Wot Gorilla? have been math-rock’s best kept secret for the best part of a decade. I’ve been absolutely chomping at the bit to hear a new full length since the Halifax based outfit dropped their superb debut back in 2011. But with a couple of line up changes and real life getting in the way, things have been a bit quiet on the Wot Gorilla? front as of late.
The last thing we heard was a double A single in 2016 which showed off the new three-piece version of the band, complete with new drummer. Although the tracks were their usual frantic brand of math-rock, they also showed a darker, heavier side of the band which we’d only seen glimpses of before. So, with this in mind, I am very excited to have a new EP in my mitts. It may not be that second record I was waiting for, but instead we get five brand new jams to sink our teeth into.
‘Kikuna‘ opens the record and is probably the most bat shit opening 20 seconds of a record ever! A super spiky guitar riff pierces your left ear immediately before bass and drums come to kick the fucking door down with the most brilliantly chaotic beat down you’ll hear this year. It is fucking crushing. It’s perhaps one of the most straight up heavy tracks I’ve heard from this band and it took me about 10 listens before I could move on to the rest of the record, it’s that monstrous!
‘11:11‘ sounds a bit more like the Wot Gorilla? of yore, packing in as many riffs as possible with a more melodic, post-hardcore tinged vibe. Although there is a breakdown about mid way which is pretty nasty, it goes pretty beautiful and epic for a moment, acoustic guitars and all, before descending into this almost prog-metal like section which is chunky, groovy and totally (head) banging. This band are annoyingly clever, each track has so many neat ideas; some act as neat segue ways into the next, others are totally out-there but add to the mad-scientist genius of some of these tunes.
At times, this record can be a little intense and almost a tad brain frying, but I think that is what makes it such an exhilarating listen. I mean, try getting through the first 40 seconds of ‘Watch Out For The Tentacles!‘ without breaking a sweat. What I do like though is that for every minute of madness, you’re always rewarded with a nice little hook or melody or something a little sweet to help soften the blow a bit. I’ve always loved front man Matt’s vocal, it’s kinda got a Glassjaw/Fall Of Troy vibe, which I’m all over. There’s some really soaring vocals on this thing, the melodies on ‘Soak‘ in particular are really quite beautiful, adding to the climactic nature of this unashamedly massive closer.
For the most part, ‘Angel Numbers‘ shows off Wot Gorilla? at their heaviest and boy does it suit them! Although it still has a whole planet’s worth of ideas stuffed into each tune, there is a bit more focus within the song structures which is something I felt was needed with some previous material. Having been a fan of this band from pretty much the start, it’s clear to see how far they have progressed and they seem like they have more of an identity with this new release.
Honestly, this is one of the best math records you will hear this year; totally thrilling, beefy as fuck and full of these awesome little clever bits that give me goosebumps! Wot Gorilla? are the most underrated band in UK math-rock, but with a record like Angel Numbers and the UK Math community being as strong as it is right now, it’s only a matter of time before everyone realises that Wot Gorilla? are one of our strongest assets.