2nd August 2024 will see the return of Barbarian Hermit, Manchester’s leading purveyors of groove laden, stoner/doom metal. 

Released on APF Records ‘Mean Sugar’ may just be the heaviest ever tribute to Northern life. Frontman Simon Scarlett comments,

“The album is about what we know, and that is the bitter-sweetness of growing up in a northern town. It’s a crude representation of what it is to be us these past few years: Lads catapulted against our will into manhood, at a time when everything is changing, and yet here we stay under the comforting and watchful shadow of the Pennine hills.

The north is an invigorating place, there’s a post-industrial beauty here unlike anywhere else. It’s also a tough place, precarious and on the edge. Sometimes we can feel powerless and unheard; our response to this, is to pick up guitars, make noise and hammer down a punishing rhythm.”

Written over a 3 year period ‘Mean Sugar’ is a cathartic creation, set against a back-drop that has seen people endure global pandemic, endless political turmoil, a cost of living crisis and war. During these times often the best coping mechanism is to go into a room with your friends and focus your energy on playing some very heavy and loud music. 

Recorded by Joe Clayton at No Studio and mastered by Chris Fielding (Foel Studios), the album sees the return of original vocalist Simon Scarlett who helped craft the band’s debut ‘One’ EP, originally released in 2016 (and reissued on APF Records in 2021). First single ’Stitched Up’ was according to the band,  “one of the first songs we wrote as a full band after Si rejoined and it was one of those where everything clicks and it almost writes itself. It just fell out of us. It features not only one of the catchiest riffs we’ve ever written but also one of the heaviest and most disrespectful.  Lyrically the track is about perseverance. We are surrounded by disruption, things that trip us up, make us lose sleep and neglect our own fulfilment.”

Simon rejoining during lockdown in 2020 is marked as a real turning point for the band with guitarist Adam Robertshaw stating, “It’s been an incredible journey, working together to create this new album. Long time fans will recognise his trademark bellow from the EP ‘One’ he recorded with us back in the day, which was recorded in a very rough, DIY fashion. While ‘One’ certainly isn’t without its charm, we can’t wait for folk to hear what he can do when given a proper studio to work in.”

While Simon adds, “This new album, “Mean Sugar” picks up where we left off in 2016, each track is a journey, it’s all got doom and stoner vibes, but it’s still heavy and full of stonking riffs, some bits are challenging and uneasy, but we kept in the groove. 

My hope is that when people hear this album, they’ll hear the energy of five, working northern men, in a way they’ve never heard before. We wanted to write something that was earnest and sincere to all our diverse musical tastes, but also side-steps what our peers in doom, stoner and sludge acts are doing so well. We didn’t want any obvious comparison that could be made with other bands.”

Since the release of their debut album ‘Solitude And Savagery’ in 2018 the band have gone on to perform at the likes of Bloodstock Festival twice, Doomlines and Riffolution Festival, as well as playing alongside Green Lung, Crowbar, PIJN, Boss Keloid, and Raging Speedhorn.

Barbarian Hermit will host their album launch show at Manchester’s, Rebellion on 3rd August with support from Under, Bodach and Shred Dibnah.

‘Mean Sugar’ is released on 2nd August on CD and limited edition splatter vinyl as well as digitally. Pre-order now:

Barbarian Hermit are:

Mike Regan (guitars), Adam Robertshaw (guitars), Rob Sutcliffe (bass), Gareth Manning (drums), Simon Scarlett (vocals).

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