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Fuckshovel: This Is What We Are

Debut by London four-piece sounds as ear-catching as that name.

There’s no shortage of melody and hook-lines here, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever pretty. No band calls themselves Fuckshovel without having fast-and-furious as a default setting.

And although independently financed, there’s no shortage of power, with take-no-prisoners guitar (by Ian Fisher) that echoes Metallica, Megadeth and even (occasionally) Slayer allied with Dave Virago’s up-front drums to weld 90s-style metal to a hardcore punk attitude.

Thus armed, Fuckshovel go big on sneering and sardonic lyrics (sample: ‘How can you be so dumb with just one head? All you did was not get dead’) delivered powerfully by Jon Stone between lustily rendered shoutalong choruses (particularly on The Antidote, Black, Long Time Dead and Schizophonic).

Although tiring a little towards the end of the record, the band muster a sprint finish for Portia’s Box (‘What part of “Fuck off!” don’t you understand?’); be sure to leave it running to enjoy the bonus 12th track.

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush. Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.