Now Hear This: Alex Baker on the best new metal, alt.rock and emo

Kerrang! Radio host Alex Baker brings you the new artists you need to check out now, including Alissic, Fixation and stayMellow…

Now Hear This: Alex Baker on the best new metal, alt.rock and emo
Alex Baker

I’m writing this while sat on a bench on the Aldeburgh seafront, drinking a beer. It’s possibly the most relaxed I’ve felt since about the middle of 2019, because there are two things that heal my life: music and the sea. Given that most of the time I live in the landlocked centre of England, it’s a rare and bloody amazing thing when my two favourite things come together, so I’m making the most of it, with this lot in my ears…


Alissa Salls spent much of her childhood in her Brazilian village learning her musical craft and conjuring up sounds with an array of instruments, including that favourite of English classrooms, the humble recorder. Fast-forward to today, and she’s writing and performing under the name Alissic, creating truly unique music, music that effortlessly blurs the lines between the alternative and pop realms, and has lyrical themes that we all need in our lives right now.

For me, Alissic’s latest single Piano is also a glorious meeting of minds, like the stars (figuratively and literally) have aligned, as it was co-written and produced alongside two more of the worlds most freakishly talented people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing: Dan Lancaster (shout-out to all the old-school Proceed fans), and the one and only Oli Sykes.

God Complex

From someone who's on the brink of exploding (Alissic), to a band that have actually called it a day but have released an album posthumously that's so that you just need it in your life. The life of Merseyside heavyweights God Complex was far too short, but their album To Decay In A Deathless World delivers 11 songs in just shy of 25 minutes that sound like your favourite tech-metal, savage hardcore and even black metal bands have been put in a blender. God Complex create explosive, challenging, destructive music, and tunes like Season Of Blood illustrate very quickly why we need to convince these guys to rise from the grave.

Joe Appleford

I mentioned Dan Lancaster and Oli Sykes earlier, two artists who absolutely reek of talent. Now, let me just say this: I’m not good at so many things in life. In fact, I’m terrible at most things. But one thing that I 100 per cent back myself on is spotting talent. I can almost see talent; it shimmers off people. To me it’s utterly obvious who Has It and who doesn’t. One person who has it is Joe Appleford.

I was obsessed with his last band (Bad Sign), and was absolutely gutted when they called it a day, but not as gutted as Joe, who went into a bit of a hole and could barely bring himself to pick up his guitar. However, inspiration can come from so many places, and for Joe the push that made him move came from his Nana! Nana Appleford told him that she’d had a dream that it was him, him and him alone, up onstage, playing to a massive crowd. That vote of confidence was all he needed to start writing riffs again and launch himself as a solo artist. Don’t just take my word for it when I say this guy has it… have a listen for yourself.


Heading to Norway next for a gargantuan slice of hugeness from Fixation. They're a band with a Muse-esque sense of bombastic pomp, mixed with the heavy ethereal vibe that modern Bring Me The Horizon fans will love. Their vocalist Jonas Hansen’s voice is basically the sonic version of that epic thing that happens when a beam of light breaks through dark, dense clouds. It feels like a gift, and it’s as powerful as it is beautiful. It’s just as well, too, as to front up a band that creates a sound as heroic as Fixation, you need to have a pretty special voice.

New music is on the way from these guys, and you can hear their latest single Stay Awake on my show on Kerrang! Radio, but until the video for it drops, here’s one of their biggest songs to date…


You may noticed that in the past five years or so that loads of people that would usually have been in emo bands have torn down their My Chemical Romance posters, wiped off their eyeliner and taken to SoundCloud to express themselves through rap instead. Now, I don’t have anything against that whatsoever, but I have always wondered what it would be like if an artist came out who was dipping their toes into that pond, but staying on the more alternative side of that equation. Luckily, I have to wonder no more, because stayMellow is that artist, and he’s absolutely bloody amazing. Watch this space – this guy is going to BLOW. UP.

Hear Alex Baker present The Fresh Blood Show on Kerrang! Radio, Wednesday nights from 10pm.

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