Monday 31 December 2012

Punk in drublic - Spastic Fantastic Records



A little while ago I decided to write some features that lifted the lid on DIY/cool labels. Labels that are pushing the envelope for killer bands and that have an obvious theme or aesthetic. My first feature was on Manchester based label Church of Fuck, which deals with dark/despairing hardcore, amongst other genres. This feature focuses on German punk label Spastic Fantastic Records.

Spastic Fantastic Records was founded in 2007, with the sole purpose of releasing fast punk music. They specialise in the kind of punk that is regularly reviewed in Maximum Rock n Roll and like to keep things colourful!

As well as Spastic Fantastic, there is also an imprint called Yakuzzi Tapes, that solely releases tapes. A while ago, I caught up with label head honcho Maz, to find out more about it's beginnings, future and about the punk scene in Germany. 

Can you tell us a bit about how Spastic Fantastic Record started and what your ethos is for the label?

Yo hey James. First of all thanks for your interest in doing a special about the label. I'm very pleased for your support. So back to the question, SFR started back in 2007 with the demo tape of my first hc band, when I was 18. Since then I perceive the label as an open minded, violent free, anti fascist, pro gay and left wing family base. 

Whereas a lot of hardcore/metal labels promote dark aesthetics, you seem to have a more positive and colourful attitude. Is that inspired by the music you release?
 
Indeed. As I started the label I listened to much 625, Youth Attack and Slap-A-Ham stuff. What Happens Next, Scholastic Deth, Surf Nazis Must Die, Highscore, Spazz… everything over the top, bandanas, flannels, skateboard decks! I can't do anything with so-called modern hardcore. I like fast music, smart lyrics and fun on stage. That's why everything seems a bit more colorful if you look at the label catalog. 
 
What has been your proudest achievement since forming the label? What has been your best selling release?
 
Hmmm, hard question. I don't have exact numbers, since the label is only a hobby and not used to make more money, than I need for a new release, so I don't really care about records. The last NXD or rather Napoleon Dynamite LP was a big seller and we made another run of it around 1 or 2 months after the release date. That's quite fantastic for a small band and label as SFR or NXD with a tiny niche of people, being into this kind of crap punk. My proudest achievement may be the fact, that bands like DEAN DIRG or SNIFFING GLUE asked me for a release. Till today, two of my absolute favorite bands. Besides, it's really satisfying to work together with so much nice people, friends, my punk-rock family. Every release was fixed through a gut instinct and the people seem to like my label roster and politics behind the surface. That's awesome!
Can you tell us a bit about your current releases?
 
Currently in the pressing plant: The first DANGER! DANGER! EP. A new band from the NIHIL BAXTER area and mates of em. Fast and aggressive hc punk with a nice street-punk edge and some crazy guitar tunes. Besides, we will release a compilation LP of Belgium’s SUNPOWER with their EPs and some cover songs - 80s hardcore punk with some love for the 70s. Afterwards I expect the limited Demo LP of Dortmund's all-star power violence/ fastcore project of 142. They made a demo CD-R and one or two shows, before they quit the band. Till today I was a big fan of their one and only release and looked forward to finally release it on vinyl. I hope to find 99 other idiots; they want a piece of it on 12'', too. 7 minutes, 45 rpm, 12 inches, silk-screened foldout cover and limited to just 100 pieces. Also in the pressing plant, the upcoming LP of East Germany’s SAD NEUTRINO BITCHES. A highly explosive punk-rock mix between garage, rock'n'roll, 60s, 70s and straight-forwarded hardcore punk between DEAN DIRG, BLACK LIPS and HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE. Early 2013 I expect the new LP by Hanover’s premium hardcore pack of T34. On top of that we will release a couple of tapes in the next few weeks. Check out Yakuzzi Tapes on Facebook for that.
Can you talk about your future plans for Spastic Fantastic?
 
There will be a Deutsch punk split 7'' between KOTZREIZ and NXD in the first quarter of 2013 and a new EP by FRIENDS OF DOROTHY, a new band from Sweden with members of HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE and the mighty Sir Henry Fiat on the mic. Be prepared for some spittin’ punk'n'roll in the veins of his former band(s). Additionally we're working on several new releases, I hope there will be some new material by the established SFR-bands, maybe a flexi or a singles club. I'm planning to redesign and update the shop and its software with a friend in the future. 
 
What is your policy when deciding which bands to work with and release for?
 
I focus on working with friends or friends of friends, fast music, snotty sounds, left wing, a nice sense of humour. Stuff I like, not stuff that will sell. That was always a good recipe.
How has Social media (like Facebook) helped you label reach wider audiences (it was how I found out about you!)?
 
I think the web 2.0, Youtube, Facebook, Bandcamp, Blogspot offers a lot of free space for labels and artists to share messages, ideas, music and creativity. That helps me of course spreading news for upcoming releases, shows and shop updates, but also is a great way of stay in contact with friends or connect to people worldwide. We're doing trades with Asian and American people from far away, we only know through their web presence
 
What bands are you currently listening to and who's influenced you over the years?

Some bands that influenced me and the label, that spontaneously come to my mind: THE ITALIAN STALLION, ExTxAx, SPAZZ, CHARLES BRONSON, FORMALDEHYDE JUNKIES, THE REPOS, CIRCLE JERKS, ANGRY SAMOANS, SCHOLASTIC DETH, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?, R.A.M.B.O., TERRORGRUPPE, HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE, THE HIVES, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, BEASTIE BOYS, BOMBENALARM, NEGATIVE APPROACH, THE PRICKS, THE SHOCKS, DEAN DIRG, TRIO… some of them got connections to the SFR family over the last 4-5 years, which is cool to speak to bands and people I listened to, while growing up. Records I listen to these days: THE JIM TABLOWSKI EXPERIENCE – s/t recordings, WICCANS - Field 2 12'', GRUPPE80, JA JA 12'', GREEN BERET - Violence Is Their Currency 12'', THEE OOPS - Hey Charlie 7'' and some of the test-pressings and tapes I'm working on. 

What is the punk/hardcore scene like in Germany at the moment and which local bands would you recommend to us?
 
The scene… hmmm, I think it's easy to book a tour, playing shows, meet new and nice people and get treated well here in Germany. The northern part of Germany is quite lame for such big cities like Hamburg, but therefore I really got in love with the eastern and especially the southern part of Germany. There are a lot of people being into the DIY scene, making records and tapes, printing posters and shirts, booking agencies, of course playing in bands. But as everywhere, some people are awesome, others pretty much suck. Even in the great punk-rock / hardcore universe. I try not focus so much on scenes, maybe cause there is no real existing scene in our area, but you should check out THE JIM TABLOWSKI EXPERIENCE and MADAME MONSTER.

So as mentioned above, here's some lines about SFR's latest releases:-

Leidkultur - For A Better World 7"


Leidkultur are a hardcore punk band from Nuremberg and this 7" features 6 songs, chock full of hardcore in the vein of bands like From Ashes Rise. SFR have two pressings available - 1 with a Black on White cover and the other with a Purple on White cover. The Purple pressing is exclusive to SFR. You can stream the 7" below:- 



142 - Demo 12"


142 were a hardcore/powerviolence band from Dortmund. They are no longer together, but SFR are pressing their demo onto vinyl. It features 10 songs in 7 minutes, so you know it's gonna be nuts! It's strictly limited to 100 copies and is a co-operative release with fellow Germans. Rising Riot Records. You can stream the 12" below and it should be out in January 2013:-



T-34 - Do It Yourself 12"


This is another 12" coming from SFR, for Hannover based punks T-34. These guys sing in their native tongue and this record should be out very soon. You can a preview of this record, by streaming it below:-



Sunpower - Decade 12"


SFR will be releasing a very special 12" for Belgian hardcore punks Sunpower in January 2013. It'll be a compilation that will feature the songs from their first 3 EP,s as well as some special unreleased songs. There will also be a live DVD included! The 12" will be limited to just 300 copies, with 60 receiving special SFR hand-numbered, screen-printed outer sleeves. Wet your appetite for the finished product below:-



Danger! Danger! - S/T 7"


This is another pre-order that will be out in January 2013. This is fast punk, from members of fellow SFR band Nihil Baxter. Again, it can be streamed below:-


As well as these records, there are going to be new releases from SFR's sub-label Yakuzzi Tapes. As the name suggested, Yakuzzi Tapes was set up to press special cassette releases.

Their latest releases include tapes from Pusrad and Cheap Drugs. You can order them here - http://www.spasticfantastic.de/catalog/yakuzzi-tapes.

Yakuzzi Tapes also have a bandcamp page where you can stream all of their releases - http://yakuzzitapes.bandcamp.com/.

There's also tonnes more music from SFR's back catalogue on their bandcamp page at http://spasticfantastic.bandcamp.com/.

You can also buy both SFR and Yakuzzi Tapes releases from the main label website at http://www.spasticfantastic.de/catalog/index.php.

You can both label on Facebook to at http://www.facebook.com/spasticfantasticrecords and http://www.facebook.com/yakuzzitapes.

Sunday 30 December 2012

The Acacia Strain - Death Is The Only Mortal


The Acacia Strain shouldn't need any introductions now. They came along when the US metalcore scene was becoming over saturated and tore it a new one. They released some huge albums and gained massive momentum, before being snapped up by Rise Records after leaving their previous label, Prosthetic and Death Is The Only Mortal was their Rise debut, released in October.

Tracklist:-

1.Doomblade
2.Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow
3.Go To Sleep 
4. Brain Death
5. The Mouth of The River
6. Dust and The Helix
7. Victims of The Cave 
8. Time and Death and God
9. The Chambered Nautilus
10. House of Abandon

Opener Doomblade begins with a well-known sample before The Acacia Strain tear into the opening verse. The lead guitar adds melody to the thick, breakdown filled low-end. The vocals are suitably low as well, but sit at the top of the mix. Doomblade is more mid-paced than I expected, but the band hasn’t scrimped on the heaviness at all. Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow sees TAS explore more thrash metal elements, as well as some unique off-kilter textures. The use of electronic programming is also present in small amounts on the record, but unlike many other modern US metal bands, its not as prominent so doesn't detract from the music or the brutality that TAS spew forth.

There is definitely a djent influence creeping into their music, which is no bad thing. The riffs at the start of Go To Sleep are a good example of that. There also seems
to be a subtle hint of sludge too, which shows that TAS are not just a one-genre band. The production is clean and the song structures are good. TAS doesn’t overplay things and like to keep  to the same formula in the first half of the album. One thing they do really well, is the brutal breakdowns that are placed in songs. They don't overuse these and tend to place them alongside other elements, like vocal or drums refrains etc, to vary their sound. The melodic, introspective guitar during Brain Death does a good job of breaking up the song's obvious brutality. You get broad sided by some awesome twin guitar melodies too, that remind you that at the end of the day, these guys embody what heavy metal is about!

As TAS move into the second half of Death Is The Only Mortal, they sound well and truly bedded in and start to vary things. Dust And The Helix sounds more urgent than previous songs, with a real heavy undercurrent to it. Victims of The Cave sees them heading back into sludgier, more mid-paced territory. The sinister keyboard effects add intrigue and the crushing underbelly of the song provides you with ample opportunity to headbang your head clean off you neck! They hit a real thrashy groove as the song closes out, which really hits the spot.

As TAS settles into their final three songs, it becomes apparent that this is not just another metal album and that they are not just another metal band. The off-kilter sound of Time and Death and God brings modern flair to their sound, while the quieter more introspective passages build atmosphere. There's a stop-start aesthetic to The Chambered Nautilus, which is tempered by some brilliant melodic guitar leads. House of Abandon is one of the heaviest songs on the record, no further description needed really!

So forget what you though you knew about The Acacia Strain or your pre-formed opinions, these guys are huge in sound and personality. Their music may be more modern than I normally feature on these pages, but as a band that deserves recognition for bringing metal to new, younger audiences, they are worth the price of admission. Death Is The Only Mortal is a brutal album, full of different musical elements and should usher in a new, stronger future for both The Acacia Strain and Rise Records.

TAS have three tracks available for streaming on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/sergeyx/sets/the-acacia-strain-death-is-the.

Rise Records has both CD and vinyl variants of Death Is The Only Mortal for sale in their store at http://riserecords.merchnow.com/.


You can keep up to date the The Acacia Strain at both http://www.theacaciastrain.com/ and at http://www.facebook.com/Theacaciastrain.



Sathanas/Spawn of Satan - Split 7"


This new 7" from Hells Headbangers typifies their policy of releasing awesome death and black metal, by releasing a song each from two US death metal legends. Pittsburgh blackened deathsters Sathanas, formed back in 1988 and have been a mainstay of the US death metal scene ever since. Cleveland, Ohio's Spawn of Satan formed a year later in 1989. They have just returned after a hiatus of four years to contribute to this split.

Tracklisting
1. Spawn of Satan - Ritual Murder
2. Sathanas - Unholy Eternal


Starting with Spawn of Satan's track Ritual Murder. This song was actually written in 1988, but finally finds it's way onto vinyl on this split. The sound harks back to the low-fi 80's death metal records and naturally it has an old-school feel.

The vocals are low and as evil as they come. The instruments sit quite low in the mix, so to appreciate it fully you've got to turn it up to 11! This is death metal as it should be. No complications, no electronic effects, just honest and frenzied music. The screeching guitar solo is a highlight for me, as it typifies the skill and flair that comes from death metal bands when they're in full flow. The fact that the vocals are perfectly audible as well, helps Spawn of Satan sound more impressive. A perfect splash of death metal!

Sathanas muscle in with Unholy Eternal on the B-side. They have a very different sound to them, with thicker guitars, plenty of double bass and snare and those trademark, gargled blackened death growls. Sathanas make use of the bass more in their track and thanks to the production; it helps to add heft to their side.

Unholy Eternal is pretty grim, as you'd expect (in a good way). With Satan being the overarching theme here, the evilness is perfectly placed and this 7" gives you 8+ minutes of frenzied headbanging time. It's great to hear two well-known death metal bands, using a format such as vinyl to showcase two different strains of death metal.


You can listen to the entire split on Hells Headbangers bandcamp page below:-


As illustrated above, this 7" comes in glorious, Satan red vinyl and you can pick it up from http://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/.
Spawn of Satan can be found on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/666spawnofsatan.
Sathanas are on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sathanasmetal.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Limb - Demo


This is the first of four reviews I'm writing about recent releases from one of the UK's up and coming DIY labels, Witch Hunter Records. This is the demo CD from London based sludge band Limb. Limb formed in 2011 and this is their first recorded output.

Tracklist:-

1. Daemoness
2. Black Rat
3. Dead Voice


Daemoness immediately invokes images of Electric Wizard with its crunching, slow intro riffs. Limb are a different beast though. The vocals that come from Rob Hoey are more than audible and Limb favour instrumental craft over pure pummelling. The vocals are buried within the mix, which is what you'd expect from a sludge band and for demo, the production is clear and genuine. There are no electronic effects on show and it's just good, honest heavy metal. Daemoness pulls forth for just over four minutes to leave your ears broken and bleeding!

Black Rat has a real low-fi feel to it. The atmosphere is very different compared to Daemoness but there's still that feeling of oppression coming from the music. There does however seem to be a bit of a rock n roll swagger coming out in the way the vocals are delivered. Its almost spoken word for the most part and the instruments while thick in sound, are quite minimal.

Closer Dead Voice crackles into life with the sound of deafening feedback before Limb settle into a bass-led groove. Here they lean more towards the stoner/heavy metal vibe and the fact that Limb use different styles in each song, means that they sound fresh and varied during each one. They still keep the bedrock of sludge though, especially in the mid-section of Dead Voice, where things take a stupendously slow turn. Those bass frequencies will turn any building to rubble!

This has been my first encounter with Limb and what an encounter it's been. Limb prove that even with just a short, three track demo to their name, that they can stand
up alongside the most established sludge bands in Britain and match them. Hats off to them for creating such an awesome sound and hats off to Witch Hunter Records for releasing this demo. I have a feeling that this won't be the last we hear from Limb.
Limb are streaming the whole demo on their bandcamp page. Just do me a favour and listen to it below:-


You can also download it as a name-your price of a free download from their page.

You can purchase the demo as a limited edition CD from Witch Hunter Records at http://witchhunterrecords.bigcartel.com/.

Limb also have merch for sale in their online store at http://limbtheband.bigcartel.com/ and you can find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LimbTheBand

Friday 28 December 2012

Deathamphetamine - The Lost Album


It's always a huge bummer writing a review of a record by a band that have split up. The music stands a an epitaph to the band and them passing, leaves a void. Deathamphetamine are one such band. This mad-ass crossover/death/grind band formed in 2000 in Boston, MA. They put out several releases, including this tape - The Lost Album, which was their last, through Obscenity Cult Records.

Tracklisting:-

1. 1-1-2-3-5
2. Losing It All
3. Dactyl Nightmare
4. The Black Moment
5. The Immortalist
6. Domestic Human
7. More Sauce for The Goose
8. Stalinizer
9. The Last Man


This is as raw as you though it would be. 1-1-2-3-5 is just a blast of grinding, death metal madness. The guitars sound like whirring chainsaws in the mix, with the high-pitched screams sounding mad! The speed of the drums and those awesome screaming leads, bring thrash into the mix and it's all over in the blink of an eye.
Losing It All has a slightly more traditional song structure to it, but it's equally as rip-roaring. Deathamphetamine slow things down at times here, with very minimal introspective moments before stepping back on the gas and inviting their entire gang in to do gang vocals mid way through. Losing It All ends with a cock-rocking solo!

Deathamphetamine don't believe in giving you time to catch your breath, with their songs each blurring into the next. Dactyl Nightmare is a whirlwind of headache inducing drums and guitar. The Black Moment sees the band start with a more sedate intro, before thrashing out good and proper. The death metal vocals seem to be more evident here, along with some lower, more evil sounding vocals. They combine to blacken the darkness even more! Such is the pace of this album, that by the time The Immortalist kicks off, you're already half way through it. The Immotalist is another savage sub three-minute blast of crossover fury. I've listened to lot of albums this year by thrash/death/grind bands but I still can't find a comparison for Deathamphetamine, which means they were onto something with this tape.

As you'd expect from a tape, the sound is rough and ready, but it really does suit the music. The production does a good job of allowing all the instruments to stand out though. Domestic Human is another death heavy blast and thanks too some cunning pace changes, it seems a lot longer than it's sub three-minute playing time. The guitar work toward then end of the song is something to behold, with the scraping, screeching leads taking over and pricking up your ears. Towards the end of The Lost Album, Deathamphetamine experiment with a couple of longer songs. More Sauce For The Goose starts with some power metal inspired falsetto screams, with guitar solo's to match. Stalinizer follows straight on at the end of the sample that closes More Sauce For The Goose. It sees the band again reaching loftier heights, with plenty of rock n roll influences.

It all ends with The Last Man, which is a mammoth of song purely for the length of time at which the band keep up their relentless pace. It's a pity that Deathamphetamine have called it a day, as the world needs more good-time thrashing/grinding fun. There's plenty of over the top but awesome musicianship on this album and there is plenty to like. Pick up a copy if you can!

Along with the rest of their recorded output, The Lost Album is streaming over at Deathamphetamine's bandcamp page below:-

You can pick up the cassette from Obscenity Cult Records at http://obscenitycultrecords.bigcartel.com.
Deathamphetamine can be found at both  http://www.deathamphetamine.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/DEATHAMPHETAMINE.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Can you help?

It's no secret that over the last 6 months, this blog has grown and grown! So much so that I don't have time to keep up with posting much news, as I get stuff daily. I feel bad that I can't post this news up on my blog on a daily basis due to the amount of review material I get and hours I spend working a real job.

With that in mind, I am writing to ask if one of you would be into helping me, by posting news up onto this blog on a daily/weekly basis depending on volumes? I need someone who has the time and is comfortable with posting multiple pieces of news each day. I will usually send the stuff to you when I get it, but we can sort out details later.

If you are interested, e-mail me at stayahead1@yahoo.co.uk to let me know and then we can talk about it further. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday 24 December 2012

Northless/Light Bearer - Split LP


So before I disappear into the mire of endless turkey and trimmings, I thought I'd do another review to kick Christmas eve off. I was really excited when I received this in my inbox, as along with the Northless 10" I reviewed a couple of weeks back, this record was one I'd been looking forward to hearing since it was announced.

It features two bands that really need no introduction. Northless are a sludge outfit from the bowels of Milwaukee and bring two lengthy tracks to this release. Light Bearer are a progressive metal band from London, England and contribute one track. Ever since I bought Light Bearer's full length, Lapsus, I've been spellbound by them, so getting the chance to review this record is pretty awesome.

The LP itself has been released by the ever brilliant Halo of Flies and their cohorts Alerta Antifascista and Moments of Collapse.

Tracklist:-

1. Northless -  Tears from Crime
2. Northless - For as Long as You Shall Walk the Earth, Your Blood Will Reek of Failure
3. Light Bearer - Celestium Apocrypha: Book of Watchers


Northless open with Tears From Crime. Instantly it's a heavy, riff-laden beast with pounding drums and vocals that sound like they come from Lucifer himself. There's melody amongst the noise, with some low-end guitar, which makes it feel like the walls are closing in on you. Northless ploughs through five+ minutes of sludgy, progressive metal that leaves you seeking only solace. For as Long as You Shall Walk the Earth Your Blood Will Reek of Failure is the up next, and like it's title, it's a mammoth of a track. It feels slightly more id-paced than Tears From Crime, but that only adds to it's heaviness. There's more use of subtle off-kilter time signatures and there's some more melodic treble on show too. Things take an even gloomier turn mid-way through the song. Northless slow down and with that change of pace comes a more wretched low-end. There are still some metallic riffs that help the odd ray of light to shine through the haze, but as before it's not there for security!

Light Bearer's contribution is Celestium Apocrypha: Book of Watchers. It weighs in at nearly twenty-two minutes and starts with slow building, haunting noise. The noise levels increase near the five-minute mark as the drums kick out a kind of tribal beat. The guitars are low and there are orchestral sounds included in the mix. Light Bearer make the song sound almost otherworldly, with the inclusion of different elements and textures. Anyone who's listened to Lapsus more than a few times will see similarities, but this song sees the band progressing further.

The choral singing in the mid section is very haunting, but fits the song perfectly and is a brief moment to catch your breath. The rest of the song floats passed and leaves you in a trance. The instrumentation and the arrangements means the song flows really well and thanks to a good production, as with the Northless tracks, you've got a pretty perfect LP. Both bands provides glimpses of what they are capable of, which should be enough to make you want to go and investigate the rest of their releases.

You can stream this entire LP via Moments Of Collapse Records below:-

Saturday 22 December 2012

My year in review

I'm not doing a best of 2012 list (not because I'm boring), but because A)I can't decide and B)because like my blog, I like to appreciate the music on it's own merits. However, I thought I'd write a small review of some of what's made this year good for This Noise Is Ours:-
So 2012 was the year that my blog blew up. I re-branded it from Stay Ahead to This Noise Is Ours to make it stand out more from the crowd. I also hit the 40,000 reader mark, which has been a massive milestone for me!
I grew my tape collection, in part thanks to the mighty Church Of Fuck. That label can do no wrong in my eyes and has introduced me to some ace new bands including - Knife Crimes RIP, Swinelord, Esoteric Youth, Iced Out, Trudger, Razoreater, Cholera, Dead Bong, Nigh and Armour of Contempt. The label also releases some great releases by some more familiar bands and are gonna be even bigger in 2013.
I discovered We Came Out Like Tigers through the brilliant Dog Knights Productions. 
I made it out to some really good gigs too, including the North Yorkshire Hardcore Fringe fest all-dayer, where I discovered Farman amongst others. In Leeds, I witnessed my first to gigs at the Royal Park Cellars (I love that venue). I got to see Hexis, This Gift Is A Curse, Black Veins, Razoreater, Lich, Rot In Hell and Moloch. I've not been to that many gigs this year, but they were definitely highlights.
The news that Killswitch Engage were welcoming their original singer back to the fold was a highlight, as I love Alive or Just Breathing.
I've received records/tapes/zines from across the globe, including the Jagernaut/Hello Bastards split tape from Bak at Scull Crasher Records in Greece. I got a copy of the first issue of the zine Hotet Fran Skogarna from Sweden, which featured some great d-beat and hardcore bands. I also received some great ambient/black metal records from my friends in Moloch (UKr) and Deviator (Ukr). This year proved to me that there are no boundaries in metal.
I could have gone on and on with this review and it's probably woefully short, but these were just my highlights.
Needless to say, 2012 has been epic music wise, not just because it's seen the rapid expansion of my vinyl/tape collections, but because it has. 2013 though is shaping up to be much bigger! Stand by!
   


Friday 21 December 2012

Burn Everything - Hollow Victory 7"


Burn Everything are not a new band to the pages. I was lucky enough to review their previous EP Last Run Through The Ruins, earlier this year. Burn Everything released a four track 7" in March through Dullest Records. Burn Everything are a five-piece hardcore/mathcore band from Rochester, USA.

Tracklist:-

1. Hollow Victory
2. Holy-Diverticulitus
3. Maintain Radio Silence
4. Vengeance in The Night Sky


One of the first things that struck me with this release was the record's cover art. The black and white image really stood out to me.


Burn Everything start things off with the title track, which slams you in the face from the off. Their mixture of pounding drums, off-kilter riffs and Matt Dalberth's screamed vocals, certainly batters the senses. It's certainly heavier of the metal than the core. It has plenty of aggression, which would go down well live! I like the end of Hollow Victory, where Burn Everything slow things down to an almost sludgy pace before ending with one last, quick fire blast-beat. Brutal!

This song title, Holy-Diverticulitus made me laugh, as it's clearly aping Holy Diver by Dio! The song itself is more mid-paced that the opener and relies more on the vocals.
The guitars and bass seem to hold court underneath, with a low rumble. It's a more sinister track all round and a nice opposite to the mathy mayhem of the opener.

Maintain Radio Silence notches the pace up again. Plenty of syncopated riffs bounce along. Burn Everything don't favour actual melody too much, preferring to just sound heavy as hell. Final song Vengeance In The Night Sky closes things off in similar fashion, but this time with a few more math inspired sections. Burn Everything show themselves to be forward thinking in their delivery, while not compromising on their heavy aspect. Also that fact that this EP has been released on vinyl makes it even better!

It's definitely worth a listen and should help convert more people to Burn Everything's agenda. If you like crushing metal, get at these guys!

You can stream the whole 7" via Burn Everything's bandcamp page:-


You can pick up the 7" as a name-your price download from their bandcamp page or you can buy physical vinyl copies from Dullest Records at http://dullestrecords.bigcartel.com/product/hollow-victory-ep.

Burn Everything are also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/burneverythingnow.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Egos At The Door - Blankets of Denial


It's always nice to review a record by a band that really care about what they and from a label equally as energetic about the band. Egos At The Door, from Blackburn are such a band. This mad-cap punk four-piece released this album in March this year, through UK institution Lockjaw Records.

Egos At The Door are part of a very close knit scene and are always touring. They recently went across the pond for a massive US tour!

Tracklist:-

1. Calisthenics
2. 9-5 Ethics
3. My Car Is Thirsty, I'll Fight Cancer Tomorrow
4. Rumble In The Jungle. Horus vs Jesus
5. Joshua Barron Hated On Me Before It Was Cool
6. Threading
7. An Ode To Folly
8. It's All On You Kiddo
9. The Only Brown Bread That's White
10. Better Over Worse
11. Southpaw Claw


Egos At The Door don't align themselves to any particular genre, so you have no
idea what you're in for when Blankets of Denial kicks off. It starts with the intro track
Calisthenics, where they build up using some cool guitar melodies and skillful drumming. 9-5 Ethics begins straight off the back of Calisthenics and is pretty much a massive slab of math-punk, with some wicked jazz sections in it. The vocals are screamed in a hardcore vein and Egos use gang vocals too. The musical imagination here is what sets these guys apart though.

I like the fact the Egos let each song merge into the next; it keeps their momentum up and improves the listening experience. Egos switch between melodic riffs with pop-punk influences to abrasive math-core very well. They also manage to mix longer, more involved songs with shorter more punk inspired songs to keep things really varied.

The intro at the start of Rumble in The Jungle, Horus Vs Jesus is pretty head smashing. They manage to combine heavy guitar with more jazzy elements to make a sound well and truly of their own. My ears are also picking up some screamo influences in the guitars, but not mass-produced screamo, the decent stuff and also a bit of Billy Talent! It all adds up to a great listen and I'm only the fifth song!

My standout track on Blankets of Denial has to be An Ode To Folly. It's just utterly mental. From the jangly, improv-style guitar to the furiously screamed vocals, it all pretty much sums up what Egos are all about. The second half of the album seems to pass a bit quicker, with the songs being less experimental but no less awesome.
Egos rely more on their hardcore/punk side here, but still inject some great musical flourishes into songs like It's All On You Kiddo and The Only Brown Bread That's White.

The final two tracks, Better Over Worse and Southpaw Claw take this album to a heady crescendo, which leaves you battered and broken. Egos At The Door have really surprised me with this record. Hats off to them and Lockjaw for releasing such an intense and forward-thinking album. Awesome!

The track An Ode To Folly is streaming via the Lockjaw Records bandcamp page, so you can get yourself an idea of how good Egos At The Door sound:-


You can pick up Blankets of Denial vie the Lockjaw Records online store below:-
http://lockjawrecords.bigcartel.com/

Egos At The Door are on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/EgosAtTheDoor.