Own Your Life – This Hate EP

St Neots in Cambridgeshire is famous for being the birthplace of the only British citizen to assassinate a Prime Minister. This dubious distinction belongs to John Bellingham, who shot Spencer Percival in 1812 in the House of Commons lobby. Own Your Life will never reach the level of recognition achieved by their town’s most infamous resident, but that’s because they’re a metallic hardcore band. Everyone is equal in the hardcore scene. Prima donna musicians have no place in a collective movement that prides itself on integrity, but metalheads are most welcome. Indeed, Own Your Life aim their music at a metal audience and direct their message to the aggrieved people of England’s forgotten towns.

An Own Your Life show is a spectacle you cannot miss. Vocalist, Sam Curtin, wears a Terror long-sleeve jersey; Chris Hatch (guitar) sports an Emperor t-shirt; and Tom Cahill (drums) plays like a member of Fear Factory. This may explain why the opening track on their latest EP starts like a sorrowful metal serenade from the latest Bizarrekult or Mork albums. Yes, they have a message, but they place a high level of precision on their musical craft when the chugging Hatebreed riffs enter and Curtin hovers over his microphone with biceps clenched and throat ready to shatter your glass surroundings. You can circle your head and assume the charging bull posture as the circular rhythms throb like steroid injections in your bloodstream. The switch to a faster tempo at the two-minute mark can match anything on the last Soulfly album. Likewise, the change of dynamic to a crunchy metal groove at 03:20 will convince you that your legs can extend by an extra two metres as you stomp through the mosh pit with elbows raised. “Ultor will find you,” is the hex they place on anyone that gets in their way. “Righting wrongs the way they should be/ Nothing taken fucking lightly/ This aint a dream or a memory/ This is real/ You should’ve followed me.” Vengeance is sweet. The Roman god of war (Mars) will deliver justice.

It’s clear that Own Your Life are a band with a deep respect for the finest thrash and death metal artists of the last thirty years. ‘Never Admit Defeat’ uses the positive sentiments of hardcore and prizes fortitude above fatalism. But the dissonant death-doom intro and transition to a devastating Bolt Thrower/Memoriam riff transcend hardcore and aim for the hearts and minds of the Slayer fanbase. The mean beatdown groove in the verse section will transport you back to 1991 when Iggor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura) joined forces with Integrity for their classic Those Who Fear Tomorrow album. Cahill’s footwork at the drum stool is crisp yet menacing in the mix. The non-repeating Gojira middle eight section and Machine Head outro riff will prepare the way for you to windmill through the train station crowds on your way to work.

Closing the EP with the title track is the perfect way to end proceedings. Here, the band jump into the action like last year’s Cage Fight debut with a mix of bludgeoning thrash metal and Terror hardcore. But this is England, and the song is a violent fantasy about twatting the knife-wielding wannabe gangsters that walk the nation’s streets. Of course, the real message is to draw attention to the dangers of knife crime, but you cannot help but smirk when Curtin begins his anthemic verse. “Walking down the road now what is stood before me/ A bunch of little pricks are eye balling me/ Hoods up knives out/ They think they’re gonna come for me.” You might even feel your fist assuming a stabbing motion as the down-picking riffs produce a nervous tension in your body. The forceful palm-muted outro will make your eyes glare with a frenzied bloodlust.

Grime music does not have a monopoly on documenting the mean streets of modern England. It can also come in the form of crispy metal riffs, pounding drums and vexatious scream vocals. Seldom do the blue-collar musicians of this country draw inspiration from technical metal and hardcore to make their voices heard. Own Your Life are an exception to the rule.



Release Date: 10/03/2023

Record Label: Self Released

Standout track: Never Admit Defeat

Suggested Further Listening: Cage Fight – Cage Fight (2022), Integrity – Those Who Fear Tomorrow (1991), Memoriam – Rise to Power (2023)