A couple of years ago Off the Hook Music were lucky enough to interview Next Stop Olympus before they took part in a battle of the bands contest in Bristol. This was back in the world that was of course, in those sepia filtered days when such amazing experiences as live music were commonplace. Thinking back on that night from the spring of 2021, as we slowly dip our toes out of lockdown, I can’t help but look forward to the days when concert venues are filled with sweat people black t-shirts, cheap larger and of course, bands like Next Stop Olympus who epitomise everything that is amazing about grass roots music and music as a whole.
They came across as a group of passionate, energetic and talented musicians who had crafted some great metal songs, a band who can do great things in the studio and then belt them out with force on the stage. This view of them has solidified with the release of their most recent EP, Heart, Mind and Hell. It captures everything that I liked about the band from a couple years ago but also shows plenty of growth and development.
Next Stop Olympus are a band that above all else, do two things really well. They are first and foremost a very good metal band who make good use of heavy riffs, pounding drums and throbbing bass. They also have the guttural growl of Conor McEniry and he chews his way through some thoughtful lyrics with a voice that can range from a gravel toothed purr to full on screams and shouts. They are also, catchy as all get out, particularly in the choruses where they normally shift to the cleaner and crisper singing of Harry Ellis. These hooks stick in your head and would not feel out of place in a hypothetical pop rock’s greatest bangers compilation and Next Stop Olympus belt them out with a gusto that would be the envy of many far lighter bands. I am a sucker for any music that can blend things that seemingly should not belong together into a harmonious whole and this is a real strength of Next Stop Olympus. They excel at seamless transitions from brutal, screamed and grinding verses to much cleaner sing along choruses and if this sounds anywhere near your wheelhouse, then I would thoroughly recommend that you check them out.
Heart, Mind and Hell starts with perhaps its weakest track. To bite the hands that feeds has some lovely riffs and the aforementioned catchiness but it just does not quite gain enough momentum to justify its almost five minute play time. My Affliction meanwhile is a much better showcase of the band at their meaningful best and is a fantastic display of what they can do. I would be gushing at length about this track, and its lovely little melodic breakdown, were it not for the stunning finish to the EP in The Ignorance of Us and Don’t let go. These are two excellent tracks with The Ignorance of Us perhaps being the best track on Heart, Mind and Hell and I love the way that all of the elements of Next Stop Olympus’ sound bleed into each other in an epic song about the end of a relationship. Don’t let go, has a more theatrical edge and a grandeur that pushes and probes at some bigger ideas, leaving me hungry to see what future ideas this band might play with.
Earlier effort, Hell to bear is also a really good catchy metal song that will stick in the mind for long after your most recent listen and it is certainly a welcome addition that fits in well with the other tracks. It would also be remis of me not to mention the excellent quality of music videos that you can check out on The Next Stop Olympus YouTube channel. For an unsigned band, doing this off their own backs, the quality is seriously impressive. And I think that that pervious statement sums up the band as a whole. Everything with them is excellent from the music, the performance, the production and their live output. If they sound like something that you might enjoy then please look them up or keep an eye out for any live shows when normality has graced us with a visit once more. You will not be disappointed.
Written by Jimmy Rock