Jonestown: Aokigahara

UK brawlers go direct to the heavy stuff


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The UK is swarming with killer debuts at the moment, with the likes of Black Peaks, The King Is Blind and Heck just some of the names to have emphatically delivered on early promises so far this year – and Brighton crushers Jonestown don’t only merit inclusion in such company, but quite possibly transcend it.

Aokigahara is so stacked with colossally heavy riffs and grooves capable of giving you vertigo that it’ll have you wanting to flip your chair, your desk, your bed, your fucking nan – anything and everything that can be turned into an object to wave deliriously round your head while screaming for Satan and spitting in tongues. The likes of Deliverance, Borderline and album highlight Mass Extinction Six sound like Gojira and Meshuggah brawling in a dinosaur paddock, while the sinister, doomy chug running through Apres Moi and techier splatterings of 33rd Parallel suggest that this is a band as fit for extreme metal diehards as much as laptop-loving djent nerds.

Metal at its core is a simple game to get right, and while Jonestown aren’t exactly bringing anything cutting-edge to the table, when you’re armed with an artillery like the songs on Aokigahara, you don’t need to. This is ballsy, catchy metal that’ll have fans of everyone from Tesseract to Slipknot grinning ear-to-ear and hurtling into the nearest pit.

Put short: if you love heavy music (and why the hell are you here if you don’t?) you’ll struggle to find a better, box-ticking debut album this year.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.