Pest Control: “We said, ‘Let’s go for it: let’s do the thrash band that we’d always talked about’”

With their incendiary Don’t Test The Pest album, Leeds ragers Pest Control have made the finest UK thrash debut in aeons. Balancing their hardcore roots with a foot in the metal world, they’re a band big on both riffs and smiles…

Pest Control: “We said, ‘Let’s go for it: let’s do the thrash band that we’d always talked about’”
Olly Thomas
Nat Wood

The start of lockdown may have led to the end of Leeds hardcore band Implement, but for some of its members it ushered in a brand-new beginning. Guitarist Joe Kerry started sending riffs and song ideas to vocalist Leah Massey and drummer Ben Jones, and by September 2020, Pest Control had a demo ready to go. Their new outfit had a different vibe to what had come before, however.

“We said, ‘Let’s go for it: let’s do the thrash band that we’d always talked about,’” recalls Joe today. “I grew up on The Big Four, and then later on Testament and the German bands like Kreator. I was also 15 or 16 when the first thrash revival started with all those guys like Municipal Waste and Gama Bomb, so I was the perfect age for it.”

By the time last year’s debut full-length Don’t Test The Pest was unleashed, Pest Control – by now a quintet also featuring bassist Jack Padurariu and second guitarist Joe Williams – had proven themselves as one of the country’s most exciting new bands. This reputation was built up through taking their ferocious crossover sound across the UK and Europe, playing both small gigs and larger events like Outbreak Fest, while summer 2023 saw them play metal festivals such as Bloodstock, and support Obituary on tour.

“We’re all conscious that we want to keep playing hardcore shows and fests that are rooted in the DIY scene, because they’re essentially the people that have helped us get this platform, and get to the point where we’re able to play Bloodstock,” affirms Leah.

“At the same time, it’s definitely cool seeing a few more battle jackets in the audience,” continues Joe.

“We’re not gonna pretend we’re some evil, dark band,” Ben maintains. “Bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Anthrax had such a fun vibe about them, and that was definitely a big influence.”

“We always get complimented on how happy we all look when we’re playing live,” adds Leah. “No evil vibes from Pest Control – it’s all smiles!”

This infectious quality helps explain how these bugs are only gonna spread across the metal scene. No wonder they’re buzzing about the future.

“When we started sending each other riffs, we never had this goal of playing Bloodstock or supporting our favourite death metal band,” Joe states. “This is already beyond our wildest dreams, so we’re really excited to keep ploughing on and see what crazy stuff happens.”

Pest Control’s UK headline tour begins tonight in Glasgow. This article originally appeared in the autumn 2023 issue of the magazine.

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