Sunday, 24 January 2021

Stellar Death - Fragments Of Light

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 08 Jan 2021


1. The Astronomer

2. Endless

3. Betelgeuse

4. Binary Collapse

5. Approaching The Singularity

6. Everywhere And. Nowhere

7. Critical Mass (That Which Cannot Be Created)

8. Afterglow

2021 has already thrown up some really good releases and I'm sure many more are nestling in my inbox (they say time is infinite but right now it seems like it's flying by!). This is quite a poignant review considering the members that make up instrumental project Stellar Death reside in Washington D.C., which, has recently been besieged by Kool-aid drinkers (sorry, I know that saying is overused now). That's enough of politics though. Fragments Of Light is the band's latest album, having been released just a week or so ago. It turns out that it's the band's debut album and is currently available digitally.

I’ve really grown to love instrumental music over the years and by that I mean genuine instrumental music. I appreciate ambient noise/synth type stuff too, but this form seems a lot more engaging to me. It’s my first time hearing Stellar Death and album opener ‘The Astronomer’ is a mix of lighter melodic sounds and occasional crunching heaviness. The guitars stay up front, while the percussion and keys add extra bite and texture respectively. Slightly progressive but not in an obtuse way, leaning more towards the straightforward make up of metal in general (metalcore springs to mind for some reason).

‘The Astronomer’ was seven minutes long, which shows you Stellar Death’s keenness for thought provoking and immersive pieces. Rather ironically though, ‘Endless’ is the album’s shortest song and even with that in mind, it’s an excellently delivered and calming song. The recording, mixing and mastering on the album allows it to come alive as well, with the soundscapes of ‘Betelgeuse’ swirling around your ears in the most cinematic way. It’s like you’re surrounded by huge surround sound speakers, such is the effect.

The bass guitar work on Fragments Of Light deserves a proper mention at this point as it offers so much more than just added low-end. It comes to the fore in a greater way on ‘Binary Collapse’ and highlights how important it is to any post-metal band. It’s clear throughout the album but just stands out here for some reason. The song overall is a real mix of heavier hitting layers and comforting, soothing swathes of sound. It leads you into the album’s second half before you know it.

Song-writing is very highly regarded by Stellar Death here and none more so is that true, than on ‘Approaching The Singularity’, which is gentle during it’s first half before building in volume and dissonance as the second half take over. Not all music requires vocals and this song proves why. I’ve been trying to resist searching for a comparison to this band, as I think it’s not necessary to name drop all the time and I’m gonna stick to that because just when I was expecting another airy song, the band drops something a whole lot heavier, at least in parts on ‘Everywhere And Nowhere’. It’s actually quite a variety track too and makes more use of orchestral keys towards the end, balancing the aforementioned dissonance.

The truest post-metal comes in the form of penultimate song ‘Critical Mass (That Which Cannot Be Created)’ and as it plays, it reminds me of how tired I feel. Don’t take that the wrong way though, as it’s not boring by any stretch. I’m just three weeks into the new year and already feel like it’s been three months! This is the most ambient song on Fragments Of Light and once again it’s helped on it’s way by more orchestral keyboard work and even brief but stirring percussion. 

Album closer ‘Afterglow’ is a shorter ambient piece and is quite a fitting end to the record. It’s orchestral and classical, while being dramatic too. It shows the influences and the song-writing skills of Stellar Death. It doesn’t matter that there’s nothing heavy about it, as that’s not the band’s m.o. Overall, Fragments Of Light is a brilliant body of work and one that’s very mature given it’s debut status. The album will appeal to music lovers far and wide, even those not interested in metal.

You can stream and purchase Fragments Of Light digitally below:-

Stellar Death -

Monday, 18 January 2021

Gravehuffer - NecroEclosion

Labels: Black Doomba Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 15 Jan 2021


1. Custom Of The Sea

2. Hellhound

3. Sights To The Sky

4. Death Before Disco

5. Stingray

6. Smaller Than Death

7. Ghost Dance

8. Quarantine War Machine

9. Causes

10. Backpack

11. Madwolf

Back again tonight with another new release from Black Doomba Records (USA) and this time it's the third full-length from Gravehuffer, from Missouri. NecroEclosion was officially released last week and it captures eleven songs of all kinds, featuring thrash, grind, crust and doom along the way. Gravehuffer have been plying their trade in various forms since 2008 and this time they welcome guests from Voidvod, Annihiliator and Nevermore amongst others! 

This is a bewildering album, with opening song ‘Custom Of The Sea’ sounding like some kind of crazed thrash metal sea shanty, spliced with grind and death metal. The deep growls are pretty mean, while the instrumentation is menacing and fast, which, makes complete sense when up next to the higher pitched screams that also frequent the song. The samples Gravehuffer use definitely show that their roots are entwined in grind/punk and ‘Hellhound’ goes by super fast, thanks to it’s really upbeat tempo and gung-ho approach. There’s fun to be had with this record, trust me!

Gravehuffer’s influences stretch far and wide, and on ‘Sights To The Sky’ they come full circle thanks to a guest appearance from Voivod guitarist Dan ‘Chewy’ Mongrain, who helps provide a fantastic solo in a way that only he can. The overall song is dedicated to space and the Apollo mission, as you might have guessed from it’s intro. It’s really good and at times reminds me of the most recent songs from Total Fucking Destruction. From there, things get totally weird on ‘Death Before Disco’, where instead of metal you get an homage to The Bee Gees to start with before Gravehuffer flips the song on it’s head and returns back to their nasty, grinding best. 

It’s over all to quickly and you’re immediately dragged into ’Stingray’, which sees all band members providing gnarly vocals while also thrashing away with some real groove. The addition of a top notch solo from Craig Hecht helps raise the entertainment level up further. There haven’t been many opportunities thus far to hear their doom/sludge chops but ’Smaller Than. Death’ is where it’s at if you like it slow. The band do it really well too as it seems to get slower and slower during the first ninety seconds, before it becomes a chugging beast akin to L.D. 50-era Mudvayne, which is certainly no bad thing. There’s another guest appearance here, courtesy of Annihiliator/Nevermore’s Curran Murphy who adds a solo, which comes towards the end of the song and fits perfectly once again.

The second half of the album comes at you in seemingly no time at all and ‘Ghost Dance’ is a no nonsense rager, but one with an accessible groove, which seems to be a characteristic of Gravehuffer’s sound here. ‘Quarantine War Machine’ is the audible equivalent of what most of us are currently screaming in our heads at this moment in time and it’s just a straightforward smash through that metaphoric brick wall. It’s one of the best songs on NecroEclosion in my opinion. ‘Causes’ is another super slab of silly grind that will make you smile from ear to ear. The added horns from Doug Discharry are a super nice touch as well. 

It’s left to the final duo of ‘Backpack’ and ‘Madwolf’ to hammer home exactly what Gravehuffer is all about. ‘Backpack’ is another bouncy yet angry monster, while ‘Madwolf’, complete with additional horns, is more akin to a hardcore song to start with and is quite stirring, and oddly atmosphere-laden for something so brutal. Despite all of the different genres and bands mentioned above, it’s really difficult to truly place Gravehuffer here, so it’s best to take them as they are and enjoy their music, because they clearly do. I also want to shout out the added vocals of Stan Boman, as I realise I didn’t mention them further up due to not knowing where they slotted into the album. In conclusion, this is madcap but so enjoyable and I’m sure plenty of you will like it.

You can stream and purchase NecroEclosion below:-

Gravehuffer -

Black Doomba Records -

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Escarion - Pillars Of The Faith

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 29 Jan 2021


1. Inferno

2. Envy

3. Gluttony

4. Lust

5. Greed

6. Pride

7. Wrath

8. Sloth

9. Home (Where The Heart Is)

I guess I should write another review, seeing as I'm putting off committing my face to Youtube for the first time (it's something I'm thinking of doing in 2021). Anyway, back on the 2021 release trail with this, the debut album from Australian death metal band Escarion. Pillars Of The Faith will be self-released by the band on 29th January. Though t's subject matter focuses mainly on the seven deadly sins and the album title points towards a religious leaning (I don't care for religion at all), there's no evidence of it taking centre stage on this self-professed concept album, In fact, Escarion count the likes of Behemoth, Death and Trivium as influences so this should be a really good listen.

Escarion’s take on death metal is a technical one and despite the melodic intro to ‘Inferno’, their musicianship is filled with off-kilter phrasing and time-signatures. That said, it’s more old school than it is brutal here, as they slow things down and use atmosphere from the guitars to paint the scene. The drumming is spot on and the vocals are delivered with power and control. ‘Envy’ is where their obsession with the seven deadly sins begins and ignoring the concept for a second, it’s the instrumentation that really captures your attention. The guitar work is fantastic, while the low-end and drumming stays the right side of clinical, which is great as sometimes overly technical bands can sound like that. So far so unholy.

Escarion teases with their slower-paced intros, like the one at the beginning of ‘Gluttony’. From a fan of the slower, murkier forms of death metal I was hoping the song would go in that direction and it kind of does, albeit for a brief passage. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the song as it is though, as the progression and fretboard wizardry at play here are very impressive to say the least. Even the shorter playing time doesn’t harm it and the band manages to fill it’s bars with plenty of variation, musically. It’s at the point of ‘Lust’ that you really get truly sucked into Escarion’s sound and as the title suggests, you start to want it more and more. It’s infectious to say the least and even with the volume turned down (because I realised I was in danger of angering my neighbours) it still sounds excellent, which isn’t often the case with extreme metal. 

At the mid point of the album you’re greeted by probably the most brutal song on Pillars Of The Faith, ‘Greed’. It’s just wall to wall kick-drums and low as hell growls, coupled with a mix of buzzsaw and harmonic guitars, dragging things in a more modern direction again. Angular at times, but also satisfyingly thrashing as well. Also, it’s towards the end of ‘Greed’ and during the next song ‘Pride’ that you being to hear a bit more of the Trivium influence within Escarion’s sound, which is no bad thing at all. Kinda reminds me of ‘Ascendency’. There are some symphonic elements within ‘Pride’ but they’re overpowered by the heft of the band’s death metal so don’t worry too much. It is one of the longest songs on the album and while it is stop/start in places, there’s no holding back the momentum of things so far. In fact, Escarion manage the whole album really well considering it nearly reaches an hour in playing time across it’s nine songs. You’ll never be bored with this, put it that way. 

I know that sometimes my reviews can be a bit too long for your attention spans, but I don’t care one jot. Just keep listening to ‘Wrath’ and eventually you’ll come across a solo that’s worthy of repeat listens all on it’s own. That’s before you even get to the mammoth time changes and frenetic fret movements. It’s incredibly hard to balance the differing variants of death metal and keep them cohesive, yet Escarion manages it so well. On ‘Sloth’ there’s a definite turn towards something more mid-paced, at least for about a minute, before another blast of math-like technicality quashes the illusion. I like the technicality, don’t take my previous sentence the wrong way, but I guess I’m realising that the nasty, murkier old-school sound is the one for me, though I’d never advocate a band change their sound at all and Escarion do what they do exceptionally well, especially considering this is their debut!

And so it’s left to final song ‘Home (Where The Heart Is) to unleash one final blast of brutality upon your ears. It’s strange though as it’s also the most mainstream mid-section of the whole album (that was way too much alliteration for one evening!) but it leads to one hell of a majestic second-half and it closes out Pillars Of The Faith brilliantly. Overall, this is a fine debut album to put it mildly. It’ll appeal to fan of both the old school and also modern death metal and shows that 2021 is starting off strongly. If new bands like Escarion sound this good, what are more established band’s going to should like!

You can stream both 'Envy' and 'Greed' below, where you can also digitally pre-order the album:-

Escarion -

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Congratulations - Demo

Labels: Skeletal Lighting/Zegema Beach

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 26 Nov 2014


1. Aren't You Frightened Skinny, Scary Skeleton?

2. Stars And Lights

3. This Summer

4. Your Halo Glistens

5. Gospel

I'm taking a break from my endless inbox to chalk up another review in my Zegema Beach Records roster series. This was the first demo from short-lived Canadian screamo/indie band Congratulations. It was released in late 2014 on tape and digitally via both Skeletal Lightning Records and Zegema Beach Records, coming three years before the band's split with Swiss post-hardcore band The Rabbit Theory, which I reviewed back in 2018. This demo contains five tracks and is long sold out as far as I can tell.

Another weekend of isolation, doing jobs and jamming music due to the current situation is actually fine with me. I’m comfortable in my own company and this demo is a startlingly good accompaniment to the moment I find myself in. Opener ‘Aren’t You Frightened Skinny, Scary Skeleton?’ is just a beautiful piece of post-hardcore. It’s not overtly violent and is cinematic, with vocals that go from harsh screams to considered semi-spoken and clean. The instrumentation is very much the same, with a lot of melody and atmosphere.

‘Stars And Lights’ brings to mind bands like Interpol and very early Killers during the intro, as the melodic guitar plays a very indie-like bunch of riffs. It’s a groove-filled, danceable track that would sit alongside those bands and I Love Your Lifestyle for sure. I love it!

I’m definitely going to have to go back and spin their split with The Rabbit Theory. It’s a pit they wrote and released so few songs, but quality over quantity is welcome all the same. ‘This Summer’ is heavier than the song it follows, but only really in the verses. Congratulations had such a great dynamic on this demo and it’s a lot more polished and complete than you’d expect of a first release.

The other thing with noting about this demo is the compact song-lengths, they’re long enough for Congratulations to say what they want to say with their music but short enough not to loose impact. Penultimate song ‘Your Halo Glistens’ is a glorious ballad (of sorts) that makes me want to leave these four walls and walk around the snowy neighbourhood with it filling my ears. I might do that later on, in a safe and socially distanced manner of course!

It’s fitting then that the demo closer is a song like ‘Gospel’, which is at the other end of the spectrum, being louder and higher in tempo. Punk rhythms are joined by distant screams and both rumbling bass, and that glorious guitar tone that adds so much to the song and indeed the whole release. 

Congratulations was a band that went too soon in my opinion (though I'm not fully convinced that they aren't active anymore, perhaps someone could confirm this). This demo is perfect. I’m going to try and seek a copy out after this. If you’ve not heard this or of the band in general, then rectify that now, as you can listen and grab the demo digitally as a name-your-price download.

I was wrong when I presumed these tapes were sold out, as there appears to be copies still available from Zegema Beach Records here -

Skeletal Lightning Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Thursday, 14 January 2021

DayGlo Mourning - Dead Star

Labels: Black Doomba Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 10 Feb 2021


1. Dead Star

2. The Offering

3. Bloodghast

4. Faithful Demise

5. Ashwhore

6. Witch's Ladder

When this promo hit my inbox, the first thing that struck me was the artwork (created by Montdoom). It's so colourful and pleasing on the eye. I love it when a band marries their music up with such art, which in turn helps build their whole aesthetic. US stoner/doom band DayGlo Mourning are set to release their second full-length Dead Star via Black Doomba Records on 10th February. It follows their debut self-titled full-length from 2018 and their split 12" of the same year, with label mates Bludy Gyres. 

It snowed again today so I’ve got the heating on a bit higher, though nothing beats the warming tones of doom/stoner as part of an evening relaxation routine! Opening with title track ‘Dead Star’, DayGlo Mourning launches into some great and groovy doom rock. They are the archetypal power-trio and it shows here, with a considered yet experimental sound filled with rumbling bass, powerful drums, thunderous melodic riffs (do those two descriptors even work together?!) and semi-clean vocals that hark back to the old days of the genre. A slow and steady start, but one that’s super enjoyable.

Again, the traditionalist will love ‘The Offering’ with it’s nod towards traditional heavy metal, albeit the slower kind. It’s quite a simple song in terms of structure and delivery but more often that not, simple is more effective and the quiet verse/loud instrumental layout makes it all the more nostalgic. The awesome guitar effects towards the end add a cosmic element to the music too, which is no surprise when you gaze at the cover art.

The fuller fuzzy sound of ‘Bloodghast’ takes hold fairly sharpish soon after and the bass tones can be heard loud and proud. There’s something tribal about the percussive rhythm here but it’s only really there during the verses. DayGlo Mourning step through different movements on this seven-minute slab, which is by no means a slow burn. This is going to sound like a very strange thing to say but this album becomes more engrossing when you’re not giving it your full attention. I say that because if you concentrate on it too closely, the riffs don’t have the same impact at all. The music as a whole envelopes you and grips you so tightly, you don’t want it to let go. 

The low-end heaviness of ‘Faithful Demise’ will bring a grin to the face of even the hardest of metal fans, purely by being exactly what it is, heavy. Again, DayGlo Mourning employs the whole quiet/loud dynamic, which works so well for their music. It’s not brash, instead being comforting and approachable, even for newcomers to the genre. That’s a good trait to have I think.

The awesomely title ‘Ashwhore’ is probably the strongest song on Dead Star in my opinion. There’s a real sense of confidence and drive to it right from the start. Also, alongside the clean vocals, harsher vocals join the party and provide some added bite. Instrumentally, it’s super tight and when they dive into that free jazz/groove passage towards then end, it’s truly a dream of a listen. 

The trio ends it all with the sinister and slightly occult ‘Witch’s Ladder’. They threatened this sort of thing earlier on and it does go hand in hand with the chosen musical direction of DayGlo Mourning, but here it’s amplified and gladly received. I guess as a summary, the music would sit right next to the likes of Candlemass and The Devil’s Blood, as well as Kyuss too. Even though people will no doubt try to truly pigeonhole this album, it’s more varied than you think. My advice it to enjoy it for what it is, which is a damn good doom album. 

You can stream and check out the video for album opener 'Dead Star' via bandcamp below, where you can also pre-order the album on cd and digital formats:-

DayGlo Mourning -

Black Doomba Records -

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Sense Offender/They Live We Sleep - Split

Labels: Trepanation Recordings/F H E D Records

Formats: CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 04 Dec 2020


1. Sense Offender - Flatline Connectors

2. Sense Offender - Cancer Eater

3. Sense Offender - Feeding Tubes

4. They Live We Sleep - Vacant Host

5. They Live We Sleep - Suffer Silent

6. They Live We Sleep - False Gods

Here's one I should have reviewed earlier! This split features sludgy, math-like hardcore band Sense Offender and ferocious metallic hardcore band They Live We Sleep (not to be confused with German post-hardcore/screamo band They Sleep We Live, RIP), both of whom are from the UK. It was released in early December by UK label Trepanation Recordings on cd and digitally and by F H E D Records on tape, with three songs coming from each band.

First up is Sense Offender with ‘Flatline Connectors’  and after a sludgy/post-metal intro, the quartet’s mathy hardcore takes hold for what becomes a crazed exhibition of violence and grinding intensity. I wasn’t sure how they could maintain a song of this length, but their creativity and musicianship makes it work. As people reading this may know, there’s been a real rise of mathcore/myspace-grind bands over the last two years or so and while it would be unfair to lump Sense Offender in with that lot, they certainly add their own flair to the sub-genre.

From here on in, Sense Offender get a lot faster and blast through ‘Cancer Eater’ in next to no time at all. Pure UK mathcore goodness with a heavy slant towards the chaotic hardcore of Cursed and Gaza, amongst others. Their final song ‘Feeding Tubes’ is no shrinking violet either and is an amalgamation of everything that makes heavy music so great. The atmosphere, the death/black metal touches, the metallic guitar, pummelling drums and caustic/ripping vocals. It’s all alive and truly kicking!

They Live We Sleep begin in more immediate fashion with their first song ‘Vacant Host’. Their’s is a more hardcore approach, albeit one inspired by bands like Cult Leader and Trap Them. Not too far removed then from Sense Offender, but without the mathiness. It doesn’t harm their sound though, which is certainly more metallic. ’ Suffer Silent’ is; however, off-kilter and utterly ridiculous in places, though They Live We Sleep do control themselves and throw in plenty of murky, dense sludge undertones that help them create a proper wall of noise. The more you listen to this split the more infectious in becomes.  

They end the split with ‘False Gods’, which lives up to the name thanks to countless amounts of rage and general disdain channelled through the music. There’s very subtle melody residing in the depths of this song, which give it a haunting atmosphere at times and as it all crumbles into sonic chaos during the final bars, you’re left reeling in it’s wake.

If you could capture your current frustration and mood in a musical form, it would surely sound something like this split. Both Sense Offender and They Live We Sleep are totally on form and demand return listens, if only for their sheer power. I’m sure more will be coming from both bands but until that time, this will keep you satisfied in even the darkest of ways.

You can stream, download and buy this split on cd via Trepanation Recordings below:-

It's also available on tape from F H E D Records here -

Sense Offender -

They Live We Sleep -

Trepanation Recordings -

F H E D Records -

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Alltar - Live At Ceremony Of Sludge

Labels: Monochord Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 12 Feb 2021


1. Intro

2. Arcana

3. Interlude

4. War Altar

5. Ceremony Of Sludge

6. Cantillate

If you'd have said to me that the second 2021 release I'd be featuring on here would be a live album, I would have said "I can't remember the last live album I featured". In fact, I don't think I've ever featured one (though I may be wrong). This one comes courtesy of Oregon, USA's Alltar and features their set from Ceremony Of Sludge IX, which took place last March in Portland and included sets from Usnea, Brume, Glasghote and Zyl. The set is due for release both digitally and also on CD via Monochord Records in February.

After the short but intrigue-building ‘Intro’, Alltar immediately launches into ‘Arcana’, their first song proper and it’s a progressive, doom-laden masterpiece, which sounds incredible for a live recording. I feel that’s going to be the main theme of this album. I’ve seen Alltar being compared to some of doom metal’s greats and certainly on listening to both the vocals and instrumentation so far, I can see why. They sound remarkably tight as a unit.

After just one full song, they see fit to through in an ‘Interlude’, which seems a little odd though I’d guess their set time probably wasn’t long enough to justify adding another lengthier song into the set. ‘War Altar’ is a heavily instrumental piece that edges further towards post-metal and it’s also got a good chunk of folk within it’s bars. The vocals are atonal when they kick in but soon open up, showing Juan Carlos Caceres’s range much like ‘Arcana’ earlier on. There are brief bursts of harsher vocals later on, which match the bigger riffs but they don’t overpower things and the groove that Alltar possesses wins out in the end.

‘Ceremony Of Sludge’ reminds you that this is a live set, as if it wasn’t for the band’s interaction with the crowd, you wouldn’t have guessed this was live given how good the recoding is. The song itself is a cosmic interlude that leads into Alltar’s closing song ‘Cantillate’ and it’s a great one to end on. Overall, another fine slab of doom/post-metal with some heavier influences thrown in as well. Alltar’s lengthy compositions are really well performed and mature. 

As I said above, this release feels a little short on full songs, but Alltar only had limited time to play with so that’s to be forgiven. What they have done though is to really put themselves in a position of strength where they can get noticed by a whole host of new listeners and fans of heavy music. This is great.

You can stream 'War Altar' prior to release below, where the album is available for both digital and physical pre-order:-

Alltar -

Monochord Records -

Friday, 8 January 2021

GRYSCL - Heaven Knows


Labels: Self-Released/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Digital/Lathe

Release Date: 26 Jan 2014/26 Nov 2014


1. Cassidy

2. Tulip

I promise that by next week I'll have some more 2021 release reviews up on here. Until then though, you'll have to do with music that's come before. I'm starting as I mean to go on by posting a new ZBR roster review in the first full week of the year. This one features the long sold out two-song lathe cut 7" from Memphis, Tennessee (USA) screamo band GRYSCL (also known as Greyscale). 

Today’s been a super weird end to the week. We've had quite heavy snow (for the UK) and I was able to finish work early. It left me in a bit of a celebratory mood until I had to run errands and then walking through the snow tired me out (because we’re not used to it). That being said, I was always going to write about something this evening and that something has ended up being the 2014 two-track release by US screamo band GRYSCL. 

Heaven Knows was released in very limited physical numbers and that’s a pity. EP opener ‘Cassidy’ is a mathy/jangly post-hardcore/screamo song with plenty of caustic energy and abrasive vocals. That’s quite hard to type when I’ve cracked open a weekend beer or two, but I’ve managed it!. That said, GRYSCL seem to have their instrumentation down to a tee and it’s very dreamy, while being explosive at the same time.

‘Tulip’ may sound like a Blink-182 era pop-punk song to begin with but don’t let that tone fool you, it’s anything but as GRYSCL injects off-kilter rhythms and riffs into their music. It’s wholly instrumental for the majority but it builds in volume and layers throughout, leading you to something much more. The spoken word vocals explode into screams and in doing so, carry a lot of emotion as well. The fact that their songs are also lengthier helps to paint a true picture, that gets brighter with every listen.

Okay so this release is over seven years old now but that doesn’t matter one bit. What matters is that music like this exists and bands like GRYSCL made it. Now more than even, music is one of the most important art forms we can rely/lean on. Embrace it and you’ll be much happier as a result. 

You can stream Heaven Knows and grab it as a name-your-price download below:-


Thursday, 7 January 2021

2020 Year End List: Joe Allen (Kurokuma/Bible Basher)

Here's the second 2020 year end list, this time from Joe Allen of Sheffield based sludge/doom bands Kurokuma and Bible Basher. As with Mikey previously, Joe's got a much more eclectic taste in music than I have. His year end list; however, is very much focused on heavier music and it's a great read. Check out it out below and my thanks go out to Joe for sending this across for me to publish:-

Ummon by Slift

Coming out in February, as soon as I heard this I knew it would be one of the best things all year, and here it is sitting pretty on my list. This is superb, playful psychedelic rock from the power trio from France. One of those releases where each song is a unique creation in its own right but the flow and overall feel of the album is unified. The cover art is also spectacular and vibes perfectly with the tunes. I can see this becoming a cult classic in years to come.

Endless Detainment by Serpent Column

One to rearrange your head when you're in the mood. The drummer snakes in and out of time and the whole band coalesce around this; it's not rhythm but absolute chaos. There's not too much else like it, but its soul is black metal; it's truly evil and rabid. When the release crescendos around the titular track, you're rewarded with one of the hardest riffs of the year, confidently hammering itself into your skull like a galvanised nail.

Intermittent Damnation by Ona Snop

Slick Leeds fastcore from the guys with the primary colour logo. This band don't look serious, but the music is seriously good. Catchy, pit-friendly riffs that mostly last for 4 seconds interspersed with blast beats and vocals that are tortured/fun. It's great. Mosh and smile at the same time. Makes one long for gigs to come back.

Lesions Of A Different Kind by Undeath

The OSDM revival is in full swing, emphasis on the swing - this album grooves. The production pops hard and it's all kinda danceable to be honest. The title track opens with a rototom fill, then drops into a riff that has insane energy and drive. The guttural vocals never let up. Backed by the Maggot Stomp label as well as Prosthetic, these guys have been everywhere this year and for good reason.

Opulent Decay by Spell

I came to this band via For None And All released in 2016; reverb-soaked occult rock à la Blue Oyster Cult with touches of Rush and Hammers of Misfortune. The production is vintage and the playing not what you'd call tight, but it creates an amazing fluid/lucid feel. The riffs often feel straight out of the 70s, and I fully appreciate how spot on the artwork is. Also the way the tracks don't stick to just one style - the accapella ‘Ataraxia’ is one great example of that. Love it.

Terminus by Jesu

Justin K Broadrick has always been a genius but by now he's a master. His music bleeds feeling, strong and direct. Every instrument and effect wielded like an artist at the height of his powers. Jesu takes the emotion and effects/electronic manipulation of shoegaze and adds dashes of the low-end of metal - some might call it doomgaze. Another collection of songs from Justin to get lost in; simply luscious escapism.

Mercy Machine by Maggot Heart

I was a big fan of this band's previous LP, Dusk To Dusk from 2018, and for some reason I missed this at its time of release. Via social media I realised it existed more recently and it's very similar to that previous album, but I'm not complaining one bit. Post punk mixed with old school heavy metal, fronted by the snarling vocals of Linnéa Olsson. She's been around the gig circuit for a while now, and it shows. Maggot Heart drips attitude. Quality through and through.

The Great Flood by Rope Sect

Love this band. Melodic death rock from Germany that's gothy and post-punky in parts. The production is restrained, using distortion minimally, for example. The result is a natural sound with a ruggedness and haunting ambience. There's a real depth and mystery here than many projects lack. A cult band that seem to be growing with each release and it's great to see.

Your Fault by Horse the Band

I have waited for over a decade for new material from Horse the Band, and listening to this EP it's like they never went away. Their music and lyrics resonate at a level far beyond pretty much anything else for me. Part of it is the history and the nostalgia I have with and for them and the hours and hours I've spent watching Earth Tour. This band mock anything other than true expression. Wild, experimental, synth-driven metalcore that's daft and deadly serious at the same time. This EP has whetted my appetite for more from them once again.

Training Resource #5 by Under

Another EP, and much like the above EP on this list, it feels almost like it mocks the listener through its confidence, talent and vision. Under are easily one of the most underrated bands operating in the UK, a true hidden gem. Their music exists outside of trends, obtuse but extremely rewarding. The angular sludge is maintained here, but with raw production from guitarist, Simon Mayo and a Black Flag cover, this has a hardcore punk instinct. It's what punk might sound like if it was played by truly talented musicians letting loose, and I love it.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Tripping The Mechanism - To The Moth, I Am The Sun 7" (Mikey Ortega)

Label: Self-Released
Format: 7” Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 06 Jan 19


1. Dorian Grey

2. Horns

When it comes to the South and extreme music, South Carolina doesn’t come up that much in conversations. We always hear about the NOLA scene and the influence it made to underground music scene and of course the noise brewing down in Georgia (the State that brought us Kylesa and Mastodon). But after hearing what the Palmetto State have been unleashing, I would say that South Carolina have now become heavy contenders. One of those bands that are laying waste is three-piece called Tripping The Mechanism.

To The Moth, I Am The Sun is a two-track 7” that was released back in 2018 and it sure packs punch. It opens up with ‘Dorian Grey’, which is a catchy tune with a killer riff to rock out. It has an early-90’s vibe with a sludgy tone. Then come ‘Horns’, which is the heavier of the two. Just a raw and grimy track for those who like it extreme.

If you’re familiar with Tripping The Mechanism’s other work, then you know how much they kick arse. If you haven’t, then prepare to enter Holy City Hell. With To The Moth, I Am The Sun, TTM continue to kill it. With the way they compose their music, it always hooks me and makes me want more. The 7” should still be available, so grab it before it’s gone, especially if you’re a collector. For fans of Sludge and Doom, you won’t be disappointed.

You can stream and purchase the 7' from Tripping The Mechanism below:-

Tripping The Mechanism -