Newcomers with ideas beyond what’s deemed conventional, take note: your grand designs, unless spectacular in their construction – sensory stimulation on an unprecedented level – are almost always doomed to failure. Metro Manila Aide come bragging boisterously about their offerings, about their ‘sermons’ (their words, not ours); they come declaring war on metal with arrangements promising more. Yet, predictably, they don’t deliver in the manner they had hoped; they don’t titillate in accordance with leftfield delights past.
Landing somewhere between Kentish freak-rockers Joeyfat – the vocal delivery is similarly spoken and shrieked, seesawing one way and then the next with scant telegraphing – and a wholly traditional heavy rock act whose repetitive riffs do grind their way into your skull through their incessancy, Metro Manila Aide aren’t a bad act whatsoever; problem is that the preceding hyperbole renders their work stunted, muted by expectations dashed. Our guide through these endearingly formulaic arrangements is Paul McBride (the Pastor? Oh please); his lyrics might talk the talk mightily well, but one has to question his commitment to any proclaimed cause. After all, there’s little passion in his delivery, be that purposeful or not. It all sounds so very ordinary, unbecoming of an act allegedly “all that is warped and visceral”.
Ably backed by a traditional guitar-bass-drums set-up, McBride’s tirades fall short of truly attention grabbing, edge-of-seat study; instead they provide a temporary distraction from better-realised alt-rock, and when he holds a note best he can the effect is grating to say the least. Best experienced live this sort of approach most certainly is, so while it’s safe to say that Metro Manila Aide aren’t about to begin an assault on the mainstream, Liverpool-based readers could do worse than check them out at a hometown show soon.
6Mike Diver's Score