Now Hear This

Midsommar metal, soulful fuzz-rock and doomy prog: Alex Baker on the new bands you need to hear now

Kerrang! Radio host Alex Baker shouts about what’s fresh in his ears, including Scruffy Bear, Forlorn and BLACKGOLD…

Midsommar metal, soulful fuzz-rock and doomy prog: Alex Baker on the new bands you need to hear now
Alex Baker

After two years of being shut up inside my house, it’s weird that I’ve spent the past month travelling from Glasgow to Poland, Budapest to Slovenia and everywhere in between on tour with an arena-sized Monster Truck show that really has to be seen to be believed. One thing that all the travel has given me is time with my ears – and I’ve been filling them with this bunch of future legends…


Imagine if the movie Midsommar was actually a metal band. That's the sound of Forlorn. Simultaneously beautiful and bone-snappingly heavy, vocalist Megan’s voice is so guttural that it’s borderline threatening, and it takes their perfectly-crafted crushing soundscapes into the realm of the uncomfortable. It does so in exactly the way you’d hope for from a contemporary, genre-pushing, extreme band. Check out their tune Old Wounds to hear what I mean.


In a world where social media basically means that mystery is dead, where you’re so hyper-connected to your favourite bands that you know what toilet paper brand they use and you couldn’t get them out of your feed if you bloody wanted to, I actually find it delightfully refreshing when bands come along and inject a bit of mystique back into our world.

While the mighty Sleep Token are doing that with their totally unique brand of soulful alternative aggression, BLACKGOLD are here to fly the flag for foot stompin’, old-skool nu-metal. God knows who they are. God knows where they are from. But frankly, I’M GLAD I DON’T KNOW. It’s like a bunch of Wes Borlands from somewhere in the UK have got together to write music that will fill dancefloors and I am here for it.

Scruffy Bear

Time for some soulful fuzz-rock next: Scruffy Bear, fronted up by a lady whose voice may well just melt your entire face off, Georgy Eaton. The perfectly executed, blues-laden guitar riffs and syncopated, jammy drum lines provide the perfect bedrock for Georgy’s insanely powerful vocals. She has one of those voices that sounds like 100 people are singing all at once, with an authority that simply cannot be ignored. The more you listen to the band, the more you’ll become totally absorbed by the depth of their sound. Thank me later.


Like a road trip, through a desert in hell, I give you Bristol’s Urzah. Doom-infused progressive metal of the highest order. Somehow this quartet create a sound that's so massive it feels like it has its own centre of gravity. Urzah are what I call “a musicians' band”, a band that people who really understand music and appreciate intricate compositions will really enjoy listening to. But despite the subtle complexities, their sound still drives forward in a way that casual listeners will appreciate (and head-bang along to). Their new EP, simply titled II, is a belter – check it out.


It’s hard to make metalcore sound fresh but Defects, a bunch of young but very experienced musicians, have managed it. Yes, there are echoes of legends like All That Remains, Parkway Drive and Bury Tomorrow – but there’s also an urgency and vibrancy that feels contemporary. I’ve been playing these guys like mad on my show on Kerrang! Radio and it’s really, really easy to understand why - just listen to them!

Listen to Alex Baker host the Fresh Blood show on Kerrang! Radio, Wednesday nights from 10pm

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