpoint, had a song called 'Steak Number Eight'.

Steak Number Eight, the band, were founded in 2008 and hail from the Wevelgem area of North West Belgium, located to the East of Ypres. They released their debut album, 'All Is Chaos' in 2011 earning them a solid following in the process, and it also saw them being favourably compared bands as diverse as Mastodon, Killing Joke, Neurosis and Tool.

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From there, the band followed up with a second album, 'The Hutch' in 2013 which combined their powerhouse guitar sound with a hopeful sense of melody as the band took their unique sound to a larger audience.

Performances at a number of European Festivals including Graspop, Pukkelpop and the UK's own Ghost Fest followed, while the band also shared stages with Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Prong, Alice Cooper and Marmozets.

Now Steak Number Eight have released their third album, the delightfully titled 'Kosmokoma', which was produced by triple Grammy-winning producer/engineer David Bottrill – best known for his work with Tool, King Crimson and Muse. Clocking in at just under seventy minutes, a majority of the songs one the album are over five minutes long with 'Space Punch' being the longest coming in at around about nine and a half minutes.

The 'Kosmokoma' album sees them once again crossing genre barriers to produce an eclectic mix of raw aggression on the one hand and a lighter more tuneful style on the other.

The band kick things off with 'Return of the Kolomon' which is a fast paced instrumental track with some incredibly aggressive vocals from Vanneste tagged on the end – almost as though if they were an after thought.

What the track does do, is allow the band to show their musical skill which, when you play at this speed is surely without question, but I do think you'd be hard pressed to make out any of the vocal lines without a lyric sheet, so the meaning of the track is somewhat obscured.

steak number eight

If you're looking for the band's harder edge then you don't need to look any further than 'Principal Features of the Cult', which is among the fastest tempo number here. It has Vanneste attacking it from a somewhat tuneful vocal before switching to his more aggressive style of performance. Drummer Joris Casier does well to keep the complex beat tight before the guitar and vocals come to the fore as the song races to its conclusion.

The aforementioned epic that is 'Space Punch' goes through various stages from militaristic drumming during the intro onto a simple but tuneful guitar track during the long build up. The build up is so long, in fact, that you're something like four minutes in before the main guitar and drums kick the track up a gear.

The flanged guitar in the midsection gives the track an ethereal sound before it grinds to a halt in a mirage of ghostly voices and sounds before the songs continues to its conclusion. At best this is an experimental track, and at worst it's someone's over blown song writing ego gone wild. Me? I prefer to think it's the former – an interesting experiment that ultimately leaves the listener unfulfilled.

Away from that, the band also demonstrate that they can bring things back to basics, which they do with 'Charades' – a deceptively simple song and the closest the band comes to a ballad on the album. The soft vocals from Vanneste are joined by a less than frantic guitar riff from Cis Deman while Casier gives a sterling performance throughout as he uses all the drum kit available to him to it's full potential.

Although the band are pigeon-holed as a "Sludge Metal" band, don't let these kind of labels put you off trying this album. There are a lot of different styles here and the band certainly know how to write a catchy tune or two so if you don't like the first song, skip onto the next one as you might find that more to your liking.

You can hear the track 'Charades' here:

You can see Steak Number Eight live here:
Friday 4th March – Luxor Live, Arnhem
Tuesday 8th March – Lux, Hannover *
Wednesday 9th March – Kufa, Krefeld *
Thursday 10th March – Kfz, Marburg *
Friday 11th March – Keller Klub, Stuttgart *
Saturday 12th March – Kofmehl, Solothurn *
Sunday 13th March – Kleiner Klub,Saarbrucken *
Tuesday 15th March – Het Depot, Leuven
Wednesday 16th March – Vooruit, Ghent
Thursday 17th March – Muziekodroom, Hasselt
Friday 18th March – De Kreun, Kortrijk
Wednesday 23rd March – Doornroosje, Nijmegen **
Thursday 24th March – Melkweg, Amsterdam **
Friday 25th March – Biebob, Vosselaar **
Saturday 26th March – The Underworld, London **
Sunday 27th March – Divan Du Monde, Paris **
Tuesday 29th March – L'usine, Geneve **
Wednesday 30th March – Dynamo, Zurich **
Thursday 31st March – Universum, Stuttgart **
Friday 1st April – Szene, Wien **
Saturday 2nd April – Durer Kert, Budapest **
Tuesday 5th April – Alibi, Wroclaw **
Wednesday 6th April – Bi Nuu, Berlin **
Thursday 7th April – Bastard Club, Osnabruck **
Friday 8th April – Luxor, Köln **
Saturday 9th April – Nachtleben, Frankfurt **
Saturday 23rd April – Baroeg, Rotterdam
Thursday 12th May – The Anvil, Bournemouth
Friday 13th May – Stag & Hounds, Bristol
Saturday 14th May – The Underworld, London ***
Saturday 25th June – Tons Of Rock Festival, Halden

* with John Coffey
** with Prong
*** with Oathbreaker

'Kosmokoma' Track Listing:
Return of the Kolomon
Your Soul Deserves to Die Twice
Principal Features of the Cult
Gravity Giants
Knows Sees Tells All
Claw It in Your Eyes
It Might Be the Lights
Cheating the Gallows
Future Sky Batteries
Space Punch

Steak Number Eight are:
Brent Vanneste – Vocals/Guitar
Cis Deman – Guitar
Jesse Surmont – Bass Guitar
Joris Casier – Drums

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