Rating – 4/5
Borstal is the new UKHC project featuring Pierre ‘Pelbu’ Mendivil (Knuckledust), Nick Barker (Brujeria, ex-Cradle Of Filth/Dimmu Borgir/Testament), and members of Dripback and King Of Pigs. A veritable supergroup of legends from across the scene, the group is releasing their first EP ‘At Her Majesty’s Pleasure’, a gritty look at political and social issues through the lens of even grittier hardcore music.
The menacing tone of Pelbu’s East End snarl vocalises the anger and frustration of the streets and reminds us that before grime exploded in recent years, there was indeed a movement and a representation of these views with its roots in hardcore.
Nick Barker’s drumming on the record showcases the versatility that he brings to the table; his background playing all kinds of extreme metal and thrash showcases that frenetic style but executed with clean and sharp precision.
Lyrically, there are scathing attacks on facets of modern society that work against the everyday human on the street and indeed on a global scale; the title of the EP itself is an obviously sarcastic double-edged phrase which refers to either “serving” or being detained in prison indefinitely (at her majesty’s pleasure). There’s clearly no love lost for inherently authoritarian systems on Borstal’s part.
Though veteran musicians, there are no clear signs of slowing on Borstal’s part, the energy on the record is at an all-time high, and indeed their experience and musicality are allowed to shine through. A wonderful and brutal debut from guys who laid the foundations for heavy music and continue to demonstrate why they’re still at the top of their game. The EP ‘At Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ is out now.
Review By Theo Wildgoose