Need some new musical sustenance while you’re staying home and staying safe? Feeling like you need to open your ears to something new? We’ve been in touch with musicians far and wide to hear what’s keeping them sane during these challenging times.

First up is James McBain, the multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind Scottish blackened speed metal thrash punks Hellripper. From goth to proto-thrash, punk to trad metal, you’ll find some dark gems in his collection.

Here’s James with the lowdown on his lockdown…

Type O Negative – Dead Again (Roadrunner Records, 2007)

My personal favourite Type O album, a very fitting swansong that sound-wise takes from all periods of their career. You’ve got thrashier parts like the debut, some doomier parts reminiscent of Bloody Kisses and some heavily layered atmospheric parts reminiscent of October Rust, but with an even bigger Beatles influence than is usually present.

Midnight – Rebirth by Blasphemy (Metal Blade, 2020)

Probably my favourite album so far of 2020. Black rock ‘n’ roll!

Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae/Proselytes (Caligari Records, 2017)

Really cool sounding post-punk that kind of reminds me of the Beastmilk demos. Very dark, very catchy and with a hint of black metal in the sound.

Devil Master – Satan Spits on Children of Light (Relapse Records, 2019)

Metalpunk with quite a unique sound and one of my favourites from last year. A fucked-up mix of Japanese D-Beat, deathrock and black metal all wrapped up in its own murky atmosphere.

Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? (Capitol Records, 1986)

Megadeth’s best work in my opinion, it manages to balance the brutality and aggression with some great melodies. The guitar work on this album is just too good with riffs for days… and so many killer solos! 

Whipstriker – Merciless Artillery (Hell’s Headbangers Records, 2018)

Whipstriker have always been a favourite of mine and I think their latest album Merciless Artillery is their best work yet. I think there is a bit more of a NWOBHM influence present on this album as opposed to the crust sound of the previous material. There are some cool guitar leads here!

Code – Resplendent Grotesque (Tabu Recordings, 2009)

My favourite black metal album of all-time. It’s progressive without being wanky, the contrasting vocal styles keep things sounding fresh and interesting and the overall length is relatively short, so it keeps you wanting more!

Off! – Off! (Vice Records, 2012)

Straight forward punk rock in the vein of Black Flag and Circle Jerks with Keith Morris sounding as great as ever on vocals. Sixteen songs in just under 16 minutes – Perfect!

Steelwing – Reset, Reboot, Redeem (NoiseArt Records, 2015)

An album that I think went under the radar for a lot of people when it was released a couple of years ago. Steelwing are probably my favourite of all the “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal’ bands, and this album brought a darker influence to their sound.

Artillery – By Inheritance (Roadrunner Records, 1990)

Riffs everywhere! Musically, the album reminds me in some places of a more technical Master Of Puppets. Just try playing some of these songs on guitar if you want a challenge!

Check out Hellripper on Bandcamp here.