My formative years of rock and metal were largely shaped by bands that emerged from the Welsh valleys in the early 2000s. Exciting quartet Raiders are a band that’s well and truly taking on the mantle some 20 years later, having also been a part of that original Welsh scene.
Raiders was started by Sean Smith and James ‘Bob’ Davies, the vocalist and guitarist of former band The Blackout. They’d been writing music with drummer Chris ‘Stixx’ Davies since early 2016 but struggled to get a bass player onboard until finding Ryan Lewis in mid-2017, which got the band moving forwards.
As Sean tells us: “We really didn’t have any plans for the band other than to just have somewhere to let off some creative energy but by the beginning of 2018 the itch to get back on a stage was real so we made it our mission to do it that year. We spent the year writing and tightening existing songs, teaching Ryan what we already had written and finding a name.
“We made a list of one word names that we collectively had suggested, picking a name was really hard, almost everything we came up with was already being used. Raiders was not, but a week before Wasting Away went live, some American artist swiped the name so we were forced to use Raiders UK for streaming services.”
The only Raiders that matter released debut single Wasting Away last year, before two further singles this year. The most recent is I Still Function, which was released at the start of this month and was our impressive first introduction to the band, but was the first song that the band wrote together.
I Still Function opens up with a delicious building riff that continues under booming drums, then Sean’s powerful screamed vocals kick in over a heavy instrumental background. A variation of the bouncy opening riff comes in under a pre-chorus scream of “Now I stop to think of what we could have been. So What’s left for you and me?” And that feeds into a huge chorus led by the vocals “I will be home soon, Forever encased in this tomb, I thought we’d be together from now until forever, Now my end is near so I say goodbye” supported by a cool lively guitar riff.
A second chorus drops into a mellow section of light instrumentals, which is blown away by booming guitars and massive screams of “Stop me. I Wish that you would try and stop me. Not one of you could ever stop me. Don’t ever try and fucking stop me.” It ends on a huge smash of guitars, then a reprisal of the fun bouncy opening riff.
On the track, Sean tells us: “I Still Function is about the feeling of constantly being let down and not being good enough. It was the first song we wrote together and it harnessed everything we’d been through as people and how we are unstoppable.”
It’s a huge track and you can check it out in the guitar playthrough video:
That was preceded by the excellently named Destructobot, which dives straight into the chorus vocals “I want to make you feel alive, This time I see through you, See through you, I See through you” under stabbing guitars and lively drums. A cool riff kicks in as the vocals continue “Know that you’re nothing to me, When we bring the beat back, You know it’s time to get down, When we bring the beat back.”
The bouncy riffs and lively drums continue, through to several repeats of the chorus that end on drawn-out guitar chords and rolling drums. Cool little stabs of guitar and a cry of “Woo” come in over rolling drums, then another chorus comes in and the fun bouncy riffs return.
It ends with Sean’s cries of “Everything has turned to shit” answered by backing vocal retorts of “Fuck yeah.” Give it a listen here:
And there’s more of the same on their superb debut single Wasting Away. It opens up with stabs of low-tuned guitar then a lively riff supports huge cries of “Live for it, Die for it, Wasting away, Do what you want just don’t do as they say, This is not what you said that it would be, You’re lying to me.” Big higher-pitched vocals feed into a delicious little section of “Know what you said and I know that you lied, Going to hell, Can’t wait ’til you die.”
That all repeats before an intense opening drops into a lighter noodling guitar lick, which gradually builds with spoken vocals intensifying along with building drums. It drops into an awesome little ‘solo section’ of booming guitars, then a lively riff and rolling drums feed into intense vocals alongside pounding drums, which feed into a final chorus. It’s another awesome track, and you can give it a listen here:
The Raiders sound has been inspired by the likes of Glassjaw, Thrice, At The Drive-In, Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, Every Time I Die and more. And on what inspires their music, Sean tells us: “Life. The songs are about what we’ve been through, what people have said to us, what our plans for the future are and how annoyed we are with the current state of the world.”
And he goes on to describe the Raiders sound as: “Sometimes heavy, sometimes light. Always angry. Always hurt. Sometimes fun. Forever looking to destroy stuff.”
Raiders will have another single, VNNVCVSSVRY V’s, coming out In the first week of November! They also hope to record a live action video for a song called Animal, which they plan to release in early 2021. And, all being well in the world soon, they firmly recommend coming to see them live, which they describe as “an experience.”
Speaking personally, it’s great to have a new band from South Wales to get excited about. Raiders offer up a powerful sound that’s driven by anger and hurt, fuelled by intense vocals and delicious riffs, which makes for a thrilling antidote to the shitty times that we’re all going through at the moment. Add Raiders to the list of awesome new British rock/metal bands to get excited about, and go give them a listen.
You can follow Raiders on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, and YouTube. And if you want to hear from Sean then check out his fantastic Sappenin’ podcast.