In the crushing slog that has been global lockdown, it has been hard for many to tap into a source of strength needed to maintain. Hard though it may be to retrieve it, the strength does exist within all of us. This is the message of “Little Brother”, the new track and video from UK grime-metal band PENGSHUi. The group, with its stripped-back line-up of rapper Illaman, drummer Prav (brother of Foreign Beggars’ PAV4N) and bassist Fatty, has been gaining traction in the music press for its crunchy riffs, frenetic drums and filthy basslines complemented by raging vocals treading the line between grime and metal with uncharacteristic diligence. This track should continue their genre-straddling adventures with gusto.
“Little Brother” ditches some of the digital grime exploits of previous tracks and leans in to the metal, producing something in the vein of System of a Down or One Minute Silence. The trio manage to create a pummeling groove which does a number on your chest-plate, while the vocals switch from a roar to a committed spoken word section as the band alters the intensity levels. The lyrics are centered around the things you would say to your younger self to give them strength through hard times and assure them that success is around the corner. The main refrain of “Hey little brother, reach up and stand with me” is an inspirational rallying call to the disenfranchised. Illaman elaborates in the verse.
“Let them look and see, I won’t run and flee
I am free, I’m a demon and the world will laugh at me
Hear me speak, hear me scream
I’m that thing you feel so deep
I’m your brother and I love ya and your pain is part of me”
An emotional core is something lacking in a lot of music of this type, as it tends to tip the bro-ometer more often than not, so it’s good to see the genre exploring new ground, unafraid to use a pulverising beat to spread a positive message of hope and fortitude. This is a refreshing change and a positive omen for music in general, one which truly and finally consigns Fred Durst and his fitteds to the bin of past toxic metal masculinity forever. Buy their 2020 debut album here and stay tuned for more bruising melancholy.