New Band of the Week: Terror Cult

Yorkshire trio Terror Cult have honed a catchy alternative rock meets old school punk sound that fuses engaging vocals with funky guitars, which they describe as “noisy, energetic and honest.”

The Castleford outfit formed in February 2020, after Tate Maloney (vocals, guitars and bass), Daniel Hepworth (guitar) and Alex Wardle (drums) were in a pub and started discussing the possibility of forming a band. Tate already had a few songs written, which formed the basis for a debut EP and playing a few shows across West Yorkshire.

And on the sound they’ve honed since, Tate tells us: “Angry alternative rock marries jazzy punk. If Mac Demarco or King Krule fronted Pixies.”

Our first taste of this is their debut EP Self Titled, which was released at the end of last year. It opens up with the intense Hell and Hatred, which starts with electronic beeps, a building guitar noise, then a funky little bass solo that’s joined by the electronic noise and drums. It explodes into really funky guitars that continue under Tate’s edgy, shouty vocals. That flows into big drawn-out vocals which, the second time around, give way to stabbing guitars and a funky little instrumental section that includes a cheeky organ solo.

That’s followed by the excellent Artbreeder, which opens up with a cool bending guitar lick supported by rolling chords. The chords continue into a verse led by Tate’s engaging vocals that end on more melodic repeats of “But you don’t remember me.” Big fuzzy guitars jump in and support more repeats of “Don’t remember me” then bring the track to a lively ending.

Another chunky guitar riff opens up the final track Snubnose Jesus, which was written about mass shootings. Light vocals jump in and build up to a more intense chorus “Love me ’cause I’m passing through, Who wants to be a widow? Man it’s pointing at you, And all I see, The streets run red.” A second chorus gives way to a funky little high-pitched lick over shouted backing vocals and drops into a quick verse that flows into a big final chorus. Stabbing guitar chords and lively drums then bring the EP to a close.

On the EP, Alex told us: “The reception has been massively positive. Everyone has said positive things and that it’s really creative and well performed. If you haven’t listened yet then I’d say be expecting some fast singalong songs that will make you rethink life with a smile on your face.”

The Terror Cult sound is influenced by a wide range of bands and genres, including old school punk like The Stranglers, Bad Brains and The Clash and 90s alternative bands like Pixies, Dinosaur Jr or Foo Fighters. Tate and Dan are big into the likes of Manic Street Preachers, and Tate also likes modern indie artists like Mild High Club and Trudy And The Romance.

And on what inspires them to write music, Tate tells us: “I get very excited about songs with irregular chord progressions and melodies. That’s songwriters like Elliot Smith and PJ Harvey, or even early Kate Bush. She’s a perfect example of what kind of songwriting I like.

“In terms of lyrical subject matter, I like it when a song sounds happy but the lyrics are dark. We’ve got songs about the Manson murders, domestic abuse, mental illness and so on. To put lyrics about those things in a short-ish alternative rock song with pop sensibilities is so appealing to me for some reason. With that considered, Richey Edwards is a major influence.”

Terror Cult’s debut EP Self Titled is out now. You can also see the band for yourself as they play The Mechanics Theatre in Wakefield supporting Knuckle on Saturday (29 January) and a joint-headliner with Radio Aftermatch at Lending Room in Leeds on 11 February.

You can follow Terror Cult on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube and via their label Philophobia Music on Bandcamp.

Photo credit: Shaun Pugh

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