Thursday, 23 May 2019

Harker - Dead Ends


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 17 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Dead Ends
2. Flex Yr Head
3. Sticky (The Wedding Present)

As I've decided to cover punk stuff for the next few reviews, I wanted to highlight some bands that I've discovered on Bandcamp, starting with Brighton's Harker. They've been a band since 2012 (I think, though the Internet could be lying to me on that one) and have so far released a few EPs, a split and one full-length. They've worked alongside Shield Recordings, Wiretap Records, Disconnect Disconnect Records and Fond Of Life Records for the release of their full-length "No Discordance"; however, this three-track EP has been self-released as far as I can tell. Brighton can do no wrong musically in my opinion, so this shouldn't be an exception.

The title-track is a great slab of Americana/punk with plenty of British gruff grit. The guitars and vocals are melodic, with harmonies/shouting backing them up while the percussion and bass are simple and very effective. This is some catchy punk. It’s clear that Harker listens to a lot of US punk but that doesn’t do any harm to their music at all. Flex Yr Head is mid-paced with a grungy outlook on life. It shows a more heartfelt side to our own punk scene that’s there if you dig a bit deeper.

For their last song on “Dead Ends”, Harker covers Sticky by Yorkshire indie band The Wedding Present. Their take on it is true to the original but they also leave their own mark on it. It’s grittier than the other two songs on here, but that may be due to the delivery present on the original. This EP is a great introduction to Harker if you’ve never heard their music before. It’s approachable, melodic and really well played. 

You can stream and download "Dead Ends" here:-



They'll have hand-numbered CD copies available at their upcoming shows. Find the dates via their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/HRKRUK/

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Pandemix - In Condemnation


Labels: Boss Tuneage Records/Dirt Cult Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 22 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. No Monuments
2. Can't Assimilate
3. A Pox
4. Synthetix
5. Patterns Repeat
6. Downward Trend
7. Oblivion Lullabies
8. Through The Night
9. Past Selves
10. Column Of Light

I have a copy of the "Pathological Culture" 7" Flexi that Boss Tuneage Records released as part of their Flexipunk series and it's good, very good! I also reviewed the "Rank & File b/w Second Opinion" EP that Pandemix released last year so it's safe to say that I like this Boston (USA) punk band a lot. "In Condemnation" is the band's second full-length, following the release of their debut long player "Scale Models Of Atrocities" back in 2017. This record was released in February via Boss Tuneage Records (UK) and Dirt Cult Records (US).

Pandemix has one of those sounds that reminds you that all is not well. Proper punk that’s fast and raw, with semi-spoken word/cleanly sung vocals that occasionally morph into hardcore screams. No Monuments is a great mix of those aforementioned vocals and melodic guitars/fast drums that might bring to mind The Ramones. The whole band shows a new level of maturity on Can’t Assimilate. I mean, they weren’t exactly immature to start with but it seems that writing and playing together as much as they have over the last year+ has really had a positive impact on their music. A Pox is catchy and a perfect opportunity for a sing/shout-a-long, although it does have a sinister edge to it as well (not one to do karaoke to with the kids around!). 

It all gets faster and more sassy on Synthetix. Call the music hardcore, queer-punk, punk or whatever but they’re really just names. All you should really do is listen to this for what it is, which is excellent! There’s something more expansive about the longer songs on here, like Patterns Repeat. I think it has something to do with the riffs that create a different atmosphere that’s more post-punk in delivery maybe. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. Either way, the song is super enjoyable with it’s mid-paced passages. From there you’re greeted with the breakneck Downward Trend, which is another daft as hell punk song that doesn’t hang about. It’s over too quickly but it’ll leave your neck in shreds. The bass melody on Oblivion Lullabies sounds familiar but I can’t think of why. Obviously it’s not a copy of anything and it leads to a song that AFI would be proud of. It’s also where the hardcore influences of Pandemix begin to show. Occasional caustic screams can be heard amongst the music. 

Catchiness is a big part of this band and the simple song-structure that accompanies Through The Night is a reflection of this. It’s a throwback to 80s punk. Penultimate song Past Selves is by far the longest on “In Condemnation” and it’s probably the moodiest, and it bares more of a resemblance to acts like Adam Ant and even Soft Cell than to modern day punk, at least for the most part anyway.  Last song Column Of Light is equally as moody thanks to its simple guitar/bass tones and vocals, with drums that only come in towards the end. The final words are that of the album title, which brings it all full circle. “In Condemnation” is a really well written and delivered body of work from a band that have a lot to give. 

Pandemix are forging a path of their own and in doing so are clearing the way for countless others. Swallow your selfish pride and get acquainted. 

Stream and purchase "In Condemnation" on vinyl or digitally below:-



Pandemix has an online store here - http://pandemix.storenvy.com.

You can buy physical copies from label links below as well:-


Monday, 20 May 2019

Cassilis - Quitting


Labels: Zegema Beach Records/Square Of Opposition Records/The Ghost Is Clear Records/Black Lake Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 24 Apr 2014

Tracklist:

1. American 90s
2. Rat Pack
3. Boat Owners
4. Bloom Brigade
5. Softie
6. Sad Products
7. Jaw Session
8. Bone Sled
9. God Hair
10. King Jake
11. Groan Sleeve

Needed to get back on it so here's the newest review in my Zegema Beach Records roster series. This one goes back to 2014, when Philadelphia (PA, USA) quartet Cassilis released their second full-length "Quitting". It was released on single-sided vinyl with a screenpinted b-side, limited to 500 copies at the time of release. It contains 11 tracks filled with heavy hardcore/punk. Given that most of the bands that I've written about in this series so far are no longer releasing stuff, it's good to know that Cassilis are still active.

I’m going to be reviewing more punk and emo music this week, so this may be a bit noisy to start with but it still fits the theme. American 90s is a hell of an opener. Full of intense post-hardcore riffs that stay on the right side of being tough-guy and a dark atmosphere that’s helped by the huge drum sound and caustic vocals. There’s plenty of feedback too. The opener is a slight anomaly on ”Quitting” as Cassilis is actually pretty off-kilter and technical, as demonstrated on Rat Pack. They’re not afraid to keep things short, like on Boat Owners, which lasts just shy of sixty-seconds and is held together with genuine emotion and anger.

It’s all fairly mid-paced, which is a little surprise but that’s not to it’s detriment at all. Bloom Brigade seems to just get louder and louder, especially in the vocal department. They don’t dominate the recording by any means but when they are in full flow, the musical textures are hidden somewhat. Softie comes and goes with more hardcore attitude and power, while the rumbling, feedback-ridden noise of Sad Products is not an easy listen, even if it is an instrumental. It’s a barrage that will rattle your teeth when turned up. It acts as a precursor to the metallic madness that is Jaw Session. It reminds me of something that Snapcase would have written for “Bright Flashes”, although this is more technical to these ears.

Their rhythmic prowess shines through on Bone Sled, thanks to a great percussive performance. It’s part of something that’s hard to describe, as it’s a song that features elements from different styles of heavy music but also funk and even some metal (if I’m hearing it right). God Hair sounds like a hellish take on a Spaghetti Western theme song to start with, especially in the guitars but it descends into something all the more chaotic later on. It’s great! Following more twisting feedback, penultimate song King Jake hammers home the point with more loud and raucous punk. Cassilis waits until the end to perform their longest song on “Quitting” and it’s no surprise that the build-up to Groan Sleeve is harrowing and ringing with different pitches. It’s got the rock n roll swagger about it and the shouty attitude that means that you can’t play it too loud when there’s people living above and below you (like in my abode).

This record is over as quickly as it started. Cassilis makes a serious racket but that’s a good thing. Punk and post-hardcore continue to undergo shifts in their styles and bands continue to experiment. This album, given that it’s over four years old now, is just one example of that. Great noisy stuff. They have new songs up on their Bandcamp, so hopefully a full release will follow.

You can stream and purchase "Quitting" directly from Cassilis below:-




There are still copies of this record for sale out in the wild. Visit the links below:-

Zegema Beach Records - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/
Square Of Opposition Records - https://squareofopposition.limitedrun.com/
The Ghost Is Clear Records - http://theghostisclearrecords.limitedrun.com/

Square Of Opposition Records - https://www.facebook.com/squareofopposition/
The Ghost Is Clear Records - https://www.facebook.com/TGICRECS/

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Cicutoxin/Necroslurg - Split 7"


Labels: Ramekuukkeli-Levyt
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 07 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Cicutoxin - Mental Fog
2. Cicutoxin - A Decent Scum
3. Necroslurg - Messiaaninen Kirous
4. Necroslurg - Lyijysivellin

It's Saturday morning and I'm in that weird state between feeling hungover and not feeling hungover, if that makes sense? Reason being, I visited a brewery taproom in my home town yesterday and had a good time. Anyway, the release that I'm reviewing this morning will either banish my hangover just like a hair-of-the-fog would or make it worse (in a good way). This is the latest split release to come from Finnish label Ramekuukkeli-Levyt and features two bands that have been included on this blog before, all round heavy quintet Cicutoxin and heavy punk metal (their words) label-mates Necroslurg. Both bands contribute two songs to this split and it was kindly sent to me by Ramekuukkeli head honcho Tuukka.

I’ve long since been an admirer of Finnish heavy music and I love Cicutoxin’s brand of sludge, It’s got a great punk edge to it and their opening song here, Metal Fog is no exception. It sounds great on vinyl too. A Decent Scum is the longer of their two songs and it’s slower in tempo as a result. Definitely leaning more towards their doom/sludge influences The vocals are low and vicious growls while the drums put forth a terrifyingly slow beat to match the guitar/bass riffs. In terms of comparisons (if I have to make any), I’d put them next to countrymen Profetus maybe, albeit a faster version though I'm probably way off here. Great stuff that proves that the portal to hell exists and that it’s grounded in Finland.

Necroslurg on the b-side of this split present as faster approach on Messiaaninen Kirous. Like the blackened punk of bands like Darkthrone and (earlier)Entombed, mixed with the audaciousness of Turbonegro is how I’d describe them here. Pure aggressive punk fuelled heavy metal with raging vox. Lyijysivellin is no different and the fact that Necroslurg, as with previous releases, sing entirely in their native tongue adds to the effectiveness of their music. Intense while not being overpowering, there’s a simplicity to it that makes it super catchy. 

This split is over in no time, which is both positive and negative. Positive because it’ll make you put it on repeat but negative because you’ll no doubt be yearning for more from both bands after hearing it. Once again, a short sharp showcase of the chaotic noise that Finland has to offer in 2019. Great job and long may both bands and Ramekuukkeli-Levyt continue to support and produce it.

You can stream both of Necroslurg's tracks via Youtube below:-




You can buy copies via Ramekuukkeli-Levyt here - http://ramekuukkeli.nettisivu.org

Thursday, 16 May 2019

ỤBỤRỤ - Death & Decay


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 15 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. HSPC
2. Rotting Flesh
3. Shaman
4. Tatters
5. The Butcher
6. The Void Of Oblivion

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to be one of the first people (outside of ỤBỤRỤ themselves) to hear their first demo, essentially. This trio is a brand new heavy band from Leeds who're just beginning to make their first steps into the UK underground and indeed the live scene. Read on to see what I had to say about their songs...

The mysterious entity known as ỤBỤRỤ contacted me about writing something a bit different. It (or they) presented me with six live demo recordings. Not knowing whose in the band or where it’s from, I pressed play. What greeted me was heavy, groovy noise with bags of sludge on first track HSPC

Experimentation is clearly at the top of the musical list, as Rotting Flesh is an off-kilter doom song that doesn’t sound like the title would suggest. Imagine if Meth Drinker worshipped at the alter of old-school death metal and instrumental noise-rock, you’d be close to summing ỤBỤRỤ up. The more I listen to this, the more I begin to picture the miscreants that might be responsible for the noise herein, but there’s no harm in being kept guessing at the same time.

Shaman is a hard one to pin down. Black metal, sludgy metalcore-like breakdowns and bluesy bass-lines are all at play. The vocals are deep bellows that will carve deep into your soul. Forgive me if I’m plucking all the sub-genres out of the sky but this is hard to categorise. It’s very good. There’s a swagger about Tatters but that’s due to the band trying to fit more into less. It’s a shorter song and it chugs along nicely with a heap of dissonance and time-signatures that seem impervious to the norm.

ỤBỤRỤ does a slow once more on The Butcher, which has atmosphere flowing from every orifice. Passages that switch between psych/doom and cymbal-led death blasts with improvisation everywhere you turn. Last demo song The Void Of Oblivion is another murky bottom-feeder. Over seven-minutes of raw and progressive madness turned down to half speed. 

There’s an obvious focus throughout this and all of the songs presented here, and while this may be the first utterances from a band just born, I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing lots more from ỤBỤRỤ very soon.

You can stream all of the songs here via Soundcloud below:-



Keep up to date with ỤBỤRỤ's progression and live show announcements via their Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/uburuBand/

Vile Apparition - Depravity Ordained + Atrocious Captivity Demo


Labels: Blood Harvest Records/Memento Mori Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jan 2019

Tracklist:

1. Mauled And Nameless
2. Depravity Ordained
3. Dissect To Enucleate
4. Aeon Of Impalement
5. The Cursed Path
6. Malevolent Aphanatasia
7. Repulsive Desire
8. The Gate
9. Window Of The Grotesque

Such is the pace of releases this year, it's proving hard to catch up. So much so that I'm still working my way through stuff that came out in January (amongst my seemingly random review schedule). "Depravity Ordained" is the debut album from Australian death metal quartet Vile Apparition. It was released in January via Blood Harvest Records (vinyl, tape, digital) and Memento Mori Records (CD). Vile Apparition initially formed as a duo in 2017 and self-released the "Atrocious Captivity" demo, which also received a tape release via Transylvanian Tapes. Their line-up later doubled in size in time for a split cd release with Polish death metal duo Incinerator via Polish Putrid Cult. This piece will also feature a review of the "Atrocious Captivity" demo as it was included in the digital press pack I received.

Vile Apparition’s death metal is slamming, fast and disgusting. Mauled And Nameless is a blasting and grim old-school worshipping beast with deep growls. The riffs sit deeper in the mix as the drumming takes a tighter grip; however, there’s room in the recording for a ripping solo. This was pure and unadulterated brutal death metal without the pig squeals. The title-track is meaty with a wall of guitar-riffs beefing up the sound. Its formula is obvious fairly early on yet there’s technicality seeping from its pores. When Vile Apparition dials back the tempo, like in the latter half of Depravity Ordained, they venture into doom/death territory and its actually kinda nice (in a grim way). 

To deliver such ferocity and intensity so early on shows the intent that Vile Apparition has and Dissect To Enucleate is no exception. It all adds to an urgency that’s unmatched and with a production/mastering job that keeps everything true to the genres early proponents, everything is kept from being raw and muddy. They hit peak death metal on Aeon Of Impalement, with its slow and brooding doom/death feel and another ripping solo. There’s still plenty of fast but it seems more focused to me. A the mid-point of the album there’s a hauntingly ambient instrumental song in the form The Cursed Path, which breaks up the brutality  and fills you with an unnerving feeling.

After that instrumental, things get back to full speed on Malevolent Aphanatasia, which encompasses pretty much everything that makes Vile Apparition’s music so good. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before if you’re a death metal fan but as far as debuts go, it’s right up there. The final trio of songs beginning with Repulsive Desire are absolutely raging. Repulsive Desire itself is full of constant Tom abuse and vocals that scream “how low can you go”. The lack of time to catch your breath between it and The Gate proves that Vile Apparition mean business and take their death metal more than seriously. It’s much of the same but The Gate just stabilises the quality of the album.

Despite what I said above, the album’s final track Window Of The Grotesque is brimming with atmosphere within its opening bars. That atmosphere is retained as Vile Apparition stomps through one last doom/death filled number. It rounds out an album filled with disturbing bleakness and genuinely heavy death metal. There will be a lot of keen listeners in the underground who have already discovered “Depravity Ordained” but if you haven’t yet, you should change that.

Stream "Depravity Ordained" and grab it digitally and on LP/CD from Vile Apparition below:-



Tape copies are now sold out via Vile Apparition, but you can get the album on all physical formats from Blood Harvest Records and Memento Mori Records.



Labels: Self-Released/Transylvanian Tapes
Formats: Digital/Tape
Release Date: 31 Jul 2017

Tracklist:

1. The Abyssal Plain
2. Anatomized Remnants
3. Atrocious Captivity
4. Featureless Deity

As mentioned above, Vile Apparition's 2017 demo "Atrocious Captivity" was bundled in with the promo I received, so I've decided to write a separate review of it and include it here. It's often fun starting with a band's most recent release and working backwards. This demo was written and recorded back when the band was a duo, so it'll be interesting to hear how their sound progressed to what it is now. As far as I can tell from scanning various places, tape versions of this are long sold out from both Vile Apparition and Transylvanian Tapes.

“Atrocious Captivity” begins with The Abyssal Plain, which is a ghostly and pretty terrifying intro that leads directly into Anatomized Remnants. Obviously here the sound is slightly raw but that actually works better for the music in my opinion. I know it’s boring when people continually say “I like their demo best”, but it’s mostly correct in this case. The recording seems to be less constrained than that of “Depravity Ordained” and while the ever-so-slightly cleaner sound of the latter makes sense, this demo just sounds more brutal to my ears.

The demo’s title-track is as barbaric as you’d expect and it’s far from accessible (not that any of Vile Apparition’s material could be considered accessible). You can certainly see where they got their writing chops from here and it was obvious even from this demo that their technicality was something else. In fact a lot of what appears musically on “Depravity Ordained” owes much to this demo and the doom/death that’s present there first rears its ugly head on Featureless Deity. It’s not slow by any means but the influence and atmosphere is clearly present throughout.

Overall, having listened to both releases, there’s no negatives here. If you’re new to the band, start with “Depravity Ordained” and work your way backwards. Vile Apparition will no doubt be a band that will continually improve and tweak their sound as they progress through their career. Quality death metal from the other side of the globe.

(Alternative Transylvanian Tapes Cover Art)


You can grab "Atrocious Captivity" as a name-your-price download below:-




Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Regarding Ambiguity - Flayed EP


Labels: Self-Released/Larry Records
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 26 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. Movie Kiss
2. The Novelty Of Modesty
3. Arrows
4. Paranoia Haiku
5. Bloodlines
6. It Puts Motion To The Sin

It's now this mid-point in my week off and while I've been rushing around and enjoying the sun, I've not written a whole lot. Now's a good time to change that with the help of another Larry Records tape release that was kindly sent to me by Larry himself. This tape features the debut EP from Danish post-hardcore/screamo band Regarding Ambiguity. It was self-released by the band on vinyl/digital formats at the end of February and it was snagged for a limited tape release shortly afterwards. Regarding Ambiguity are currently winging their way around Europe on a tour that has seen them play Miss The Stars Fest amongst other shows, alongside US friends Closer.

As I press play on “Flayed” I feel instantly at ease and content. Opener Movie Kiss is by no means an easy/calm listen but it feels familiar all there same and Regarding Ambiguity’s music/screaming is expansive and melodic. Danish bands have always been really good at the big cinematic post-hardcore/metal sound.

RA’s approach on The Novelty Of Modesty is a little more caustic and aggressive (but not in a bro-core sense) and there’s still room for plenty of subtle touches that break down the intensity. The furious guitar playing that provide much of the treble towards the end is dramatic and rousing, as is the breakdown that follows. Everything just works. 

Bands of this ilk sometimes go for shorter songs, as they make a bigger impact but that can also leave you feeling that a release was too short or even rushed. RA don’t take that approach and instead write their’s with the music in mind. Arrows follows on from the opening duo on “Flayed” perfectly, with exactly the same atmosphere and even more anticipation, if that makes sense. There’s a feeling that throughout this EP, they’re building to something big at the end.

Paranoia Haiku has a pretty furious tempo to start with and it contributes to a song that’s a lot more instrument heavy, where the vocals are slightly deeper in the mix at times and seem to be more prevalent at the beginning and end, leaving the mid-section to breathe. This description maybe way off, as I don’t always get it right but whatever.

There’s no point me even trying to find a different way to describe Bloodlines as by now you should get the picture. Skramz is great and so is Regarding Ambiguity. This song is great.  EP closer It Puts Motion To The Sin however, is the crescendo I was referring to when talking about Arrows. It’s mighty, chaotic (but in a controlled way) and it puts to bed another impressive debut release.

You can stream "Flayed" and by it digitally and on vinyl below:-



Tape copies (and limited vinyl copies for those in the US) can be picked up from Larry Records here - https://larry187.bandcamp.com/album/flayed.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Ulvdalir - ... Of Death Eternal


Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 28 Nov 2018

Tracklist:

1. Intro
2. Awakening
3. Black Flames Of Will
4. Swords Of Belial
5. Birth Of The Beast
6. Music Of Cold Spheres
7. Eternal Angel Of Death Eternal
8. Outro

The upward trajectory of black and death metal bands from the Eastern block shows no sign of stopping. Having recently featured both Siculicidium (Romania) and Malokarpatan (Hungary) in recent posts, next on my list was Russian duo Ulvdalir. Forming in St. Petersburg in 2001, the duo has three full-lengths as well as various EPs and splits. "...Of Death Eternal" is their newest (and fourth) full-length and has been released via Iron Bonehead Productions. Ulvdalir form part of the True Ingrian Black Metal Death circle with lablemates Khashm and also Likferd. 

This release may have been missed by many, due to its digital release coming late last year and its physical release coming towards the end of January, so it’s a perfect time to get acquainted with it if you’ve overlooked it. The Intro to “…Of Death Eternal” sets the ominous tone with unsettling ambience and choral singing. Awakening is Ulvdalir’s first full song on the album and its pummelling percussion and dissonant yet majestic guitar work creates quite a spectacle, while the vocals are delivered via a mix of low shrieks and maddening mid-range cries. The key factor here is that the duo’s compositions are lengthy, allowing for greater realisation of their sound and musical approach.
Don’t let that put you off though, as it also means that they’re engaging in all the right ways.

There are some nice cascadian elements to Ulvdalir’s music, especially in the intro to Black Flame Of Will, though it isn’t long before they up the ante again. Even when they do, there’s more to their music than just black metal and by not settling for the necro sound of old, its more obvious. The bass guitar playing is well worth appreciating to as it feature higher up in the mix later on in the song. It’s very intricate and bluesy. War metal appears subtly on Swords Of Belial, though it isn’t overpowering and is only used minimally. The tempo is still high and the march of progress is unrelenting as Ulvdalir perform ever longer black metal hymns with a formula that mixes their black metal blueprint with punk and layers of progression. This is summed by the latter half of the song, which comes complete with more choral singing and a lengthy guitar solo amidst the wall of noise. 

Birth Of The Beast is a meatier proposition thanks to some chugging, big riffs and a more mid-tempo stomp. Don’t worry its not gone hardcore, but there is an element of that in here at times though I suppose its closer to old-school death due to the atmosphere created. It’s much of there same on Music Of Cold Spheres, which is rhythmically spellbinding with punk once again filtering through its evil undertones. Moments of tranquil guitar melodies and calmer passages help to break to the barrage and the further you get into the record, the more evident this duo’s instrumental and song-writing skill becomes. 

The ever repeating riffs during the verses (at the beginning) of Eternal Angel Of Death Eternal are claustrophobic but fantastic. They add to a song, which is off-kilter and terrifying in all the right ways. At nearly nine-minutes in length there’s a lot to take in and as its the last full song on “…Of Death Eternal”, it demands both more attention and appreciation. The Outro completes the record in the same way as it begun and is no less unsettling. That’s the thing about this album, yes its extreme but if you can see (and hear) past that then you’ll be rewarded with something truly musical that’s executed extremely well. Another great release from Iron Bonehead Productions and another band worthy of wider attention.

You can stream and purchase "...Of Death Eternal" on all formats below:-



Saturday, 11 May 2019

Deference/Vanity - Condemned To Repeat Split


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 26 Apr 2019

Tracklist:

1. Deference - Sin (w/Kerrie & Ryan from Vanity)
2. Deference - Burial (w/Kerrie & Ryan from Vanity)
3. Vanity - Human (w/Rob and Matt from Deference)
4. Vanity - Disillusioned (w/Rob and Matt from Deference)

On this split tow rising UK metal bands have joined forces to provide four collaborative songs. Instead of just sticking to the usual two-band split format, Southampton quintet Deference and London sextet Vanity have written two songs each in which the vocalists from each join the other to contribute vocals. This is a great idea that allows both bands to showcase their writing talents and as they've collectively toured with bands such as Chelsea Grin, Miss May I, Rolo Tomassi and more, they clearly know what they're doing. This split has been self-released and is available on cd and on all off the usual digital platforms.

This is my first time hearing both of these bands but I wanted to write about this split because if it’s forward-thinking nature. Deference is first up with Sins and what you get is technical, modern metal with plenty of melody and breakdowns. They’re joined by Kerrie and Ryan from Vanity for this one and their second and the dual harsh/clean vocals hark back to mid-00’s metalcore. Second song Burial is heavier initially and definitely calls on influences like Periphery and follows in the same vein as Sins before it. The riffs are crunching, the drumming is powerful though a little deep in the mix on occasion and the use of electronics is subtle yet very effective. It’s catchy too and the verse/chorus structure of both songs works well in a scene where lines are continuously being blurred.

Humane is the first time on this split that you get a sense of Vanity’s song-writing and they’re joined by Rob and Matt from Deference for both of their songs. Their sound is darker and it creates a similar atmosphere and brings to mind the heavier moments of Sikth, vocals-wise especially.  Again heavy breakdowns loom large here and they’re joined by audible vocals that would sit well with UK tech metal bands like Hacktivist, if I was to compare. The drumming is again powerful and the use of orchestral synths add extra layers too. It’s definitely more old-school in my opinion. Their second song Disillusioned is an aggressive one and it sounds like it was born from the streets, such is the attitude it has. Harrowing but also strangely relevant to current feelings. 

This split has been approached in a fresh way by both bands and in doing so, they’re going to put modern UK metal on the map once more. Both are unique and very much have their own sound. If you can pick up a copy of this and see them playing live then you’ll know what I mean. Good stuff indeed.

You can watch videos for both Burial (Deference) and Humane (Vanity) below:-



Vanity currently has cd copies available in their web store here - https://www.vnty.uk/ and you can grab it digitally from all of the mainstream platforms, though it doesn't seem to be on Bandcamp for those you who use it as your preferred platform.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Yeruselem - The Sublime


Labels: Debemur Morti Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 08 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. The Sublime
2. Autoimmunity
3. Eternal
4. Sound Over Matter
5. Joyless
6. Triiiunity
7. Babel
8. Reverso
 9. Textures Of Silence

When members of one of Extreme metal's most forward-thinking bands embark on a new project, Its often hard to see past their main musical outlet. Yeruselem is a prime example of this as members Vindsval and W.D. Feld are well known for their time in one France's premier black metal bands Blut Aus Nord. They released their debut album "The Sublime" earlier this year via Debemur Morti Productions on various formats and if you were expecting something more familiar in sound, you may want to rethink your choices.

This is very much a journey into the unknown. Yeruselem open with the album’s title-track and after beginning with shattering ambience, the duo shifts forward into electronic/experimental territory filled with synths, beats, melody/hypnotic guitar riffs and clean singing. Not without its Eastern influence, it seems to gather up the many elements of France’s multicultural society along the way.

The hip-hop style rhythm of Autoimmunity is at odds with the unnerving post-punk blueprint that features heavily on the album. Very dystopian and barren, yet unshakably addictive at the same time. Drone and doom can be heard in subtle swathes amongst the song’s multiple layers. Crossing the barrier between ambient/noise and metal is a hard thing to do. As Eternal plays, it definitely reminds me more of Dalek than it does BAN. The former’s industrial soundscapes are mirrored here, albeit in less of an extreme way. 

Yeruselem does take the odd moment to reflect with ambient interludes including Sound Over Matter, which is a very apt song title from a band that lets their instrumental prowess do the talking for them. Its obvious that their creativity is boundless on “The Sublime” and following that short moment of peace, Joyless stomps forth with big beats and harder riffs. Again, the vocals reside within the mix and that bares no effect on the compositions, as they were meant to be more engaging on different levels.

The funk is alive and well too as Vindsval’s bass squares up to more powerful synth beats on Triiiunity. It’s hypnotising, especially due to the never-ending vocal note that’s held during the first-half of the song and that reappears again after the mid-point, Patterns swirl as W.D Feld’s industrial pulses threaten to overrun things. Its hellish and contains the first glimpse of harsh vocals on the album, which fits its overall feel perfectly.

In fact the second half of the album feels heavier and more jarring as a whole. Comforting and soothing sections are still present but it seems that song-by-song, everything is building to a crescendo that could only lead to complete aural terrorism. Babel continues that trend. The crashing cymbals on penultimate song Reverso sound almost too organic to be synthesised. The repeating phrases of the song are far from simple in structure and the constant progression shines through. 

There isn’t one specific genre with which you could categorise Yeruselem’s music. Its meant to be enjoyed as a standalone piece of art and boy does it standout. Its left to Textures Of Silence to whisk you off to a place so far removed from your own reality that you’ll struggle to make it back. “The Sublime” is breathtaking. The vision of both Vindsval and W.D. Feld is so bright that it shines over this release, that could well be one of the releases of the year. 

You can stream and purchase "The Sublime" on all formats (though some are now extremely low in number) below:-


You can also purchase physical copies from Debemur Morti Productions below:-


Debemur Morti Productions - https://www.facebook.com/debemurmorti/