Leeds-based band When They Riot have honed a grungey sound that offers a nod to 90s alternative rock fused with a new, raw flavour. Packed with big riffs, powerful vocals and catchy melodies, the band describe their sound as “heavy, dynamic and brutal.”
The band began when Luke and Tom, who met at college in Newcastle, started putting together ideas for a music project. Both moved to Leeds for university, where they met bassist Bobby, who comes from Darwen in Lancashire, while working on the bar at the O2 Academy.
As they tell us: “We all got together and went through the material we had written, practised hell of a lot and now we’ve released our second EP! It’s been a challenge but we’re making great progress.”
The trio recently released second EP Save Us From Ourselves, which was written and recorded during lockdown. The first track we heard from it was opener Hate, which opens with light guitars that continue under low moody vocals. It suddenly explodes into more intense vocals and driving guitar chords, before a brief second verse blasts straight into another big chorus.
The second chorus continues with more intense, heavy vocals and driving, descending guitar chords. It suddenly drops into a lone bassline, then stabs of guitar and slow drums build up to a final chorus. Then big chunky guitars bring it to a fittingly heavy ending. Check it out below:
That’s followed by the catchy The Rescue, which opens with a fun riff then light vocals that feed into a lively chorus. A verse of higher-pitched guitars is supported by chunky guitars, then engaging chorus drops into a big rock out of lively guitars and big cymbal crashes, which give way to a final chorus.
There’s more of the same grungy goodness on What You Want, which opens with light guitars and vocals, which intensify and burst into chunky chords under engaging vocals. High-pitched guitars feed into another powerful chorus supported by a cool riff, which ends on a drawn-out guitar note then lighter stabbing guitars are joined by a chunky bass and develop into a big instrumental section before a final chorus. Give it a listen below:
Horror Disorder starts slowly with light guitars and vocals but explodes into life in a powerful chorus, which extends second time around. And it comes to a big rocky ending of delicious driving guitar chords and booming drums. The EP concludes with the delicious The Other Side, which is a little lighter but more atmospheric with driving guitars supporting opening vocals then a really cool chorus of intense vocals supported by cool guitars.
On the EP, the band told us: “The reception has been amazing so far. Expect a whole different sound from the first EP. You could say it’s not as fast thrashing as some of the songs on the When They Riot EP, but tracks like Hate and What You Want still pack that punch that gets your head going.
“Save Us From Ourselves addresses the range of challenges we all collectively face as humans, and how to build perspective when we engage with the world around us whilst facing a sea of troubles and coming to terms with how we all encourage destructive behaviours even when we don’t mean to.”
If you want to see the band in action, then check out the video for their debut single Nobody’s Perfect, which comes from their debut, self-titled EP from 2019.
The When They Riot is influenced by a long list of bands that they kindly narrowed down to classic bands like Faith No More, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, which first inspired them to start writing songs. That’s followed by the likes of Deftones and Queens of The Stone Age, as well as fellow Leeds legends Dinosaur Pile Up, who were a huge mutual favourite when the trio first met.
And on what inspires them to write music, they tell us: “Well you can tell from our band name it’s often aimed towards turning a new stone and confronting the things that either restrict or burden someone from reaching their potential. We write about the obstacles we all at some point face and finding out about yourself by reflecting on how you react to difficult circumstances, be it individually, as a group or as a species as a whole.”
You’ll be able to see When You Riot play a few gigs around October across the north-east and in Yorkshire. They’re also planning to start working on their next release soon, so stay tuned for more soon. As they say: “Once venues start to open up we’ll be playing everywhere. Any venue to any audience. Just try and stop us! Come see us live and you’ll be hooked!”