One to watch: Puppy

This London trio are that rare thing: a homegrown metal band with mainstream appeal

British rock hasn’t had a prospect like Puppy for a while: a young(ish), heavy(ish), accessible band who could break out of metal’s bubble and set their sights higher than halfway down the bill at Download festival.

The band formed in 2015 when schoolfriends Jock Norton (vocals, guitar) and Billy Howard (drums) met bass player Will Michael while working in a London bar; the three bonded by playing the soundtrack to cult 80s comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure as they closed up. Having their roots in a daft rock movie explains the appealingly silly retro videos for which the band has become known: on Arabella they appeared on a Knightmare-style game show; last year’s Demons spoofed a Scientology infomercial.

There’s more to the trio than a goofy sense of humour though. Taking the emotive, catchy alt-rock of 90s big-hitters such as Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer, and melding it to the classic metal of Iron Maiden and Metallica, Puppy have a knack for hitting hard – as on recent single Black Hole – in a way that is headbangingly authentic and, whisper it, commercially appealing.

With an upcoming debut album, The Goat, produced and mixed by names behind arena-sized smashes Royal Blood and Foo Fighters, and a gathering-of-the-tribes fanbase that crosses gender, age and genre boundaries, Puppy are that rare thing: a homegrown metal band capable of capturing the mainstream.

Watch the video for Black Hole by Puppy.

The Goat is released on 25 January on Spinefarm Records


Marc Burrows

The GuardianTramp

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