Album review: Graphic Nature – Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

Graphic Nature translate the agony of trauma into metal magic on their second album, Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

Album review: Graphic Nature – Who Are You When No One Is Watching?
Emma Wilkes

Harvey Freeman has been in unimaginable distress. Around the same time that Graphic Nature released their debut album a mind waiting to die, the singer was attacked on a train, unprovoked, by a stranger, the aftermath of which left him isolated, traumatised and overwhelmed with anger. Out of this strange, terrifying incident and a surge in creativity that hit sooner after their debut than expected, they hammered into shape the follow-up. At times, it sounds like horror personified, but with that, it represents a seismic evolution for the London-via-Kent metallers.

Who Are You When No One Is Watching? isn’t a record for the faint of heart. It’s intense and hardly shows mercy, but it’s also brimming with intriguing ideas. Locked In warps the conventions of nu-metal into something eerie and disorienting, while the battering-ram riffs of Breathe are intertwined with the sort of atmospheric squeals Korn might have once used, but which become chilly and foreboding in this band’s hands.

It gives way to the curveball interlude Session24, a tense burst of drum’n’bass that throws the versatility Graphic Nature are capable of into relief, as well as being a refreshing palate cleanser amid the claustrophobia of their heavier songs (some of which are sometimes slightly too similar).

The most compelling quality of this record, however, is the absolutely brutal candour with which Harvey expels his emotions. Blinded, for example, sees him declare, 'I don’t know what I’m worth to anyone,' while Fractured finds him bitterly thinking back to growing up without the language to explain his then-undiagnosed neurodivergence. If that’s somehow not heavy enough, the apogee of his pain arrives when, on thumping late album highlight Low, he screams 'I hate myself,' as a crushing riff erupts, while the last moments of For You find him sobbing into the microphone.

To say he’s torn himself open for his music feels like an understatement, but in doing so, he’s created himself a silver lining – an album that will be looked upon as one of the most raw things you’ll hear this year. More importantly, we can only hope that screaming into a mic afforded him some relief.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Code Orange, Void Of Vision, Korn

Who Are You When No One Is Watching? is released on July 12 via Rude

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?