Ten years ago, if anybody had asked me what I knew about Yorkshire I’m not sure what the answer would have been, but it certainly wouldn’t have been, “Oh, you mean the hotbed of metalcore?”. Since Bring Me The Horizon formed this time nine years ago that all changed and the trend didn’t begin and end with them. Enter the stage The Ocean Between Us. Also emerging from in and around Yorkshire, TOBU are a post-metalcore band whose music, appearance and location are more than enough to see comparisons form between themselves and BMTH.
TOBU forge a sound that is a fusion between metalcore and melodic death metal, delivery raw riffs, screamed vocals and heavy breakdowns that promise to make any pits or walls of death at their live shows truly brutal, while maintaining the guitar-based catchy, rhythmic verses that can get a whole venue bouncing. The latest single released from their debut album is a perfect example of all of these features united in one song. Hitting in with a crunching bassline “Safety” pounds along at a pace for the most-part with a fast drum beat and racing guitars, but it reels itself in to deliver a chorus dominated by vocalist Judd’s demonic screams. A special mention also has to be reserved for the penultimate track “What Do You Stand For?”. Also featured on their self-titled EP, this song kicks into life with a riff that is more rock than metal, the song gives Judd’s vocals worthy pride of position throughout the verses where the kick-drums burst into life to power the song along. But at points both subside allowing the insanely catchy riff to take over again, before ripping through the song with the aggressive growls that have already made this a fans’ favourite.
With their debut album Savoir Faire coming out March 25 and a UK tour to promote it, bassist Ben Beagles and vocalist Judd Wrighton took the time to speak to TwoBeatsOff about their influences, the comparisons to BMTH and the state of metalcore in the UK. Introducing themselves as “badly dressed and skint as owt, but in high spirits”, this seems to be an attitude that resonated through the lyrics of the whole album – no money but no worries. Explaining why the album came to be called “Savoir Faire” the lads said: “Its French for ‘Know How’. Have you ever seen that dodgy Disney film from the 90’s called Oliver and Company? Based on Oliver Twist. It’s about this cat that gets stranded in New York City and then meets these dogs that live in a boat and don’t need any money to get through life ‘cos they’re all streetwise. It kinda reminded me of ourselves since we used to tour whilst jumping trains and pushing our gear about in shopping trolleys. At one part of the film one of the dogs sings a ‘r8 good song’ and it goes like this. ‘Why should I worry? Why should I care? I don’t even have a dime, no, but I’ve got street savoir faire.’”
The debut release has been in the works for the past 18 months since the band’s EP over 2 years ago, and while the current line-up is approaching the 18 month-old mark, they have “had just about every musician in Northern England play for [them] at some point.” Influenced by the relative hard times experienced by youths in the UK today, the band doesn’t tend to take themselves too seriously: “Our lyrical influences are about general hard times being young adults living in Britain. Being raped from every angle by absolutely everyone and still nobody gives a fuck, metaphorically speaking.” But rather than thinking that they really are the hardest done to people in the world, they describe their songs as “a way to complain about first world problems,” while their music more generally is “influenced by what we hear around us mixed with psychedelic thinking hats.”
Although some bands get incredibly aggressive at attempts to pigeon hole them into a definite genre or at comparisons with other bands out there, TOBU aren’t so resistant. Asked if the comparisons to other bands such as BMTH annoy them, they said: “no, not at all. Bring Me The Horizon are a brilliant example of good British metal music. If people compare us to bands like them we take it as a compliment.” But these good vibes and words of praise for BMTH didn’t extend to the metalcore scene in the UK in general. “Absolutely hate it. Ever since people stopped wearing BMTH t-shirts and started wearing More Than Life t-shirts. It appeared that t-shirts still remained to be t-shirts, but to 80% of people in the UK that like heavy music it is evidently very very gay to be into us. Ball deep.”
So what do you get from TOBU’s debut release? 11 tracks of head-banging, viciously screamed post-metalcore; what’s not to love? Especially from a band who are happy to describe themselves as “whingeing little pussies” and have the motto “work hard, play hard, fuck bitches harder”. One thing that TOBU have that many young bands lack is a true understanding of song composition. Each song is well thought out with perfectly judged changes in pace and a thrashing rhythm. So looking forwards to what the future holds, “that’s up to everyone else. Watch this space.”
The Ocean Between Us are Judd Wrighton, Ben Beagles, Billy Gaskell, Simon Smyllie and Fraser Mulholland. Their debut album, Savoir Faire, is coming out on Monday 25th March on Wolf At Your Door Records. The band are currently touring the UK.