I haven’t done an album review in a while, so this one will come off rustier than R2D2’s five o’clock shadow, but I’m going to take a stab at it anyway. Given the ever growing number of hard rock bands that London appears to be nurturing, I figured it’d be best to start with a bit of exposure to the local scene.
The first and most prominent of these bands on the chopping block…I mean, under consideration are Ugly Yeti. Lying more on the heavier/grungier side of the hard rock scale, Ugly Yeti graced our unsuspecting ears with their debut EP, “Mean Machine”, last week, launching their EP at London’s Albany, and sending a bunch of pissed up students and rockers into a frenzy. With six tracks of pure unadulterated hard rock, the EP is a display of some very hopeful times for this London quartet.
Opening track “Landslide” appears to be the secret lovechild of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, with guitarist Saad Shaikh and bass player Maciej Szopa chugging out a monstrously groovey riff. Complimented by the band’s melodically harsh vocal lines, courtesy of frontman (and universal sex symbol) Ulas Yigit, “Landslide” opens the album with a bigger explosion than a Rammstein concert in a firework factory. Shaikh’s solo, with nods to Jerry Cantrell, acts as the metallic powdered sugar on an iron frosted cake…that’s a good thing in the rock world.
“Chaos” brings a Breaking Benjamin-esque flavour to the EP, with stickman Ankit Sinha throwing in an absolutely titanic breakdown in the choruses. This is followed by “No Sunshine”, the EP’s lead single and softest track. A perfectly timed slow-build, coupled with Yigit’s melodious lower range, prove him to be more diverse than a university prospectus. The gang vocal around the guitar solo is a very ambient touch (which yours truly, amongst other great singers/musicians contributed to!). Definitely one for fans of tracks like “Heart Shaped Box” or “Black Hole Sun.”
“Geronimo” is what follows, and I kid you not, the bass tone is gritty. Grittier than an armadillo after said armadillo has had a sand bath and walked through a desert storm. That’s how gritty. Szopa shines on this track, and there’s even a little cheeky bass solo thrown in! Once again, Ugly Yeti have thrown down the groove gauntlet and prove themselves adept and both building songs and layering them, with verses peppered by Shaikh’s beautifully melodic guitar licks.
The ambient “Wounds” and instrumental “Dawn” round off this strong debut from a crushingly heavy London group of rockers. Overall, I was very pleased with how this EP turned out. Having heard most of these songs played live during my time at UCL, it’s great that people can finally listen to these songs on the reg. The drums are a bit quiet on certain songs, leading to a little bit of the punch being lost, but that does not take away massively from the listening experience.
Ugly Yeti have an awesomely heavy collection of songs and it’s very clear that they know what they’re doing. With “Mean Machine” under their belts and an entire city awaiting them, Ugly Yeti are heading into battle with a groovingly crushing arsenal.
“Mean Machine” is out NOW on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and Soundcloud. Listen here: