Now Hear This: Alex Baker on the best new metal, hardcore and rock
As the existential dread of reintegrating back into society starts to flood my veins, I distract myself for a moment by turning the lights off, slugging back a glass of wine, and listening to Normandie’s album Dark & Beautiful Secrets. It’s about 30 minutes later when I realise that I need to write this article, so I shift change and fill my ears with something new!
Let’s kick off with something murderous from Merseyside. Kerrang! readers may have seen the stonking review for their debut album Dominion when it came out last year, and better yet you may have listened to it for yourself and taken in all the blood-soaked horror of it all. Video Nasties are an impossibly good band — listen to them and you’ll be left scratching your head wondering why they aren’t yet a household name. They create a sonic assault that perfectly blends the blacker side of metal with punk and the results could soundtrack any one of your favourite slasher movies. I debuted their brand-new single Draw The Shades on Fresh Blood on Kerrang! Radio just the other day, and it’s bloody amazing!
It’s pronounced ‘Tsunami’, and this Welsh-language band from, well, Wales, have created such a unique and wonderful sound. In the same way that Sigur Rós and Rammstein dismantled the need to actually understand what the lyrics mean, Sŵnami create such anthemic music that you’ll either want to learn Welsh as a result, or just try your best to sing along while enjoying the absolutely lush top-lines. It’s dreamy music that blurs the lines between indie-rock and pop and actually really reminds me of the massively underrated band Alcoholic Faith Mission. I found myself listening to this again, and again, and again and again and again… Let me know if it has the same impact on you.
There’s a thing that happens in music ALL the time where fans of bands trick themselves into thinking that a band is writing music FOR THEM, when in actual fact, the best bands write for themselves. This is the reason why people lose their fucking minds when bands ‘dare’ to create music that has evolved from what they were writing before. I mean, how many times have you seen that narrative play out? It’s exhausting.
But, any authentic artist will tell you, in life you evolve or you die. With every day that passes, every experience you go through, you’re shaped, you’re influenced, and x amount of years down the line your world view, your tastes and therefore your art may be indistinguishable from what it was before. And that’s good!
And it’s with that massive introduction in mind that I encourage you to listen to the latest song from Black Coast, the band from Stoke-On-Trent who started out life as a groove-laden metalcore band and have completely evolved. The new album Outworld is slated for release later this year, and through it the band explore a sound that more accurately defines them – get a taste of it with their tune Paradise.
James And The Cold Gun
Two dudes named James, one almighty raucous sound, and a groove that will get fans of Queens Of The Stone Age bobbing their heads with sage appreciation. Before I say anything else, can we just take a moment to appreciate the Kate Bush (icon) reference – now with that behind us, allow me to draw your attention to the thunderous bassline, the lyrics that tackle self-doubt and a build up from the two-minute mark that, one day, we’re all going to lose our god damn minds to in a sweaty venue somewhere.
From the mind of Linda Battilani and her band Halflives comes a bold new era for the Paris-based trio, starting with their first new music in 2021. With darker, more introspective lyrics that explore the multitude of different conflicting emotions that make up the human condition, layered across a thick wave of stadium-filling instrumental bliss, Halflives have found their step – and nothing is going to stop them.
Hear Alex Baker present the Fresh Blood Show on Kerrang! Radio, Wednesday nights from 10pm.
Listen to Black Sabbath’s newly remastered version of Am I Going Insane (Radio), taken from their upcoming super deluxe edition of Sabotage.
Rammstein have launched nine new items of merch as part of a capsule with (very expensive) luxury fashion brand Balenciaga.