Thursday, 2 July 2020

Hevrat Ha'Hashmal (The Electric Company) - Demo



Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 30 May 2020


1. Conveying Goods

2. Mercury In Retrograde

3. We're Here To Work

4. Hardware Wars


When I wrote my Primitive Teeth review earlier in the month I mentioned that I'd been contacted by another post-punk band, going by the name of Hevrat Ha'Hashmal. The band is a three-piece and is from Tel-Aviv in Israel. This is a first for the blog, because I think this is the first release I've reviewed that's entirely sung in Hebrew (and also probably the first music by a band from Israel too!). Hevrat Ha'Hashmal translates to The Electric Company in English. 


I wonder if this will change my feelings towards post-punk. The first thing that’s apparent with demo opener ‘Conveying Goods’ is that it’s filled with garage-punk and industrial influences as much as it is post-punk. Hevrat Ha’Hashmal creates an austere atmosphere with repeating sections and harsh yet audible vocals. 


Much like other punk demos, this one isn’t long. ‘Mercury In Retrograde’ is the only song that breaches two-minutes and it’s an odd mix of gloomy and upbeat. That’s what’s always struck me about bands that take influence from post-punk. They always seem to come across as a tad depressing and given that I listen to a lot of doom, sludge and depressive black metal, you’d think I’d be used to that!


‘We’re Here To Work’ uses gang vocal-like passages and more of the trio’s signature repetitive riffs to create a quite hypnotic song that gets stuck in your head really quickly. It’s super enjoyable and as the volume and the vocals rise towards the end, it gets pretty exhilarating.


Hevrat Ha’Hashmal close out the demo with ‘Hardware Wars’ , which is over in a flash. It sums up the trio’s sound, which is somewhere between garage-punk and post-punk. It’s very enjoyable despite it’s short length and like the Primitive Teeth record I reviewed recently, it’s not as easily pigeonholed as I make it out to be. It’s a very good release, which is a step away from norm.


You can stream and download the demo for name-your-price below:-


Saturday, 27 June 2020

Live Burial - Unending Futility



Labels: Transcending Obscurity Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 24 Apr 2020


Tracklist: 


1. Seeping Into The Earth

2. Condemned To The Boats

3. Swing Of The Pendulum

4. The Crypt Of Slumbering Madness

5. Rotting On The Rope

6. Winds Of Solace

7. Cemetery Fog


Us Brits are never satisfied. We hate cold and wet weather, yet when it's warm and sunny it's too hot. Certainly far too hot to be reviewing the newest album from UK death//doom/thrash band Live Burial. Released on 24th April via the rapidly growing Indian extreme metal label Transcending Obscurity Records, Unending Futility features seven songs and guest appearances from Kari Kankanpaa (Sepulchral Curse/Solothus) providing vocals and Dan Rochester (Vacivus/Cruciamentum) providing acoustic guitar. The album was released on various formats with a choice of packages, and festooned with artwork by Luke Oram (Monolithian, Slugdge).


I’ve been slow with reviews over the last week, as I’ve felt the tiredness come back into my arms again from typing (probably because of poor posture at work/home). I don’t think this heat has helped. Thankfully, the slow and heavy sound of Live Burial gives me ample time to rest in between paragraphs. Opener ‘Seeping Into The Earth’ is an epic song filled with expertly played death metal with additional doom and thrash. 


That’s probably underselling this record rather a lot, as musically and vocally Live Burial are spot on. ‘Condemned To The Boats’ dials up the pace and the evilness thanks to a sound that’s much more rooted in the old-school, while also having it’s fair share of black/thrash too. There’s a lot of intricacies involved, especially where the bass guitar and drums are concerned, meaning that things are a lot more progressive too. I’m blown away by how good this is so far!


‘Swing Of The Pendulum’ is another five-minute plus rager, with equal tempo-changes between crawling and sprinting. The vocals are a mix of rasping old-school growls and utterly devastating roars, making for the perfect accompaniment to the fully-engaging instrumentation. I use accompaniment because they don’t sit at the top of the mix, but amongst it, surrounded by the rest of Live Burial and that’s why this record sounds as good as it does.


The mid-way point in the album is reserved for the mightiness of ‘The Crypt Of Slumbering Madness’, which in fact is a pretty apt title. It’s also the point where the songs begin to increase in length, as things become gloomier and more expansive. That’s insignificant though when you consider just how heavy and precise this album is, and believe me, it’s heavy.


There’s an uneasy tone to the opening riffs of ‘Rotting On The Rope’ and it doesn’t get any easier the further in you go. Live Burial seem to have a great dynamic and I know that can be hard to tell on record, as opposed to in a live setting, but they wouldn’t have been able to produce this record without that. Confidence is gained through experience and their collective experience of playing in similarly heavy bands is worth it’s weight in gold, as they temper that uneasy atmosphere with subtle quiet parts and off-kilter passages. The melody later on will remind you of some of the Finnish/Swedish bands that stand side-by-side with Live Burial.


Penultimate song ‘Winds Of Solace’ features the acoustic guitar of Dan Rochester and with his help, Live Burial creates something that’s elaborate but also enchanting, which seems to embody the cover art that adorns this record and leads you into album closer, ‘Cemetery Fog’. This is the most gruesome song on the album and the added guest vocals from Kari Kankanpaa only make it more so.

 

Unending Futility is a stunning example of extreme music. Live Burial will more than likely end up being talked about in exalted tones come the end of the year and they deserve it. 


You can stream and purchase Unending Futility via Bandcamp below:-



You can also order various vinyl and cd packages from Transcending Obscurity Records above.


Live Burial - https://www.facebook.com/LiveBurial/

Transcending Obscurity Records - https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/

Monday, 22 June 2020

Old Soul/Lentic Waters - Split 12"


Labels: Dingleberry Records/IFB Records/Maniyax Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 26 Aug 2014


Tracklist: 


1. Old Soul - Wick

2. Old Soul - Tome

3. Old Soul - Perfectly Fucked (Love Lost But Not Forgotten Cover)

4. Lentic Waters - Compliments

5. Lentic Waters - 160 Ibs Of Fury

6. Lentic Waters - Asking For It?


I've finally managed to drag myself away from watching a band hang themselves on Twitter. I'm talking about TRAPT of course. A band that has no relevance to this post or...well, any relevance at all in 2020. Anyway, on with the next in my ZBR roster review series, which is a review of the 2014 split LP between Old Soul and German band Lentic Waters. This was the third Old Soul release in a row that ZBR helped to release and the second split. I'm not sure how many copies of this were pressed. 


First up are three tracks from Old Soul, in their black metal/screamo style and opener ‘Wick’ is certainly cinematic. Atmospheric post-metal riffs blend with screamed vocals, where the mix of melody and harshness is seamless. Again, Old Soul’s expansive song-writing creates a belter. 


‘Tome’ is initially a more mournful song, with a much darker and emotional feel, but it follows on from ‘Wick’ very well. Their off-kilter song-writing takes centre stage and the chaotic screamo that’s often more restrained is allowed to let itself loose. After a tough day at work this song really tuned into my emotions and the release was incredible. Even the sludge-like latter half seems to cleanse with little effort.


Old Soul’s final song on this split Is their cover of ‘Perfectly Fucked’ (originally by Love Lost But Not Forgotten, which appeared on their 2002 album Upon The Right, I Saw A New Misery). It’s a much higher tempo compared to their originals on here. Their take on it includes way more emo-violence and hardcore too. It’s exhilarating to say the least.


Moving over to the second half of the split and the hardcore/punk of Lentic Waters. This split was released before their sound went in a more emo/indie direction, but you can hear elements of that here. ‘Compliments’ is a slow blend of hardcore and post-rock in this instance. Less blackened than the sound of Old Soul, but equally as enthralling for sure.


‘160 lbs Of Fury’ is huge in the riff department. Lentic Waters know how to blast and the venom in the vocals is more than palpable, even on this short song. A perfect lead into their closing song ‘Asking For It?’, which is also the most melodic. It makes heavy use of instrumentation as opposed to focusing on the vocals, which sit deeper within it when the band’s a full pelt. 


This whole LP is a lot darker than what ZBR released up to this point, including the other Old Soul releases. Both them and Lentic Waters are perfect split mates on this and there’s plenty to get immersed in, if you can find a copy in the wild!.


You can stream both sides of this split via the respective Bandcamp pages of both Old Soul and Lentic Waters below:-





Old Soul - https://www.facebook.com/OldSoulband/

Lentic. Waters - https://www.facebook.com/LenticWaters/


Physical copies can still be purchased from the label links below:-


Maniyax Records - https://maniyaxrecords.bandcamp.com/merch

Zegema Beach Records (CAN/INTL) - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases


Dingleberry Record - https://www.facebook.com/Dingleberry-records

IFB Records - http://www.ifbrecords.com

Maniyax Records - https://www.facebook.com/ManiyaxRecords/

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords/

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Wreck Of The Minotaur - A Little Roy One On One


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 01 Jan 2009


Tracklist:


1. Big Money Stella

2. Bull Fight Starts

3. Hard Bodies Are Everywhere! Hand Me My Blade!

4. The Court Of Ted

5. My Sweet Annabella I'm Not Coming Home


When Myspace-era mathcore's resurgence is growing at a huge pace, getting contacted by one of the UK's long-since silent gems is a bit of a surprise. Considering London's Wreck Of The Minotaur released their only EP A Little Roy One On One just over eighteen months prior to this blog starting, it's even more so. A little bird tells me that with a new line-up forming and lockdown relaxing, Wreck Of the Minotaur will be making a comeback (tentatively), therefore a re-visit to said EP is much needed. 


I’ve been taking a little break over the last few days and have also returned to work after a fortnight of rest. Football begins again from tomorrow evening, so that may take my attention away from the blog briefly, though I’ll try and keep things regular (so to speak). Tonight though, my full attention is on Wreck Of The Minotaur’s 2009 EP A Little Roy One On One. Opening song ‘Big Money Stella” appears to be about a can of Stella Artois. The music is like the long-distance cousin of Psyopus and Intervals, while the vocals are a higher-pitched/grizzled take on Beecher. So far so sick. 


‘Bull Fight Starts’ picks up the mayhem where ‘Big Money Stella’ left it. It’s off-kilter time-signatures and pinch harmonics are testament to why mathcore/grind was and still is so popular amongst modern and younger metal/hardcore listeners. The sub-genre fits in with the social media generation that grew up with Myspace and while that generation has grown into adulthood, it’s taken the music with it.


Wreck Of The Minotaur is not a band that takes things slowly and it’s that urgency that comes to the front on ‘Hard Bodies Are Everywhere! Hand Me My Blade!’, with it’s sinister sample in the mid-section. It’s probably the fastest and most grinding song on the EP.’ The Court Of Ted’ is the only song that fails to make it past two-minutes, but that doesn’t really mean a thing when you consider the technicality and speed of the band. Time is immemorial while the music here is not. This music still holds up really well and deserves to be heard by new listeners.


Closing song ‘My Sweet Annabella I’m Not Coming Home’ is the opposite and could be considered prog-like when held up against the rest of the EP. Of course, it’s not a prog song but in technical, experimental music like this there’s always an element of that. Needles to say, it’s a great listen and it brings to an end an EP that’s fast but full of impact. If and when Wreck Of The Minotaur does come back, music as ferocious as this will be greatly welcomed. 


You can stream A Little Roy One On One and download it for free below:-


Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Scum - Dead Eyes EP



Labels: Self-Released/Wild Noise Productions

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 01 May 2020


Tracklist:


1. Dead Eyes (Feat. Dave Ingram of Benediction)

2. No Forgiveness


I'm sticking to my review a day policy this week. I may write a second one today but it depends on time. Also, on a separate note, the Blogger platform has been updated again and they've changed the format of the editing tool that I use to write my posts and to be honest, it's not as good and quite why they decided to remove the built-in spellcheck functionality I'll never know. Rant over. 


Anyway, this little review features Colombian death metallers The Scum. They recently released a new two-song EP, which features the vocals of Dave Ingram of Benediction on the title-track. The band originally formed in 2013 as Scum and released their debut EP Self-Destructive Race in 2015. They became The Scum in 2017 and followed the name change with their debut album Ashen a year later. Dead Eyes is notable because it was mixed at Sunlight Studios in Sweden by Thomas Skogsberg.


Here we go. Straight away The Scum whips up a storm with ‘Dead Eyes’. It’s a song filled with old-school riffs and precise drumming. The overall sound on Dead Eyes is quite clean actually and the vocals take the lead in the mix. When they rest, the whole band comes to the fore with some great soloing and neck-snapping tempos.


Second song ‘No Forgiveness’ is a lot faster with elements of thrash and grind being thrown in for good measure. At times, it seems that the vocals are struggling to keep pace with the instrumentation but that’s only very temporary. There’s a mix of low growls and higher-pitched shrieks here and also a lot more atmosphere, especially during the mid-section. 


This is a very solid EP, but to me it feels like The Scum were holding back somewhat on the title-track. It was a different story on ‘No Forgiveness’, which shows how extreme these guys can be. They’re writing more material as we speak, so hopefully they’ll kick on from this with added extremity.


You can stream and download Dead Eyes below:-


Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Western Addiction - Frail Bray


Labels: Fat Wreck Chords
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Released Date: 15 May 2020

Tracklist:

1. The Leopard And The Juniper
2. They Burned Our Paintings
3. Frail Bray
4. Lurchers 
5. Rose's Hammer 1
6. Rose's Hammer II
7. Laurette
8. Utter Despair
9. Wildflowers Of Italy
10. We Lived In Ultraviolet
11. Deranged By Grief

May saw the release of the third full-length from California punks Western Addiction. WA's career stretches back almost two decades, starting with the 2003 EP Remember To Dismember (I'm relying on Discogs for this information, so please point out if any of it is incorrect). I first discovered them in 2004 when they released a split with New Mexican Disaster Squad. Their debut album Cognicide was released in 2005 and it would be a further twelve years before the follow-up Tremulous. There have been several EPs, Splits and Comps in between, but now feels like the right setting for a new album, given the backdrop of a global pandemic and also the pandemic of racism being brought to the fore.

Western Addiction’s hardcore punk is loud and gloriously old-school on Frail Bray. Opener ‘The Leopard And The Juniper’ is an urgent call to arms with sing-along melodies and gang vox. Up-tempo rhythms are joined by treble-heavy riffs, adding frenetic energy to things straight off the bat. WA have always had the mentality of ‘ get in, go hard, get out’. They do what they know best and that’s exactly the case on ‘They Burned Our Paintings’. Catchy and angsty, it’s a song crafted and delivered with maturity and experience.

The title-track is very much a classic hardcore punk song, with audible vocals and driving instrumentation. They don’t need loads of dissonance or noise to hammer their point home. This reminds me of when I first listened to Orchestra Of Wolves by Gallows. Both that album and WA’s Cognicide were released in the same year, coincidentally. The production/mastering on Frail Bray is spot on as well. The songs are full of volume and nothing’s too clean either. ‘Lurchers’ contains added rock n’ roll flourishes, especially in the guitar department and leads straight into ‘Rose’s Hammer I’, which continues that rock n’ roll vibe, while flying by in no time at all.

‘Rose’s Hammer II’ is like a catchier Cancer Bats song. I’m not saying the two bands are similar but this just hits the spot. It still contains enough punk venom but the slower, groovier instrumentation and memorable vocal hooks that work really well. I like the dynamic between fast and slower songs on albums like this. It’s back to fast on ‘Laurette’ and some sub ninety-second hardcore punk done right. Nothing more needs to be said here. Despite the heavy intro, ‘Utter Despair’ isn’t the descent into darkness that you might have been expecting. Yes it’s got a more menacing side to it, but WA’s melody is always there to keep things on track. 

By the time you reach ‘Wildflowers Of Italy’, there’s a real comforting feeling that comes from this record. It’s constantly strong and given the career that WA have had, that’s no surprise. It’s so easy to get drawn into the infectiousness of it all. Closing duo ‘We Lived In Ultraviolet’ and ‘Deranged By Grief’ are lyrically brilliant (as are all of the songs on Frail Bray) and while they both have their own unique feel, with the former being more urgent and the latter being somewhat darker musically at times. The album ends as it started, rather abruptly but that’s what this type of hardcore punk is all about. This is great and Western Addiction show no sign of slowing down. 

Frail Bray is available to stream and download digitally below:-




Physical copies can be purchased from Fat Wreck Chords here - https://fatwreck.com/collections/frail-bray

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Sun Worship - Elder Giants


Labels: Dead Section Records/Sick Man Getting Sick Records/Translation Loss Records/View From The Coffin/Vendetta Records
Formats: Viny/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 08 Mar 2014

Tracklist:

1. We Sleep
2. The Absolute Is Becoming
3. Elder Giants
4. Transneptunian (Infinite Gaze)

In a change to the advertised review, I thought I'd delve into my 'digital' review stack once again and write about the 2014 album Elder Giants by German black metal band Sun Worship (I must have been sleeping for most of 2014, as it was a great year for music). In July 2013 I wrote about their EP Surpass Eclipse and then they fell off my radar, which is embarrassing to admit. Elder Giants was originally released digitally by Sun Worship and at the same time an accompanying CD/Tape release was made available via View From The Coffin. In September 2015, it saw a vinyl release via Dead Section Records and Sick Man Getting Sick Records, as well as another CD pressing via Translation Loss before a third CD release just last year via Vendetta Records. Now catch your breath and enjoy...

2014 as I’ve already said was a very solid year for heavy music and it’s obvious that I just couldn’t keep up. Elder Giants by Sun Worship was one release (of many) that seemingly slipped my grasp and I’m gutted that it did. On album opener ‘We Sleep’, you can definitely see why it was picked up by Vendetta Records for a CD re-release last year, given that label’s current love of black metal-leaning music. It’s rich in texture and volume, the instrumentation completely enveloping the vocals, creating something very intense indeed.

I’m a big fan of atmospheric black metal/post-metal. I know that some might call me a poser for saying that but it’s true. Sun Worship doesn’t come across as pretentious though, just heavy and immersive. ‘The Absolute Is Becoming’ continues their all-encompassing instrumental attack, leaving no stone unturned or ear saved. The three-minute instrumental intro to it is mighty and when those growled vocals come in, they don’t shake you but they further add to the emotive nature of Sun Worship’s music. 

The album’s title-track ‘Elder Giants’ is as grandiose as you’d expect given the delivery so far. It’s not the longest song here but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It just seems as though Sun Worship have hit their stride here and perfectly so. Moments of post-metal introspection nestle within the song and offer (slightly) calmer periods in-between the barrage of riffs and punishing drum work. 

Elder Giants ends with ‘Transneptunian (Infinite Gaze)’ and it’s ambient/white-noise inspired opening, which becomes more ambient and less white-noise as it progresses. It’s soothing given the full-power that’s graced the album up to this point and with there addition of synths, there’s a cosmic quality to it. A lot of synth use in music of this nature can sound false but here it compliments Sun Worship’s approach.

This whole album is utterly immersive from start to finish, especially if you’re a fan of extreme metal in any way. Chances are you will have already heard of this or even own it in some form, but if not it’s never too late to remedy that. I have the 2016 full-length on my list to write about too, so stand by for that in the near future.

You can stream the album and purchased it digitally or on CD (the 2019 Vendetta version) below:-




Vendetta Records is the only label that you can currently buy copies from too, via this link - 

Monday, 8 June 2020

Capra - Capra EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 22 May 2020

Tracklist:

1. Torture Ship
2. Paper Tongues

It's a new week and my second week of holiday (not that leaving my town is a thing at the moment!). I'm trying to be more productive this week and I'm kickstarting that with some chaotic hardcore from Louisiana, US. Capra is a new name to me but the band initially formed in 2015. In it's current line-up, the band released a two-song EP called Unholy Gallows in June 2018 and recently followed it up with their latest self-titled EP.

Capra takes cues from bands like Every Time I Die and Botch, playing metallic hardcore with added rock ’n’ roll sass. Torture Ship instantly reaches a high gear with a mix of high-energy riffs, percussion and audible yet shouted vocals. The lyrics seem to fit the current global climate very poignantly. Hard hitting and memorable are two words that describe this so far. 

Paper Tongues carries on where Torture Ship left off. Hardcore tempos and thrash influences are joined by subtle technicality to keep you listening, while the weight of genuine emotion is felt though the song. There’s something old-school and simple about the catchiness of ‘Capra’ and the band proves that with these two songs, it’s better to burn out than fade away. Focused, intense and upbeat all in one tight package. Great job!

You can stream and purchase 'Capra' digitally below:-



Capra - https://www.facebook.com/Capraband/

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Primitive Teeth - Primitive Teeth 7"


Labels: Dirt Cult Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 May 2020

Tracklist:

1. Bubble Of Me
2. Auscultation
3. Avoidance
4. Out Of Sync

I've found myself covering a lot of heavier music again, as that's the mood I've been in. One sub-genre I've had a hard time with over the years is post-punk, though I'm not sure why. A couple of bands that roughly sit in that field were sent my way recently and Chicago's Primitive Teeth is one of them. Their newest EP Primitive Teeth was released via Dirt Cult Records in May and it follows their Self-Titled EP that was released last year. 

I guess I always associated post-punk with goth/industrial forms of music, which I’m not really into but maybe I should reassess that. Primitive Teeth play gloomy punk with lots of 80s influence and at times, vocalist Christine Wolf sounds like a modern day Annie Lennox on ‘Bubble Of Me’. It’s music is stark in places, it’s tempo doesn’t often deviate from that driving mid-paced repetition but in the instrumentation, you can tell that the band has a long history with punk and hardcore.

There’s a strange melody to ‘Auscultation’ that draws you in and while the vocals soar on top, the overall atmosphere pulls you down. It’s not upbeat and It’s not meant to be. It’s not a hard listen though and the clean elements add a catchiness that’s deceptive.

Again, this EP contains a real radio-friendly 80s vibe and ‘Avoidance’ just pushes it further without being showy or over the top. Primitive Teeth’s no-nonsense approach to their music keeps things short and sharp. Everything is controlled and while it doesn’t sound clinical, the song does have a cold feel, one that dissociates itself from the usual emotion that comes through music in general.

That being said, Primitive Teeth are not soulless. They’re just good songwriters and EP closer ‘Out Of Sync’ keeps things on track. Simplicity is definitely the key here and it works really well. I think the fact that Primitive Teeth is rooted in punk and hardcore is the difference for me. One band isn’t going to make me change my mind about post-punk but taking an act on it’s own merits, I like this EP a lot. If you want something that’s catchy but with less dissonance and grit, then Primitive Teeth will be for you.

You can stream and purchase Primitive Teeth digitally below:-




7" copies can be ordered via Dirt Cult Records here - https://dirt-cult-records.myshopify.com

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Under The Pier - Puff Pieces


Labels: Dark Trail Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 01 May 2020

Tracklist: 

1. Brown Note Baptist Church
2. Four Sided Triangle
3. Wagon Wheel On Repeat Until You Kill Yourself
4. The ICU
5. A State Of Heightened Anxiety
6. Idol/Idle
7. Read'em And Weep Kids
8. By Attrition
9. Payoff

I need a kick up the arse. Been struggling with writer's block and general laziness over the last couple of days, as you can tell by the lack of posts. The weather's gone from hot and sunny to grey and cold, so I'm spending more time trying to get on top of things. That's where the new album from Baltimore's (Maryland, US) Under The Pier comes in. This is their debut album and it's been released with help from Dark Trail Records. If you're familiar with that label, you'll know that this is going to be mathcore-related and it'll no doubt rule!

Under The Pier only released their first EP in August of 2019, so they haven’t wasted any time in writing, recording and releasing their debut album. Opener ‘Brown Note Baptist Church’ sets the tone and reminds you of the Myspace-era glory days of the sub-genre. It’s technical, skilful but also groovy as Under The Pier make use of multiple tempos, riff patterns and dual vocals along the way.

There are touches of metal, hardcore and industrial on ‘Four Sided Triangle’, which is totally chaotic. The production/mixing/mastering helps with that as well, because everything sounds airy and big, as opposed to being compressed and thin, which is sometimes the case with earlier releases by bands, where they haven’t quite got the budget.

‘Wagon Wheel On Repeat Until You Kill Yourself’ flies by in a flash but makes you pay attention with it’s rhythmic breakdown at the ninety-second mark, before turning into a mad death metal/noisecore beast. Following it is ‘The ICU’, which sounds slower and chuggier but that’s just an illusion, as pinch-harmonics and progressive instrumentation grab you by the throat.

The pace of this record is striking. Under The Pier don’t allow you any time to relax and each song comes thick and fast. You’re supposed to listen to this is one full sitting. Before you know it, you’re at the midway point of Puff Pieces. ‘A State Of Heightened Anxiety’ starts with a weird, recorded phone message and follows it up with a brief but blasting slab if mathcore that sounds glitchy at times. It’s great!

They head down a slightly more introspective path on ‘Idol/Idle’ but it’s only brief. The calming mid-section builds expectation for more dissonance, which is delivered in spades. It is a lengthier song and is more stop/start. There’s some really clever percussion on ‘Read’em And Weep Kids’ and it really messes with your head, as Under The Pier tear through the song. There’s not a great deal of melody going on though, aside from the treble created by the guitar work, which is actually quite effective.

Penultimate track ‘By Attrition’ is the most brooding piece on the album. It’s lengthy and almost post-punk intro leads to a virtuoso instrumental display that’s only interrupted by rasping screams that sit amongst it all. Album closer ‘Payoff’ is another song that relies more on lengthy instrumental passages and this time borrows more from the blues/jazz end of the spectrum. It’s a (dare I say it) relaxing end to Puff Pieces.

Overall, this is an album that sits amongst the best of the modern mathcore/tech scene and one that will definitely put Under The Pier on an upward trajectory. It’s running time maybe short but is still long enough to leave it buried in your head. 

You can stream Puff Pieces and grab it as a digital download below:-




You can buy one of the last remaining CD copies from Dark Trail Records here -