REVIEW: William English – William English demo

Band: William English
Album: William English demo
Release: 2011
Label: Self-released
Genre: Hardcore-influenced sludge

When a band introduces itself as “30-stone riffs with screams so socially unpopular it makes the cool kids cry”, at least a few heads are going to turn, if just out of curiosity. I came across William English, a UK-based ‘stoner/hardcore/sludge/thrash’ band who apparently used to play oldschool-emo/stoner rock on their old demo, but this has been revamped for their demo. They certainly honor all the aspects in William English that they mention on their Facebook page, all encased in a 2-track 7-minute demo available from Facebook or Soundcloud, and make more than a passing nod to their influences.

The first salvo “Cure For The Common Cold” must be a joking reference to the music style, a speedy 2-minute blast of melodic sludge guaranteed to clear the sinuses. There’s a thick low end from Woodbury’s manic drums and Carter’s rumbling bass, overlaid with twin melody work from Bonfield and Taylor. There’s definitely a Black Cobra feel about it, and something of Iron Monkey and Eyehategod as well, particularly in the hardcore shrieks of Miller, who sounds mostly like a cross between Johnny Morrow (Iron Monkey) and Jacob Bannon (Converge), with some cool growls going on too.

On the flipside, “At Loggers Head” starts out with a low rumbling bass before launching into something akin to Cloud Rat sans grindcore. That then shifts to a cool Kill ‘Em All ripoff brought up short by a hardcore breakdown. Miraculously, this rollercoaster song feels fairly natural for the most part. The film sample from Up In Smoke near the end could have probably been skipped, but it provides an excuse for one last exhale of metal to close.

The demo is a hectic 7-minute trip combining all of the mentioned genres, but it’s something the band (still youthful) have executed nicely. Paradoxically, the first track feels rushed while “At Loggers Head” drags its heels towards the end of the track, although that requires only a little more patience with songwriting. For demo quality, the productions leaves little to be desired, although the screams are a little overpowering.

Once William English strike the balance between the hotfoot energy they bring and the required slower sections, they’ll have a strong formula for future material. Until then, this demo is a prime example of thrashy hardcore sludge done well, if not exactly boat-rocking, and sets the band in good stead for an EP or full-length.

Rating: 6.5/10

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