Massive Wagons — Triggered! (Earache)

For Massive Wagons read massive expectations.

Apart from the slight misstep that was Full Nelson, the NWOCR’s scene leaders have barely put a foot wrong during the last decade.

2020’s Rushonrock Record Of The Week House Of Noise was streets ahead of the opposition.

That it charted at number nine in the UK album charts simply underlined Massive Wagons’ giant strides.

And a decade after dropping spiky debut Fire It Up, there’s an assumption that every new record will eclipse the last.

There’s no room for bang average.

These days a Massive Wagons album must be all killer and no filler.

And anything less than rock and roll excellence will be deemed a disappointing failure by a growing army of demanding fans.

No pressure, then.

Fortunately — and perhaps unsurprisingly — Baz Mills and the boys have risen to the challenge.

Massive Wagons roll on.

And Triggered! represents another major staging post in the journey of this juggernaut of a band.

It’s both their heaviest and most nuanced album to date.

Triggered! is angry and reflective in equal measure.

And it’s a Massive Wagons record that nails the identity and mantra of an emboldened band at the very peak of its powers.

Massive expectations? Met head on.

Mills and Boom!

If House Of Noise doubled down on Mills’ gift for biting social commentary then Triggered! takes his takedowns to the next level.

ASSHOLE manages to marry an infectious melody to some seriously funny wordplay and the opportunity for a fully loaded festival singalong is there for the taking.

When Mills roars ‘You’re in charge Lieutenant Commander/news just in you’re a bit of a wanker’ it’s impossible not to fall about laughing.

But don’t ignore the serious side of a song calling out the bullies and berating the bigots.

And that’s where Massive Wagons have found their niche.

This is a band of like-minded brothers who brutally expose the worst in all of us…with a great big smile on their faces.

Opener Fuck The Haters hardly beats around the bush.

And set closer No Friend Of Mine is yet another unforgiving tune that tells it like it is.

It’s one of the heaviest Wagons’ songs we’ve heard in a while with weighty subject matter to match a ferocious twin guitar assault.

Axemen Adam Thistlethwaite and Stevie Holl are fast becoming the Pete Willis and Steve Clarke of the NWOCR generation.

Remember the days before Def Leppard morphed into enormodome MTV regulars?

That’s what Wagons are beginning to sound like.

In fact Triggered! is a record that straddles the dying embers of punk and the birth of NWOBHM’s riff-fuelled first generation.

It’s typically British, relentlessly bullish and unashamedly boorish.

But songs like Please Stay Calm and Giulia (an ode to the band’s favourite Alfa Romeo perhaps?) provide a timely reminder of the Wagons’ softer side.

And when Mills isn’t taking aim at his latest target, it’s comforting to know the loveable Lancastrian is still an old softy at heart.

While plenty of bands have tried to capture the post-Brexit, post-pandemic, post-Boris mood but Triggered!’s title track does it best of all.

Hell, from start to finish this is an album rich in cynicism, irony and fleeting regret.

But true to form, Massive Wagons perfectly polish the turd that is 2020s Britain.