Exactly two years ago, I wrote about The Wytches' debut album Annabel Dream Reader - a record that certainly lived up to expectations. I also saw them live for the very first time that year, which cemented them as one of my favourite bands. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I craved more.

em>All Your Happy Life was announced in a more low-key fashion than its predecessor; sure, the Brighton trio had been touring a lot (like they always do), even releasing a couple of EPs along the way (2015's Thunder Lizard's Reprieve and this year's Home Recordings), but the prospect of a proper follower to Annabel Dream Reader still seemed like a distant dream. The official announcement of a new full-length came in early July, very quietly and without a single ('C-side' was unveiled later), which left us not knowing what to expect of the new LP.

That being said, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first pressed play on All Your Happy Life; I desperately wanted more of that raw neo-psych-surf-grunge that knocked me around the room and bruised me like I hadn't been bruised in years, but on the other hand I was painfully aware that a band stagnates if it doesn't evolve. All Your Happy Life ended up being a half-surprise; it slightly distances itself from the crude and violent despair of tracks like 'Gravedweller' or 'Burn Out The Bruise', but it isn't so overly polished that it becomes de-characterised either.

Although parallels and comparisons are always the cheapest way of describing your views when you talk about music, the evolution one reads in the Annabel Dream Reader / All Your Happy Life dichotomy sort of echoes a Bleach / In Utero situation: not that the latter is any less violent and visceral, but the way it rips your heart out is quieter yet paradoxically more wicked, for it crawls under your skin in an almost pathological way. This can be heard/felt in tracks such as 'Ghost House', 'Can't Face It', or 'Crest of Death'; the impression one gets is that Annabel Dream Reader was all about hurting yourself, while All Your Happy Life is about hurting your loved one.

Yes, Kristian Bell's remarkable voice is still the centre of all the despair (as is Gianni's always impeccable drumming), but the attacks are much more precise, like knives that are thrown surgically instead of randomly, destroying everything in sight without giving much thought to collateral damage. All Your Happy Life is nearer the heavy metal likes of early Sabbath or even the band's contemporaries Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats; where Annabel Dream Reader was red, purple, and grey, All Your Happy Life is never too far away from any hue of black. It demands your attention, grabbing your head by the hair and forcing you to listen.