New Band of the Week: Cage Fight

Exciting newcomers Cage Fight offer up an aggressive concoction of thrash metal and hardcore punk, which fuses vicious vocals and powerful riffs and rhythms loaded with visceral rage. The band’s heavy sound offers a voice of resilience and speaks out over the band’s extreme discontent with injustice in the world.

Cage Fight is formed of the fantastically powerful vocals of Rachel Aspe, Tesseract guitarist James Monteith, bassist Jon Reid and drummer Nick Plews. It started out with James and Jon mulling over wanting to begin a heavy project for a while then writing a few ideas in 2020, which were mixed as demos by Acle Kahney, also of Tesseract. Nick was introduced to Jon through a friend but, due to being in the middle of lockdown, they couldn’t get together to jam. The project was finalised in February, when James found Rachel’s Black Dahlia Murder cover on Instagram and was “blown away.”

As James explains: “I knew of her work with Eths and we actually met at a Tesseract show back in 2015 or so, but we’d not been in touch since then. I spotted on her profile that she was ‘looking for a band’ so I took the punt and sent over an instrumental track. Within 24 hours she sent back an incredible vocal performance that really transformed the track, and we all knew we were onto something cool. Fast forward three months and we have written the bulk of an album, and have put out our first song.”

Said first song is debut track Hope Castrated, which was released last month. It starts out with heavy guitars that drop into a tense opening section of flittering guitar notes over doomy cymbals, then stabbing guitars unleash into a vicious roar and crushingly heavy drums. The powerful drums continue with stabbing guitars as Rachel’s savage vocals take over, which develops into palm-muted guitars and crashing cymbals over slightly more melodic vocals that fly into a huge chorus led by Rachel’s engaging vocal delivery.

The chorus drops into low-tuned guitars and doomy cymbals, then a little guitar bridge into another powerful verse that quickly leads into a second chorus. A drawn-out guitar and stabbing chords come in as spoken vocals then heavy screams bring the track to a powerful ending. And trust us, it’ll make you want to bang your head along in appreciation throughout.

On the track, James told us: “The reception has been overwhelmingly great, we couldn’t be happier. We just chucked it up on the Internet and my day job colleague at Hold Tight kindly put out a press release to make everyone aware, and we’ve had support from a lot of major press and radio, and loads of great comments from music fans on social media. If you’ve not heard it yet, it’s heavy, energetic and relentless, but with a touch of groove thrown in there too!” Check it out here:

The track is the first to come from the band’s debut album, on which James adds: “This is actually a polished demo from our writing sessions. We plan to hit the studio this summer and record everything from scratch and create a record that makes this version of Hope Castrated sound like lounge jazz! We have eight songs written and a tonne of ideas, so the next few months will be working on those ideas with the view to having a nice pool of songs from which to choose for the album.”

Cage Fight’s members come from a wide range of backgrounds with an endless list of musical influences. But, for this project at least, James tells us his core influences have been the likes of Hatebreed, Terror, Stampin’ Ground, Knuckledust, Strife, Biohazard, Slayer and a dash of Meshuggah. Jon has a more punk and hip-hop leaning, while Nick and Rachel come from more extreme metal backgrounds.

As mentioned in the intro, the band aims to carry messages against injustices in the world. As James explains: “Lyrically we’re inspired by ills in the world right now: from poverty and neo-capitalism, to misogyny and racism. And I guess  more viscerally it’s an outlet for our own personal frustrations over the pandemic, but we are not touching that as a subject. We need to move on!

“Guitar-wise, I’ve been playing seven strings in different tunings for the last 15 years or so. When I got hold of my Ibanez FR six string in standard tuning I rediscovered my love of thrash and hardcore, which got me writing!”

We’re loving the pure aggression of this exciting new band and can’t wait to hear what else Cage Fight have to bring us. In addition to working on their debut album, they’re also actively looking for live opportunities and have already confirmed some, including the Upsurge Festival at New Cross Inn, in London, on 28-30 August. You can also catch them on the free Slay At Home festival livestream event this weekend (18-19 June). And, as James adds, “This is music that needs to be played in sweaty rooms really loud, and we have every intention to do just that.”

You can follow Cage Fight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp and Apple Music.

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