Hidden Gems: Raised by Owls – The Great British Grind Off (2016)

Genre: Grindcore / black metal / comedy rock

Release date: 12th October, 2016

Record label: (Self-released)

For fans of: Carcass, Mayhem, Napalm Death

In their own words, Raised by Owls is “an extreme metal band spawned from the depths of England to cause a mild disturbance and then apologise shortly afterwards.” And upon listening to the comedic quintet’s debut EP The Great British Grind Off, it’s very, very difficult to disagree with that evaluation.

An abrasive British powerhouse that blends the all-killer-no-filler grindcore style of Cattle Decapitation and early Carcass with a hot dose of black, thrash and death metal, Raised by Owls symbolises the apex of speedy, adrenaline-pumping, mosh-inducing anarchy.

However, do not be fooled. Despite the rough, petulant edges, this is truly English metal by English gentlemen for fellow English gentlemen and women. With song titles such as “Ainsley Harriott Advises You to Give Your Meat a Good Ol’ Rub”, “Chuckle Vision Is Just Drug Slang”, “David Cameron’s Favourite Band Is Pig Destroyer” and “Harry Potter and the Curse of the Student Loan”, Raised by Owls is as quintessentially English as any band could ever hope to get.

This is a comedy rock act with an insanely rare ability: the power to know when to take itself seriously. As hilarious and absurd as The Great British Grind Off is with its utterly ludicrous subject matter, the actual delivery is stunning in and of itself, especially with the empowered wails of frontman Sam Fowler and the duelling shredding of Alex LeGrice and Mark Bainbridge. Riffs like the opening of “Off to the Pub” and the closing moments on “Boris Johnson, Vampire of London” as well as the comically ominous “Have You Seen the Weather We’re Having?” all reek of undiluted talent. Not to mention Raised by Owl’s ability to uncannily recreate the theme tunes to both Harry Potter and Strictly Come Dancing in extreme metal form.

Thus, Raised by Owls is the very best kind of comedy band. Their appeal is not just limited to getting one or two chuckles out of their listeners: they emulate and recreate the blackened grindcore sub-style with such talent and ease that it brilliantly adds to the over-the-top silliness that the five-piece has chosen to sing about.

This whole band is one huge practical joke of the best kind. Their riff- and scream-fuelled delivery leads you into the false assumption that what you’re getting will be state-of-the-art, extreme music, but in reality, it’s just five blokes singing about queuing and The Great British Bake Off.

How stupidly ingenious.

The Great British Grind Off is still available to download for FREE on Raised by Owls’ Bandcamp page.