Edinburgh multi-instrumentalist Tommy Concrete has been a prolific devotee of the UK’s metal scene for some time now, featuring in bands like The Exploited, Jackal-Headed Guard Of The Dead and Man Of The Hour as well as launching a solo career back in the early 2000s. The versatile artist has released six albums thus far, with his seventh, Unrelaxed 2, acting as a follow-up to 2018’s Unrelaxed. Like his other works, it is a dynamic album, most easily labelled under “progressive metal”, a fair descriptor for a style that jumps between prog, blackened doom, thrash, hard rock and more with reckless abandon. This time around, the musician is tackling an issue with strong personal resonance, with themes of neurodiversity, ableism and mental health empowerment prevailing throughout.
“Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice about disabled folk,” he explains. “Internalised ableism is a form of self-hatred people can inadvertently have for themselves when they succumb to the pressures of living within an ableist society, workplace, family unit or music scene.”
“I was diagnosed as autistic in 2015 and was at the time depressed about this. I was patronised and looked down on by the majority, and for a while was down on myself. Then I discovered the neurodiversity movement and became enlightened and empowered as I experienced an awakening. It was apparent to me that I had been suffering, not from being autistic, but from internalised ableism that had been surrounding me my entire life. I became empowered by the movement and ultimately politicised as an individual and an artist.”
Check out this glorious new full-length, which drops tomorrow through Trepanation Recordings, in full below.
Unrelaxed 2 is out tomorrow on Trepanation Recordings. Click here to order.
Words: George Parr