Thursday, 23 March 2017

V/A - X LP (Time As A Color 10th Anniversary Comp) Review/Stream


Tracklist:-

1. Carson Wells - Same Grave
2. Nebraska - Plug
3. Bail - I World Lost Yonder
4. Lorraine - Club 28
5. Coma Regalia - Nomorewords
6. Duct Hearts - The Sun Downed. And So Did We (Excerpt A)
7. Kumulus - XII
8. Grand Detour - Arbeit & Rhythmus (Live At Little Elephant)
9. Terraformer - Medea

German screamo/emo label Time As A Color and the bands it works with, has been feature a lot on my blog over the last year. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary for the label and to celebrate, they've released a compilation LP featuring nine new songs, from many of the band who have and continue to shape the label. I've featured the likes of Lorraine, Coma Regalia, Duct Hearts, Kumulus and Terraformer before but the other participants of new to the blog, so I'm extremely excited to be able to bring you an early review and a stream of the comp.

It’s been a huge pleasure to be able to write about and listen to the progression of Time As A Color over the past 12+ months. The label typifies the DIY spirit that exists in the screamo/emo/hardcore scene and this comp highlights the creativity and individually that each band has brought to the label. Carson Wells begin with Same Grave, which is very much on the indie side of emo with gorgeous melodic riffs and semi-screamed/spoken/clean vocals. Mid-paced and really listenable. Alongside Carson Wells, Nebraska are another new band for me. They inhabit a bygone era of screamo with Plug. Off-kilter and with vocals that sound as live and as unfiltered as those pre-digital wizardry bands did in the mid to late nineties. There’s a garage-punk feel to Bail’s A World Lost Yonder and (dare I say it) a slight hint of Billy Talent in there too. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, it’s just another one of my misplaced comparisons! The song s great though and pretty damn catchy. There’s more punk attitude about Lorraine on Club 28. Imagine if 80s punk bands like The Clash and Sex Pistols had gone through a My Bloody Valentine phase and you wouldn’t be far off what it sounds like. The mood of the comp changes when Coma Regalia’s emoviolence takes hold on Nomorewords. It’s layered with atmosphere, rage and stellar musicianship. Everything you’ve come to expect from the duo. Duct Hearts has contributed an excerpt from a soon-to-be-released song. The Sun Downed. And So Did We. is the sound of the band maturing and when they release material later this year, it’ll definitely be worth the wait (I can’t and probably shouldn’t say any more than that!). The soothing instrumentals that Kumulus perform are always welcome and XII is no different. Their songs have always been sprawling yet uplifting. There are hints of their heavier side here too. Grand Detour has gone old-school and contributed an unreleased live version of Arbeit & Rhythmus to the comp, which was a great idea. It captures their energy and musical ability really well in instrumental form, which is why it  sounds so good. The comp ends with Medea by Terraformer, who only just recently released a record via the label. The song is a complex yet spacey way to conclude the record and it completes a trio of instrumental songs in brilliant fashion. This comp gives you a aural snapshot of where Time As A Color is at as a label. If you follow the label at all, 2017 is going to be golden year I predict. 

The full comp is up for streaming and pre-order below:-


Time As A Color Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor/

Coma Regalia Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/comaregalia/
Duct Hearts Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ducthearts/

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Quitessenz - To The Gallows


Tracklist:-

1. Zeitgeist
2. Of Majestic Shores
3. The Claws Of Nosferatu
4. Her Spell
5. Sounding The Funeral Bell
6. To The Gallows
7. Endless Night
8. Seth
9. Gloomweaver
10. Cursed By Moonlight

One-man German black/thrash with old-school tendencies you say? Don't mind if I do! Quintessenz is that band (at least on record anyway) and "To The Gallows" is the band's latest full-length. Genozide formed the band in 2010 and subsequently released an demo and an EP in the following two years. The EP "Okkult Metal Spell" was released as a 7" via Evil Spell Records, whom also released the band's debut album "Back To The Kult Of The Tyrants" in 2013. "To The Gallows" was released right at the turn of the new year and is available on both cd and LP.

This is definitely a lot more catchy than I was expecting it to be. Opener Zeitgeist is equal parts Venom and Danzig, with great guitar work and possessed but audible vocals. Great fun already and all played on record by one man. There’s more menacing atmosphere abound on Of Majestic Shores. The song is more progressive but it still contains the infectious bounce of the album opener. The production is incredibly strong for a solo effort as well, helping the solos to really stand out. “To The Gallows” is definitely a diamond in the rough and I wasn’t prepared for it to be this fun to listen to. The Claws Of Nosferatu gallops along at a strong pace and the reverb/echo on the vocals add yet more old-school vibes. No songs on the album are long for the sake of it and there’s no time for mid-paced shenanigans either, just straight-up headbanging mayhem, as demonstrated on Her Spell with it’s extended instrumental passage and continuous blasting. Twin-harmonies are the icing on the cake too. You’d think that with a title like Sounding The Funeral Bell, it would be some kind of slow burning funeral doom song but it so isn’t. It’s very much in keeping with the rest of the record but with added  effects that bring out the horror-punk in the album. The title-track starts with a very telling sampled intro and it’s followed by the most convincing black metal shrieks on the album so far. This song highlights the breadth of Genozide’s musical palette. The band’s lengthiest song is Endless Night but you wouldn’t know it. There’s a lot to be said for heavy metal in it’s purer form, but one you can’t say is that it’s boring! Even the endearing folk-guitar that backs up the vocals during the second half of the song are excellent and lead to a rather dramatic ending. Seth may be named after a long departed Yorkshire soap-opera character, but it’s not beige I tell thee! There’s subtle Middle-Eastern melody going on at times and it remains a thoroughly intense affair. There’s actually a surprising amount of technicality present on “To The Gallows”. Gloomweaver contains a lot amongst it’s frenetic pace. Album closer Cursed By Midnight is like the black/thrash equivalent of skate-punk and could well have graced any Tony Hawk soundtrack back in the day. It’s a fitting way to end the record. Quintessenz is great and “To The Gallows” is well worth getting hold of.

"To The Gallows" isn't currently streaming online with the exception of Youtube, where some songs are available. 

You can buy both cd and LP versions directly from Quintessenz here - http://www.quintessenz.bigcartel.com. They're also available from Evil Spell Records here - https://shop.undercover-records.de/NEW-PRODUCTS_1

Evil Spell Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/underevilspell

Monday, 20 March 2017

What It Means To You: Your Stories (Me - This Noise Is Ours)

I've just got in and I've been sitting reading about releases that are coming out this week via Invisible Oranges and an idea popped into my head for a new feature. I've been lucky enough to get to know (even if it's just via social media) many people from around the world who share the same passion and enthusiasm for punk and metal as I do (in their own way) and I'd kind of like to publish stories about how they started what they do, why and what it means to them. At this point, I should maybe start at home for no other reason than to kick things off.

I started to listen to punk and metal when was getting close to the end of Secondary school at about 14 or 15 years old. My friends at the time listened to bands like Blink-182, Linkin Park and Nickelback (yeah I know) and I naturally gravitated towards that. As time went by (and Kerrang! TV became a thing) I started listening to Slipknot and other heavier bands and reading Rock Sound Magazine religiously, back when it was good. It stayed the same into my late teens when I found Terrorizer magazine and with it heavier bands again. I went to gigs, to Download festival etc and felt myself wanting to discover more. That was when the original blog began. 

I used it as a way to explore the more DIY end of punk and metal, especially the local scene that existed and indeed still exists in Harrogate, where I live. I really had no idea what I was doing when I started but as I got into it and put myself out therea bit more, people started taking a bit of interest. From there I received contact from people abroad and started writing more reviews and interviewing more people. I even had the privilege of writing for a few external sites for a time. I went to more local gigs in Leeds and became friends with like-minded people that way and now This Noise Is Ours has grown bigger than I ever thought it would or even could.

This style of music and everything around it means more to me now than it ever did. I may only write a blog and may not be musical or creative beyond that but I couldn't imaging my life without it now I'm in my 30's. I guess that's why I'm still writing the blog, because I don't want to lose the attachment I've got to the music or the people. Through it and through going to DIY gigs I've felt more accepted than I ever did when I was going through school. It's a passion as much as is it an escape. I've made no secret that if the opportunity ever presented itself, I would quit work and do this full-time (if I could support myself financially) but escaping that, I am just happy existing in my very small speck of the Internet sharing my enthusiasm with like-minded people.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Lago/Calm Hatchery - Split 7"


Tracklist:-

1. Lago - Dominion
2. Calm Hatchery - Distant Pulsation

Went to a beer festival last night and I'm surprisingly okay today. Okay enough to keep plugging away on here in fact. Even if I wasn't, this two-song/two-band slice of 7" brutality would more than wake me up. It was released in December via Battleground Records and Selfmadegod records and features Arizona's Lago and Poland's Calm Hatchery. An unholy duo of US/European death metal it is then!

Lago’s song Dominion is full of atmosphere, which permeates in between the hellish blasts in the opening bars. It’s followed by an utterly barbaric (in a good way) turn of pace and enough menacing guitar melody to back up the deep growls. Typically US in style but not cliched or thin sounding. The production job makes it sound massive. The twin-guitar harmonies late on bring a modern edge to the song and temper the extremity. All in all, I want to hear more from this band. Calm Hatchery are very much kindred spirits on here and their song Distant Pulsation keeps the energy high, while there’s a hint to some of their fellow countrymen in their too. Screaming guitar solos and straight-up neck snapping brutality that doesn’t seem to give in. It’s great to hear the different approaches of both bands on here and it makes you realise that subtle differences actually make a big difference. Both Lago and Calm Hatchery provide tantalising glimpses into their musical minds and future progression. Great split.

You can stream Lago's Dominion and grab the split directly from them here:-



Likewise with Calm Hatchery's Distant Pulsation below:-



The 7" is also available from the labels below:-

Battleground Records - http://www.battlegroundrnr.com/artist/lago
Selfmadegod Records - http://selfmadegod.com/shop/en_US/p/CALM-HATCHERY

Lago Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LagoMetal/
Calm Hatchery Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/calmhatchery
Battleground Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords
Selfmadegod Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Selfmadegod

Friday, 17 March 2017

Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic (Reissue)


Tracklist:-

1. Battle Magic
2. Naked Steel (The Warrior's Sage)
3. A Tale From The Deep Woods
4. Return To The Praesidium Of Ys
5. Crystal Shards
6. The Dark Liege Of Chaos Is Unleashed At The Ensorcelled Shrine Of A'zura Kai (The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire: Part II)
7. When Rides The Scion Of The Storms
8. Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus
9. Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampire Hunter)
10. And Atlantis Falls...

I'm making a concerted effort to focus on what's already been released in 2017, while continuing to try and make a dent in my backlog. I'm starting with a band that I've never properly listened to before. Of course, I'm aware of their place within the history of UK black metal, having been in existence for over twenty-five years. Currently on hold, their 1998 full-length 'Battle Magic' has been reissued and re-released by the returning Cacophonous Records, with new artwork by Fantasy artist Martin Hanford, which certainly looks the part.

I haven’t dabbled in the fantasy/battle/symphonic metal realm for a long time now and while it’s wrong on me to describe Bal-Sagoth as any of those things, opener Battle Magic has a lot of in common with those sub-genres. Beyond the synths that provide the symphonic background to Naked Steel (The Warrior’s Sage), there’s also more than a hint of traditional heavy metal and when they do eventually come, the black metal growls stand out beyond the grandeur. Way before bands like Turisas and Alestorm had their day, bands were all the more serious and Bal-Sagoth’s catchiness seems to be there to catch you off guard. A Tale From The Deep Woods is a mix of both bouncing, up-beat orchestration and extreme metal that works because of the band’s conviction. Three songs into ‘Battle Magic’ and I’m not entirely sold on the formula, but I’m not one to be dismissive because of that. The guitar work is definitely something to be admired on here and it works especially well during Return To The Praesidium Of Ys. The keyboard playing of Jonny Maudling brings the fantasy to life on Battle Magic as well. Crystal Shards is another instrumental piece. There are obvious comparisons that could be made between this and the music adorning fantasy computer games, but at least it retains artistic credit due to the band’s history. The Dark Liege (for short) is as grandiose as it’s title, while not being lengthy for the sake of it. In fact there’s a level of urgency to it that’s quite pleasing. The momentum gained from The Dark Liege… carries on into When Rides The Scion Of Storms, though mid-paced sections break up the frivolity a little, as does the brooding mid-section before it starts to build in volume and melody. It’s latter half of is very uplifting. Bal-Sagoth injects Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus with gladiatorial atmosphere, while the song itself is a bit of an epic at nearly nine-minutes. The immediate battery of Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampire Hunter) is a bit of a shock to the senses but nevertheless welcomed. It’s one of the more straightforward songs on ‘Battle Magic’, if you can call Bal-Sagoth straightforward in any way! Closing instrumental And Atlantis Falls… is exactly what’s needed at the end of a challenging album like this. Having given it a full listen, I can fully understand why their fans hold them in such high regard, I’m just not sure that they’re for me. Their status speaks volumes though and for that reason I have a lot of respect for them and what they’re created.

You can here the remastered version of 'Battle Magic' below:-



It's available to purchase digitally from Cacophonous Records above as well as on cd here - http://cacophonous.bigcartel.com/product/bal-sagoth-battle-magic-cd

Bal-Sagoth Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Official.Bal.Sagoth
Cacophonous Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CacophonousRecords

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A Province Of Thay - Atonement


Tracklist:-

1. Atonement
2. Animus
3. Thaymount
4. Dirgesinger

I've been craving post-metal/instrumental soundscapes recently and while going through my record collection I've realised that aside from Year Of No Light, Rosetta and Cult Of Luna, I don't own an awful lot. That got me thinking about similar bands I had to write about and Seattle's A Province Of Thay popped up. "Atonement" is their second EP and came just over three years after their debut EP "The Grieving". They sight some of the above mentioned bands as influences and indeed have even shared the stage with Year Of No Light in the past. I hope their music takes my mind off these stupidly tarte Grapes too!

The title-track to “Atonement” is a lot lighter than I was expecting, with keys, clean singing and melodic soaring guitar. That’s no bad thing though, as it sounds really immersive when blasting out in a room with high ceilings. It’s kinda sprawling and I can see when the shoe gaze tag fits into their music too. The songs on the EP all reach past the 6-minute mark and feature elements of doom and post-metal, as well as being pretty accessible to first time listeners. Animus has a harder edge thanks to an angsty vocal delivery, which at times reminds me to bands like Beloved (US) and The Used. That being said there is definitely an real orchestral feel within the music. Thaymount has an incredibly rousing intro section and the bass-heavy instrumental passage that it reveals is full of atmosphere. That atmosphere carries on throughout the song, which is filled with honest emotion. They weave an interesting collage with closing song Dirgesinger, which definitely feels like a fitting end to the EP. There are further hints of the accessibility I was talking about earlier in the review, as well as a strangely calming finish. This may be a relatively brief review but it says all I think I need to say. The rest should be said by the music itself.

You can stream and purchase "Atonement" digitally below:-



A Province Of Thay Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AProvinceOfThay

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Restive Nation - Murmur (Feat. Dave Lee of Raum Kingdom) Song Stream


This post is going up a little later than I had originally planned but it's a ripper nonetheless. Irish electronic rock/punk band Restive Nation came to my attention thanks to Dave (of post-metal band Raum Kingdom). He wrote to me to let me know about both the band and their new song Murmur, which he provides guest vocals for. I was lucky enough to be able have a pre-listen to the song and was instantly hooked. So much so that I asked if I could provide some press and low and behold here we are.

Murmur is the newest song from Restive Nation and they say it's their darkest to date. There's a stream directly from their soundcloud page below:-


It's a song that takes you back to a bit of a forgotten era when industrial rock was more prevalent but before nu-metal took hold. I hope you like it and don't pay too much attention to my attempt to describe it (as I'm occasionally wide of the mark).

You can find out more about Restive Nation via Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/restivenation/, where there's a link to more of their music through bandcamp.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Noise Trail Immersion - Womb


Tracklist:-

1. Border
2. In Somnis
3. Light Eaters
4. Placenta
5. Womb
6. Organism
7. Hypnagogic
8. Tongueless
9. Birth

There's a train of thought that exists where people believe they can tell a lot about a person based on the music they listen to and the arts that they enjoy. It's none more prevalent than amongst those looking inwards towards heavy music and punk. Excluding the "elitists", we're a pretty open minded bunch but then I suppose it comes with territory, especially when we can find solace and beauty in the most discordant and heavy pieces. This leads me on to Italian black-math band Noise Trail Immersion, who themselves exist in a scene that's amongst the most forward-thinking in the world. They formed in 2013, releasing their "self-titled" album a year later. In November 2016 came "Womb" and with it a wider audience thanks to a physical CD release via Triton's Orbit and a digital release via Moment Of Collapse (Downfall Of Gaia, Dawn Ray'd, Cloud Rat etc). 

With black metal becoming ever more challenging, it’s little wonder that it goes hand in hand with mathcore as genre lines get blurred beyond recognition. Noise Trail Immersion takes energy and influence from much of extreme music and album opener Border is an ambient nightmare with white noise and deep screams enveloping the listener. They break loose properly on In Somnis, which uses dissonant experimental guitar work, progressive time-signatures and subtle hardcore to craft a sound that seeks your full attention. There’s a lot going on throughout “Womb” but somehow NTI doesn’t let their forward march get lost amongst overly lengthy songs. Light Eaters is surprisingly short and because of that it contains more impact. The lead guitar melody belays the technicality of the song and almost become entrancing. The same can be said about Placenta, which has a wall of sound that may remind you of some of the more high profile tech-minded bands currently doing the rounds. That’s not a disparaging comparison though as NTI proves that heaviness can be beautiful without being watered down. The title-track is altogether different, borrowing from the ambience of Border while slowly churning away with haunting noise that fades in and out atop of gentle whispered vocals. It lulls you into a false sense of security before the second half of the album takes hold. After the title-track’s veritable silence, Organism is a bit of a jolt with it’s driving rhythms and furious attack. There’s more of a straightforward feel to the song and even a slight accessibility. Song-writing is often ignored and replaced by a sense of competitiveness amongst technical bands, but here you don’t get that feeling. The jarring guitar that closes Organism spills over onto Hypnagogic, which is a sub two-minute piece of genius. The repeating riff during the song’s first half leads to a pulsating piece filled with instrumentation and vocals in complete orchestral flow. It would be perfect set amongst a backdrop of darkness, smoke and strobes for a full sensory overload. Penultimate song Tongueless is as brutal and as mind-bending as NTI gets. No time for noodling here, just intense battery and musical skill. The crackle that lurks behind the guitar on album closer Birth is endearingly effective. The song itself is an instrumental journey for much of it’s playing time with vocals used sparely. That’s one quality that I’ve noticed when listening to “Womb”. NTI don’t let the vocals overpower the music or the recording itself, making it a truly immersive record. Brilliant.

You can stream "Womb" and purchase it digitally and on CD below:-



Noise Trail Immersion Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NoiseTrailImmersion
Triton's Orbit Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tritonsorbit/
Moment Of Collapse Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/momentofcollapse

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Pettersson - Rift And Seam


Tracklist:-

1. Ben
2. Infirm
3. White Birch
4. Interlude
5. Spiro, Spero
6. Heliobacter
7. All Is Lost
8. Kalk

I think (emphasis on the word think) that Pettersson are the first Austrian band I've featured on here. I'd check that but it would take a long time to establish whether I was correct or not. Anyway, "Rift And Seam" was released in October 2016 and is so far the only release that Pettersson has put out. It was released on black vinyl by no less than 11 labels and is now also available on tape. 

The majority of my record collection seems to made up of screamo/emo releases and this record (sent via Time As A Color) takes pride of place amongst it. Opening song Ben sounds great when it begins, the melodies bouncing off my high living room ceiling. It’s full intricate drumming, guitars and spoken/screamed vocals that provide really tangible emotion. Infirm is gentler and It’s delivery reminds me of Arkless during the verse. It gradually gains volume before Pettersson let the screams take over again, all the while being backed up by swathes of melodic riffs. As you listen to “Rift And Seam” you’ll hear more of the indie-influence that is an integral part of Pettersson’s sound. It’s definitely present during White Birch, which also seems to have a bit of black metal atmosphere flowing through it (the kind that’s present in Dawn Ray’d and the like). Interlude sounds like it’s semi-improvised, which is nice. They hit full stride again on Spiro, Spero and do so with plenty of assured intent. It’s hard to believe that this is their debut record. The off-kilter, loud/quiet dynamics on Heliobacter remind of a lot of the post-hardcore bands that are missing in action now (you know, good ones like Knut and Hopesfall). All Is Lost isn’t the gut-wrenching, world ending ballad that you think it is. It’s heavy yes, but also uplifting. Album closer Kalk is the longest song on “Rift And Seam” and possesses enough anticipation amongst it’s opening bars to justify that. The drum beat is rousing while the single guitar riff that changes pitch and flows into feedback at time is beautiful. Midway through you’re hit with a wall of instrumental sound that is amongst the heaviest on the album. It’s dramatic and at times you think you can hear screamed vocals in the background as it transforms into white noise. Ending with the same lowly riff, it leaves behind only silence and an eerie peace. In a time when people very rarely sit and listen to an album all the way through, in one sitting, Pettersson have managed to write one that simply has to be given your full attention. It’s a product of modern day DIY screamo/emo and yet it has a character all of it’s own. There are few better ways to escape reality that this. Great record from a great band.

You can stream "Rift And Seam" and pick it up as a name-your-price-download below:-



Pettersson Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/petterssonband/

Get vinyl copies from the below labels (tape copies are available from Pettersson):-

I.Corrupt Records - http://icorruptrecords.com/products/12-vinyl
Miss The Stars Records - http://www.missthestars-records.com/12/page/6/
Structures//Agony Records - http://structuresagonyrecords.limitedrun.com/categories/vinyl
My Name Is Jonas Records - http://mynameisjonasrecords.bigcartel.com/
Time As A Color - http://timeasacolor.com/shop/product-category/time-as-a-color-releases/
One Wild Collective - http://onewildcollective.8merch.com/services/store
Krimskramz - http://krimskramz.tictail.com/products/krimskramz-releases
Upwind Produzioni - http://itsupwindproductions.tumblr.com/releases
Longrail Records - https://longrailrecords.bandcamp.com/merch

The Facebook links for all of the labels involved in the album's release are below:-

I.Corrupt Records  - https://www.facebook.com/hirseviolence/
Miss The Stars Records - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsrecords/
Hardcore For The Losers - https://www.facebook.com/HardcoreForTheLosers/
Structures//Agony Records - https://www.facebook.com/structuresagonyrecords/
Samegrey Records - https://www.facebook.com/samegrey
My Name Is Jonas Records - https://www.facebook.com/mynameisjonasrecords/
Time As A Color - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor
One Wild Collective - https://www.facebook.com/onewildcollectivelabel/
Krimskramz - https://www.facebook.com/krimskramzstuff/
Upwind Produzioni - https://www.facebook.com/upwindproduzioni/
Longrail Records - https://www.facebook.com/longrailrecords/
Natural Resources - https://www.facebook.com/naturalresourcestapes/

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Recollection - Tarquin (The Sleepwalkers Guide)


Here's a new instalment of Recollection, sent in by Tarquin who writes The Sleepwalkers Guide. TJ'S run various blogs in the past (including The Death Of A Modernist) and he graciously penned his top-ten a little while. Apologies for the delay in posting it up on here, I was a bit preoccupied and forgot to do it last week.


The Offspring - “Smash”
The Offspring were the first band that I ever got into as a youngster. This is their third record, which features their So-Cal skate punk influenced sound, as opposed to their later catalogue which begun to get a little more 'pop punk' driven. I remember this record having a massive impact on me. The cover was dark and had this ominous feel, the music itself was fast and aggressive and contained moments of melody to make it accessible. I was hooked from the first moments of Nitro's beginning drum rolls.

Check out:
Nitro (Youth Energy)
Something To Believe In
It'll Be A Long Time


Deftones - “Around The Fur”
Around The Fur is a pivotal record from my youth as I was expanding my horizons further into the 'heavy' band spectrum. Nu-Metal was huge at the time and Deftones always stood out to me as being unique and different to their peers. What resonated most to me, was the band being steadfast in their overall artistic vision. It is definitely a testament to the band's longevity and relevance since. They are also the only band from that era which I have stuck with personally and still get excited by with each new release.

Other noteworthy elements from Deftones are Chino's ability to juxtapose aggressive cathartic screams with this tender vulnerable style of melodic signing, Abe's tastefully restrained drumming with immense groove and Stephan's textured and heavily dense guitar riffs. You know right away from the first snare crack on My Own Summer that this record is going to be wall to wall filled with bangers!

Check out:
Around The Fur
Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)
Dai The Flu


Neshamah - “Communicating In Heartbeats”
Neshamah were a local band in our Cape Town scene and were also one of the pioneers of South African hardcore. The band was my introduction into 'hardcore' music during my high school days and subsequently being immersed into the local underground scene there after. I owe a lot to them for shaping my furthered tastes in 'heavy' music, as their bassist Jen owned a distro called Silent Screams from which I would order CDs and various merch from bands I discovered. As they say, never forget your roots. 

In terms of this record, Neshamah showed local bands that it was possible to branch out of South Africa and get noticed abroad. They released this full length on the US label, Blood & Ink Records. They also did some touring in the States with some notable bands like Norma Jean, Stretch Armstrong and The Culprits and also shared the stage internationally with Figure Four, Underoath, Zao, The Hope Conspiracy and Thursday to name a few.

Check out:
Temporary Satisfaction of Desires
Sweet Goodnight
You Got A Deathwish Baby


The Chariot - “Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead, And Nothing Is Bleeding”
This record was a game changer for me. I discovered it while looking through some CD's via the distro at Jen's house one day. I was drawn to the dark contrasting cover and knew immediately this album was going to be great. I wasn't disappointed when I put it on to listen to either... it was sonically heavy, filled with feedback and stacked with this visceral energy. The Chariot became a band that I highly respected for their musical and artistic vision. Their approach to song writing showed me that music can be rough around the edges, blemishes can add further character to a song and most of all the record felt like 'real' musician's played on it. It wasn't robotic or technical like most bands performances on albums at the time, it was a slick unpolished mess and purely organic. I loved how the songs were caught in the moment. Long Live, The Chariot!

Check out:
Dialogue With a Question Mark
Die Interviewer (I am Only Speaking in German)
And Then, Came Then


Norma Jean - “O' God The Aftermath: The Marvelous End Of The Exhausted Contender”
Most folks seem to have this debate about NJ. They either prefer Josh or Cory in terms of vocals. I liked both eras, but this is my favourite record from the band to feature Cory Brandan on the mic. The band delivered the perfect blend of unapologetic chaos, coupled with sharp piercing dissonance and dynamic hard hitting drums. Taking cues and paying homage to the great metallic hardcore forefathers, most notably Botch, Norma Jean pushed the envelope even further by adding some brooding post metal influences into the mix. I also love that all the track titles for this record are portmanteaux. Fun fact: On the re-release of this record, if you have a CD player, and if the rewind is held down until the display reads -2:20, there is a hidden instrumental song.

Check out:
Liarsenic: Creating A Universe Of Discourse
Absentimental: Street Clam
Pretendeavor: In Reference To A Sinking Ship



Fear Before The March Of Flames - “Odd How People Shake”
FBTMOF is one of the bands that I never tire of listening to. They blended 'sass' infused post hardcore with mathcore elements in a seamless fashion. Fans of Botch, Converge and The Blood Brothers will find lots to enjoy here. The guitar work is frenetic, the drums have this killer punch and what I enjoy the most, is the vocal interplay between the unclean vocals of David Marion and the back up melodics and yells courtesy of Adam Fisher. This juxtaposition creates a strong tension and building of emotion in parts of specific songs. I'd highly recommend checking out "Art Damage", which is the follow up to this release as well. It's a much more mature release, which shows the band expanding on this sound and highlighting their dynamic song writing. It's a flawless album indeed.

Check out:
Given To Dreams
The 20th Century Was Entirely Mine
Sarah Goldfarb, Where Are Your Manners


Refused - “Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent”
Most Refused fans would probably talk about "The Shape Of Punk To Come", and I agree completely that it's a record that is way ahead of it's time. My favourite Refused record though, is this one. I love how highly charged it is. It's the perfect blend of metallic infused hardcore punk, politically/socially injected lyrics which Dennis delivered with aggressive screams and seamless song writing which perfectly shows off the band's musicianship. All in all, I can listen to this album over and over again. It's filled with solid bangers... 

Check out:
Rather Be Dead
Hook, Line And Sinker
The Slayer


Thursday - “War All The Time”
During the 2002/03 boom of popularity of modern screamo, Thursday stood out as being a more cerebral lyrically driven band as opposed to some of their counterparts. I loved how vividly Geoff Rickly could paint pictures with his words. I also enjoyed that his singing was slightly unpolished and out of key. The conviction and pure emotive delivery more than made up for that. It was passion through and through. The band also showed strong musicianship with tight guitar work that weaved the songs together, killer bass lines that locked down the grooves and perfectly complimented drum work from Tucker Rule. I still think that he is one of the most underrated drummers out there. 

Check out:
Between Rupture And Rapture
Marches And Maneuvers
Tomorrow I'll Be You


From A Second Story Window - “Delenda”
Chaotic music has always been a bug for me. I enjoy bands that pushed the boundaries of audio listenability and emitted pure sonic noise. FASSW were a band that I came across while checking out a music mag. The title said their music was for people with Attention Deficit Disorder. It's exactly what I needed to hear at the time.... pure chaos that blurred the lines of death metal, progressive metal and mathcore. The songs had incredible guitar work from Derek Vasconi who unfortunately left the band after this record.

Nick Huffman's drumming is some of the most inventive stuff that I have ever heard in heavy music. The vocal work of Will Jackson is great here as well. There is the typical death metal growls for sure, but he also managed to employ some killer melodic vocals to mix things up and break the consistent intensity. 

Check out:
Soft Green Fields (Expired Terra Coffins)
Oracles And Doorsteps (ft. Billy Bottom of Nights Like These)
The Crusher


Daïtro - “Laissez Vivre Les Squelettes”
I am a big fan of European screamo, especially screamo sung in the native tongue. Daïtro really hit it home with this release. I love everything about it. The vocals are executed with true emotive passion, the guitars are beautifully textural and the drum work is inspired. It's another record that flows from one song to the other seamlessly. It truly is a timeless effort and hallmark of French screamo. For those of you that didn't know, Aurelien is now fronting Potence. They are a french neocrust infused screamo act. I highly recommend them. 

Check out:
Laissez Vivre Les Squelettes
Nous Sommes D'ici

Comme Du Papier

Honourable mentions:
Botch - "We Are The Romans"
The Bled - "Pass The Flask"
Hundred Reasons - "Ideas Above Our Station"
Converge - "You Fail Me"
Folly - "Insanity Later"

Thanks again to TJ for writing this and I hope you've enjoyed reading it! You can check his blog below:-

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The Death Of A Modernist (previous blog) Bandcamp - https://thedeathofamodernist.bandcamp.com