“If you enjoy anything from Architects to Deftones, metalcore to pop, there’s something here for you”: Unpeople’s self-titled EP is UK metal’s most promising first impression of 2024

Mixing layers of noise with ferocious grooves and pop-punk melodies, Unpeople are bringing something brand new to modern metal

Unpeople in 2024
(Image: © Zak Pinchin)

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In the 2020s, British metal is in its rudest health since the days when Iron Maiden and Def Leppard were rattling pub foundations across the country. Veterans like Architects and Bring Me The Horizon have finally flourished into festival headliners, while the underground is flooded with innovative up-and-comers, from Heriot to Urne. Now we can add Unpeople to the list of things that make this country’s scene so damn special.

Formed in London by former Press To Meco members Jake Crawford and Luke Caley, Unpeople are named after those ignored or sneered at by the political elite, and on their debut EP they channel that angst into five cacophonous yet focussed pop-metal bangers.

Opener Waste sets the precedent both sonically and lyrically. Crawford and Caley’s thunderous guitars burst from layers of static, their riffs underpinned by the grooving drums of Richard Rayner. “They’re gonna drag us to hell whether you like it or not!” the band’s gaggle of vocalists cry, their counterculture attitude exploding out the speakers almost as loudly as their dense layers of sound.

For all the noise and fury Unpeople dish out, though, they’re anchored by tight song structures and plenty of melodic flair. Waste’s chorus tempers Crawford’s shouts with some pop-punk “Hey! Hey!”s, courtesy of bassist Meg Mash. Overthinking flaunts similar contrast, casting imposing walls of guitar against a more delicate synth line. Elsewhere, on Going Numb, the collective sound like Blink-182 getting dragged to hell: Crawford’s higher register and Rayner’s sparse snares quickly give way to an onslaught of roaring and rhythmic riffs.

Moon Baboon concludes Unpeople with its most adventurous cut, rising from a whimsical pop segment to snarls and rumbling bass, then foraying into melodic metal before returning to unabashed sweetness. It may not be the most coherent song here, but it reaffirms what this band are introducing to British heaviness: lashings of noise that actually feel intelligent and honed.

With Unpeople being equally aggressive and accessible, the ceiling for how high this four-piece can reach feels pretty fucking high. If you enjoy anything from Architects to Deftones, metalcore to pop, there’s something here for you to cling to. And none of it feels shoehorned in, either.

Unpeople is out now via Sharptone. The band will play multiple dates in UK and Europe this summer.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.