Irish industrial metallers Sci Fi Scientists will doubtless be called every name under the sun by sheeple everywhere for daring to release this album – and kudos to label Sliptrick, too, for having the independence of mind to publish and damn the mob mentality torpedoes – but I’m very pleased they have.

Alternative views are very important in these days of global conformity, and vocalist Billy Ray Virus and company unpack just about every modern shibboleth on Sars Attacks in a series of stinging assaults on received wisdom in the COVID age. It’s a liberating listen, but, even if you don’t agree with anything they’ve got to say, the real win here is the fact that they’ve come up with a superb album of slick, uber-listenable dance metal into the bargain.

Virus himself has a hint of Mike Patton in his vocal approach, especially on the fabulous standout track Who Is The W.H.O., which sounds like something Pop Will Eat Itself might have had a stab at in the early nineties; Jabs Hetfield‘s axes are nicely grating, especially when juxtaposed by the honking synths of Rick AwakemanMr and Mrs Awakeman will be very proud of their son’s performance here, I’m sure – whilst the rhythm section of Vax Cavalera and Sars Ulrich bring a saucy groove to proceedings that is almost impossible to resist.

Bill Standing At The Gates Of The Lizard King is another highlight, a monumental soundclash that brings names like The Fall and Carter USM to the party alongside Senser and other nineties icons; it’s dated to an extent but the vintage sound is in no way a barrier to enjoyment. This is timeless music in it’s way, simultaneously causing a nostalgic race to the pulse and a very timely jolt of reality. That almost all the acts I’ve mentioned here would be horrified to be associated with the scientists’ heretical message gives an added dollop of exciting frisson to proceedings, and the result is one of the most downright enjoyable albums I’ve heard in a long time.

The album ends on a positive with the band outlining their own blueprint for a brighter future on tracks New Horizon and N.W.O. (Natural World Order), which features some tasty lead work from Hetfield as well, and I honestly believe that anyone who has even a nagging suspicion that what they are being fed by politicians and the media is nothing but snake oil should have a listen to what these guys have to say. Even if you end up thinking they are nothing but tinfoil-hatted nutcases, you owe them the decency to hear them out at least. You might even enjoy the music…

Sars Attacks is out now.