While She Sleeps – So What?
The rise of Sheffield metalcore merchants WSS has been one of the more satisfying stories of British metal in recent years, a true underdog tale that has seen the band claw their way bit by bit into the big leagues with a mix of steel city determination, riffs the size of rhinos and a real sense of us against them, so there’s a lot riding on the success of So What?, their fourth full length. Much has already been written about the band’s decision to go a bit more experimental this time, and there are indeed more risks taken here, but contrary to popular belief the album is nothing like as shocking as some would have you believe. As a continuation of the sidesteps made on 2017’s You Are We, the album actually makes a lot of sense, and no amount of electronic squeaks or descents into grime can derail a band this brazen. For all its quirks, the roots of So What? are still bedded in ferocious metalcore filled with huge choruses, huger breakdowns and the hugest of hearts, and the album can broadly be defined as good songs punctuated by great moments. Whether you think it’s better than past efforts will largely depend on your willingness to die for the WSS brand, but you’d be a fool to suggest that moments like the initial drop in The Guilty Party and the glitchy riff of the title track won’t sound fucking enormous in the arenas Sleeps now deservedly find themselves.
So What? is available now via the band’s own Sleeps Brothers label
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn
The final part of Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard’s trilogy of albums following 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth and 2017’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll is not for the faint-of-heart. A psychedelic, psychoactive, psychopathic trip into folk-tinged planet-smashing doom, the album creeps and stomps across the brain like the soundtrack to waking up alone in deep space aboard the Nostromo. Atmospherically claustrophobic and crushingly heavy, yet also unnervingly beautiful, Yn Ol I Annwn comes across like the siren call of a sentient black hole, Jessica Ball’s glorious, lilting doomed Dubstar vocals enticing all who hear them to glorious destruction.
Yn Ol I Annwn is out now via New Heavy Sounds
Backyard Babies – Silver & Gold
Album number eight from Swedish sleaze rockers Backyard Babies offers little in the way of surprises, but since literally no one asked for that, this is most definitely “a good thing”. Straddling the line between punks playing rock and rockers playing punk, Silver & Gold at times feels a little tamer than previous releases, and certainly starts better than it ends, but the rampaging spirit of rock and roll burns bright on tracks like Shovin Rocks, Bad Seeds and Ragged Flag, which bounds along like Guns N’ Roses giving Duff McKagan the keys to the bus for a change. A solid return from Dregen and co, and quality dinner party music for ageing fans of Danko Jones, The Wildhearts and their snotty ilk.
Silver & Gold is out now via Century Media Records
Bus – Never Decide
If you thought While She Sleeps were throwing everything they’ve got into the pond to see what floats, wait until you get a load of Greek quartet Bus’ RidingEasy Records debut Never Decide, which can’t decide whether to pursue proto-stoner biker blues, straight-up Black Sabbath worship, Primus playing the nursery rhymes of your nightmares, Uncle Acid-style occult rock or half-speed Kill ‘Em All Metallica. Without doubt one of the week’s more intriguing releases, it’s impossible to know quite where the album will go next, but stick with it, because it’s only after This King wraps proceedings up with a combination of all those clashing influences that things start to make sense. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering how no one else has found this same groove.
Never Decide is out now via RidingEasy Records