WORDS : SEAN HUBBARD
Below The Neck is Scotland’s latest contribution to modern heavy music. The fantastic name came about from a conversation about “rules for when throwing limbs in the pit and someone mentioned that anything below the neck would be fine.” This is a band who make sure that there are plenty of people throwing limbs below the neck in the pit, with their energetic live shows drawing comparison with chaos-creators like Heck, The Armed and The Dillinger Escape Plan – so this is a band who thrive in the live environment.
Unfortunately for them however with the current global situation meaning that live shows are cancelled for the foreseeable future there is little chance for audiences to be put in danger of swinging guitars, and instead the band are focussed on creating new music. Guitarist Conor explains how “since we can’t be meeting up and practicing we have just been trying to write as much as possible. To me the lockdown has been a very good opportunity in a way to fully focus on writing and nothing else.”
we don’t feel that we really embody what current day “Metalcore” is to a lot of people. We don’t have the harsh verse vocalist and the clean chorus vocalist, we don’t use Kemper Amps to have the same tone as everyone else etc., we don’t have backing tracks throughout every track
Even before this period of sustained writing the Scots had released two recent singles; ‘Fake’ and ‘Flashing Lights,’ however they say that these are just stand-alone singles. “Our next release will be something bigger,” Conor revealed. Drummer Finn unveiled the fact that “we are going to be recording a new EP later this year (should all go to plan), and we are excited because this is going to be a big step up in terms of working with someone who has produced and recorded some of the best albums to come out of the UK over the past couple of years.” The plan is for this to be released in 2021, but as the world is pretty unpredictable at the moment there is always the chance that this could be pushed back.
The band self-describe as metallic hardcore, which they say is because “we don’t feel that we really embody what current day “Metalcore” is to a lot of people. We don’t have the harsh verse vocalist and the clean chorus vocalist, we don’t use Kemper Amps to have the same tone as everyone else etc., we don’t have backing tracks throughout every track.” They feel that metalcore has lost the identity it had previously, with bands like Poison The Well and Misery Signals serving as major influences to them. Furthermore Below The Neck use the term metallic hardcore because of their roots in the hardcore scene – the band formed because of seeing each other at various shows, and guitarist Rory feels that “Our music takes inspiration from so many genres that we all listen to, but to me our music will always have its roots in hardcore.”
every song has a personal meaning and when I perform the songs I really want people to feel what I have to say
Most of the band cited Counterparts as one of their dream bands to tour with, and that inspiration is clear in vocalist Thomas’ lyrics as “a lot of the lyricism is very real in the sense that it’s based on life experiences, every song has a personal meaning and when I perform the songs I really want people to feel what I have to say.” This writing process is truly introspective too, with Thomas revealing “I write a lot about mental health and my own first-hand experiences with it, I’m a big advocate for men’s mental health which I don’t feel is talked about enough and music allows me to get out everything that I bottle up.”The future of Scottish heavy music is in good hands with Below The Neck, and they feel that there are a lot of overlooked Scottish bands, and they champion several of their contemporaries, imploring people to check out “Bitterwood… Vent, Null, Revolve, Kakihara, Slept On, Lashing Out, Afterburn, Kingpin… the list really goes on.” Sure enough Below The Neck are part of an underground movement across the border that is a breeding ground for fantastic new bands.