Thursday 28 February 2013

LockerSludge - Falling On Our Faces EP

LockerSludge are a three-pieces sludge band from the bowels of Devon. They came to my attention recently when they sent me their latest five track EP - Falling On Our Faces. They've released one album prior to this EP, called In Living Fear and they are currently writing their third album. The band also has links with other local South Devon bands and are one of many who are keeping thing DIY and very productive down there.


1. Face The Future Now
2. Grinding To A Halt
3. Green Army
4. Stength, Honour and Pride
5. Hiding Emotions

LockerSludge waste absolutely no time in kicking things off. As soon as you press play you are greeted with Face The Future Now. Crowbar inspired sludge with hardcore vocals, grooving riffs and powerful drumming. LockerSludge are out to make an impact early on, with two quick-fire tracks, including opener Face The Future Now and Grinding To A Halt. The vocals in Grinding To A Halt bring to mind Slayer and Machine Head and the guitar screams out of the speakers, with crunching riffs.

This is definitely a release that need to be played loud and it must awesome live. Green Army is a pure crossover song, with a great shout-along chorus. I like that the band have a retro sound to them. The production on the CD is faithful to the earlier sludge/hardcore bands that made the scene what it is. It's not too overly produced and when they throw in a solo mid-song in Green Army, it's impossible not to smile.

Strength, Honour & Pride makes you think of hardcore and in the vocals, you do get a sense of Agnostic Front. This is a brutal song though. LockerSludge have got the mix of genres dead right on here too. They don't let one overpower the other and just you want to headbang. Hiding Emotions closes the EP with an all out doom/sludge groove attack. The riffs are massive and the vocals seem to drop a whole register to add to the menacing feel of the song.

It does seem that LockerSludge are still trying to find their sound, but that's only due to the experimentation and integration of genres contained on Falling On Our Faces. Once they refine their sound they'll have a great platform on which to move up the UK underground ranks. If you like your DIY metal and aren't afraid to get dirty, you should definitely check out LockerSludge and pick up this EP.

You can stream various LockerSludge tracks over on their Reverbnation page - including four out the five on Falling In Our Faces. 

To find out more and to pick up a physical copy of the EP, head over to their Facebook page -

Monday 25 February 2013

Skinfather - Succession/Possession 7"

I once started a spreadsheet which was going to contain every band I cam across, along with a hyperlink to that band. Fairly soon after I started it, I realised it would just get too big so abandoned it. Just when you think you're fairly clued up on what bands are doing the rounds, a whole new wave appears from nowhere with the aim of breaking and bending genre rules.

Skinfather are one of those recent bands. This Southern Californian five-piece death metal band have burst out of the undergrowth with this new 7". Their only previous release was a five track demo called Atheos. This is their first foray on vinyl and has been released by the awesome Life and Death Records. In a live setting, Skinfather have graced stages with the awesome Strife and Graf Orlock amongst others.


1. Succession
2. Possession
3. Execute Them All (Unleashed cover)

Skinfather are fierce! Their brand of death metal owes itself to death n roll instigators like Entombed,
but seems to have been brought up to date. As soon as Succession kicks off, you're presented with crashing drums, brilliantly relentless yet melodic guitar and low, guttural vocals. With the help of some classy riffs and leads, Skinfather pile-drives you into the ground. The crafty sludge elements in the song also make it really groovy. Possession carries on the same vein but sounds even more crazy, if that's possible. There's more of a noticeable difference between their full-throttle and slower moments in the song, with some more
technicality thrown in for good measure. Some of those guitar melodies that sit underneath the vocals during the verses are spine tingling. The production also works really well, giving their music a slightly grimy tinge while still being clear and precise. Final song is that cover of Execute Them All is which was originally written by Unleashed. It just carries on their steamrolling of you eardrums and leaves you furiously headbanging till the end. Obviously, one listen just ain't enough and the more you spin it, the closer your head is to dropping off your shoulders. I'd say this is pretty essential if you like your groovy, hardcore filled death metal.

Of course, don't just take my word for it. You can listen to all three tracks at Skinfather's bandcamp page:-

I also caught up with Skinfather's front man Kurt to get the lowdown on the band and the 7" :- 
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. First of all, can you tell people a bit about Skinfather? How you formed and what brought you guys together?
We are a death metal band from Southern California that is made up of a bunch of guys that grew up on hardcore music. We have all known each other for years and decided that we wanted to start a metal band that we could all be proud of. We all like a lot of the Swedish death metal style riffs so we decided that was the route we would take. It is the style that comes most naturally to all of us.
What is it that drives you and what influences your music?
As a band we are driven by the love to play metal music. Musically we are influenced by bands like Dismember, Entombed and Unleashed, but we all listen to a wide variety of music that influences our music as well. When we write music we just play what we would want to hear.
You’re about to release your new 7” - Succession/Possession. Can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from it?
The release is a huge progression for us as a band. We all really tried to step it up in all aspects whether that be musically, lyrically or in the recording quality. We are excited for everyone to hear Succession/Possession and hope they enjoy it.
Your debut – Atheos, was released on cassette and obviously you’ve chosen vinyl for your new release. Is the format that you release music on important for you? How do you feel about the proliferation of digital releases in metal nowadays?
For us the format is not as important as how accessible our music is. When we released Atheos we made it available for free download and we plan on doing the same thing for Succession/Possession. Our belief is that if you like our music then you will support us and buy our releases. When we play shows people ask us if we have tapes and 7 inches so that’s what we make.
What do you think about the state of metal in general at the moment? Who are your favourite bands currently?
I think metal is in a great place at the moment. It’s awesome to see all the great bands out there get the recognition they deserve. Currently I have been listening to the new Gojira album quite a bit as well as the new Black Breath but I always listen to the metal classics like At the Gates on a regular basis.
Have you found it easy or hard to get attention outside of US? There are loads of up and coming bands vying for attention, so how have you tried to mark yourselves out?
We haven’t really tried to look for attention. We just release music and play shows whenever we can and accept whatever comes from that. Our new 7 inch is getting released in Germany by Life and Death Records which will help us in Europe so that’s cool.
You played at the Strife record release show in Pomona last October. Explain what that was like?
That was a cool show. It’s awesome to play with a band that has made a huge impact on the metal and hardcore community. We are honored to get the chance to play with a band like that.
Looking ahead beyond the release of your 7”, what have you guys got planned for the rest of 2013?
Play tons of shows and start working on new songs. We are always writing new stuff and planning for our next release.
Can you recommend my readers some bands from you local scene that they should be checking out?
Creatures, Disgrace and Harness. We are stoked every time we get to share the stage with any of those guys.

You can purchase the 7" as a digital download from Skinfather's bandcamp page above or you can buy a physical copy from Life and Death Records at

Skinfather can be found on Facebook at

Sunday 24 February 2013

Kazan - Maslow O

A while ago I reviewed some records by French hardcore/screamo bands Who Needs Maps? and Never Again. It turned that one of the members of both those bands, had his own label called Orchidscent Records. He sent me over some of his latest releases to check out and review. This is the first review (sorry it's a bit late).

Kazan are a French post-hardcore band whose previous releases include a demo and two splits with After Taste and Downfall of Gaia respectively. Maslow O was their first full-length, which was released in 2010 on both CD and vinyl by a myriad of labels including Orchidscent. 

Tracklisting - 

1. Je Ne Suis Plus un Homme
2. So Say We All
3. Jour Apres Jour (Feat. Arcane XVII)
4. Le Rythme de Tombeau
5. Etre et (s)Avoir: Pt.1
6. Etre et (s)Avoir: Pt.2
7. Ma Vie C'est du Lourd
8. Carnal

Kazan open with Je Ne Suis Plus un Homme, which is some frenetic, mid-paced hardcore. After the initial intro, they unleash passionate screams with good melodic instrumentation that highlights their screamo/post-hardcore influences. Much like the bands they sight as friends, they play in that European style which is getting a lot of attention of late. The lengthy instrumental mid section gives way to another impassioned vocal section which is pretty rousing as it crescendo's neatly to a close.

The opener flows neatly into So Say We All. The treble of the guitar and that fact that they don't go too overboard with the heaviness is great to hear. The vocals screams may not be understandable unless you read the lyrics at the same time, but that's what screamo is all about. Kazan seem to add a lot of modern touches to the style, with clean production and a control that helps them to sound really accomplished as musicians. Also, the braveness and ability to play longer songs means they have room to experiment and bring their songs to life. The fact that they let three members of the band provide vocals on Maslow O shows that they're all about participation and inclusion.

Jour Apres Jour features a French hip-hop artist named Arcane XVII, so I was pretty intrigued to hear what they could bring to Kazan's sound. The song itself is a mix of spoken word and screams, with subtle instrumentation. At this point it's also worth mentioning that all of Kazan's songs are in their native tongue. Reading the lyric insert too, Kazan have had the foresight to translate their song meanings into other languages, so listeners can appreciate what the songs are about, which is a really nice addition. In terms of the song itself, I don't hear much of the hip-hop influence that Arcane XVII was meant to bring to the song, but maybe I was listening for it because in fairness, it was pretty subtle.

I have to say that I wasn't sure what to expect from Kazan, but their mix of caustic hardcore screams and clever instrumentation makes for a really good listen if you're into your screamo. There's plenty going on to keep you interested and the longer song lengths here aren't an issue either, as you just want to keep listening throughout. They throw in some nice low-end bass during Le Rythme de Tombeau, which adds some heft to their music, but for the most part it's the treble that rules the roost and adds musicality.

The next song is in effect a two-parter. Etre et (s)Avoir Pt.1 kicks it off with a moody instrumental build up. It actually gets heavier until it stops dead and leaves just the guitar gently strumming. There's a constant wall of sound sitting beneath the vocals here, which makes the whole thing sit very cohesively. It flows straight into Pt.2 and follows the end of the previous song with light strumming guitar and clever percussion. The great thing about Kazan is that while most screamo bands use and sometime overuse different time signatures in their music, Kazan choose to keep thing simple and let their music do the talking as opposed to how many different signatures they can fit into a song. If you're a fan of music but you don't want all of the discordant, feedback-ridden angst of hardcore, then Kazan and their brand of screamo will be more up your street. Likewise, if you're a fan of Downfall of Gaia and the like, you'll find plenty to love here.

Ma Vie Ces't du Lourd allows Kazan to sound a bit heavier during parts of the song. They add a bit more dissonance but this is used sparingly and the jangly guitar is not overruled. It's definitely got a very different feel to it; one, which is more claustrophobic than previous songs but fits well. Final song Carnal continues in that vein too. Slightly more austere and menacing in it's delivery. I really like this record. I'm a big fan of screamo anyway but there's always something about a band that present in their native tongue which makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I can't explain it but it just seems to fit together. Kazan are great musicians and present screamo in their own way and for that they deserve your attention.

You can stream Maslow O on Kazan's website at

As I mentioned in the intro, this record was released on CD and vinyl by a number of labels, so below you can find links to those labels and if you like what you heard above, make sure you purchase a copy to support Kazan and the labels - 

Dreams Come True Records (France) - (site currently under construction)
Emotionally Unstable (France) -
Impure Muzik (France) -
Maloka (France) -
Monkey Cookie Records (France) -
Orchidscent Records (France) - 
Radical Dreamers (France) - 
We Told You To Play Fast (Belgium) - wetoldyoutopla (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday 22 February 2013

Ash Borer - Bloodlands 12"

You may think that you like the heaviest music that the underground has to offer. You may think that you're ahead of the curve and you may shun mainstream metal magazines in favour of the next grimiest, most hate- fuelled noise you can find. When it comes down it and you've found that music, you cower away, scared to come out in case it's contents burst out of your speakers and eat you alive! You're weak and all you want to do is run into the arms of the nearest pop-punk band, well believe me you can run but you can't hide.

That's the kind of emotion that I felt when I discovered the new Ash Borer 12" lurking in the shadows of my inbox. You see, I like harsh noise and grinding guitars. I've found myself getting an ornate pleasure out of listening to heavier and heavier music over the last three years. It excites me! The point I'm trying to make here is that it's always good to challenge yourself and others with the music you listen to, instead of just listening to the same damn crap all of the time. That brings me on to Ash Borer and their new 12". Two tracks of majestic, chaotic black metal from a band that have been talked about in hushed tones in recent years, thanks to their quality and mystery. They pray on your imagination and security, bringing out emotions in you that you try to keep buried. This is black metal, but not as we know it.


1. Oblivion's Spring
2. Dirge/Purgation

The plucked guitar at the start of Oblivion's Spring sets a menacing tone, as if Ash Borer are playing with you
and waiting for the right moment to strike. It's this melody and ambience which draws you in, further and further until there is no way of escaping the horror and pain to come. Nearly three minutes in and the first sole scream pierces the guitar and in a moment breath, Ash Borer lurch into a frenzy of thrashing drums,
razor-guitar riffs and anguished, almost possessed screams. It's relentless in it's delivery and it's meant to be.
The subtle guitar melodies that impose themselves on the music tip you into a spiral of despair. They almost drone on and when the band break into a more sludge ridden dirge at five minutes in, the atmosphere fall lower again. The mixture of slower paced music and those distant screams just flatten you. This isn't a song, it's more of a journey and one which only the strongest willed would be able to endure.

It's hard to imagine that this unholy racket was made by just four souls, but as the feedback rings around you at the nine minute mark and out of it's ashes comes the sole bass/guitar passage, similar to the intro, you've pretty much given up and submitted yourself to a life of darkness. The only rare glimpses of light you do see, will come from that haunting guitar that washes over Oblivion's Spring during it's full span. The feedback and noise inflicted by Ash Borer goes on even as the song comes to a close, only getting more indecipherable as it goes. You can almost here the sound of the howling wind and air raid sirens heralding in a restless life.

Dirge/Purgation is no easier listen. It begins though with silence and then another haunting intro passages, with a mixture of gently plucked guitar and jarring feedback. It's equal parts beautiful and harrowing. Ash Borer seem to initially take their foot off the gas here, choosing not to batter you senseless. They choose the slower more psychological route, hoping that you will torture yourself in the process. It's a strangely uplifting beast though this one. As the song and the volume builds you feel your soul rising out of you and you almost feel a release. The energy you expended during Oblivion's Spring is finally gone and with it any trace of worry and anxiety and you are left at piece. The afterlife however, is not what you expect. It's not nice, just as life was. As the drums add heft to the winding riffs that have been filling your ears for the last five minutes, it reminds you that salvation does not exist even in death.

This is where Ash Borer turn the pace up again and with it their blackened noise. It's amazing to actually see the impact that the vocals have on this release, with them sitting so deep in the mix but it actually works really well. The guitars are the most prominent instrument here and the drums, while buried beneath the dissonance, still add weight to the music. The vocals are more minimally used here though, unlike the relentless ravaging in Oblivion's Spring. They rely more on instrumental chaos here. Also, as you'd expect from a song with dirge in the title, there are moments where they slow things down or repeat things and at nearly twenty minutes, this is more of an endurance test that it's predecessor. Just sitting back and listening as it winds it's way toward it's end is fascinating, purely for the power it harnesses. The sound just reverberates around and simultaneously makes you want headbang and run away.

Put simply, you probably won't hear a black metal album like this again this year. It's everything you want in one but are too scared to track down. Resistance is futile. You will not escape!

If you dare, you can listen to the opening track - Oblivion's Spring on bandcamp below:-

The Bloodlands 12" has been released by Gilead Media and can be bought directly from their webstore at and by Psychic Violence and can be bought from here

Ash Borer can be found here

Saturday 16 February 2013

Cultfinder - Black Thrashing Terror 7"

I just picked up a copy of this 7" last week and then realised I had a digital version of it to review, so here it is. This particular 7" was released by Eldritch Lunar Miasma back in mid-2012 and it's a cold slab of British black metal. For those who haven't heard about Cultfinder, they hail from Farnborough and have been around since 2010. Their only previous release was in the form of a demo cassette. Cultfinder also features members of Witchsorrow and XII Boar as well.


1. Black Thrashing Terror
2. Archangel Burial
3. Witching Curse

As soon as you press play on this beast, the first thing that hits you is the sound of the guitars. They are thick and majestic during the intro to opener Black Thrashing Terror. Then before you have time to breath, all hell breaks loose. Flailing drums play fill after fill, the guitars thrash forth and those evil black metal vocals envelope you! That same intro riff makes another appearance in the mid-section giving you chance to gather yourself before one final forty second onslaught. Awesome stuff!

Archangel Burial picks up where Black Thrashing Terror left off. This song is a lost shorter and as such sounds more gung-ho. It's just an all out riot of ungodly noise from start to finish. Witching Curse features one hell of a low-end and some of the fastest drumming I've heard from a black metal band in ages. Don't even try to keep up with it! When the pace settles down, it sounds even more evil (if that's possible!). Those vocals remain demonic throughout and in the end you'll be begging for mercy. The double bass groove that Wilbeherit injects into the second half of Witching Curse is almost hypnotic. It's a testament to his and Cultfinder's musicianship as a whole.

They stay focused throughout and even thought they play at a frenetic pace for the most part; they execute their devilish plan with aplomb. That plan being to convert all their listeners into demonic followers and guess what, they succeed. Now march on and face thy fate!

You can stream the title track on Eldritch Lunar Miasma's soundcloud page below:-

There are a couple of places you can pick this 7" up from including Cultfinder's own webstore at or from ELM Records at

Cultfinder are also on Facebook at and have a website at WWW.UNHOLYCULTFINDER.COM.

Failsafe - Routines

I remember seeing Failsafe play at Slam Dunk festival god knows how many years ago. I was a bit drunk at the time and a lot of stuff passed me by, including their set. That's not to say I wasn't interested, I was just lost in a moment. Anyway, Routines has been sat in my inbox for a bit and I need something to break the spell of endless dirge and the onset of man-flu.

It seems like these guys have been around forever, kind of on the fringes of the mainstream but always there and always delivering solid music. I also never knew that they were from Preston. Failsafe play a kind of pop-punk, alternative rock medley so it's a little different to what's on these pages but nobody minds deviation do they!


1. The Persistence of Memory
2. Routines
3. Sleepwalkers
4. Skin and Bones
5. Early Hours
6. Dead to the World
7. Light of the Day
8. Every Cycle
9. Something to Someone
10. Worth the Weight

The Persistence of Memory starts with an intro that features a ticking clock, which was a bit random. Failsafe's music has a lot of pace and is definitely very radio friendly. Their sound reminds me of bands like All American Rejects and even Lostprophets in certain parts. The drums and guitars are loud, but disappear into the mix slightly when the vocals are in full flow. The title track Routine has a more garage-punk slant to it, due to the mic effects used during the singing. It's a very shout along type of song and would be really good live. Very good on the ear and slick.

Sleepwalkers sounds like it's about to break into a house song. There's a simple but slightly off kilter beat going on and loads of melody. Failsafe rely more on their alternative, radio friendly influences more than their pop-punk influences here and that may put people off the record, but if you're less discerning about the music you listen to you'll find plenty to get into. The end of Sleepwalkers is a pleasant surprise though; with some downtuned riffs adding some much needed bite.

Failsafe don't go for overly long songs on Routines, such is their musical direction that instead they make sure that the majority weigh in at around four-five minutes. That does tend to be the attention span of most mainstream radio listeners but for Failsafe, it works and provides them with just enough time to make their impact felt. One thing they are good at though is making songs like Skin and Bones sound mighty, thanks to some really good guitar work and catchy rhythms.

Early Hours sees them veer from the grandeur of the previous song, back to their more straightforward song structures. What it does have though is some great lead work, which adds plenty of colour to the song. If you take a step back and stop trying to analyse the music on Routines (like I have been doing above), it sounds fresher and starts to grow on you. I'm not saying it should be background music though, as Failsafe deserve a lot more than that, but it just sounds totally different. At this point, you may wonder what the hell I'm talking about, but just run with it. Even though there is a heavy US rock influence here and you've heard it all before, when you disconnect, it actually takes on a new image. One that reminds you of more innocent times, before you were corrupted by feedback and roaring leviathans.

Every Cycle is another one of Failsafe's more grandiose songs, which alongside earlier track Skin and Bones is probably a standout for me. As the outro of Something To Someone swathes in and the out of the speakers and final song, Worth The Wait plays out, Routines comes to an end. Overall, Failsafe have a decent effort in Routines. Yes, they are catering to a certain audience but they may as well do what they know. Everybody started out their musical journey's listening to the radio and music like this, so it's bound to take you back to earlier times and experiences and that's no bad thing at all!­­­­

Routines isn't streaming anywhere. You can however hear selected tracks here and here

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Future projects!

I wanted to step away from my usual posts for a little while to let you know that I plan to run some new projects in the future and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about some of them:-

PR/Press releases writing service
I want to help new bands and labels out by writing press/PR releases that can then be sent out to magazines, labels and gig promoters to help bands get exposure. If you think I could help you out, please e-mail me at

I plan to create and distribute an e-newsletter, similar to a zine but in electronic form, to interested people. You'll be able to register by e-mail and I will make advertising space available inside. The aim is to make it an extension of the blog and to let you know about metal/hardcore music news.

Record label/distro
This one is the holy grail for me. I would love the chance to help release music by artists I love and to be able to stock records here in the UK. I've built up loads of contacts over the last couple of years and I know there's lots of great music out there just waiting to be heard. This is a very long term goal, but one day it may happen.

As well as the above I have the Directory on the go, which I plan to expand over the coming months. Also, I plan on doing tie-ins and competitions for both bands and readers, as well as exclusive streams of new records. If you have an idea that you would like to chat to me about, by all means e-mail me at

If you want to donate to the blog, click the donate button on the top right of the page. Thanks.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Hammers - Vardogr Tape

Away from this blog, I have been on a voyage of black metal discovery recently. Mainly seeking out black metal from our fair isle. I stopped being enthused by the side-show black metal that's making a name for itself in some monthly metal mags a long time ago and instead, started seeking out stuff that was ambient and usually a solo project. That little insight has nothing to with this review other than that fact that both band and label who conspired to produce this tape share more than just a dark image with those in black metal.

Moving onto the subject of this review, which is another tape from the venerable Manchester label Church of Fuck. This time it's a reissue of sorts for fellow Manchester noise-makers - Hammers. Vardogr made up Hammers latest release and came in the form of a 10". It was re-released on tape recently in a limited run. The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the artwork for the tape originally featured as the 10"s centre sticker from the original release. A nice bit of continuation I thought. As always with CoF releases, huge care has been taken with the quality of the tape. The tape itself is white with black labels on each side. Also, said sides have been labelled so you know which side your about to play. I like this touch, as I get confused a lot of the time. Also, carrying on the black theme, the cover insert is black and features a stirring piece of artwork in the inside cover and there's also a lyric sheet too. It's all in the detail!


1. Casting Spells
2. Trepanning Infinity
3. Sleep For A Year
4. Endoteric
5. The Sun's Journey Through The Night
6. The Spectacle
7. Etiäinen
8. A Coffin In The Shape of A Chapel
9. 22:22
10. Systole

Opener Casting Spells begins with unnerving, jarring noise which dies down just in time to shed light on Hammers hardcore sound. The riffs sound like they are forcing out some kind of apocalyptic blues hell, as the drums pound and the vocals are screamed out in terrifying fashion. It's all over very quickly. Trepanning Infinity sounds equally possessed and there's something about listening to it in a proper old tape player that gives it a real warming quality. The off-kilter rhythms, the treble led melodies and the competing textures all sound like they were meant to be recorded onto this format. There's certainly no denying the musical quality spewed forth by Hammers here. The metallic energy and edgy blackness of it all paints a scarce picture, especially on a grey day like today. As Hammers speed through Sleep For A Year, Endoteric and then let the sludge-filled riffs of The Sun's Journey Through The Night fill your ears, you're already sucked in. This first side may be over all too quickly, but it's already left its mark on your frail psyche and it's up to the second side to make submit.

Side two starts with the fervent energy but this time doles out more off-kilter structures akin to screamo. The sound work done on this release is pretty epic, as there's none of that murky, muddy sound that people associate with tapes. It sounds clear and precise, even through my old tape player. The Spectacle closes with a repeated drum/riff pattern that makes it sound like the tape is stuck, which had me worried for a second until it faded out. Etiäinen was akin to a short interlude, albeit featuring words and screams. In fact so short is the song; it features only two sentences of vivid lyrics that paint a bleak image - "Look out to the wasteland. The sensation of loss is instant, the dead weight of sorrow hung". A Coffin In The Shape of A Chapel is a joy, with angular riffs and a musicality all of it's own, which seems slightly detached from the rest of Vardogr only by subliminal melody. 22:22 brings things crashing back into perspective. The battering of noise that closes the song and that characterful riff that flows straight into final song Systole help to steal that last breath of air from your lungs as it presses down and crushed what hope you have left.

It's a journey, a journey from which you leave stronger. Hammers may have crafted Vardogr some time ago now, but its impact is felt more than ever through this release.

Vardogr is currently up for streaming and free download from Hammers' bandcamp page below:-

In terms of physical copies, you can purchase this tape from Church of Fuck at and Hammers have copies of the 10" version in their store at

Saturday 9 February 2013

Sohns - Ripe/Rot 7"

Sohns hail from San Antonio, Texas. Their 7" Ripe/Tor was released in July 2012 and features five tracks of post-hardcore noise. The EP was released by Flannel Gurl Records. These guys are forever playing live across Texas and back in late 2011 they shared the stage with Retox, who feature members of The Locust and Some Girls amongst it's ranks. More recently they've played alongside Japanther, so they're no strangers to playing diverse gigs.


1. Intro
2. Soul Train Blues of The Broken Skull
3. Abomination
4. The Hole In The Foul
5. Soul Salvation

Ripe/Rot starts with a brooding but sedate intro, pierced by screams and shouts and the launches into Soul Train Blues of The Broken Skull. The music is mid-paced and vocalist Alex Mendez's screams are high up the register. They manage to produce a heady wall of noise towards the end of the song, with the guitar droning to a close before they head straight into Abomination. This song has more impact as the guitar takes more of a driving stance and Sohns seem to carry more swagger. Imagine a more spazzy and abrasive version of At The Drive-In and that will give you some idea what Sohns sound closest too, although to be honest, it is hard to categorise their music. They are however, to the point. They don't believe in using too much in their music and that helps keep their song-lengths down. 

The Hole In The Foul is a short interlude track before EP closer Soul Salvation gives you one last blast of their brand of post-hardcore. Here the drums play a big part in the song, spewing forth some interesting rhythms. The guitar is atmospheric and there are moments of bass-heavy rumble. The vocals are actually used quite sparingly here too, when they're not being screamed at you that is! This EP is short and there are only three actual songs on it if you don't count the intro and the interlude track, so the impact of Sohns is slightly lessened. Hopefully, this'll be something they remedy with their next release, as I'd like to hear more from them.

The entire 7" is streaming over on the Flannel Gurl bandcamp page, but I've also put it below from you to listen to:-

You can purchase it digitally from the bandcamp page or click through the link to purchase the 7" version.

Sohns can be found at both and at
Flannel Gurl Records are here and here

Vagiant - Gospel According To Vagiant

Vagiant are a Russian band that came to my attention last year. I got sent their debut EP - Gospel According To Vagiant, which came in a really nice gatefold sleeve with quite striking artwork. The band themselves are a mix of punk, hardcore and noise rock and after reading their bandcamp page, they also promise math-rock esque parts which seems to be very popular amongst Eastern European bands at the moment.


1. Welcome
2. Origins of Man
3. Eternal Quest For Endless Beauty
4. How Bad Is Your Karma
5. Molerats

Gospel According to Vagiant begins with a voice machine intro in Russian called Welcome. I can't speak Russian so I had no idea what was being said. Origins Of Man is the first song proper on the EP. It's a cool amalgamation of experimental punk with a mixture of shouted and cleanly sung vocals. Some people may find it a bit too edgy or grating, but it fits their noisy sound really well.

Vagiant play around with different song structures, with Origins of Man sounding like one long verse. Eternal Quest For Endless Beauty follows a similar path, except Vagiant use quieter and more introspective instrumentation here. Its pretty challenging stuff actually as there are moments of utter madness, but it's not all-out heavy like you'd expect from math-rock bands and it has elements of surf-rock and prog infused within it. The guitar solo at the end of the song is pretty epic and hints some brilliant musical prowess when Vagiant are more focused on a traditional rock sound.

How Bad Is Your Karma features more of that rock sound, but mainly in the vocals. Don't be fooled though, it's still an oddball song that may well take multiple listens to fully understand! The production is good as well, although part of me thinks that no amount of production would make this record any easier to listen to (and I mean that in a good way). As I've found with other bands from Eastern Europe recently, they don't like to follow the crowd and Vagiant definitely are no different. 

Before you know it, EP closer Molerats is building with an extended instrumental intro of both cleanly plucked and electric guitar. There's the odd hint of Fleetwood Mac in this song, probably due to the dual male/female vocals. That's as far as that comparison goes though, as it's not long before Vagiant lurch back into their madcap noise-rock. Overall, this is not for someone looking for instant musical gratification as it's experimental, noisy and will require you to pay attention. Vagiant are pushing boundaries in their own way and for that they should be applauded.

The EP is up as a pay-what-you-want download via Vagiant's bandcamp page, where it's also streaming:-

Vagiant are also on Facebook here -

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Obolus - Lament

Lament and indeed Obolus passed me by when this record was originally released and as such, I've decided to give this release the attention it truly deserves. Obolus are a mysterious band. So mysterious in fact, that they don't even seem to have a presence on social media sites. They play grim, desolate black metal and hail from the US, with only a demo to their name prior to this release. Lament was released as a 10" by Flenser Records in 2012.


1. Desolation
2. Reflection
3. Hatred
4. Grievance
5. Lament

I approach Lament with a feeling of trepidation for what I might witness, such is the mystery surrounding the band. That trepidation is promptly blown away by the howling feedback that greets me at the start of EP opener Desolation. The noise level here is almost overwhelming thanks to the relentless guitar and those blood curdling screams. It's almost enveloping! It makes for very uneasy and unsociable listening; such is its power, with little room being left for solace of any kind, throughout its five-minute playing time.

Reflection allows you time for just that, with it being a calming instrumental interlude of abject beauty. That calm however only lasts for a short time, as the peace is shattered by Hatred. This time, as well as the shattering guitar and drumming there are string elements that add some melody, albeit harrowing. If you give Lament enough attention, you can pick out some amazing subtle nuances within the instrumentation. The production doesn't make these moments very obvious, because the instruments are allowed to weave into each other to help generate Obolus's harsh noise.

The sound of rain heralds in Grievance, which is also the lengthiest song on Lament. Those with a nervous disposition or an intolerance for intense extreme music will no doubt have turned off at this point, but if you're still with us, you'll be experiencing the slow build up of droning riffs, which make you sit tight in expectation for a crescendo and after a brief pause, that appears with the next black metal barrage at about half-way. Maybe not as majestic as you might have been expecting, but still very scary. 

The last sermon is the title track, which fades in to view with the sound of rain and then gently plucked guitar and strings. It's another calm and beautiful instrumental piece and acts as the outro to the record and what has been an epically dark and abject experience. This EP is a stark reminder of the mysterious enigmas that make up the black metal underground. They will leave a sizeable mark on you if you let them and for that they must be applauded.

Allow Lament to induce your nightmares below:-

You can pick up the vinyl version of Lament from Flenser Records at

Sunday 3 February 2013

Total Fucking Destruction - Monsters EP

Just the one review from me today, but then again I didn't think it would be right to write anymore because this is a Total Fucking Destruction review! That's right, I received their new two-track EP the other day and decided I couldn't deprive you of it. Of course, most of you will know TFD in their own right, even though they feature members of Old Head, Rumpelstiltskingrinder and Brutal Truth! That list goes on too.

So this EP has been released by Handshake Inc and Grindcore Karaoke. The download even comes with an exclusive video of TFD playing at Kungfu Necktie in Philadelphia, which was filmed by David Hall, head honcho at Handshake Inc.


1. Monsters
2. Is Your Love A Rainbow?

The first thing that sprung into my mind when I put this on was, could you imagine a grind band that took themselves seriously? I say that with the best possible intention, because there is too much tough guy posturing in extreme metal as it is, so we need to have somewhere to go to have fun and grindcore may well be the place to do that. I'm no music snob though, so if you're a purist who likes his/her grind straight faced, feel free to tell me otherwise.

Anyway, on with the show. The first thing that struck me, mainly because it's very bright and entertaining, was this EPs cover art. It's how I'd imagine TFD to look after they've played a particularly long set! First song on the EP is Monsters. It's one minute and twenty five seconds of screaming, flailing limbs and strangely twin guitar harmonies! There's some epic guitar work involved here and that drumming is pretty much off the scale, in terms of relentless speed. Is Your Love A Rainbow? is a rock opera in grindcore terms, being two minutes long. The lyrics are hilarious on this one and it's still crazy fast though!

I don't think I need to go on, in summary it's fast, loud and over before had chance to breathe. I just hope it gets pressed on super glow in the dark green vinyl or something!

Lucky for you, there's a stream of the EP in it's entirety over on the Grindcore Karaoke bandcamp page, but I've just pasted it below for you too:-

So there you have it peeps. The new TFD EP! Hell Yeah!
TFD are here and on Facebook here

Grindcore Karaoke are here and on Facebook here

Saturday 2 February 2013

Moghul - Dead Empires EP

Here's another homegrown band. Moghul are sludge/doom outfit from the dark, dank depths of Birmingham.Dead Empires is their debut EP which has just recently been released by Devizes Records, who are home to Fukpig amongst others. This is a might two track EP that's been pressed on awesome looking green vinyl.


1. Dead Empires
2. Hidden Hand

It's no surprise that Moghul sound the way they do. After all they come from the home of metal and the Black Sabbath influence is definitely present. On opening song Dead Empires, Moghul present huge, towering riffs and pounding drums. Brooding yet melodic leads break up the thick sludge-ridden sound.This is properly heavy stuff. After some initial clean vocals, Moghul's mainly instrumental groove is broken up by some gut-wrenchingly low growls. They create a pretty epic soundscape, with a constant low end underpinning it all. The solo about seven minutes is awesome. It's restrained yet fits the winding dirge of the music really well. With their dual low/high screams toward the end, they've certainly got the measure of the Black Country with this!

Hidden Hand could be Moghul's nod to the American doom legends of the same name. It's got more melody in its opening bars but once that's out of the way, it's back to business. The dual guitar melodies are near soul warming! Moghul make use of three vocalists amongst their ranks and all contribute to good effect here. Hidden Hand is a thirteen minute behemoth and certainly not for those without an attention span. An epic, winding piece of sludge that would satisfy even the most hardened fan of the genre. The layers that present themselves in the music deserve repeat listens, as that's the only way you'll truly appreciate all that Moghul have to offer. 

These guys certainly know what they are doing and easy listening isn't a word in their vocabulary. If you like your riffs thick and your music slow, you should definitely invest in this record, especially on vinyl! Superb stuff.

Dead Empires is streaming on Moghul's bandcamp page below:-

You can buy digital versions of Dead Empires from bandcamp or you can pick up the sumptuous vinyl from Devizes Records at

Moghul are on Facebook at

Vera Grace - The Lucifer Effect EP

It's time to return to the safe bosom of our shores for a review. I received this shortly before new year and such is the chaotic states of my inbox at the moment, I've decided to review this now. Vera Grace a new, unsigned metal band from Oxfordshire and The Lucifer Effect is their debut EP. The EP itself is due for release on the 07/02/2013, both digitally and physically. I'm a huge fan of supporting new and unknown bands (as you know) and the continued growth of our metal scene no matter the style of image, so giving this a spin is definitely how I want to start my weekend.


1. Carrier
2. Restless King
3. The Father's Eyes
4. The Lucifer Effect

The Lucifer Effect opens up with Carrier and with it, off-kilter and angular riffs, slick drumming and bilous screams. Considering the vocals are so heavy, the music itself is subtly understated. It's pretty tasteful and Vera Grace don't try and fit too much into the song. Their sound sits somewhere between modern melodic hardcore and djent. It's got those progressive touches as well as the sense of post-hardcore, during some of the more introspective instrumental parts. A very assured start to this EP.

Restless King turns the experimentalism up a notch, with some great melodic guitar leads and different structures. I really like this side to their music, as it provides me with something to appreciate that isn't just pounding breakdown after pounding breakdown, that seem to be the preserve of modern hardcore bands in certain spaces. The dissonance is certainly where it's at for these guys!

When The Father's Eyes started, I did think I was listening to Temper Trap! That sole plucked guitar made me think electronic beats were about to take over, but they didn't and I was just panicking. What did kick in though was a calm instrumental opening passage. That instrumental carries on through the song with the screams over the top, sounding pretty harrowing. The volume level rises toward the middle with a crescendo of sound from all angles and a sense of euphoria, that only rears it's head on such occasions. 

EP closer, The Lucifer Effect really cements Vera Grace's alternative metal tag, if you want to bother trying to pigeonhole them at all. More off kilter rhythms and melodic flourishes that make it hard to truly classify their sound. Vera Grace may not have the initial impact that some bands have, but being that bit harder to work out is a good thing. It shows they're thinking about their music. I'm impressed with this one and as I sit through more of that awesome melodic guitar and those emotive screams, I feel inspired and moved. This is why I do this.

Vera Grace are streaming The Father's Eyes over at their Soundcloud page in preparation for the release of this EP. Check it out below:-

Keeps your eyes on these two links for new of the physical and digital releases when they happen on the 7th - and

Also you can visit Vera Grace for more news on their Facebook page at