Palm Reader: Besides The One We Love

Woking ragers hit a new high for UK hardcore

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Ever since Gallows brought UK hardcore into the wider consciousness a decade or so ago, the scene here in Britain has been in rude health. But if Frank Carter and co presented the bold capital letter, someone was always going to have to provide the full stop.

With this album, Palm Reader have brought British hardcore punk to its peak. If 2013’s Bad Weather was a startling statement of intent, Besides The One We Love is the culmination.

There are hints of Gallows in the band’s ugly, relentless delivery, but there is an ingenuity in the nimble fingers of guitarists Andy Gillan and Sam Rondeau-Smith that recall Dillinger or Converge at their genre-fucking best.

Vocalist Josh McKeown refuses to resort to lyrical meat-headed clichés, delivering his tirades in a gravel-throated wail. From the opening staccato lurch of I Watched The Fire Chase My Tongue to the Neurosis-meets-Poison The Well headfuck of Unabridged, the momentum never drops.

While She Sleeps may be bigger, Gallows more revered, but on record it’s time for UK hardcore to pack up and go home. Palm Reader have won.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.