Sunday 30 September 2012

Withers - S/T 7"

This is a 7" that I can bought recently from Enjoyment Records, who also asked me to review. It is the debut release from Linz, Austria based hardcore band Withers, and was a collaborative release with Life And Death Records.

The 7" itself is pressed on nice clear vinyl, but it's the sleeve that is the talking point for me. Inside the clear plastic sleeve, is a heavy white card insert, which in the front has the band name featured in prominent bold black. On the other side, it features the song lyrics and credits. The clever bit comes in the form of an clear acetate insert featuring the three flowers you see above. I think it's a really nice touch and shows that a high level of care has gone into producing this release.

The 7" itself features three songs:-

1. T.W.U.I.G.B.D.B.F
2. Iron Dome
3. Cloud Us

This is chaotic hardcore, with crunchy buzz-saw riffs, thrash elements and a volume that blows your head off. This is damn intense stuff straight from the off. The production is huge but the music is clear with the guitars sitting up top. It's actually quite hard to categorise Withers' sound. It's not straight up hardcore, neither is it pounding metal, but it site somewhere between the two.  T.W.U.W.B.D.B.F is the perfect introduction to their brand of intense heaviness.

Iron Dome seems to be slightly more straightforward in it's delivery but it doesn't take long for those off-kilter riffs to bounce back into life. It's reminiscent of a lot of the more chaotic hardcore coming from Europe at the moment. God knows what's in the water in Austria right now, but I could do with some! Cloud Us is where things come to a close, but not before you've been face-riffed, Jackass style. Though this 7" is short and sweet, it's really refreshing to see and hear a band not afraid to lift the volume a notch or twelve. Most bands compromise when it come to production, hoping that it will make their end product sound better, but if you ask me this is perfect. It's utterly raging!

My eardrums are dead, long live Withers!

You can stream the EP on bandcamp below:-

The 7" is for sale via the bandcamp link too, but you better be quick as Enjoyment Records only have five left! If you miss out, you can pick it from Life And Death Records too at

Be sure to blast this out and then go and tell Withers that you want new ears at

Grown By Earth - Havens EP

One of the many positives about social media is how it can help unsigned bands to spread their music far and wide. Of Course, it's been that way for a while on the Internet, but I still get blown away when a band contacts me. This was the case with Swedish hardcore band Grown By Earth. Their drummer Edvin send me a link to their latest EP Havens, available through Bandcamp and asked me to check it out.

Grown By Earth formed in 2011and Havens is their first EP, which was released in August. They do have another song on Bandcamp called La Vie, but this is their first actual release. Grown By Earth are a trio, also featuring Emil on vocals and guitar, as well as Marcus on bass. Earlier this year, Grown By Earth went on tour with fellow Swedish band Alenah, who have also been featured no my blog in the past and previously, they have played with No Omega, so they have a habit of playing with kick ass bands.


1. One And Others
2. A Weightless Year
3. Blight
4. Misguided
5. The White Lady and He

Havens is very much in the vein of hardcore that's coming from Sweden at the moment. Well produced, but with enough bite to still sound authentic and is played by young bands, who display plenty of skill, emotion and enthusiasm. Grown By Earth certainly possesses all three. Their blend of hardcore is not formulaic. It contains plenty of twists and turns, instrumental textures and Emil's vocals are certainly passionate. They also keep their songs to a minimum length. Opener, One And Others provides an introduction to where these guys are coming from, but tempers the brutality in favour of setting a scene and building atmosphere.

A Weightless Year sounds more ferocious from the off. The caustic screams and powerful musicianship help to set the stall, only interjected by a nicely placed introspective passage, which shows off Grown By Earth's knack for song writing. Blight sounds initially like a more traditional song, with a good punk inspired structure, danceable riffs and spoken word vocals, which flow into screams and nice emo inspired instrumentation, very effortlessly. It seems criminal to me that Grown By Earth have not garnered more attention than they have so far. I mean, I know Sweden and Scandinavia in general has a booming music scene, but there's plenty here to draw in a global following.

Misguided, throws out a surprising thrash overtone in its immediate intro, before launching back into the bands own brand of hardcore madness. Off-Kilter and subtle in equal measure, they keep the ideas flowing and the music blasting, refusing to hammer home their point with copious mosh parts. Before you know it, your heralding the low-fi, garage rock inspired guitar of The White Lady And He. The subtle melody in the riffs again showing they have a punkier edge. The use of their native tongue during the song actually makes it sound more ferocious and makes it standout. It's the longest song on the EP and it sounds bigger, thanks to the ideas used. The audible nature of Emi's screams also make it a pleasurable listen, as you're not scrambling to try and make out what is being said.

Havens is over all too quickly. It's at times abrasive and claustrophobic but it also heralds a certain euphoric charm, which leaves its mark. All I can say is, more please!

You can listen to and download Havens for free at Grown By Earth's bandcamp page below:-

Grown By Earth can also be found on Facebook at

Saturday 29 September 2012

Emit - Spectre Music of an Antiquary

Throughout this blog's existence, I've been looking to champion music that is independent, underground or obscure. I've on occasion, departed from the metal/hardcore leanings that I started with and delved deeper, into more challenging and unnerving musical creations. It has led me to this tape, from English dark ambient entity, Emit.

Emit surfaced in 1998, although didn't officially release any material until 2000. Emit has gone onto release a number of demo's since then, but also two splits and a full length, which surfaced in 2005. Emit went through a name change and resurfaced as Hammemit in 2008, however this tape sees the re-awakening of Emit and the first release since 2009.

This tape is also one of the last releases from Yorkshire based black metal/ambient label Glorious North Productions. The tape itself is a thing of mystery. The artwork and case give no clue as to the artist or release title, the cassette contained therein is a plain, black tape, with no discerning marks. It's only when you read the insert that you get any clue as to the artist, but even this carries on the mystery. The tape itself contains 8 druidical, black ambient compositions.


1. Haunter of Benighted English Summers
2. Mors Wher Devels are Abrod
3. The Dusk Gardens of Translucent Mansions
4. Shades Over the Mere
5. Trees Once Adorn'd With Severed Heads
6. Sylvan Old Enchanter
7. The Meadow Reapers 
8. Emanations From Beneath Far Hills, Beyond Far Moons

As with past records of this ilk, I've found it a challenge to review this tape, but that is the whole point of music like this, to challenge the listener and sometimes to unnerve them.
This tape features 7 songs on the A-side and 1 on the B-side. When I first heard that this was a black ambient record, I was unsure of what to expect. I have visions of it being loud and unlistenable, due to the noises and sounds invoked, but I was wrong. The initial, winding intro of Haunter of Benighted English Summers sounded very pleasing. It featured different musical and instrumental textures, and seemed far removed from the usual ambient black metal genre. Mors Wher Devels are Abrod is slightly more strange in it's make-up. There's some subtle drum like sounds in the background. The main melody sounds like a church organ and it's punctuated with sounds that could either be shrieking crows or the shrieking vocals of a tortured human being. It dies down, with the sound of strings and fades away leaving only silence.

The closest reference point I could give you so far, is the soundtrack to the first Silent Hill Playstation game, where you were walking round dark passages and the music was there to unnerve you and not for entertainment purposes. That reference point however is just my uneducated mind working and may be way off the mark. The Dusk Gardens of Translucent Mansions seems to be even more haunting. There are vocals in this compositions. They sit atop of more percussion and winding instrumentation and sound like they were recorded in a cavernous hall, due to the echos that can be heard with every spoken word. They seem to get louder, as if the speaker is possessed and alone, waiting for the inevitable hook of the grim reaper to end his suffering. It's certainly not something you should be listening to in the dark, alone.

Each short composition on the A-side seems to follow a path, or contribute to a story. It may have no words to speak off, but if you use your imagination, it could conjure up strange, otherworldly visions. I think it is the spoken chant-like passages that really set me on edge.Musically, it's hard to pin down, as the music is more pulled from field recordings and is just there to add to the atmosphere of the tape as a whole. By the time you reach fifth psalm, Trees Once Adorn'd with Severed Heads, you're greeted with more volume. The percussion beats quietly in the background and the instrumental textures seem to favour a droning, simple melody of sorts. The music and the influence of Emit is medieval and one of old England. Emit does a good job of conjuring images of days of yore, when people lived off the land and were free from the trappings that came with progress, capitalism and modern luxuries. Sylvan Old Enchanter certainly gives you that feeling. The Meadow Reapers is a field recording and full of haunting noises, groans and cries. This is the final song on the A-side and leaves you, as a listener, seeking solace and the warm embrace of those who keep you safe.

There is only one song on the B-Side. Emanations From Beneath Far Hills, Beyond Far Moons is twelve minutes of experimental noise and ambiance. It groans and whines along. It makes no attempt to lift you from your scared, claustrophobic trance.Musically, I can't really say anything as this is another field recording, so there are no usual textures. It's mainly haunting, quiet noise and sounds which permeate the silence. The recording and production however is very good. It's clear and there's no sign of the usual hiss you get with tapes. Overall, this type of music will only appeal to a certain audience, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. If you like dark ambient, minimalist compositions, you should definitely pick up a copy of this tape.

You can stream the whole tape here via Glorious North Productions -

Said tape can be purchased from Glorious North Productions at
Emit also has a dedicated website at

Glorious North Productions Facebook -

While still available to buy from Glorious North Productions, Spectre Music Of The Antiquary has been re-released by Crucial Blast and is available here -

Crucial Blast Facebook -

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Within The Fall - Through The Shadows EP

This is the new four track EP from Swedish Death/Doom band Within The Fall. Having already graced this blog with their 2011 demo A Story To Be Told, when I received news of this EP, I was looking forward to hearing how they've progressed.

Within The Fall themselves were started in 2010 by vocalist Joakim Rudemyr (also of Desolator) and guitarist Mike Wennestrand, later recruiting David Andersson and Markus Norlen (also in Black/Death band Disowned and formerly of Thrash band Domination).


1. Into The Arms of Grief
2. Leaving
3. Shadows & Dust
4. The Burial

Death/Doom bands have always under whelmed me in the past, as they've always been a bit too much Death and not enough Doom. That said, I take bands on artistic merit and musicianship and try not to pigeonhole them.

Initial impressions of opener Into The Arms of Grief are really impressive. Within The Fall play intelligently and don't over egg the Death metal influence, choosing to flit between Doom passages and semi-Thrash riffs. The vocals are Death metal inspired growls, but are not overpowering like other bands. This is also the shortest of the four songs on show here at just over five minutes, so it was always going to have that sense of urgency about it.

Things start heading towards a slower, more atmospheric direction with Leaving. The lengthy, guitar driven build up leads you to more deathly growls. There's a great hint of subtle melody thanks to some cleanly played guitar. It certainly shows Within The Fall are genuinely comfortable with altering their blueprint. They even have time to throw in a bit of clean singing!

Within The Fall are able to experiment and throw in different soundscapes and influences, which make this EP a very assured effort indeed. Shadows & Dust follows on from the textures in Leaving, with more whispered vocals and use of melody to break up the mournful atmosphere. The music does take a bit of a turn part way through, thanks to some rousing double bass, which again underlines the bands Death Metal beginnings.

The Burial is probably the most introspective track on Through The Shadows. The plucked guitar and layered melody, along with those characteristic whispered vocals give it a quite beautiful feel and the singing that comes later, just reinforces that praise.
Overall, I was pretty taken aback by this EP. The breadth of musicianship here is brilliant and it's almost how I picture Death/Doom to sound. Within The Fall seem to nail it and as a result, should grow and flourish.
See what you think, via Within The Fall's bandcamp page:-

The EP is up there as a name your price download.

You can also check out Within The Fall on Facebook at

Monday 10 September 2012

I Call Fives - Someone That's Not You 7"

Time for a bit of pop-punk, everybody loves a bit of pop-punk, especially me. This 7" was released in March, but I Call Fives, through Pure Noise Records. I Call Fives hail from Washington Township, New Jersey and have been making a bit of a name for themselves, amongst the latest wave of US pop-punk bands to pogo out of the undergrowth.

This 7" features four tracks.

1. Something That's Not You
2. Backup Plan
3. Lakeview
4. How's It Gonna Be

Even though summer has virtually gone, you can still think back to good memories with music like this. I Call Fives do really well to capture that kind of vibe with their sound, which is melodic pop punk with weighty riffs and feel good harmonies. The drumming is on the pacey side, which anchors the rest music down well. The hardcore inspired vocals that appear from time hint at a harder edge, during the title track, which opens things up and it's that mixture of soft and hard which holds I Call Fives above the baying pack.

I really like what Pure Noise Records are doing at the moment, releasing good quality punk that definitely fills a gap in terms of what's around now. I Call Fives are a prime example of what's been missing over the last few years, especially with the demise of key labels like Drive-Thru Records.

Backup Plan is a great anthem for the teenage summers that we've all had. Lakeview is an acoustic delight, with different vocals textures, proving that I Call Fives are really accomplished songwriters. It may be a cliché, but unplugged songs have a place on any punk release.

They end on a high note, with How's It Gonna Be, which strikes me as a ballad of sorts. This song accentuates the production qualities on this record. The vocals are clean but have enough grit in them not to sound forced or faked. The musicianship is simple but very effective and they leave you in a happy mood, which is all you can ask for really. It's certainly worth picking up the 7" for these four songs.

If you're a fan of pop punk you could do far worse than pick this record up. Even if you're not, you'll find things to like.

The 7" is streaming on Pure Noise Record's own bandcamp page:-

There's also a link to follow to buy the digital or vinyl version of this record, which you should!

I Call Fives can be found on Facebook at

Hollow Earth - We Are Not Humanity EP

Ok, Hollow Earth are a metallic hardcore band hailing from Detroit, Michigan. They have toured with some pretty big bands, including Shai Hulud and are currently signed to Panic Records. Their latest EP We Are Not Humanity was released in April of this year, on various formats including digitally, CD and vinyl. They have also recently played with the might Earth Crisis, so they're made of the right stuff!


1. The Great Forgetting
2. On The Bounty Of The Gods
3. Unfamiliar Cage
4. There Will Comes Soft Rains
5. On The Precipice
6. The Great Remembering

From the off, Hollow Earth sound like they mean business, with chunky riffs and screamed gang vocals. The Great Forgetting is a mid-paced, brutal slab of hardcore that acts as a precursor to the rest of the EP. On The Bounty Of The Gods is full of semi-melodic riffs and anguished vocals. There are plenty of punk influences in the drumming but the guitars take their cues from more metal angle.

Hollow Earth manages to inject plenty of atmosphere into their music while sticking to their metallic hardcore blueprint. The song ends suddenly and propels you straight into the melee of noise that is Unfamiliar Cage. There's plenty of different guitar effects at the start of this song, but it doesn’t take long for things to settle back into their hardcore stomp.

The modern touch here is hard to ignore. The production is crisp yet the band appear to be fraught and organic in their delivery. It doesn't take long for Hollow Earth to get you headbanging! The bands metal influences really shine through in the intro to There Will Come Soft Rains. Nice melodic guitar textures start thing off, along with really well placed, simple rhythmic drumming. The vocals here are on the coarser end of the hardcore spectrum, but the impact is immense and fits well with the music. There's even time for a short, introspective ending.

The immediate start of On The Precipice, reminds me subtly of Alexisonfire. There's plenty here for fans of modern metal and hardcore to like. There are spoken word passages that bring to mind some of the genre's best bands and the songs are not too long, so have a great impact and immediacy. So it's left to last song The Great Remembering too close the EP. It's probably the most melodic in terms of guitar, but it's no less brutal. The ability of Hollow Earth to sound heavy without using too many overbearing mosh parts, is a good skill and shows they are not content with just following a trend.

Hollow Earth have managed to write and EP that will appeal to a huge cross-section of metal and hardcore fans. They've shown that the touring they've done with established bands has helped them to shape their sound and are surely going grow in the future.

You can listen to We Are Not Humanity on Hollow Earth's bandcamp page below:-

You can purchase the EP digitally there as well. If you want to buy a physical version of the EP, you can do so by going to the Panic Records store at, where it's available on both CD and 12" vinyl.

Hollow Earth can be found on Facebook at, where they've got a cheeky little free download available, of two tracks from this EP. You'll have to search for it yourself though, as I don't want to spoon feed you!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Impiety - Ravage and Conquer

I've featured records by bands from all over the world, but one continent that has not been featured a lot is Asia. Metal is growing over there all the time, with everything from the hardcore scene's in Indonesia and Thailand, to the pockets of extreme metal that exist their. Impiety are one of the more well known bands from that region and these Singaporean black metallers releases Ravage and Conquer earlier this year, through revered extreme metal label Pulverised Records.

Tracklisting :-

1. Revelation Decimation
2. Ravage and Conquer
3. Weaponized
4. The Scourge Majesty
5. War Crowned
6. Legacy of Savagery
7. Salve The Goat
8. Sacrifice

Ravage and Conquer is Impiety's 8th full length and keeps this enduring quartet blasting along, with savage drumming and rousing guitar. It certainly is the type of metal that would call troops to war. The intro to album opener Revelation Decimation is all you need to hear! The instrument intro builds up for about two minutes, before the vocals kick in. This is black metal with a strong death metal influence. The drums keep up an impossible pace throughout, while the guitar pump out screeching solos and pinch harmonics, amongst the sinister passages that cut through the song. At eight minutes long, it is an intense opener too. The title ratchets up the evil brutality another notch. The riffs this time matching the drums for speed and Impiety go for a more instant hit straight from the off. This is a pretty extreme album and not one for the faint of heart, so it may be that only the hardest of extreme metal fans will find solace in this ungodly noise. I personally love it! I can only imagine the imagery and sound of this live.

Some people may argue that some of the songs here go on longer than they should, but after a while you do seem to slip into a trance, due to the sheer pace of drumming and the texture created by some of their effects. That incredible, screaming guitar solo rears its head again towards the end and all is well! Talking of screaming guitar, just check out Weaponized. Again, the brutality and the band never let's up. There are moments of off-kilter stabs and cleverly placed stop/starts to break up the speed, but the musicianship is utterly mesmerising. The guitar melodies that grace the mid-point of Weaponized give a sense of melody not heard in the previous tracks, but fit perfectly amongst the rest of the music. They don't water it down at all, but add to it. They even find time for some mid-paced death groove toward the end, in what is a varied song.

As you hit the midway point of Ravage & Conquer you realise that you're in it for the long haul. The Scourge Majesty is a sub six-minute slab of aural torture, in the best possible way! The symphonic touches remind you in no uncertain terms that this is indeed the devils music! War Crowned is a less varied song than The Scourge Majesty, but still strangely captivating. The vocals are audible and not screeched as some people might expect and the production does a great job of not letting it sound like a sludgy mess. All the instruments are clear and concise, but all fit together well when playing in unison. That subtle rocky groove also comes back towards the end, making for a surprising, but brief change in sound. Legacy of Savagery is the last long song on Ravage and Conquer, weighing in at almost eight minutes. At this point, the drumming has become numbing in a sense. I just can't believe how they keep up this level of ferocity throughout. This is where the band uses an extended solo to flesh out the song and brings some wailing respite, from the verses. In the second of the song there are hints at more traditional metal song structures, but these are only brief snippets and Impiety soon hit top gear again.

Salve The Goat and Sacrifice end this record, both the shortest songs on the record but both featuring plenty of variety again. Impiety don't stray to far from their own blueprint and let's face it, if it works why change. I've certainly enjoyed this album more than I thought I would do. It's fast, engaging and skillful. Those of you who already know and listen to Impiety will lap this up and those who are new to band will find things to like as well.

This entire album is streaming via Pulverised Record's bandcamp page:-

There you also have the option to buy both digital and physical copies of Ravage and Conquer.

Impiety are on Facebook at and Pulverised Records can be found at

Saturday 8 September 2012

Kneel to thy Church Of Fuck!

Earlier this year a small DIY label appeared on my radar. I'm not sure what drew me to it, but there was something in the imagery and the ethic. That label is Church Of Fuck and I wanted to do a feature on it, as the label has inspired me with it's attitude and energy towards DIY bands and their music. Read on......

Church of Fuck is the label of ex-Knife crimes singer and Manchester gig promoter, Oliver Goodland. The label has been releasing music since February 2012 with an eye for quality, cassette based releases for cult hardcore/sludge bands, both new and existing. They've just announced their first 7" release, due soon for Kettering hardcore band Let It Die and are building a reputation for the bands that they've worked with so far.

A little while ago, I was lucky enough to catch up with Oliver Goodland and I asked him some questions about the label, his boundless energy to help create and release great bands and his plans for the future -

So, COF has been running since that start of the year, originally at the hands of Martin Downing (Lavotchkin/End Reign Guitarist), but has since been entrusted to you. How did you feel when you took the reigns?

I felt good. Martin got to the point where he felt he couldn't give it enough time, due to other commitments (work, band, etc.) and didn't want to let people down by not having the time to run it the way he wanted it to be run, so as I was already co-running it with him he very kindly offered me the label and I accepted. I am a big fan of Martins work in both End Reign and Lavotchkin and love the label, so I was more than happy to take it on. He had a point though, as it is massively time-consuming, but the only time I want to give it back to Martin is when I'm stood in the post-office with 20 plus parcels to post! But for the most part I love it.

Do you envisage COF being a long-term project? You were previously in Manchester band, Knife Crimes (who released a demo tape through COF), so is this now your main project?

I do envisage Church Of Fuck as being a long-term project yes. I am a total record label nerd, and it annoys me it has taken me this long to end up running one, when I was a teenager I obsessively ordered from labels like Deathwish, Robotic Empire, Relapse, Magic Bullet etc... Yeah Knife Crimes released through COF, which I was so happy about, never thought I'd end up running the label to be honest. I might do another band, there is a lot of talk, but that seems to be all it is, I can be difficult to be in a band with as well and with the label I can just get on with it and do things how I want to do them. But yeah, it's going to be long-term, I've already put money into the label and have more releases planned already, one of them being our first record, the Let It Die EP, which was originally going to be released on Southern Lord… Needless to say, I'm very excited. I am also getting back into putting more shows on again, but again, the label comes first, above shows and probably above any future bands I do, I think I prefer it to being in a band, I must be getting old.

You've certainly carried on the tradition instilled by Martin, of releasing great tapes. You've already released a tape for Swinelord and are soon to release tapes from Esoteric Youth and Iced Out, amongst others. What's your policy for choosing bands to work with?

Thanks for saying that, I like to think I have carried on Martins original vision for it, we both have very similar views about a lot of things. Swinelord and Esoteric Youth are both from Manchester and were both initiated by me, Swinelord was a band I listened to and loved and got in contact with as I thought their incredible EP had to be heard by more people! They are also the old Knife Crimes drummers housemates/ex-bandmates so it was easy to make contact and I knew they'd be good dudes, so so happy with the response to that release, they deserve a lot more attention in my opinion. As for Esoteric Youth, that band is like 4 of my really close mates, including Dom who runs V Revolution (the vegan record store in Manchester), Gio who used to sell records out of his Night Terrors distro/label at my shows, Justin who I met through the shows I put on and who used to photograph them, and Nic whose other band I have put on at shows, basically I met them all through putting on hardcore shows and they all came to be good friends... so I love that band, as people and as musicians, they did a run of 30 tapes on Gios label that sold out very quickly, so I offered to do a repress when Martin invited me to get involved with COF, it was discussed a lot but when I took the reins of COF so to speak I just sent them off to get done. Iced Out had their release planned with Martin before I took over, but they toured with Knife Crimes and are good mates also so I was more than happy to do their release! I am honouring all the planned releases that Martin had set-up, I think Chippy the singer of Iced Out thought I was going to not want to do their tape, he couldn't have been more wrong, I fucking love that band to bits and am very happy to be putting their tape out on COF. So yeah, as you can see, it's friends of friends mostly, but if a band comes along that just fucking kills and they get in touch, chances are we'll do them a tape. These are runs of 50 tapes (for now) there isn't a great deal of risk. As long as bands are good, and good dudes, there's every chance I'll want to work with them.

Did either you or Martin expect the label to pick up like it has?

I can't speak for Martin, he did have ideas for the label... But the level of enthusiasm people have for the label, and how quickly they sell out was not initially expected no, I think there was a worry of 'oh shit we're going to have tonnes of tapes in our homes for months', but they really do sell quick, people seem to have got behind it, so no we didn't expect that at all but I'm very happy about it!

Outside of COF, what music are you listening to at the moment and what inspires you?

A quick look at my tells me Full Of Hell, Young And In The Way and Deafheaven are my most played artists, but more recently I have been listening to the new Xibalba which is killer, the last Harm's Way album which I fucking love, BENCHPRESS, the Swinelord EP I released, the Trudger EP I'm about to release, the Moloch demo, Iron Witch because I'm co-promoting a show they're playing this Friday in Manchester... Oathbreaker, Rot In Hell, Burnt Earth, Grazes, End Reign, The Banner, Rise And Fall... all I listen to is heavy music, I don't like any other type of music. Within heavy music I am quite open-minded, but music in general, heavy or silence, nothing else.

One thing that attracted me to the label's releases was the aesthetic that you've gone for. Is image/aesthetic as important as the music?

I wanted a strong image to go with the strong name, that's why I commissioned DIA ARTIO to do some 'striking' artwork, the first thing he came up with was the naughty nuns which made me laugh so much I decided it was perfect. I know it's not very 'punk' but I do have a lot of time for labels that build themselves as brands/have certain quality control, all our tapes are pressed at a professional place that would have done your NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC compilations when you were a kid, the tapes are not made shoddily by me, I realise that may lose a bit of the 'DIY' appeal but I want to sell something worth having, not something I've made on an alba in my room with artwork done on MSpaint. So yeah, the image/aesthetic is important to me, I like having a memorable name for this label/the art we've had done. Church Of Fuck, the label with the naughty nuns, I'm down with that. All the labels I love are well presented, the Deathwish 'D', the awesome a389 logo, I want people to enjoy the label as much as I enjoy the labels I love.

You've got Fuck Fest coming up in September and Ghostland Promotions (which you also head up) is putting it on. What are you looking forward to the most from that show and will it be an annual thing?

Ghostland Promotions has just been merged with COF, so they are now one and the same… I'm looking forward to hanging out with the ungodly amount of bros that are going to be in that building (Kraak Gallery), I count all the bands as friends, and we're going to be bro-ing down all day, it's going to be awesome, secondly I'm looking forward to seeing every single band, because I genuinely love them all, End Reign headlining is perfect, they are probably my favourite band in the UK, their new stuff is killer, they were so good to my old band Knife Crimes and I just have a lot of love for them. Let It Die and all the other bands are killer also, it's going to be so much harsh music and bro-ing down, There is still a presale available as well, £6 from the COF bigcartel, and it’s £8 on the door on the day, doors at 12 midday, first band on at 1pm, more info here >

CoF majors on underground hardcore/sludge. What do you think of the current scene in the UK?

Yeah things have got a bit sludgey ha, there is definitely no limitations in terms of what we're going to release though, I really want to release a more traditional straight up hardcore band at some point, as well as more grindcore and other weird stuff... But in answer to your question, I think the current scene in the UK is awesome; there are so many good bands I struggle to keep up with what they are all doing, and I find a wicked new band every week. It's easy to be cynical about the rise of social media and how much the internet plays a role in bands/shows etc. but I view it as a good thing, I love it that I can find a band I love by someone sending me a link, then contact them in seconds, sure there is the romanticism of being lent a record by a friend, or stumbling across something in a distro, but the end result is the same, you discover new music, and anything that helps me do that more easily is a positive in my eyes. But yeah, I think the current UK scene is incredible, bands like Wayfarer, Unholy Majesty, Tyburn, Moat, Hang The Bastard, Burnt Earth, Grazes, Prelude To The Hunt, Abyss, Moloch, all the COF bands… there are loads of wicked bands.

You're bringing some new Manchester based bands to people's attention and the scene seems to be growing daily. Are there any other local bands we should keep an eye out for?

You'll probably already know about them as they have been around a while but Hammers and Pine Barrens are both decent, Broken Teeth also, Survival are newer but really good, and Swinelord and Esoteric Youth of course!

Fuck Fest has recently been changed to a free gig so everyone can enjoy the bands in attendance, even if they can't afford to pay to see them. There a suggested donation of £5 for those that want to help out the bands. That shows the commitment that CoF and the bands are putting into the event, so there's no excuse for you not doing the same!

(Knife crimes)

Now, you can't have a label without bands, so I thought I'd do a piece on the bands that CoF have and will be working with - 

The first band to find themselves being released by CoF, were Durham hardcore band Hades.  I'd just started to pay attention when this tape came out, so missed it as it sold out pretty fast (if anyone has one for sale, please let me know!)

Hades are at

Next up came Knife crimes. These guys started the Manchester hardcore invasion of CoF. This was the first release I picked up and it was well worth it. Crushing Northern Hardcore, with an exclusive b-side featuring the guest vocals from Dom Moss, vocalist in Esoteric Youth and one of the guys that runs the vegan record store V Revolution, also in Manchester.

This tape is sold out and Knife crimes are no more, but a discography CD will be out soon via Witch Hunter records. Pick it up!.

Knife Crimes Facebook page -

This next tape was pretty special. It was the last release to come from one of the UK's most revered hardcore acts Lavotchkin. Love. Loath. Repeat 2005 -2012 featured pretty much all of their recorded output. This tape sold out very quickly, and has been the only release so far that received a repress, this time from DeadDeadDead Music, which also flew out the door.

Lavotchkin are another much missed band now but you can still find them on Facebook at I strongly recommend you fish out there releases if you haven't already!

Kettering bruisers Let It Die had their demo released as CoF's fourth release. I featured this band early in my blogging career and I can say that these guys rip! 

There is a very special Let It Die releases coming out via CoF, as well as Moshtache and Dead Chemists Record, in the form of the band's first 7".  I'll tell you how to order it later in this feature! Needless to say, I can't wait for it and the fact that I'll be CoF's first vinyl release is even more exciting.

Let It Die -

This band and their tape was where CoF began to walk a darker path. Swinelord's - I Feel Fucked tape was my first introduction to this Manchester based crusty hardcore band and also began to really show Oliver's dedication to bands from his locale. Manchester was about to be put on the map, not just as the home of Brit pop but also the home of crushing UK hardcore, that would put our US cousins to shame.

Esoteric Youth's demo was the sixth tape release and one that continued to build momentum for the label. Again, it was produced with the same meticulous care and detail as the releases before it  cemented the music of the band that call themselves "the most evil band in Manchester since Oasis"! More intense Northern hardcore.

Esoteric Youth -

The latest tape to have been releases has been the tape from Iced Out - An Inevitable End. Iced Out are another Durham based hardcore band and have hustled it live with a few of the CoF bands in the past. The striking black and white artwork on this release drew me to it and the music is just as good.

Iced Out -

The next and 8th release coming your way is by Barnsley sludgers Trudger and will be titled - Motionless In Dirt. 

This tape is up for pre-order, alongside the Let It Die 7" I mentioned above at CoF's webstore at You can keep up to date with label news too by going to

I also mentioned the meticulous eye for quality and detail that graces CoF's releases. All the tapes so far have been pressed in limited runs of 50 and have featured free patches, which is a nice touch. Like a lot of the imagery and tape art, the patches were designed by Dia Artio. Dia Artio can be found and on Facebook at

Also, all of these releases so far can be streamed and downloaded (name your price!) from CoF's bandcamp page. Just click below to stream or download any of the 8 releases so far, which includes a stream of soon to be releases Trudger tape:-

As if that wasn't enough, CoF also double up as a show promotion company and Oliver is putting a festival in Manchester on the 29th of September at Kraak Gallery. As I mentioned earlier in this feature, it's a free gig but you can donate £5 to help out the bands who will be taking their time to play for you. Check out the awesome flyer below:-

Fuck Fest features CoF approved bands and will include appearance from End Reign and Razoreater, who will have releases out through CoF in the future.

So there you have it, a staunchly DIY label that does things it's own way. At the helm is an individual committed to UK hardcore and running a label with the right sort of integrity and inclusiveness which is sometimes missing from the genre. Long may Church of Fuck reign!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Grace - 7"

This is a 7" that I've been eagerly awaiting for some time now. It's the latest, 3-track, single-sided 7" from Newcastle noise merchants Grace. It was released by Hemlock 13 and is follow-on from their earlier 7" split with Tide Of Iron, which I reviewed earlier in the year. Grace feature e-members of bands including, Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon, who released a split 7" with xCanaanx (which I also posses a copy of), JINN and Break It Up amongst others.

This review is also where my two blogs cross paths. The eagle-eyed amongst you will know that for the six months or so, I've been writing another blog about my vinyl collection, in a vein attempt to kind of catalogue it, albeit pretty slowly. So I thought, as well as talk about the music here, I'd also talk about the whole package, as it's pretty awesome.

Okay, there were two options when I bought it. There was the option to buy a copy of a single copy in the 7" in either Black or Sky Blue vinyl, but there was also a pre-order box set edition, which featured both colour-ways, a T-shirt and other stuff in an awesome printed box. That's the version I bought.

My picture doesn't do this justice, but it's a thick handmade, cardboard box with the sleeve artwork screen-printed on it, which looks too good to cast aside. What's inside was equally as exciting.

Sorry for the picture (I don't have OCD, honest!). Inside, I got both versions of the record, a T-shirt that was specially produced for this pack, a Grace patch (if only I had a denim jacket!), some stickers, flyers and a badge. The pack also came with a download code that featured the three tracks on offer here, as well as the six tracks from Grace's first CD.

Another nice touch was that the blue version of the 7" came in a hand-stamped inner sleeve of the same colour. The box set was limited to 45 and I got number 39. That's the stamp on the sleeve. These sold out really quick, but you can still get copies of the 7"s. The Blue version is limited to 200 and the Black version is limited to 300. If I were you, I'd buy both. Anyway, onto the record itself.


1. Sorrow
2. Game
3. Up To Your Neck

Opener Sorrow is a raging, feedback-ridden slab of hardcore. The guitar melodies are low and off-kilter at times; the drums pound away in the background the low-pitched, hardcore growls make for the perfect atmospheric slab of dark, British hardcore.

Game follows in the same blueprint, in a mid-paced fashion. There's a slightly sludgy undertone to this track, which will be familiar to those of you who are knee-deep in the current UK hardcore scene. It's got an epic energy to it though and Grace show good progression in their sound, after their split release. The production is worth mentioning too, as it's thick but clear at the same time and definitely adds to the thick, heavy vibe that Grace is conveying. It's wicked!

The closer, Up To Your Neck has more urgency to it. It's sounds angrier, as if Grace are ringing out every last morsel of negative energy out of themselves. It works too, as the riffs are epic here. The off-kilter rhythms bring experimentation to the fore and it's crammed with ideas. The extended, instrumental mid-section threatens to go to the end, before the final blast of full-force attack from the band.

This 7" measure about seven and a half minutes in all and it's over in a flash. It was well worth the wait though. It shows great musicianship, energy and plenty of integrity. To think that we have bands of this calibre on our shores is brilliant and they are definitely worth exploring, if you’re un-initiated. For those who are though, you'll love this. The whole package is ace and has obviously been a labour of love by both band and label. Backed hard!

If you want to pick this record, which you should, you can visit Grace's online store at or Hemlock 13 at Both still have copies of the 7" for sale.

Also, you can check out Grace on their website at and on Facebook at

You can also visit my vinyl blog at I'll be updating is sporadically.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Moloch - Blacker Than Darkness Demo

Well, as we step out of Summer and into Autumn, it's time to start searching for the music that will warm us up as the air around us gets gradually colder. What better way to start that search, than with a review of an early Moloch release. This'll also be the first of four or five reviews I do, spread over the coming weeks.

Blacker Than Darkness was the first recorded output releases by Moloch, back in 2004. Originally it was released on tape, with the Russian title "Чернее Чем Тьма". It later releases as a limited CD-r by De Profundis Productions, which later morphed into Depressive Illusions Records, which is the label formed by Moloch's sole member. Yorkshire based Black metal label, Glorious North Productions were meant to assist with the release of the CD, but it unfortunately didn't happen due to to them being ripped off by another label.

The CD-r version is the version I'm reviewing. I want to talk about the packaging for this demo first, as it's pretty unusual. The record sleeve, is a grey/black dvd size card sleeve, with the band logo, demo name and song titles printed in black onto it, hence the name Blacker Than Darkness. Inside is the demo itself, housed in a clear inner sleeve, with the lyric insert being folded paper, with burnt edges. Check out the pick below:-

Now, this picture doesn't quite do it justice, but if you look closely, you should be able to make out the Moloch logo on the sleeve, top left. I have to say, I like the attention to detail shown here. Even now, that burnt paper insert still has that smokey smell.

Anyway, back to the demo itself. It features six tracks and on the original tape releases, the titles were in Russian, but thankfully with this release they are translated into English.


1. Silent in the Pity.. (Intro)
2. Throught Halo of Fire-Brands
3. Throught Halo of Fire-Brands (Without Pain and Pity..)
4. Cold Shadows of Lost Woods
5. Birth in the Depths of Blackness
6. On the Ground, by Blood.. (Outro)

The intro, Silence In The Pity is an instrumental build up and points to the future ambient leanings of Moloch, which have been reviewed previously on this very blog.

Throught Halo of Fire-Brands is the first of two full songs that appear on this demo. There's a long build up, with rain and thunder, which seems customary these days with black metal releases. A solitary, raspy scream is all it takes though for Moloch's black metal to kick in. The guitar is the most prominent instrument here, but you can here the drums beating away in the background. The screams here sound possessed, as if they couldn't be reigned in by the production. They are however, minimal, with Moloch preferring to go for a mainly instrumental approach.

Hearing this, after hearing more recent recordings from Moloch, is a little strange but then again it's great to be able to hear their first recorded output. It puts the rest of the music into perspective and gives you a clue as to how Moloch came to evolve like it has over the years.

Third song, Throught Halo of Fire-brands (without pain and pity...) is another instrumental. It's fairly lengthy at just less than seven minutes long, but it's a follow on from the previous track. It's carries on Moloch's symphonic, ambient guitar textures. The production of this demo is, as you'd expect, it's very organic and typical of black metal demos, but that is part of its charm also.

Cold Shadows of Lost Woods is another short instrumental piece, it's a pleasant listen, but the odd bass-filled feedback flourish in it is quite disturbing and reminds you of the sinister atmosphere that Moloch are trying to create.

Birth In The Depths of Blackness begins with the sound of church bells ringing furiously, along with subtle swathes of ambiance. The guitar and vocal sound here is thinner than on previous tracks, but this just allows the drums to breath more. It features Moloch's trademark, anguished, high-pitched screams again, which sound pretty disconcerting here. It all ends very abruptly and leads into this demo's closer, On The Ground, by Blood.

This is the demo's outro and is another short instrumental. This is a calming way to end a varied demo. As I eluded to earlier, it's both the texture and sound, which makes it a great demo. If you can locate either a tape of CD-r copy, I strongly recommend that you pick it up, if you like ambient black metal, as this is a pretty important release.

Here's some pressing information for you, if you're trying to track down a copy:-

Russian label - Osolon Productions produced 500 tapes for a Russian pressing in 2004 -
Bulgarian label - After Many Funeral Records pressed 400 tapes also in 2004 (unfortunately I can't locate a valid link to this label)
Ukraine label - De Profundis Productions (now Depressive Illusions records) pressed 66 tapes with purely black covers in 2005 -
Brazilian label - Unholy War Productions pressed 1000 tapes in 2007 (this label is now closed)
UK based label - Thorn Laceration Records pressed 500 copies which featured the bonus track "Black Metal Coldness" in 2009 -

Depressive Illusions Records also produced 50 CD-r demo's -

Moloch can be found via their own website at

Soliloquium - When Silence Grows Venomous Demo

It always amazes me, the propensity that individuals within the metal scene have, to re-invent themselves or to form new projects a way to continue being creative and to challenge a genre's creative boundary. This was the thought that came into my head when I received an e-mail with this demo on.

It was sent to me by Stefan Nordstrom, who alongside fellow member Jonas Bergkvist, play in Swedish death metal bands Ending Quest and Desolator and who formed Soliloquium as a doom/death band last year. I've featured both Ending Quest and Desolator before on this blog, so it seemed only fair to feature this new project too.

When Silence Grows Venomous is their first two track demo.


1. Garden of Truculence
2. Autumn State

Having listened to previous work by Stefan and Jonas, I was intrigued to hear what their take on the old doom/death blueprint would be like. Garden of Truculence's main element during the intro is the huge sounding guitar riff, with the gently plucked guitar notes sitting underneath. There are elements too of death metal, in the drumming.

The real clue comes in when Stefan Nordstrom's raspy death metal vocals start. They're low and fit the music really well. It's actually very anthemic as well, with the guitar being allowed to project melody into the song. The doom influences here are more obvious in the length of the song, and the slower passages. There's no need for
Soliloquium to go all out and batter the listener, they just let the music flow and evolve. The clean guitar and singing that they play towards the end of song are a surprise and add a new texture to the music.

Autumn State follows on along the same blueprint, slow, anthemic riffs, but with added layers this time and the main verse kicks in, with less of a build up. It seems as though Soliloquium want to build more of an impact through this song. Stefan's vocals are certainly more prominent. The instrumental passages are still there though, with more great guitar melodies and cleverly placed moments of musicianship.

I think this song gives them more reason to carry on along this path. It's got the foreboding dynamics that you'd expect from a project like this and it certainly places melancholy at the forefront of your mind when listening to its two winding songs.

Overall, it's great to hear musicians stepping across genres, even ones like doom and death metal, who's lines have been crossed so many times now. This demo is an assured start for Soliloquium and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future, as the duo are currently working on new material.

Soliloquium are currently streaming this demo on their Bandcamp page, where it is also available for free download. I've posted a stream below, so make sure you check it out.

You can also find Soliloquium on Facebook at