Monday, 28 November 2016

Heriot - World Collapse EP


Tracklist:-

1. Myrr
2. China Lake
3. Kleptocracy
4. World Collapse

I don't know a great deal about Swindon, apart from that they have a football team. Now I find you they have a pretty decent music scene too. It turns out that Eternal Lord came from Swindon as well as The Argent Dawn, so Heriot's got pretty big shoes to fill. This hardcore/doom trio released their debut EP exactly a month ago now and with a slot at Bloodstock already under their belts, they're looking to build momentum into 2017. The EP has been released via Slow God Records and the band themselves.

Heriot plays angry and heavy hardcore, with a slow and gloomy undercurrent. It’s good to hear a UK band taking on the more extreme end of hardcore again and EP opener Myrr is definitely.a winner in my book. There’s more to this trio’s music than just ‘core of course, with plenty of sludge-filled atmosphere. They show their more angular side on China Lake, which is filled with great riffs and deeps roars. There’s some beatdown poking through the murk as well, but it doesn’t overpower the song. Kleptocracy is the perfect way to wash those Monday blues out of your system. There’s a spacey feel to the first half of the song, while the second is just pure slow-mosh. Their ability to craft intense atmosphere is accentuated on the closing title-track. It paints a grim picture of the world in which we currently live and takes their doom-laden sound to a more than logical conclusion. Heriot ain’t messing about and I’m glad. They are the best soundtrack for the end of a year that’s left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. They should be heralded and applauded for that. Awesome indeed.

You can stream and download "World Collapse" below:-



Physical copies can be purchased from Heriot here - http://heriotuk.bigcartel.com.

Heriot Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HERIOTUK
Slow God Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/slowgodrecords/

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Coliseum/Doomriders - Not Of This World 7" (Reissue)


Tracklist:-

1. Coliseum - Am I Demon
2. Doomriders - Possession

Cult US record label Magic Bullet are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary and as part of those celebrations they're putting out a number of special releases. A reissue of the 2005 Danzig tribute split featuring Coliseum and Doomriders is one of those releases (it was actually officially released last week) . Featuring brand new artwork by Florian Bertmer, this 7" contains one song from each band. This series by Magic Bullet is their way of giving something back to the band and musicians that inspired them and also to the fans that have supported them along the way. 

Readers here should be familiar with both Coliseum and Doomriders. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that both bands were influenced by Danzig. Coliseum’s version of Am I Demon is a gloriously noisy, groovy affair. Taking from their punk/stoner roots and adding horror-addled rock n roll for good measure, in a way that Danzig would appreciate. Doomriders take on Possession with off-kilter, noise-rock vibes aplenty. There’s a lot of old-school punk rock swagger in their rendition too. A beer swilling, chain smoking two-song tribute to one of punk rock’s biggest bands is reason enough to pick up a copy of this.

You can stream and purchase the 7" directly from Magic Bullet Records below:-



Coliseum Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/coliseumsoundsystem
Doomriders Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DOOMRIDERS
Magic Bullet Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/magicbulletrecords

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Gatecreeper - Sonoran Depravation


Tracklist:-

1. Craving Flesh
2. Sterilized
3. Desperation
4. Rotting As One
5. Stronghold
6. Patriarchal Grip
7. Lost Forever
8. Flamethrower
9. Grotesque Operations

It's great to see band's that you've reviewed in the past, when they were on their first demo/EP, getting  noticed and going onto bigger things. That's what's happened to Arizona's Gatecreeper. I was lucky enough to be able to review their debut self-titled EP back in 2014 and since then they've released three split records and have been snapped up by Relapse Records, which has culminated in the release of their debut full-length. They're playing Power Of The Riff in L.A. in December, supporting the mighty Neurosis. The death metal housed within this record has been getting rave reviews too, so I'm not gonna waste any more time writing this intro...

It seems as though Gatekeeper has taken on a whole new level of heavy. Craving Flesh opens "Sonoran Depravation" with old-school blasts, crushing guitars and low-growls that come straight from the pit of the stomach (or hell depending on your persuasion). There’s a martial industrial thing going on during Sterilized, which seems kind of apt considering the title. It’s label with groove during the opening bars before giving way to pit-inducing hardcore. The mid-paced tempo doesn’t even dilute it. Thankfully though, you don’t have to wait long for something altogether faster, Desperation sees Gatecreeper taking their death/grind peers head-on and winning thanks to menacing lead riffs and a stench of Death (the band). I was bowled over when I first head Noisem’s debut album and while Gatekeeper come from a less thrashy angle, the feeling is still the same when listening to this. Rotting As One is the sort of the song that will put an evil grin on your face and a glint in your eye. Everything just gets heavier on Stronghold, though I’m not sure how that’s possible. The twin-guitar harmonies give a nice nod to heavy metal’s past as well. The Sonoran Desert is a pretty inhospitable place and that must have surely provided some inspiration for Patriarchal Grip. It’s creeping riffs and squalid feedback are all too nightmarish. The whirlwind that grows out of it is equally as horrid, with ridiculous double-bass drumming and buzzsaw-guitars. It’s hard to images being Lost Forever, but you’ll catch a glimpse of the madness that will engulf you if you do by listening to the song. It’s a modern masterpiece of heavy precision. If Metallica were to replace James Hetfield with Jeff Walker from Carcass, what’s created may sound something like Flamethrower. As cheesy as that statement may sound, it’s not too inaccurate given the thrash-like overtones of the song. Gatecreeper doesn’t take their foot off the gas on closing song Grotesque Operations either. They hammer their point home with power and aggression, as well as a whole lot of atmosphere. It’s not often that a band unleashes and debut full-length with this kind of power and impact. Gatekeeper deserves all the praise they are getting and more. No posing or posturing here, just straight-up riff worship and heavy times.

Stream "Sonoran Depravation" and grab it digitally, on cd and on vinyl below:-



Gatecreeper Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper/
Relapse Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Monday, 21 November 2016

Light The Skies - Human EP


Tracklist:-

1. Animals
2. Distractions
3. Acclimate
4. Looking Back
5. Ourselves
6. Distance

The current crop of UK metal/hardcore bands keeps growing. Birmingham (UK) quartet Light The Skies released their second EP "Human" in October.  They cut their teeth playing alongside many of their peers on stages around the UK since they formed in 2013. By the way, don't be too worried about that "Parental Advisory" sticker, they're not bringing back nu-metal!


Light The Skies kick off with some heavy hardcore on opening track Animals, but it’s their clean vocals that set them apart from their peers. There’s an unwillingness to play by the usual blueprint and their rhythms and instrumentation stays on the right side of djent. They take cues from Mallory Knox during Distractions and will no doubt have strong crossover appeal, thanks to melody they employ. It’s certainly slickly produced, even if they rely slightly on electronic effects. Acclimate takes post-hardcore and gives it yet another modern twist. It’s really catchy. I’m a sucker for the old-school, but I realise that times change and god knows there’s been enough change in this scene in recent years. There’s a organic live vocal sound present on Looking Back, which creeps through during the initial verse, coupled with heavy riffs and some gang-style vocal harmonies make it pretty exhilarating. They lay their pop-sensibilities bare on acoustic number Ourselves, though it’s got subtle nods to Incubus within it’s time-signatures. They end “Human” with probably the best song on the EP. Distance is really well-written and it’s pop-punk edge makes it really listenable. Light The Skies are a lot more original than I was expecting them to be and the variation that’s achieved here is definitely key to that. They are destined for better things if they continue in their vein. 

You can find out more about Light The Skies, as well as watch their videos and pick up merch via their website - http://www.lighttheskiesuk.com.

Light The Skies Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LightTheSkiesUk/

Friday, 18 November 2016

Junior Bruce - Endless Descent


Tracklist:-

1. Lapis Philosophorum
2. Lion's Teeth
3. Thirteen Zeros
4. Of The Deep
5. Of The Earth
6. The Worthless Ones
7. Interlude
8. Night Hag
9. Lesser Key
10. Endless Descent

The cold is taking hold here and I'm full of food and beer, to keep myself warm of course! Talking of keeping warm, Floridian heavy band Junior Bruce has a new record out. I say warm because staring at the cover art is like staring into hell itself. "Endless Descent" is currently available digitally via the band but it's due out shortly on vinyl via A389 Recordings. Enjoy!

Instantly this album makes me think about all of the awesome gigs I’ve been too. Opener Lapis Philosophorum seems like it’s borrowing from the likes of Crowbar and Down but it’s oh so much more than that. Junior Bruce is one of those bands that can pull this sound off without it sounding cliche. There are swathes of psychedelia and heavy metal flowing through it and that’s fine with me. There’s blasts aplenty on Lion’s Teeth, but not the sort that will turn you off. They keep the pace high and the groove flowing. It’s also the song in which their lead work shines. Musically they’re on a higher plane than the aforementioned bands though. Thirteen Zeros is full of heavy metal flourishes and nods to the old-school. They do atmosphere too, like at the beginning of Of The Deep. What follows is heavy as hell and so much fun. The war fuzziness you feel when listening to Of The Earth is matched it’s guitar sound. The off-time nature of The Worthless Ones is subtle yet as the song progresses, it takes over and buries itself in your head. Musically, there’s not a huge amount of melody going on in the verses but who cares really. If you can’t head-bang and groove along to it then there’s something wrong with you. The feedback that closes it out flows into Interlude, with it’s strangely mystical guitar melodies. Night Hag is a slow-burn that paints a picture. The concept of this record is about a person trying to rescue somebody they love from an abyss full of demons that ends up consuming them (or something along those lines anyway) and this song seems to drag you into said abyss. After that Lesser Key seems almost uplifting with it’s more up-tempo pace. Junior Bruce calls time with the restrained yet extremely bass-heavy title-track, feedback and all. it takes their doom-influence and turns it up x100. It’s a huge ending to the record and well worth waiting for. It seems as though it’s all been leading up to this point for Junior Bruce and with “Endless Descent”, their time has come. You will not be disappointed with this. 

You can steam and purchase "Endless Descent" as a digital download here:-



Keep you eyes peeled for new of the vinyl release via both JB's and A389's Facebook pages below:-

Junior Bruce Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/juniorbrucerocks
A389 Recordings Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/a389recordings

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Hamferd - Evst


Tracklist:-

1. Evst
2. Deydir Vardar
3. Vid Teimum Kvirru Grau
4. At Jarda Tey Elskadu
5. Sinnisloysi
6. Ytst

With so many bands releasing new music, with PR companies that have global reach and people that are better connected that ever thanks to the Internet and social media, it's not easy for bands from less populous countries to get their music out to new listeners. That's certainly the case for Faroese doom/death band Hamferd. Their album "Evst" was released in 2013 and their label TUTL Records is still on a mission to get it out there, hence this review. Hamferd started life in 2008. They released their debut EP "Vilst Er Siesta Fet" in 2010 and performed at Wacken Open Air two years later, due to winning the Wacken Metal Battle competition that year. They are currently in the process of writing a new record. 

The dramatic atmosphere of album opener Evst is clearly influenced by the landscape around Hamferd. The song’s mixture of low-growls, melodic leads and majestic clean vocals certainly makes you pay attention. It’s not just a run-of-the-mill doom/death record, that’s for sure. The lyrics are also in their native tongue, which further adds to their mystique and charm. Deydir Vardar has elements of the solitary doom of bands like Sentenced and Moonspell, mixed with more traditional layers. It’s quieter verses make the clean vocals stand out even more and at times they seem more operatic during the chorus. It would have been a special moment seeing Hamferd live at Wacken and when listening to their doom/death, you can almost picture it. Vid Teimum Kvirru Grau’s lengthy instrumental intro gives way to song with great ceremony and bombast. I am taken a back by this record. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first but even only three songs in, I’m in awe of what Hamferd has created. As the album progresses it becomes more mournful and even peaceful at times. At Jarda Tey Elskadu is semi-acoustic and is incredibly haunting as a result. It seamlessly flows into penultimate song Sinnisloysi, which is resplendent with orchestral strings. The percussion and guitars that sit above them are super heavy, as are the deathly growls and tortured screams. The female vocals that adorn the song sound like a kind of scary siren, beckoning seamen and their boats closer to the rocks! Album closer Ytst promises to justify it’s ten+ minute length. It starts off in a measured way, but there’s a sense of anticipation flowing through it. When the full band kicks in that anticipation finally overflows. Piano is heard for the first time here and all of Hamferd’s many elements come together to create something truly special. I guess “special” is quite a pertinent word for this record because it’ll blow you away. Its crazy to think that there are hidden gems like Hamferd all over the globe, but somehow many of them get missed. This isn’t one of those occasions though and this band is worthy of much greater things. 

You can view the video for Deydir Vardar and hear more from Hamferd via their website - http://www.hamferd.com

TUTL Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tutlrecords

Recollection: Alex (Miss The Stars Blog/Records/Fest)


I'm so happy to be able to bring you the second instalment of "Recollection" so soon after the first. I've been blown a way by how positively it's been received and am already sorting a third. I really want to keep this going. Today's instalment comes from Alex, who's behind the (We Built The World And) Miss The Stars blog as well as Miss The Stars Records and Miss The Stars Fest in Berlin. He's written about his ten favourite records below:-


Danse Macabre - 'die Kritik ist keine Leidenschaft des Kopfes"
A record that changed my life and it's still my favourite screamo record of all time. DM killed it in every single way.


Antitainment – "Nach der Kippe Pogo?!"
11 songs of weird, fast, well-written and arranged Nintendo-hardcore-Casio-metal-punk. A hybrid that will leave you speechless.


The Get Up Kids - "Four Minute Mile"
Second wave screamo at its best – every damn song is a hit. What more could you want, what more could you ask for?“


Captain Planet – "Wasser kommt. Wasser geht."
Probably the record I've listened the most. Moving and intense punk rock from Germany.


Fall of Efrafa – "Inle"
Everything FOE related (Light Bearer, Archivist…) sounds amazing. “Inle” is my personal quintessence of post-metal. Republic Of Heaven , Woundwort are such crushing songs – just stunning.


Infest - "No Man's Slave"
I love Totalitär, Dropdead, Charles Bronson, Spazz and so on from the bottom of my heart but nothing beats this record - It's absolute flawless. Fast, raw and heavy as hell.


Jet Black – "The Dead End"
The reason why I've named my blog/records/fest “We built the world and miss the stars” - it's a quote from a song called 48h. This record is full of screamo-classics. Forever in my heart.


Converge – "Jane Doe"
Classic hardcore record that probably everyone knows haha. It's a hit-record from front to back – with highly emotional lyrics and pissed off tunes/vocals. Legendary.


Protest The Hero – "Kezia"
"Kezia" is somehow special to me – got a kinda indescribable love for this record. It's super catchy, highly melodic and all in all a great concept record.


A Fire Inside - "The Art of Drowning"

The Lost Souls, Ever and a Day, Morningstar - it's just a perfect punk record and AFI in general will always have a place in my heart.

I just want to say thanks to Alex for taking the time to write about his favourite albums. I've put links below so you can check out his blog, label and the festival he's involved with (which, looks amazing!):-

Miss The Stars Blog - http://www.missthestars.com
Miss The Stars Records - http://www.missthestars-records.com
Miss The Stars Bandcamp - https://missthestars.bandcamp.com
Miss The Stars Fest - http://www.missthestars-fest.com
Miss The Stars Blog Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsblog
Miss The Stars Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsrecords
Miss The Stars Fest Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsfest

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Gillian Carter/Coma Regalia - Split 6"


Tracklist:-

1. Gillian Carter - The Novelty Of Joy
2. Coma Regalia - The King Of Slings

This is a brilliant little split record. Released in September via Middle-Man Records, Fake Crab Records and Time As A Color, it's possibly one of the shortest splits I've reviewed. The record itself is translucent neon green (there's also a red version), with a centre sticker featuring the members of both bands posing in a beach shot and a painted b-side. The shot was recreated on the record's cover with their heads stuck on different bodies and inside there's two baseball cards featuring the lyrics, band info and credits. Such a cool idea. 

Both Gillian Carter and Coma Regalia are extremely well respected and getting to hear them both on the same release is quite something. Gillian Carter’s addition The Novelty Of Joy is sixty seconds of beautifully chaotic yet melodic screamo. The King Of Slings takes the hardcore that Coma Regalia is known for and injects it with plenty of punk. Obviously a 6” vinyl release is always going to have pretty obvious limitations but when it’s this cool and the music is spot on, what does it matter. 

Stream it here:-



Buy copies from the labels below:-

Middle-Man Records - http://middlemanrecords.storenvy.com
Fake Crab Records - http://fakecrab.storenvy.com/collections
Time As A Color - http://timeasacolor.com/shop/

Gillian Carter Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/gilliancarterofficial
Coma Regalia Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/comaregalia
Middle-Man Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/middlemanrecords
Fake Crab Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/fakecrabrecords
Time As A Color Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor

Vinyl Futures: Where Next?


Last night I posted on social media about a couple of record pre-orders I'd picked up Boss Tuneage Records. I posted about it because the pre-orders were part of Boss Tuneage's "Made To Order" series, where they only press the amount of copies that have been ordered. I thought this approach was pretty clever from the label an it got me thinking about whether or not it could be way forward for bands and labels with limited funds and whether it might help to solve pressing plant capacity issues and release time delays.

Independent labels and bands alike will tell you that there's a shortage of pressing plants, which is indeed true. The so-called "vinyl resurgence" has meant that pressing plants are struggling to cope with demand and thanks to the shambles know as "Record Store Day" many smaller labels are seeing their orders pushed down the list and delayed horribly due to the volumes demanded by major labels.

This creates an issue because a lot of smaller labels and bands don't have the income to invest in a run of records, that they then have to wait two-three months for to be pressed and then are stuck with dilemma of whether to start pre-orders so soon or risk not receiving a return on their investment or income to help with other expenses.

For a single label or band wanting to release 300-500 records, they're looking at a significant financial outlay. One way that some bands have been raising funds is through the use of Crowd-funding. However; it isn't viewed by many as a popular way to buy records and in nature it also leads to delays in people getting the finished product, because usually a band wants to reach a set target financially before they send a release to press.

This is where I think Boss Tuneage's "Made To Order" model is quite an innovative solution. They put a release up for sale online for a set period. Once that period is up they count up the total orders, send the record to press and then send the finished product out. There are no represses and they know exactly what their financial outlay will be before they start. It's more effective for a label to do this than say A) press such a small number of records that they sell out so fast, then command a ridiculous price online later on or B) press too many in the hope that they'll sell, only to be unable to break even and be left with too many records that take up space.

I'd be really interested in hearing your views on this issue, whether you run a label, are in a band or are just a fan that buys records. Thanks for reading.

Boss Tuneage Records Store - http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com
Boss Tuneage Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Boss-Tuneage-Records

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Seltar - Declaración MMXV


Tracklist:-

1. Gloria Antigua
2. En Rostros De Lobo

I'm starting to get pretty excited about my week of next week. I'll hopefully be able to dedicate more time to this blog and catch up with e-mails etc (in between bouts of DIY). Before that though, I wanted to put my energy into listening to something new and I stumbled across solo black metal band Seltar while scanning my inbox. it turns out that German label Heather Tribes Records has released a tape featuring this EP and Seltar's following full-length "Are Teike" on tape. Both were previously self-released in 2015. I've decided to split that release in half, reviewing the EP this evening and then following up with the full-length next week. I don't know a huge amount about Seltar (as the sole member remains very secretive); however, the band was formed in 2015 and takes influence from the Iberian language and heritage, normally found in Spain and Portugal.

"Declaración MMXV" begins with chilling and isolated guitar melodies on Gloria Antigua, before settling alongside spacey ambience. When the music gets heavier it regales the likes of Twilight Fauna, Caina (R.I.P) and Wolves In The Throne Room in various ways. The soundscape created is huge and the screams of sole-member Invierno sit deep in the mix, allowing the instrumentation to take centre stage. This is ambient black metal at it’s most pure, without silly Satanic pretence. Second song En Rostros De Lobo is equally as breathtaking. It further shows how good both the composition and production are on this release. It certainly doesn’t sound like it’s the work of just one person. The melodies that are present conjure images of being stop atop a snow-covered mountain with nothing around except sky, land and tranquillity. There’s not much more to say about this other than that it’s hard to find peace in extreme music for many, but here you’ll find it. Great band and a great find.

You can stream and download "Declaración MMXV" below:-



The tape version of this and full-length "Are Teike" can also be purchased above.

Seltar Metal Archives - http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Seltar
Heathen Tribes Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heathentribes/