Sunday, 15 January 2012

Moshpit Tragedy review series - Part 1 - Columns


First of all, a quick history lesson. Moshpit Tragedy, is Canadian label that was set up by Rayny Forster, to supply you with top quality grind and extreme metal, that you can download on a pay-what-you want scale. The label started in 2006, on 6/6/06 nonetheless, as a conventional label, offering CD versions of their releases. Rayny recognised that the music scene was changing, and in 2007 abandoned the release of CD's, and instead releasing records digitally instead. This has been a great success and more recently Moshpit Tragedy has gone into partnership with other extreme metal labels, including the mighty Relapse, as well as Feral Ward and their newest imprint, Audioseige, that's been set up by From Ashes Rise member, Brad Boatright.

This is the first part of my review series, which is going to cover a number of releases by Moshpit Tragedy and the labels they work with. So keep you're eyes peeled for more to come.


Columns is a grind band from Salem, North Carolina, that was initially formed way back in 2002 as an instrumental band and then went through some member changes, before they released their first EP shortly after 2005, which by all accounts is pretty hard to get hold of. Columns released this EP in autumn 2010. They have played countless shows, alongside a slew of great bands, including Between The Buried and Me, Trap Them, and Dragonforce!

The EP itself is a blasting mix of grind and death metal. The brutal drumming,  backs up fast-razor riffage and the screams of vocalist Adam Cody. The music is fast but Columns do vary the pace and add effects into the music, including the wailing, jarring feedback at the end of first track “Ungrateful“, which flows into second track “What You've Done is Gone“, which contains more groove and both low growls and tortured screams, as well as clean singing. The riffs are more angular than those you'd find in more straightforward grind records, which gives this album more of a sense of originality. The members of Columns, bring a lot of outside influences into the music, which is no surprise when you think that vocalist Adam Cody was a member of Glass Casket, who in turn shared members with Between The Buried and Me. “Just Another Species” is more palatable that your usual grindcore record, preparing you for the brutality if the genre, while still allowing you respite, with the grooving, metal riffs that are employed throughout the EP. The rhythm section also contributing to this, by emphasising the time-changes and driving passages on in a more progressive manor. Don't get me wrong though, this EP is still brutal and would sit alongside any of the genres kingpins.

The vocals that form the majority of the record, added to the crashing of the cymbals in fifth track “A Guilty Bunch“, provide the listener with the familiarity of death metal, which is also a big part of Columns sound. “A Guilty Bunch” is the fastest song on EP, with the help of the blasting drums. That wailing feedback is again present at the end of the song and  leads you straight into the penultimate song, the brilliantly titled “Bear Molester“, with it's chaotic guitar solo and cleverly placed changes of pace. You can imagine some skull headed demon, driving a hot-rod with this as his driving music.

Having not heard of Columns until very recently, I was unsure of what to expect, but I've been blown away by the variation and skill on show amongst “Just Another Species“. Playing to a genre, that can get flat and boring if done half-heartedly, Columns have shown that they have the skill to progress beyond boundaries and appeal to a great spectrum of extreme music fans. Obviously though, Columns are playing music for themselves, and by doing so, they've made themselves very exciting to the listener. I'll be keeping my eye on them to see what their future holds, but for now, I urge you to get acquainted with them as I'm sure they won't be hovering below the radar for much longer.

You can check the EP out for yourselves, below via Bandcamp.


You can also, obviously, download it via Moshpit Tragedy's sliding scale download site at http://moshpittragedy.com/columns-just-another-species.

Both Columns and Moshpit Tragedy are on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/COLUMNSmusic and http://www.facebook.com/moshpittragedydownloads

Go show them some love!


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