Thursday 30 January 2014

Empire of Rats - No Peace 7"

It's been ages since I've reviewed a band associated with the might A389 Records. The last ones were Seven Sisters of Sleep and Full of Hell, although technically Napalm Christ count too, since they've signed for A389 now as well. This 7" though was released by fellow US label Get This Right Records, who similarly have been building a decent following. No Peace was released in early 2012 and was the bands debut release. If you're at all familiar with US hardcore and especially it's more abrasive bands, you'll definitely be familiar with these dudes. Hell, they've recently brought in Mike Lare (ex-Ringworm) as their new guitar player!


1. Intro
2. We're Dead
3. Force Fed
4. Empire of Rats
5. The O3 Code
6. Still Out of Breath

I’ve had a quiet couple of days, so this is best way to wake myself up again. The Intro to No Peace features an address by a US military spokesman talking about aliens I think, with a beefy rhythm section underneath, which heightens the sense of menace and expectation for what’s to come. Empire of Rats don’t hang about and We’re Dead is a furious blast of hardcore, with a sense of mosh and groove to it. Don’t worry though, it’s not adolescent mosh. Force Fed features more of that groove and has an infectious stomp at the start. The screeching lead was something I was expecting, but the metal influence is entirely welcome. 

This is killer, especially with the thrashing drums and pace in the mid-section, which slows toward the end of the song but still sound super-thick. Empire of Rats pretty much highlights the band’s feelings and lets them spill out, with plenty of rage and double bass from kick drums. Musically, they are super solid, which you’d expect from their previous history.As the songs get longer on No Peace, the scale of the riffs and musical skill grows, as if Empire of Rats are building up to some gigantic ending. The 03 Code is for the most part instrumental but you don’t many lyrics when you’ve got killer instru-thrash going on. 

Closing out with Still Out of Breath, Empire of Rats fire shots at you with rapid-fire grind that infiltrates their hardcore, stops on a dime in places but always stays gnarly. The sections where the band slow down to almost sludge pace are pretty special, as the transition is flawless and the hints of feedback coursing through the music keeps you on edge. The now staple sample of “Now I become death, destroyer of worlds” is an apt way to herald in the final riff section, which fades out leaving you with a thirst for destruction. What more can I say about this band. Essential for fans of hardcore and metal alike. Get This Right have released a banger here and hats off to them. This short 7” has variation and instrumental skill that gives Empire of Rats a familiarity and it’s definitely a record that you’ll keep going back to. Brilliant stuff!

You can stream No Peace here:-

You can buy it digitally from the Get This Right bandcamp page above.

If you want the physical 7", head to Cold Cuts Merch here -

Empire of Rats Facebook -
Get This Right Records Facebook -

Saturday 25 January 2014

Caina - Earth Inferno Tape

The end of 2013 saw a shift amongst one of the UK's most prolific small labels. Church of Fuck, which had previously released tonnes of hardcore/crust/sludge releases showed it's darker hand, by releasing it's first full black metal release. Caina took a break in 2011 after it's last release, the album Hands That Pluck. At that point, while working with Profound Lore Records. Caina then resurfaced in November of the following year. This awakening saw sole member A. Curtis-Brignall release Litanies of Abjection in 2013, swiftly followed by Earth Inferno in December of that year.

Earth Inferno sees Caina stepping back into the shadows of black metal after a period of exploring a more abient path. Featuring four unreleased tracks recorded between 2008 and 2011 as well as a new track, it's a precursor to Caina's new album which is due out in 2014. It also features guest vocals from the vocalist Laurence Taylor of Manchester's Cold Fell.


1. The Last Lantern
2. Conqueror Worm
3. Macun
4. Death Posture
5. Teeth Eating Teeth

Earth Inferno sounds as terrifying as it’s title suggests. The drums create that ice-cold blast of hatred, the guitars in the background lend a hazy, dread-filled buzz and the feverish growls are the icing on the proverbial cake. Caina’s previous flirtation with ambience is still obvious during the opening track The Last Lantern, where after the opening passages, the song features more melody from the guitars and counteracts LT’s higher-pitched screams. This opening song proves that the black metal embers are well and truly burning back to life.

Caina’s black metal is the sort of harsh noise that will scare off weaker ears. The Conqueror Worm is the embodiment of that from the start, but this time Caina experiments more with changing song structures. When the vocals fall away, you’re left with more ethereal textures. It becomes more majestic and almost symphonic at times, with the guitar producing a grand orchestral-like sound. Things take peaceful yet menacing twist with Macun. The noises that emanate from the speakers sound more aboriginal and heathen, but seem to sit right amongst it all, giving Earth Inferno a cosmic edge. It’s minimal and does threaten to break into another black metal onslaught as the feedback builds and then dissipates. The whispers punctuated by sudden screams keep things crawling forward.

After the relative calm of Macun, Caina’s assault continues with Death Posture, which seethes and ouses with more blackened atmospherics. The volume level seems to rise during the song, taking it to head spinning heights of dissonance and feedback. Ending with the final salvo of Teeth Eating Teeth, which is my standout track on Earth Inferno, Caina manages to inject new life into the abject despair felt in the previous songs with melody not before heard and a very different sound, yet one that is still in keeping with the EP as a whole. Caina only allows this shift to continue for half of the song, before taking Teeth Eating Teeth back to the shadows.

Earth Inferno can be heard here:-

You can purchase it digitally from CoF's bandcamp page above or if you want the physical tape, head here -

Caina Facebook -
Church of Fuck Facebook -

Thursday 23 January 2014

Underkill - Judas Hole EP

You all know I'm one for the underdog. I like nothing more than sitting back and listening to a new, undiscovered band. It's not that I'm elitist and like to be the first one to say I've heard "that" band, but it's because I just enjoy digging around and unearthing rad stuff. This brings me to Underkill. These dudes are a young thrash band from Darmstadt in Germany. Their EP Judas Hole, was released in July 2011. To date, Judas Hole is the bands only recorded output.


1. Solidity
2. Judas Hole
3. Life Is War
4. Ellipsis
5. Behold
6. Wanderlust
7. Nuclear Rage

Think of German thrash and three bands immediately spring to mind - Sodom, Destruction and Kreator. They took the reigns of German thrash and inspired a whole host of fans, to pick up instruments and form bands themselves. Coupled with their cousins from across Europe, the UK and of course the US/South America created one of the most popular metal sub-genres. Underkill are no doubt inspired by those bands.

There brand of thrash is rip-roaring straight from the off, with the warp-speed riffs of Solidity signalling their arrival. The German accent vocals hit the spot, as do the powerful drums. Unlike the recent thrash revival that spurned bands like Evile and Municipal Waste, Underkill choose a more classic sound. It’s not raw but the guitar tones sound like they are from an earlier incarnation of thrash, which is a good thing in my eyes. It’s always night to hear bands playing it simple and not being overly technical, to try and fit the scene. The title track proves that Underkill really were born in the wrong era. They use a long intro and minimal vocals in the song, just like early-Metallica and the guitars come across like Iron Maiden during the verses. The song is also book-ended by some nice acoustic guitar.

Life is War makes an immediate impact when the guitar riffs kick in and the song, even though not melodic in the true sense has something about it. It’s like listening to true heavy metal twinned with Motorhead. the musicianship is excellent and again Underkill don’t over-do it. Underkill allow a moment of calm at the mid-point of Judas Hole, with Ellipsis being an acoustic interlude, which keeps momentum going before Behold takes over. Their songs really have a catchiness to them, again thanks to their simplicity. It’s often harder for a band to pull it off that it is for them to go over the top. Just like the title track from earlier, Behold allows Underkill to show off their more expansive side. Just check out that solo!

By the time the band reaches their penultimate song Wanderlust, they’re well and truly in their stride and they sound freer and more relaxed. The wall of sound created by the guitars is matched by the atmospherics that they create and the level of technicality and proficiency hits all the right notes (no pun intended!). It all leads to Underkill’s final blow out, Nuclear Rage. It underlines what Underkill is all about and in it’s four short minutes, it seems to life the band to greater heights. You know sometimes when you hear a band and you think “why aren’t they bigger”, chances are they’ll be in the same position as underkill, which to me is criminal. I really dig this band and you should too!

Check out Judas Hole here:-

Judas Hole can either be snagged as a pay-what-you-want download or as a physical CD from Underkill's bandcamp page above.

Underkill Facebook -

Monday 20 January 2014

Cryptic Yeast/GirlsNames - Blender Childen Split 3"

I've decided to write about something different tonight. I've been on a bit of a punk crusade with the last couple of reviews but it's a Monday, I've had a busy day and I feel like bringing you something that you probably won't have stumbled upon. I first heard of this split and indeed these two bands from a Bandcamp mail-out from Grindcore Karaoke.

Cryptic Yeast are three-piece "digital thrash" band from various parts of the US, while GirlsNames are Canadian. This split 3" CD features twelve songs that heavily rely on industrial sounds, but also thrash, grind and a whole host of other elements. Blender Children was released digitally in June 2013 and later on CD in September,  Human Beard Records and Noisedad, with Prime Eggsample Records hosting it digitally alongside Grindcore Karaoke.


1. Cryptic Yeast - (Intro)
2. Cryptic Yeast - Garburator
3. Cryptic Yeast - Obstructive Apnea
4. Cryptic Yeast - Taintwax
5. Cryptic Yeast - W.F.A
6. Cryptic Yeast - Thugdumpster
7. GirlsNames - Amber Graves
8. GirlsNames - Brianna Passanger
9. GirlsNames - Florence Gone
10. GirlsNames - Jessica Tandy
11. GirlsNames - Natalia Switchplate
12. GirlsNames - Candi Stanton

Before, when I’ve thought of digital music crossing over with metal/punk I’ve always thought of Atari Teenage Riot or Mad Capsule Markets. Until now, that is! I’m new to this form of extreme metal/industrial music so it should be an eye opener. Cryptic Yeast play through six songs, starting with a noise ridden intro before Garburator, which sets out there stall with programmed drums, thrash guitars and hardcore-inspired screams. The guitars are louder during Obstructive Apnea but stops dead after forty seven seconds. Taintwax has massive impact, with those cymbal sounds piercing your ears something rotten.  W.F.A. sounds like they tried to incorporate some System Of A Down into the opening riffs. There final song Thugdumpster is pure sludge, with both high-pitched screams and low-pitched growls. This is their most convincing metal song but still crushingly cold, thanks to it’s digital edge. 

GirlsNames’ side features songs names after girls, funnily enough. Their equally as fast as Cryptic Yeast, but they have more of a punk sound. They have both male and female vocals that sound semi-programmed and riffs played through electronics too. Amber Graves has to be heard to be believed. Brianna Passanger sound like a crazy hybrid grind song and packs a lot into fifty five seconds. GirlsNames just seem to get heavier and more wild as they go, with more cuss words too. Florence Gone and Jessica Tandy are absolutely nuts. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything like this before and as Natalia Switchblade and Candi Stanton round things out in even more bizarre fashion, it strikes me that while this release and those like it will only appeal to ardent extreme metal/industrial fans, both Cryptic Yeast and GirlsNames offer something different and immediate. Something out of the ordinary and indeed out of a lot of peoples comfort zones. Go on, be brave, they won’t bite!

Prime Eggsample Records are streaming the split here:-

You can get the 3" CD from Human Beard Records and Noisedad Tapes below:-

There's also more Cryptic Yeast/GirlsNames releases streaming at Grindcore Karaoke here -

Cryptic Yeast Facebook -
GirlsNames Facebook -
Prime Eggsample Records Facebook -
Human Beard Records Facebook -

Saturday 18 January 2014

Sickoids - No Home LP

I'm back with another review today, as nothing else is holding my interest. I've been a long time fan of Grave Mistake Records and even though I haven't featured a lot of their releases on my blog, I always come back to them from time to time when I want a decent punk fix.

Together with Sorry State Records, Grave Mistake released this six track LP  from Sickoids early last year. An interesting fact I didn't know - Sickoids features members of Government Warning. You learn something new everyday!


1. Occupy Your Time
2. No Home
3. Empty Death
4. Funeral
5. Delusion
6. Pull The Plug

Occupy Your Time is a pretty apt title, as until I decided to write this review I was bored. There’s always fun to be had in turning music up loud and just kicking back. Sickoids play punk with noisy, chaotic style. Their a three-piece, but you wouldn’t know it. With no pause between the opener and the title track, Sickoids pummel you with plenty of punk-fuelled hardcore. At times its angular and off-kilter but other times it’s brilliantly simplistic and raucous. One such example is Empty Death. The verses appear technical but the choruses are straightforward and have a strange horror-punk edge to them. You’ll never get bored of this.

 They definitely follow the 80s punk blueprint that seems prevalent of Grave Mistake. Their music is not influenced by overly polished modern bands or production techniques, instead opting for a live sound which shows of their vibrant and clever songwriting off well. Both Funeral and Delusion are fast as hell and don’t let up. They carry on the earlier momentum without allowing for any moments of artsy rubbish, that could have easily unsettled the flow of No Home.

 Ending with Pull The Plug, Sickoids stretch their furious punk out for over three-minutes, which is a long time in their world. The overarching element here is thrash, which shines through when Sickoids fully let rip. Plenty of killer drum fills and a screaming solo outline their penchant for infectious hardcore. As the feedback dies down you know you’ve just witnessed eleven and a half minutes of some of the best, truest punk you’ll here.

No Home is streaming on the Grave Mistake bandcamp page here:-

You can purchase both digital and LP copies from their page.

You can also buy the LP from the Sorry State Records store here -

Sickoids Facebook -
Grave Mistake Records Facebook -
Sorry State Records Bandcamp -

Slussenanalys - Livets Spindlar 7"

Noise rock can be many things. It can be artsy or it can just be plain noisy, as the name suggests! I've never really got own well with the term, yet many bands I listen to incorporate it into their music.  There are labels across the globe that specialise in releasing left field music and two such labels are Ektro Records and their sub-label Full Contact Records who work almost hand-in-hand to release some outstanding rock music from Scandinavia.

This brings me onto Slussenanalys. They describe themselves as "the best Swedish noise rock band in Finland".  I like their sense of humour here. I don't know too much about the band themselves, other than they're a five-piece and as well as this 7", they've released an album called 
Aquila Helvetos Asfaltos, which was also released by Ektro Records on CD and by Full Contact Records on vinyl and a self-titled cassette. Livets Spindlar is made up of two tracks.


1. Livets Spindlar

2. Knappt Fornimbar

Livets Spindlar begins with the title track. It’s definitely full of rock-n-roll swagger and the vocal display from Esko Lonnberg is bizarre. The lyrics are in Finnish, which add to the madness. The guitars are full of melody and the drums keep the pace lively. At risk of sounding like a complete heathen, the instrumentation reminds me a lot of The Hives. Anyway, this is great no matter what and you'll be humming that verse riff for days.

Knappt Fornimbar is slightly more-mid paced that the title track, but it has more of a classic rock feel to it. There’s classic punk attitude seeping through it and try as you might, you’ll be unable to keep still while this song is on. This is brilliant rock music with character and while Livets Spindlar only comprises of two songs, it’s bound to get loads of repeat spins thanks to it’s quality. 

You can listen to the title track via Ektro's SoundCloud page here - 

You can purchase the 7" from Ektro Records here -
Slussenanalys Facebook -

Ektro Records Facebook -

Friday 17 January 2014

Mutant Lion Massacre - Silver Lungs EP

Mutant Lion Massacre. Can you imagine an actual mutant lion massacre! It'd be like the video game/sci-fi horror movie ever. It would be the true meaning of the phrase "survival of the fittest". Sadly though, these mutant lions have massacred their last human. The band called it a day towards the end of last year. Still, it doesn't stop me writing about their last EP.

MLM started in 2010 in the South of England. They released two EP, one made up of a single track called Keep It In The Family in 2011, followed by Silver Lungs in early 2013. Also in 2013, they played alongside some of the UK's heavy hitters including Demoraliser and Brotherhood Of The Lake. They play death metal with plenty of slam and a nod to deathcore, but with a sense of humour.


1. Introduction
2. Dahmer
3. Jaw Breaker
4. Winter Is Coming
5. Misery (Interlude)
6. Mask of Sanity
7. The Aftermath

After the intro, MLM launch into Dahmer. It’s pretty apt that the opening song proper on Silver Lungs is about a cannibalistic serial killer. The song itself features down-tuned guitar, breakdowns and bid drumming. The vocals are less pig-squeal and more hardcore.  MLM don’t go all out in terms of speed, but do structure their songs well. There’s plenty of variety in terms of time-changes and instrumentation, which mainly comes from the guitars. Jaw Breaker’s verses are made of atonal riffs that sound like chainsaws, which pave the way for some great thrash later on. Of course, there is death metal too in the form of more squalid breakdowns and pinch harmonics.

Their thrash-laden, mid-paced take on death works well because they’re not just doing the whole one million beats per minute deathcore thing that was popular two years ago. Winter Is Coming takes their music and gives it a progressive shot in the arm thanks to dramatic percussion and a similarly dramatic lead guitar solo. Even at this point you can tell that they’re accomplished at their chosen genre. The haunting interlude of Misery breaks things up a little before the bludgeoning start of Mask Of Sanity. This is pure pit-fodder in the best possible way. Taking the groove and rhythm from beatdown-hardcore and splicing it together with low-growls and gang vocals, MLM create something that you can two-step and circle pit too, at the same time! Hey, I might have started a craze there.

Mask of Sanity flows straight into closing track The Aftermath with the help of another sample. This song is both their farewell tome and their rallying call. Nearly six minutes of progressive modern death core with plenty of hardcore swagger. It’s strangely orchestral and majestic, almost euphoric as it winds it’s way to a conclusion. For a band no longer with us, it’s still important that people hear their music. If you’re not familiar with them, listen to the EP, share the bandcamp link around and show them that there’s still a buzz.

Talking of band camp, here's the EP:-

Silver Lungs is available for free download from the bandcamp and they still have band t-shirts left too.

Mutant Lion Massacre -

Monday 13 January 2014

Tomhet - Nostalgia Blooming

A little while ago I reviewed the tape version of Caliginous and it blew me away.  I'm back now to review the second Tomhet tape release from Glorious North Productions, Nostalgia Blooming. Nostalgia Blooming is made up of one track, split into four movements - I: Nostalgia Blooming, II: Isolation, It Rains, III: Under A Fading Moon and IV: It Sounds Like Memories. The song was recorded between July and September 2012 but wasn't committed to tape until late 2013. The tape was limited to 66 copies.


1. Nostalgia Blooming - I: Nostalgia Blooming
                                        II: Isolation, It Rain
                                        III: Under A Fading Moon
                                        IV: It Sounds Like Memories

Nostalgia Blooming has a very different atmosphere to that of Caliginous. The first act starts with a prolonged passage of clean guitar with slowly building ambience in the background. This opening act remains instrumental and instead of their being an obvious transition between the different parts, they all flow into one another to create one continuous piece. Had it been split into parts, it wouldn’t have worked as well. Where Caliginous showed off Xaphan’s black metal side, Nostalgia Blooming airs more toward his ambient influences. There are hints of classical and even medieval music within it, especially in some of notation and phrasing. I like musicians and bands who can highlight the different facets of their song-writing without needing have two or three different projects. Tomhet gathers all of the elements associated with black metal and ambient music and creates varied and interesting releases. 

As Nostalgia Blooming draws to close, the final passage includes tin whistles that lead into some striking white noise, layered with brooding melody. It’s quite a polar opposite bearing in mind what came before it, but the crossover isn’t wholly unexpected either. It features the electronica-influence that made me love Caliginous so much. This tape shows that there is beauty hidden amongst the ice-cold facade of black metal and when you peel away the dissonance, you are left with some calming and uplifting music. Tomhet is both an outlet for dark, bleak expression as much as it is for wind-swept, cosmic soundscapes. Truly inspirational and affirming. 

Listen to Nostalgia Blooming here - 

You can buy Nostalgia Blooming digitally and on tape from the above page.

If you're in the UK or Europe, you can purchase the tape directly from Glorious North Productions here -

Tomhet Facebook -
Glorious North Productions Facebook -

Sunday 12 January 2014

Beatriz Carnicero - No Reces

I feel I've neglected Beatriz Carnicero as I've been aware of them for a while now, but haven't got around to writing about them, so I've decided to start from the beginning. Beatriz Carnicero are from Uruguay and form part of the booming South American fastcore/grind scene. No Reces (Don't Pay) was released in August 2012 and was the first full-length to come from the band. Since it's release, they've gone onto put out splits with fellow fast bands Avitacion101, Pudrete and more recently Chulo. A tape version of No Reces was released by Opaqus Records. That's really all I know about the band as I don't speak Spanish.


1. The Haroldos
2. De Palabra
3. Tia Mei
4. Sindrome De Lalas
5. Bodoque
6. Fractura Expuesta
7. Macetazo En El Parietal
8. Pensa, No Reces
9. Brennt Paris
10. Vendehumo
11. Dificil De Cara
12. Harpo
13. Balasstro
14. Abisal
15 AxSxS (Actitud Steven Seagal)

Straight from the off, this record hits right between the eyes. No song on No Reces lasts more than a minute with the longest song being just that. The drums are pretty prominent throughout, especially the cymbals. The guitars seem to buzz in the background and and the dual vocals are akin to Napalm Death in their delivery. The Opening three tracks The Haroldos, De Palabra and Tia Mei fly by in the blink of an eye. Sindrome De Lalas starts with a South American spoken word sample, before the band unleashes thirty seconds on mayhem. Their punk influences can be heard in the opening riffs of Bodoque and it adds a slightly melodic edge to their sound.

Their short bursts of power-violence are just what you need, especially if you’re struggling to function after a night out and the trio of Fractura Expuesta, Macetazo En El Parietel and Pensa, No Reces makes up just under a minute of fractious, intense grind. The production is raw and very much DIY, which gives No Reces and endearing quality. It’s vibrant and genuine. It comes across well during slightly lengthier songs like Brennt Paris and Vendehumo.

Now it’s time for BC’s long-player titled Dificil De Cara. I call it a long-player because it’s a minute long. After the obligatory sample it’s on to fifty seconds of filth. The off-kilter, stop-start textures on Harpo make it a hard song to listen to, but those textures work really well against the backdrop of crazed power-violence and rabid screams. Balasstro follows suit, but it’s more of an immediate kick to head thanks to it’s flailing nature.

Abisal features quite a technical song-structure underneath it’s noisy exterior. It demonstrates BC’s song-writing ability beyond just their ability to play fast and loud. Closer AxSxS (Actitud Steven Seagal) sees them add some sludge riffs into the fray before settling and ending with one final sample from the film Network. The one where you’re urged to get mad. Pretty apt really when you consider that content of No Reces total less that ten minutes in all. All in all, this is for power-violence lovers and people who like taking aural batterings. It’s damn good fun!

Get you lug-holes around No Reces here - 

You can buy tape copies from Opaques Records here -

Beatriz Carnicero Facebook -
Opaqus Records Facebook -

Thursday 9 January 2014

Raindance - New Blood

After a day tinged with frustration, I feel like something heavy. Sticking to my recent hardcore theme, I've decided to give Raindance's 2012 EP New Blood a spin. Okay,  so it's not a new record, but it's another one that I've overlooked. Raindance formed in early 2011 and have gone onto self-release a digital EP as well as release two previous 7", including one with Belgian hardcore band Allocation. New Blood was released on vinyl and digitally via Animal Style Records.


1. Bottle Throated Kings
2. Black Lungs
3. Dine With The Devil
4. To Hell With Them
5. Bloodlust
6. Heaven Knows No Hollow Road

The opening bars of Bottle Throated Kings brings to mind early Stretch Armstrong and strangely Deftones, in the clean singing anyway. It’s a slow burner with some dramatic clean leads but bursts into life half-way through. There’s tonnes of energy and negative sentiment that gives Raindance an edge. They flit between straight-up hardcore and off-kilter rhythms, while choosing to bridge the gaps between songs with electronic beats to keep the flow going. The coarsely screamed vocals herald in Black Lungs. It’s a mid-paced beast of a song, yet strangely it’s also accessible in a menacing kind of way. Raindance are one of a new breed of US hardcore bands that take the flair of rock n roll and splice it together with driving hardcore guitars and sludge-inspired drums. The fact that they do control their pace makes the music more crushing to the ear.

They do off-kilter experimentalism well too. Dine With The Devil features some skittish time-signatures in places. The lyrics are bilious and they are delivered with a clean sincerity. My favourite track for sheer catchiness is To Hell With Them. The riffs are class and the double bass nestled in the background keeps things on the right side of heavy.  Raindance seem to get more musical as the plough through New Blood, as Bloodlust demonstrates. They manage to incorporate twin guitar melodies and clean vocal harmonies into the song, alongside some atonal breakdown-style riff and some screams that are close to black metal. It gets seriously head-spinning in the middle before there’s a instrumental section that sounds all Korn. They’re certainly not afraid to let thing flow. It all ends in glorious fashion with Heaven Knows No Hollow Road, which seems to pull together everything that is good about Raindance and switches it up a gear or three. Goddamn, this stuff is really infectious!

If like me, you've missed out on Raindance up until now, you can listen to the whole of New Blood via Animal Style Records below:-

You can buy New Blood both digitally and on vinyl via the above Bandcamp page.

Alternatively, you can pick it up via No Sleep Records who run the Animal Style Records webstore here -

Raindance Facebook -
Animal Style Records Facebook -

Monday 6 January 2014

Chaos Order - Vultures 7"

Hardcore seems to be gaining huge pace in the US at the moment. Not that it ever slowed down though! It just seems like there are new bands cropping up all over the place. Chaos Order are a four-piece from Memphis, Tennessee and they've recently released their new seven-inch called Vulture, via Fly The Light Records, also from Memphis.


1. Only The Past Is Done
2. Inner Voices
3. Vultures
4. No Peace

Vultures starts with Only The Past Is Done. It sounds surprisingly punk orientated too. The guitar volume it up in the mix, which is good and the drums have a nice warm tone to them. The bass adds plenty of low end heft and really compliments the recording. The vocals are full of attitude and take some cues from youth crew. The intro of Inner Voices reminds a lot of The Offspring. It’s really good, there’s even clean vocals in the song. Chaos Order don’t believe in breakdowns either, which means they don’t give off that tough-guy image and sound as though they’re in it for the music and not the bludgeoning.

The title track to the record is their most hardcore song I think. It’s got an edge too it that’s similar to bands like Agnostic Front and Terror. Again the production does the band a lot of favours, with  a clean and clear sound that is mainstay throughout the whole record, but with enough vibrancy to get anyone head-banging. No Peace sees Chaos Order ending on a heavy, pogo-filled note. The bass-line at the start could have easily been on any early Epitaph record and the minimal song structure gives it more of an impact. Chaos Order are another band that I’ve missed out on up until now, but one that came to my attention at the right time. They play for themselves, don’t get bogged down with fashion and for that they should get more attention.

On Chaos Order's bandcamp page, you can here three of the four songs from Vultures (curiously not Inner Voices though). There are also some bonus songs streaming that were recorded at the same time as the seven-inch. I've embedded the title track below:-

You can buy the vinyl from Fly The Light Records here -

Chaos Order Facebook -
Fly The Light Records Facebook -

Saturday 4 January 2014

Never To Arise - Hacked To Perfection

I'm revisiting a death metal album here that came out back in 2012, but that may have passed some people by, which is strange because a death metal album with the title Hacked To Perfection should get people's attention!

Never To Arise are a duo from St Petersburg, Florida. This is their debut album, which was released by badGod Music (now Cimmerian Shade Recordings). They've been a little quiet since the released of Hacked To Perfection, but they are due to release a new album this year.


1. The Femicidal Impulse
2. Hyperbaric Torture Chamber
3. Sloppy Surgery
4. In Debasement
5. Mutilation Supreme
6. Bereft of Conscience
7. I Made Her Famous
8. Snuff Film Superstar
9. Devoured By Wolves
10. Misogynistic Acts of Barbaric Sadism

I like my death metal with shed-loads on musicality and not just pure brutal gargling and Never To Arise appeal to my sense right from the off, with a glorious solo at the start of The Femicidal Impulse. It’s a little strange having a drum machine in the mix, but it sounds really good here and matches the technicality of the guitar and bass. Never To Arise initially let their instruments do the talking, with not much in the way of vocals in this opening track. It reminds me a bit of UK death metal act Regurgitate Life.

After the initial blast of drum machine filled savagery, Hyperbaric Torture Chamber offers up some mayhemic blast beats and more screaming leads. The guttural growls are more prevalent in this song as well. When the band settles down to a groove, the music takes on a distinct thrash flavour, albeit briefly. The flatlining heart-rate monitor at the start of Sloppy Surgery nigh on deafens you before the guitars kick in. There are some nice guitar harmonies during the song though and some skill-full picking too. It seems that Never To Arise have got a good handle on mixing both new and old-school influences into their brand of death. There’s plenty of energy within the recording as well, even without the physical manifestation of a drummer. 

As with most brutal, gore infested death metal, Hacked To Perfection doesn’t let up in the pace department. Even during the mid-pace sections in songs like In Debasement, there’s still an undercurrent of speed. Sometimes it crosses into goregrind territory, which is no bad thing in my book. They do wheel out some progressive death with Mutilation Supreme. Okay, so it’s still a fast song but it’s over six-minutes in length, which on a death metal album like this is bloody progressive! Joking aside though, it’s actually a really good track as it seems more minimal that previous cuts and features more varied textures. They throw a bit of chug into the closing passage of the song and along with the clean solo, show off their musical prowess.

After that masterclass, they’re back to what they know best. Bereft of Conscience manages to take parts from Mutilation Supreme and Never To Arise mix those parts with more lightning-paced drumming. This is the kind of extreme metal that you could use in a speed-headbanging contest, if there was such a sport! Talking of speed, try and keep yourself still during I Made Her Famous. Perversely though, it’s the slower parts that will to make you move more, such is the heaviness that they throw out. It flows instantly into Snuff Film Superstar, which at times seems to an off-kilter jazz vibe to it, below the growls and programmed drums. It’s actually the fastest song on Hacked To Perfection. Devoured By Wolves follows in the same vein, but seems to end very abruptly.

Never To Arise reach into their progressive back pockets for one final time with the epic, eight-minute closer Misogynistic Acts of Barbaric Sadism. It’s a pretty grand way to finish the record too. The band seems to have settled into their technical stride and sound truly accomplished throughout. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this record, but finishing on a high like this has made it very worthwhile. The hints of old-school death and thrash that go hand in hand with modern touches make it a great album to listen to if you’re a death metal fan. 

Listen to Hacked To Perfection in full here:-

It's available as a pay-what-you-want download from the bandcamp link above, as well as on CD and as part of a CD/T-shirt package deal.

Never To Arise Facebook -
Cimmerian Shade Recordings -

Thursday 2 January 2014

Confine - Setting Fire To The Western Hemisphere

I feel like something fast tonight and you can't get faster than this eight tracker from UK grind nuts Confine. Carrying on the current wave of incredible new fast bands that have been springing up across the UK, Confine is made of members of several other like-minded bands. They've already done time in the likes of The Afternoon Gentlemen, Oblivionized, Human Cull, Corrupt Moral Altar and more. Setting Fire To The Western Hemisphere was released in July 2013 via Witch Hunter Records and has gone on to feature in a fair amount of end of year lists.


1. Identity
2. Memory
3. Perception
4. Legacy
5. Abstraction
6. A Sceptical Disposition
7. Reason And Science
8. Formation And Transformation

People who are used to quick-fire, blink and you’ll miss it grind will feel right at home here. Trying to review it while I listen to it is a tough task. Opening duo Identity and Memory flash past. The recording/production is pretty much as live as you could get and by that I mean, it sounds like it hasn’t been touched up too much. That’s fine with me though, as It’s how grind should sound.

Very few songs on here are over a minute, but there are times when Confine do find time to burst into the briefest of grooves, like during Perception. I’ve not heard drumming as fast at that at the start of Legacy for quite sometimes, yet after the initial battering the band breaks into an almost tech-metal groove, which sounds slightly off-kilter.

Abstraction begins very minimally, with just vox and drums before the guitar wades in and thickens things up good and proper. It’s got some subtly Slayer-isms hidden within it too. They get back to raging during A Sceptical Disposition. The snare and cymbals take an absolute battering throughout.

It’s pretty impossible to see where Confine get their energy from, but I guess having played in plenty of grind bands for years helps. Reason And Science is probably the fastest song on Setting Fire.. and as it flows headlong into closer Formation And Transformation, with it’s sludgy riffs fighting against a backdrop of utter chaos, it feels like the walls are closing in. There’s no point me being all arty-fatty about my evaluation of Setting Fire… other than it’s fast and loud!

Grind-on here:-

You can download it as a name-you-price download from Witch Hunter's bandcamp page above. There's also a link to the store, where you can pick a CD version, which you should do because the packaging and artwork are top notch.

Confine Facebook -
Witch Hunter Records Facebook -

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Tomhet - Caliginous

Isn't it amazing how quickly that festive feeling departs, sending us spiralling back into banality, longing for escapism. This is the point where we all clutch onto what we hold dear, in the hope that we might lose ourselves once again. Music is the most powerful tool when it comes to escapism and no sooner has the new year started, but I'm already slinging myself back into it's warm arms.

Canadian black metal entity Tomhet appeared on these pages back in 2012 with the Wanderland EP. Since then there has been two EP's and a full-length released. Caliginous is the band's fourth full-length and as originally released on LP in November 2012 by Prison Tatt Records. It was very limited then, so in July 2013 Glorious North Productions released a run of tape versions.


1. Contrachristian
2. Breathing Self Destruction
3. Whispering Leaves
4. Once Upon A Forest
5. ...Sounds Like Memories
6. Anchored

For those familiar with Tomhet’s musical output, you’ll know that it’s made up of swirling black metal with haunting ambience. The fact that on record at least, it’s a one-man project, further increases the anticipation when pressing play on Caliginous.

Opener Contrachristian is probably the strongest example of Tomhet’s sour, featuring ambient noise, loud guitar and really confrontational high-pitched squealing before being replaced by blackness. The vocals are in the middle of the mix and the song features symphonic instrumentation, which battles for prominence with the percussion. There’s no such prolonged noise intro on Breathing Self Destruction. It’s just straight up black metal, with affectionate melody that stays sensitive to the music. The chanting singing mixed with the volume present in the song, adds further textures, as does the sound of brass (although I’m not sure whether it is brass, it might just be the tone of the guitar!). Either way, it’s very listenable.

The use of electronics during Caliginous is cool as well. Often I find that electronics are used if the wrong way and they can get annoying, but more and more bands are using them to add to their music, instead of to overpower it. Tomhet uses these effects sparingly and sensitively during Whispering Leaves, which is an instrumental piece. Once Upon A Forest shows off Tomhet’s expansive writing skills further, with some brilliant musicianship. It’s suitably dramatic, especially the melodies played by the guitar. This is only the intro too, but it sucks you into the atmosphere and keeps you gripped as it gives way to raging instrumental black metal that ends with a melody played by what sounded like a whistle (again, I could be wrong).

The underlying noise on …Sounds Like Memories makes you think of old chamber music, prior the electronic beat kicking in. At risk of being shouted down, it reminds me of slowed-down techno or debased, especially with the music over the top. Caliginous ends in a more traditional way, with a grand hymn by the name of Anchored. The rasping screams in the song really bring home the variation that Xaphan has injected into the album. You wouldn’t usually expected to hear black metal alongside electronics akin to dubstep, but somehow it works really well. It’s one of the most original releases I’ve heard for quite some time and is well worth investing your time in. 

Listen to Caliginous here:-

You can purchase the album digitally, LP or tape directly from Tomhet's bandcamp page.

You can purchase the tape version directly from Glorious North Productions here -

You can also buy the LP version directly from Prison Tatt Records here -

Tomhet Facebook -
Glorious North Productions Facebook -
Prison Tatt Records Facebook -