Immediately as these guys came on stage, you could tell you were in for a loud one. Bouncing with energy, lead singer Wil Ray immediately garners the attention of a small but enthusiastic crowd without too much talk, which is appreciated. Opening their performance is an infectiously confident, punk vibe that is applied as a formula for most of their music.
In a small venue it’s easy for thrashing, heavy rock bands to lose out on the more hidden elements of the music and to drown out their vocals or subtler melodies. However Max Raptor manage to showcase these elements without losing their energy and fire. Wil in particular has a skill in being able to rant and scream until he’s blue in the face, yet achieve an upfront clarity in his voice that others would struggle to bring forward in the midst of such strong instrumental backing.
The friend I was with at the gig compared his vocals to rap in terms of emphasis and pacing. So there you have it, a heavy rock singer that actually pronounces his words is the audible equivalent of gold dust, and the crowd loved it.
Once the short but sweet head banger England Breathes comes on, you can pick out the influences behind the music. A mix of Rage Against The Machine, Electric River and The Wombats feels like a fair way to capture their sound. The aggressive, clear vocals combined with the catchy bass riffs feel like RAM’s Bulls on Parade but at a faster pace, revelling in its own chaos. It should also be said that there are no weak links in Max Raptor- not only are they all extremely skilled musically, but they get that their strength in collective energy derives from the refreshing lack of diva behaviour from Ray.