Review by Sophie Maughan
Dead Rat Records
Imagine if Converge and Will Haven spawned a bastard lovechild whilst Jens Kidman beat seven bells out of them simultaneously. Can you fathom it? Well, this is precisely the kind of exciting and blistering sound that RSJ have delivered with glorious debut album Higgs Boson. The Yorkshire five-piece have already had quite a year with blistering performances at both Hammerfest and Bloodstock in the bag. Right now, the band is celebrating the release of said album by delighting crowds all over the UK with their pummelling blend of metalcore in support of American Head Charge.
Higgs Boson is a full frontal, sonic assault from the get-go with thrash heavy opener ‘His Name Is Robert Paulson’ (got to love the Fight Club reference there) which contains more meat than your local butcher’s window. Guitarists Dan Kentley and Guff Thomas will have you windmilling faster than you can blink with their rabid riffs whilst Dan Cook’s vocals veer wildly between the guttural and the inaudible but never lose their emotional intensity.
If you still haven’t checked out the accompanying video for ‘Collectively We are Tall, I suggest you do so immediately because it is bloody epic. Okay, so there is something unsettling about the sight of hairy, inked up dudes in lycra thrusting in a shameless homage to dance aficionado Eric Prydz’s ‘Call On Me’, but its twisted genius nonetheless. All visual compliments aside, the track itself is a two minute session of pure aural vitriol capable of battering one’s eardrums into complete oblivion.
The omnipotent aggression of that pounding bass is interrupted albeit briefly, on title track ‘Higgs Boson’ which starts with a spoken word intro before segueing into an almost dirge-like thud and rumble reminiscent of Lamb Of God’s ‘Straight For The Sun’. It’s huge, harrowing and hammers away like some demented axe murderer trapped in a nuclear bunker.
I notice my feet stamping into the ground during the course of ‘I Did Not Die’ and the urge to set something on fire and jump into a writhing pit is upon me on first listen to standout track ‘Nice Day Out’. Cook’s raging shrieks (“My heart / My SOOOOOOOOUL!) and those piercing guitars evoke a sense of raw power and really showcase the technical prowess of this band. The brutality never ceases for a moment on this record and culminates with the intense ‘Oceans’ – you’ll be surprised by the inclusion of cleaner vocal lines and that early rich instrumentation /chord work before feeling your neck snap at precisely 2:06. Holy mother of Lucifer, that breakdown is Just.Fucking.Awesome. The gruff cacophony fades out for the remaining fifty or so seconds to leave the listener with their senses alight and collective mouths gaping open. A fitting finish to a masterclass in British metal.
8.5 out of 10
- His Name Is Robert Paulson
- Collectively We Are Tall
- Running With Scissors
- Higgs Boson
- I Did Not Die
- Guff Says Relax
- Nice Day Out