‘A morbid reminder, on the city’s skyline, can’t see justice, in this lifetime’ (Inner City)
From the darkly foreboding instrumental opener, Controversy, you sense that Stingray’s debut full-length will leave no survivors. But nothing quite prepares you for the brilliantly executed brutality that follows. Savagely roared vocals are in barbarous synchronicity with metallic guitars (the opening riff to Trench Demon is utterly immense) and a bludgeoning rhythm section. Searingly heavy groove-laden breakdowns and wildly surging solos ensure that the ferocity never relents. But this is not empty, performative anger, but rather a fiercely visceral denunciation of the malformed priorities that are hollowing out our city.
Lyrically, Stingray deal primarily in apocalyptic, allusive imagery to explore themes of social injustice. The album builds to its utterly crushing finale as it dissects the slow violence inflicted on London’s working-class communities that culminated in the Grenfell Tower fire, and the bleakly predictable attempts of those in power to subsequently deny their culpability.