Friday 28 February 2014

Laster - Wijsgeer & Narreman

What a week. I hate real life. It's time for some escapism in the form of Dutch black metal duo Laster.  The three track EP Wijsgeer & Narreman was initially released in April 2012 before making it onto tape in June of the same year, thanks to Dunkelheit Produktionen and on CD later that year in cooperation with Self Mutilation Services. Also, don't be frightened about the " Occult Dance Music" on their Facebook page, as they are most definitely a band with a black heart.


1. In Levenskolken, In Dadenstorm
2. Tot Eenheid Verweven
3. Wijsgeer Ende Narreman

Starting with the kind of feedback that sets your teeth on edge, Laster soon lurch into some hauntingly melodic guitar, which is interrupted by harsh screams and cymbal crashes. The guitar musicianship nestling in the recording is actually very subtle and clever, but you’ll have to listen with volume up to hear it.  It’s not fast either, more mid-paced, which provides the perfect backdrop for the vocals. The prolonged instrumental sections are very effective at generating a swirling atmosphere and the percussion even has time to groove towards the end, as opener In Levenskolten, In Dadenstorm heads to a conclusion.

Tot Eenheid Verweven has more of a necro feel too it, but it’s not totally lo-fi and still features the swirling dynamics of the opener. As with the opener, this song is almost six minutes in length and shows Laster’s fondness for longer, more expansive hymns. The vocals here range from low, rumble gargles to high-pitched screams. For a duo, they manage to make a sound more befitting of a band with larger ranks and that’s quite impressive. The production of the EP emphasises that as well.

Things end with title track Wijsgeer Ende Narreman. This is the most harrowing track on the EP in terms of it’s sheer majesty and the occasional symphonic flourishes the reveal themselves. The brass and strings that add textures to the mid-section of the song add to it’s intensity, while the undercurrent of feedback and dissonance hints more towards noise influences. The acoustic section after the five minute mark is a great touch. Musically it’s perfect and while brief, it shows the duo sensitive side. It isn’t long before their back in full battle mode though for the last raid on the senses. 

Laster paint a picture of futile existence and hopelessness with their black metal. It may not reinvent the blueprint of what black metal should be, but it’s still unique. I would like to hear further compositions from Laster and if you’re a black metal fan at all, you’d be wrong to miss them.

Wijsgeer & Narreman is available to stream and to download for free from Laster's bandcamp page below:-

To purchase the tape or CD version, head to Dunkelheit Produktionen here -

Laster Facebook -
Dunkelheit Produktionen Facebook -

Sunday 23 February 2014

Blowgoat - S/T EP

Sadly, Cardiff punks Blowgoat called it a day in November last year. Prior to that, they released a six-track self-titled EP in April 2012. They toured Europe last September/October with fellow UK punks Black Art and they also managed to garner really positive reviews from the likes of Big Cheese  Magazine and Metal Hammer. This is a posthumous review.


1. Slackhole
2. Fuck The Bronx
3. Yo Bitch...I'm Tom Waits
4. Rhino
5. The Purge
6. Misery Hammer

Blowgoat reminds me of everything that’s good about Gallows, Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die. They’re loud and they have plenty of swagger. Slackhole is the call to arms on their self-titled EP, as it instantly grabs you by the jugular and forces you to get down! The riffs are a mix of bluesy rock and British punk, while the drums flail behind them. The vocals are screamed out like they’re the last words the vocalist will ever speak. Fuck The Bronx hopefully wasn't Blowgoat calling out The Bronx, as that would've be bad considering both bands occupied the same corner within punk while Blowgoat existed. That said, it’s still a killer song. It’s the kind of punk you’d expect to be seeing in a small, sweaty pub gig and the energy is immense.

Yo Bitch…I’m Tom Waits is a surprise as it harnesses some awesome hardcore-punk riffs at the start, which sound almost blackened in delivery but Blowgoat soon burst back into life. Clean vocals make an appearance and the swagger that they’ve shown up to this point, overflows during the solo. Musically they’re top notch throughout the EP and the bluesy hardcore ending to Yo Bitch… takes things to another level. Punk's always been about fast tempos and heel stomping fun, which Blowgoat delivered in spades, but they could also dish out off-kilter progression, like the guitar work on Rhino. It shows another side to their songwriting.

The further you get into this EP and the more you listen to, the more textures and layers appear. Blowgoat were able to inject their music with plenty of variety and it shows during The Purge.  At times they take a leaf out Boysetsfire’s book, especially during the opening vocals passages of closing track Misery Hammer. I know I’ve dropped a few too many names in this review, but sometimes to good to have reference points and in this case it shows just how good Blowgoat were. They may have called it a day early on in their career, but this EP acts as one hell of a legacy to their music. 

You can't listen to this EP in full anywhere, but Slackhole and Yo Bitch...I'm Tom Waits can be streamed in full at Blowgoat's Bandcamp page, which is still live:-

Blowgoat Facebook -

Saturday 22 February 2014

OrckOut - (D)Generation

Brazilian Thrash, it has a real familiarity about it. I've grown up reading about and listening to Sepultura, Soulfly, Sarcofago and bands of that ilk but beyond them, I've been fairly clueless. OrckOut are a newer Brazilian thrash band, forming in 2004 before releasing an EP in 2006 and then (D)Generation in 2012. On this album the band were a four-piece, but they now seem to have grown to a five-piece and they are unsigned. Beyond, there isn't a lot of information around about this band apart from on various Brazilian blogs, but unfortunately I can't speak or translate Portuguese. They have thought supported the most recent incarnation of Sepultura.


1. Slavery Dance
2. The Bloodiest Day
3. Bluff
4. Voracity
5. Technotard
6. Miserable
7. Dissorder

After the creepy intro, OrckOut head straight for well-trodden territory, with some guitar-heavy thrash on opener Slavery Dance. The vocals are part-shouted and part-clean and the drums are powerful. This is definitely more accessible than a lot of earlier Brazilian Thrash and takes influence, unsurprisingly, from modern day Sepultura. It’s also pretty progressive. The recording is very organic here and it has a DIY live sound. There’s a subtle echo underneath the instruments, which can be heard during the intro to The Bloodiest Day. Their also more progressive in the song too, with some head-spinning time change going on straight from the off and throughout the intro section. There’s a huge US thrash influence and some of the harmonies recall Metallica, Exodus and even Machine Head, which isn’t a band thing at all. I certainly like this song more than the opener I think.

Bluff is really catchy and OrckOut manage to inject a lot of melody into the song, whilst still remaining close to the old-school thrash blueprint of the big-four. They get more dramatic as they go too, with the fade-in of Voracity being a really cool touch. By now, they’ve settled and sound more focused. Some people though, may feel that the vocals are slightly off-key at time and they are at times, but when the harmonies hit the spot, they sound great. Plus, who’s interested in a thrash record with perfect vocals. Not me!  The solo in the middle of Voracity isn’t off the scale, but it’s a perfect accompaniment for their sound and the introspective section featuring lightly plucked guitar and further lead section, recalls Nothing Else Matters era Metallica. Technotard has a really upbeat feel to it and it’s musical textures are layered really well. 

When OrckOut nail it, like on Miserable, they’re a great listen. It seems that on their more focused, shorter songs they’re more to the point and seem to find a knack when it comes to songwriting. This is another super catchy song. That solo is the best! It’s short and simple but damn it’s effective.(D)Generation ends on a high with Dissorder. It distills everything that is good about OrckOut into one song and ensures that your left with a lasting memory of this album. It may have taken a little bit of time for OrckOut to get going on this record, but once they did they didn’t look back. It proves that even though they’re at the more melodic end of the Brazilian thrash spectrum, OrckOut can still kill it. I really hope they come back with more music soon, as I really want to hear them progress further and become a force to be reckoned with, as I’m sure they will!

You can stream selected tracks from (D)Generation on Orckout's Myspace page -

They also have a website -

Friday 21 February 2014

Heksed/Deathseekers - Split 7"

2014 promises great things. This is one of them, the first Church of Fuck release of 2014. A split between Norway's favourite sons of Holy Terror, Heksed and their Belgian counterparts Deathseekers. This 7" is a collaborative release with Swarm of Nails and Sell Your Soul Records. The pressing consists 300 7"s on red and black vinyl/cover combinations, including 20 special band only copies that have red vinyl and black covers. The red copies have already sold out! Just looking at the cover art proves it's going to be a special release to start off the year.


1. Human Filler (Heksed)
2. Nine Year Collapse (Heksed)
3. Carnage (Deathseekers)
4. Final Judgement (Deathseekers)

Heksed seem to have gone all thrash! Okay so, the opening bars of Human Filler may have hints of thrash within them, but it’s not long before Heksed remind you why their metallic blackened hardcore rules. It’s a quick-fire shot in the arm to open this split with a squealing solo for good measure! The sound is more familiar on Nine Year Collapse , as Heksed take things down to a more menacing level in both atmospherics and tuning. The catchy riffs and the awesome rhythm section prove why these guys are a cut above and the introspective mid-section that wallows in feedback, provides a hellish backdrop that ends their side on damn good form.

Deathseekers inject their side with more death n grind. Carnage is just that, with rabid cymbals smashes and uber blastbeats. The black metal vocals and chunky riffs will keep you guessing as to their staple sound, but one things for sure, you’ll be head banging anyway. There’s no time to rest, as Final Judgement picks up the reigns almost instantly. Like Heksed’s Human Filler, it bookends this split and ends it in a chaotic flurry of treble, feedback and drum fills. This is a statement of intent from two bands that you’ll be seeing a lot more of this year.

As the physical vinyl isn't out yet (it's currently available for pre-order), you can stream the split over at here -

To make sure you get your copy, head to one of these links:-

Church of Fuck -
Swarm of Nails -
Sell Your Soul -

Heksed Facebook -
Deathseekers Facebook -
Church of Fuck Facebook -
Swarm of Nails Facebook -
Sell Your Soul Facebook -

Saturday 15 February 2014

Noyo Mathis - Ages EP

I've always stated here that music is the only thing that holds my attention, my only outlet. I've been blogging for over three years now and still it captivates me. It's the joy of being able to scratch the surface of what most people would consider as new bands or shining lights, only to find layer upon layer of outstanding music underneath. I'm sorry to say that some people don't have that imagination.

Anyway, once again the musical call has brought me back to my laptop and back to here. I've got Animal Defence records to thank for this post. Last year, the label got in contact to tell me about some of their most recent releases. As is my random approach to reviewing, I'm only just getting around to reviewing this four-track EP by Noyo Mathis now.

For those who don't know, Noyo Mathis are another top addition to the South Coast's music scene and play music that is unclassifiable. It's got elements of noise, math-rock, indie and good old punk in it. Heck, they've even supported Minus The Bear during their time as a band, so it's a safe bet that you'll like em!


1. Heisenberg
2. Kato
3. Double Smoke
4. Ages

I’m a major sucker for bands with slick indie/screamo guitar licks and Noyo Mathis hit the spot straight away, with the initial bars of Heisenberg. The production of this EP the other things that strikes out at me as I listen, it’s clean but also manages to keep a live edge, especially in the echo in the vocals. 

It’s danceable as well, just listen to the drums, bass and guitar playing in unison at the start of Kato. Their math-rock influences are more obvious here, thanks to the rhythms and time signatures. It’s toe tappable but also cleverer than all the turgid mainstream music that’s classed as groundbreaking these days. Noyo Mathis really should be more well-known that they are. It’s really quite criminal!

The math sensibilities really set Noyo Mathis apart on Ages. Such a slick three-piece is hard to come by, but Double Smoke proves that they do exist. It’s catchy as hell and you keep getting drawn to the sheer pristine melody and volume in the vocals. The production and mastering on this EP is spot on in my opinion.

They conclude Ages with the title track. It comes across as slightly more experimental than the previous songs, as Noyo Mathis are slightly more restrained in the opening bars. The drums are more prominent and sound clear and bright, with the sole rumble of the bass only heard over the top during the verses. The melodic guitar adds volume when the vocals rise. Four songs really isn’t enough here, so you’ll be glad to know that there are two more releases to get your teeth into at Animal Defence Records. 

Noyo Mathis are definitely a jewel in the South Coast’s crown and should be huge. Ages proves what talent we’ve got on our shores and the warming melodies of Noyo Mathis will always be faithful. Perfect!

Listen to Ages via Animal Defence Records here:-

It's available as a name-your-price download or you can get it as a card-sleeve CD here -

Noyo Mathis Facebook -
Animal Defence Records Facebook -

Friday 14 February 2014

Bölzer - Aura 12" MLP

Iron Bonehead Productions have a serious knack of unearthing some of underground extreme metal's best kept secrets. Look what they've done with ZOM for christsake! Today it's the turn of Swiss black/death duo Bölzer. As a band, they've been around since 2008, although they only released their first material in 2012 in the form of their first demo Roman Acupuncture. Initially pressed in limited numbers on both CD and Tape, it was later re-released by Iron Bonehead on on tape in April 2013. Later that year, Aura was released on both vinyl and tape via Iron Bonehead and has had numerous pressing since, with a CD version being handled by Necroshrine Records.


1. C.M.E
2. Entranced By The Wolfshook
3. The Great Unifier

While most black/death bands go hell for leather right from the start, Bölzer start off with more of an atmospheric approach on opener C.M.E. The low deathly growls are interspersed with spoken-work screams and the riffs in the background provide menacing melody. The drums are ever-present as well, thanks to the ringing cymbals. This approach to the more brooding, lumbering type of black/death gives Bölzer an edge and one that makes them insatiably infectious.

The ringing feedback at the start of Entranced By The Wolfshook points at something all the more sinister, but that orchestral sound that the guitars create remain the staple of Bölzer ’s sound. I still can’t believe this is just a two-piece! The song is mainly instrumental, with the odd vocal blast and tortured scream for good measure. Entranced…. also let’s  Bölzer ’s more progressive song-writing come to fore, with changing time-signatures and repeated riffs towards the end that will definitely put you in at  trance!

The Great Unifier in Bölzer at their most expansive. It draws heavily on their mid-paced death drawl and their black metal influences, with the German accented vocals adding more individuality to their sound. Again there are time-changes, but the transitions are so slick between them that you’d never know. At times it’s intense and maddening but other times it’s blissful, in a strange kind of way. Aura may only feature three tracks, but those these three tracks are a tremendous insight into the band for anyone who hasn’t come across them before.

You can purchase Aura as a digital download from the Iron Bonehead bandcamp page. Likewise, there's also a link to purchase the MLP version, which you should definitely do!

Bölzer Facebook -ÖLZER
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -

Sunday 9 February 2014

Infera Bruo - Infera Bruo

I'm diving into my digital review pile again to write about a couple of releases that have intrigued me as I've listened to them more over the last few months. The first of which is the self-titled album from Boston (Massachusetts) black metallers Infera Bruo. This four-track album was first released digitally in mid 2011 before getting a CD release in January 2012. Infera Bruo have remained unsigned since their inception in 2009 ad have self-released this and their more recent album Desolate Unknown.

Infera Bruo's members have been and are in many US extreme metal bands, most notably Trap Them and previous Unique Leader Records signees Pillory. They are big supporters of their local scene and the extreme bands within in. Needless to say with their integrity and work-ethic, a label should really take note and work with them to get their music out to wider audiences.


1. The Devil's Eyes
2. Upon Stone
3. A Code Of Will
4. A Path Unwritten

Infera Bruo’s black metal is frosty and hellish, the metallic sound provided by the guitars and the cymbals adds to the icy atmosphere that the vocals create on opener The Devil’s Eyes. There are sections of melodic guitar and clean singing that show off Infera Bruo’s progressive side. These clean elements to their sound come as a real surprise when you first list to the band, but on subsequent listens they gets more and more warming. The production also allows the progressive moments to stand out amongst the blackened blasts, giving listener’s opposing textures that are moulded perfectly together.  Upon Stone continues proceedings with more urgency, more blastbeats and some nice technical guitar work. The low-pitched spoken word heralds images of occult rituals and then out of nowhere, a simple punk-like rhythm from the drums’ provides an upbeat moment which takes you by surprise again. Infera Bruo’s music twists and turns, keeping you guessing but also hooked onto it’s every bar and note.

Infera Bruo makes use of synths within their black metal and they give it an occasional symphonic edge; however, they’re used sympathetically and don’t overpower the music. A Code of Will is the second on three songs on the album that pass the nine-minute mark and shows that Infera Bruo has propensity to write clever, intelligent songs that air more toward fans of forward-thinking and diverse metal, instead of to those looking for a quick-fix. This attitude reaps dividends, thanks to the quality of the song-writing and structures. If they’d just stuck to playing fast black metal, things may have become staid and dry, but with the changing time-signatures, the singing and the progressive talents of the band, they keep each song fresh and keep that momentum up throughout. The guitar work during A Code of Will illustrates that point, by being creative and yet still maintaining an element of menace. 

Infera Bruo feels like a band that could explode in any direction with their music and A Path Unwritten highlights that fact. On the face of it, it makes use of their raging black metal dynamics and artistry to create something dark and downbeat, before the melodic side of the band enters the fray and opens up a pocket of light which was present in their previous songs. It brings solace and comfort to the ears, even though you know it will soon disappear again behind the extremity. The guitar during the clean sections, creates some really intricate bluesy textures that belay that extremity. The more you listen to album, the more that reveals itself and that’s a sign of how good this record is. You pick up something new each time you press play. 

There’s not really much more that needs to be said about this self-titled debut, other than it’s the perfect place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the band. It’s accessible but extreme at the same time. it will appeal to a broad range of metal fans and thanks to it’s quality, it puts Infera Bruo up their with their more established peers. Somebody snap these dudes up for a release, or I will!

Listen to Infera Bruo here:-

You can purchase Infera Bruo digitally from the band's bandcamp page above.

Infera Bruo Facebook -

Thursday 6 February 2014

Black Tusk/Dead Yet? - Split 7"

I'm stepping back in time with this one, back to late 2012/early 2013. Two bands from Savannah (Georgia) appeared on a split seven inch together. Both Black Tusk and Dead Yet? were on the Hyperrealist Records roster at the time (home of Kylesa, Baroness, Skeletonwitch and Circle Takes The Square at the time). Black Tusk had already released a couple of albums via Relapse Records by the time this came out, to accompany the tour that both bands were heading out on. It was later released in bigger number in early 2013. Dead Yet?'s hardcore punk was the perfect bedfellow for Black Tusk's sludge and so as well as one original song, both bands covered a song by the other.

1. Black Tusk - Iron Giants
2. Black Tusk - Fearing Your Mind (Dead Yet? Cover)
3. Dead Yet? - Blood & Oil
4. Dead Yet? - Facedriver (Black Tusk Cover)

Black Tusk get their side underway with the unmistakable sound of Georgian sludge. It’s groovy, bluesy and in the case of Iron Giants surprisingly fast. The guitars do most of the work, which drum fills a plenty and sparsely used vocals. It sounds like a darker, less melodic Torche at times and has a big rock n roll edge. They then cover Fearing Your Mind by Dead Yet? and try their hand at a bit of hardcore punk. Fearing Your Mind originally appeared on Dead Yet?’s first album Dissent The End in 2010. It actually fits their sound really well, the murky guitar and bass drives the song forward, the lead features uber flange and the vocal delivery makes it the kind of song that you would move to no matter how serious you were.

Dead Yet are a more melodic proposition in the instrumental department, they eschew sludge for a caustic punk-edged hardcore attack on Blood & Oil, that’s pretty furious. There are hints of the Ramones in there and early hardcore bands like Black Flag. It’s raucous but it still has a hint of Georgian sludge hidden in the tuning. Now it’s Dead Yet’s turn to have a go a covering a Black Tusk song, in the form of Facedriver. Facedriver originally appeared on Black Tusk’s 2007 demo The Fallen Kingdom, but Dead Yet? have chosen to speed it up a little. It’s as in your face as Blood & Oil was and it retains their melodic guitar. It’s over before it’s started but not before you’ve had chance to really lose it.

This split acted as a tour special and it’s a great way for you to check out both bands in one place. The limitations of the 7” format do become apparent in the fact that it’s short in playing time, but it makes up for it in groove and musical skill. It’s well worth tracking down if you can.

The only working stream I've been able to find of this split is over at Invisible Oranges .

In terms of the physical 7", Hyperrealist doesn't seem to active as a record label anymore and their site says that you can buy their records over at Robotic Empire, though they seem to have sold out.
Your best bet is to search distros or even Discogs.

Black Tusk Facebook -
Dead Yet? Facebook -
Hyperrealist Facebook -

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Windhand - Soma

In the dark, dank gloom of the British winter, it's only right that we gravitate to music that paints the same atmosphere. That music is doom and Windhand are tonight's purveyors. Hailing from Richmond (Virginia), Windhand have been playing together since 2010, when they self-released rehearsal space demo. Their first full-length was released in 2012 via the awesome Forcefield Records (Bastard Sapling, Cough, Inter Arma), which set the ball rolling...slowly! A split with label mates Cough followed shortly after via Relapse Records. Soma is their second full-length and due to it's release towards the end of last year, the band made it onto several end-of-year lists. It features six songs and contains over and hour and a quarter of oppressive doom.


1. Orchard
2. Woodbine
3. Feral Bones
4. Evergreen
5. Cassock
6. Boleskine

There are some bands that you never forget about hearing for the first time, Electric Wizard are one and you can add Windhand to that list. The heavy bass that heralds in opener Orchard is very similar to the Wizard’s approach. Dorthia’s sung clean vocals are a surprise at first but become soothing amongst the heavy instrumentation underneath. The fact that they also sit deeper in the mix, also helps build their atmosphere. It’s not all fear inducing lows though, with a drawn-out guitar solo at the mid-point that breaks up the song. Orchard is the kind of opener that draws you and prepares your for the journey to come.

Windhand’s groove becomes more apparent during Woodbine. There’s more melody in the vocals and the hypnotic riffs in the background are mesmeric. There’s more lengthy lead work in here as well, it sounds semi-improvised and fits in really well with the rest of the song. The latter part of Woodbine is utterly huge, with the some of the heaviest bass-ridden riffs I’ve heard in a while.  From there the sound gets heavier and thicker. Feral Bones is just that, feral! If it wasn’t for those vocals, you’d be slowly slipping into madness. It’s hauntingly beautiful at times but at others, suitably bleak. You can certainly hear why Relapse wanted to work with them, in all their downed glory. 

Operating in a sub-genre which has seen heavy growth over the last few years, it can be difficult to mark yourselves out as something different and worthy of peoples ears, but I think Windhand have achieved a lot with Soma. They’ve brought forth a mature and endearing sound that will appeal to more that just ardent doom fans, which isn’t an easy task when dealing with a blueprint so inherently misunderstood amongst non-doom fans. The haunting cavernous music, while creeping into the music of bands from other strains of metal, it can scare people away. No so the acoustic beauty of Evergreen though.  Evergreen brings a much needed ray of light to Soma and reminds you of folk music and even Fleetwood Mac’s slower moments. The swirling vocal melodies sound glorious, especially double-tracked. This is where Windhand come into their own and display an enigmatic ability to weave a song that strays from the doom comfort-zone of Soma and into more folk/country avenues, without losing any momentum. 

The peacefulness that surrounded you during Evergreen is abruptly banished by Cassock. This and the album’s closer Boleskine reach almost forty-five minutes in length, which is about the same as the previous four numbers on Soma. Cassock features swirling textures and even obvious tempo changes.Don’t worry though, the tempo does’t reach warp-speed nor does it even reach a mid-pace, but it is noticeable at times amongst the off-kilter rhythms that rumble through the song. It gets heavier and heavier around the ten-minute mark with swathes of bass and feedback flooding the ending and shaking everything around it. 

All that pales in comparison to mammoth closer Boleskine. It starts with the biting wind blowing through the speakers and the light acoustic guitar that graced Evergreen. When the riffs kick in you can’t help but pay attention, because their volume compared to slow-burn of the intro is impossible to ignore. The lead guitar is back with a really dark melody. The pace of this song seems to get slower and slower throughout it’s thirty minute playing time. The vocals add colour but the oppressiveness of the instrumentation keeps it all in check and ensures that it remains hellishly thick. In the early days of doom and psych, bands used to take substances to help the produce music like this and maybe I’m being naive, but it doesn’t strike me that Windhand did. I think they’re just writing and playing from the heart, letting the music walk it’s own course. That foresight and patience are the skills needed to write a truly spectacular album, one which sounds free from outside influence. 

You can lose yourself in Soma here:-

Soma is available to purchase digitally from Windhand's band camp page; however, there is also a link to the Relapse webstore, where you can buy the stunning purple/white double LP version (which is definitely should!).

Windhand Facebook -
Relapse Records Facebook -

Sunday 2 February 2014

Arrows/Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) - Split 7"

Now on to something more sedate. I've not written about any emo/indie type stuff for a while and I had a hankering for some, so here we are. This split between Arrows and Empire! Empire! is quite old now, having been released in 2012, but it's worth looking back at. It was released by Count Your Lucky Stars Records.

For those who are unfamiliar with either band, Arrows are from Brisbane (Aus) and Empire! Empire! are a male/female two-piece from Michigan (USA). Empire! Empire! are due to tour Europe in April, including a date in Leeds. Arrow played alongside This Will Destroy You last year on their Brisbane date.


1. All Passwords are Brisbane - Arrows
2. Turbo Stasis - Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
3. We Did Not Need To Open It To Know It Was There - Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)

Beginning with Arrows, this 7” immediately reminds you of summer nights. I don’t know what it is about emo/indie songs. All Passwords Are Brisbane tells a story, the music is mid-paced with plenty of jangly guitar. It’s calming and tugs at your heart-strings. Empire! Empire! follow Arrows with two similarly laid-out songs. Turbo Stasis has a Brand New feel to it (please don’t shoot me down for that comparison). It plays at one pace throughout, with gently plucked guitar. We Did Not Need To Open It To Know It Was There is slightly more immediate. The percussion has more impact, the guitar is layered well. It’s also more introspective at times, with moments where the vocals rest and the instruments are left to play out the rest of the song. 

As with all 7”s, this is short but t does allow both bands to show-off their music. Both compliment each other well and the sincerity of the music is palpable. I really like both bands here and will definitely be tracking down more of their music. Make sure you go and and see Empire! Empire! when they play in the UK in April.

Listen to the split here:-

You can buy a digital copy from CYLS's bandcamp page for a mere $1.50.

You can copies of the second pressing of the 7" here

Arrows Facebook -
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) Facebook -
Count Your Lucky Stars Records Facebook -

Suffering Mind/Water Torture - Split Flexi 7"

Suffering Mind's quest to release music on every conceivable vinyl format/size just keeps on going. In the middle of last year, they released a 7" flexi with US PV band Water Torture, via Mannequin Rein Recordings. The split itself was pressed on both black and white flex discs and contains a mere two songs, one from each band obviously. You know what you're getting if you're familiar with either band. Fast, blink-and-you'll-miss-it grind with killer riffs.

The need for both bands to keep things DIY is obvious too, electing to remain in charge of their own destiny instead of becoming major label commodities in recent months. With each new morsel of destructive grind, their music gets better and their reputations spread. This is the perfect Euro and US collaboration.


1. Przerwany Kregoslup (Suffering Mind)
2. Dead Fields (Water Torture)

Suffering Mind open up this flexi with a one-and-a-half-minute blast called Przerwany Kregoslup. The feedback that rings at start is deafening, but it’s nothing compared to the raging grind that follows. It’s stop/start at times and the slower, sludge inspired riffs are thick and engaging towards the end. It all ends suddenly, but this short song has plenty of impact.

Water Torture’s half is equally as squalid and heavy, though they begin with sloth-like riffs that put forward a claustrophobic atmosphere. Dead Fields of the slowest pieces i’ve heard from the band and airs more towards sludge-filled hardcore that it does power-violence. It’s a very welcome opposite to Suffering Mind’s contribution and compliments it well. 

Despite it’s short length, this flexi demonstrates two bands occupying the same sub-genre, but who aren’t afraid to be different. The two styles at play here are infectious and this flexi carries on the buzz around SM and WT. More please!

After a bit of searching, I managed to find the Mannequin Rein bandcamp page with a stream of the flexi on it. Check it out here:-

It's available as a name-your-price download from the above bandcamp page.

You can the physical split from Mannequin Rein Recordings here

Suffering Mind Facebook -
Water Torture Facebook -
Mannequin Rein Recordings Facebook -

Saturday 1 February 2014

Amber - Lovesaken LP

My day begins with some post-hardcore from Germany, in the form of Amber.  Amber formed in November 2011 and since then, they've released a self-titled EP on tape, CD and more recently on vinyl and also released Lovesaken on limited CD and on vinyl through Halo of Flies, which was released in April 2013 and has since sold out. The LP version was a collaborative release with European label Narshardaa and fellow US label Protagonist Music. In the wake of Lovesaken's release, they went on tour with UK post-hardcore band Acres in their native Germany and also shared the stage with Napalm Death and Integrity amongst others, at New Noise Festival 8 that took place in Karlshruhe in August of last year.

Amber themselves made it onto a few end of year lists, including being featured as best full-length on  the list from Mark of Gogmagogical Records, which appeared on the Summoning Spirits blog. They're releasing a split 7" soon with Locktender too. which again will be released via Halo of Flies and a few other European friends.


1. Kings Like Us
2. Lost
3. Silent Lies
4. Fading Away
5. Lovesaken

It all begins with disorientating feedback that usher in the opening riffs of Kings Like Us. The guitars seem to have a slight screamo slant to them, in terms of the treble they employ and Amber like to inject off-kilter moments into the song. Anna’s vocals are full of energy and emotion and the music is full of atmosphere and Amber choose to make it expansive, with no song falling under six minutes. The musicality and song-structure at play on Lovesaken really make the hairs on the back of you neck stand up. Take the opening minutes of Lost, with its simple yet mesmerising guitar work, which bursts into dissonance at the drop of the hat during the screamed sections. Now, I’m not the most gifted person when it comes to actual musical terms, as i’m sure you’ve noticed, so you’ll have to bare with me. 

Having fallen in love with fellow Halo of Flies bands like Light Bearer, Northless and Protestant in recent years, it’s no surprise that they the label released Lovesaken. I’m just annoyed with myself for not catching on sooner. There’s just something about the music as Silent Lies begins. There’s a colour too it, Amber don’t just go all-out aggressive, they control their performance and thanks to the stellar production of the LP, it sounds warm and inviting. All post-hardcore should sound as good as this. Considering that Lovesaken has only got five songs, it feels more like a full length thanks to the variation, song ideas and their lengths. When the vocals settle down to reveal the instrumental sections, it’s so enthralling to listen to and then when the vocals reappear, there’s a cathartic energy that courses through the music. Fading Away has this in abundance, with it’s quiet/loud dynamics. 

Amber leave their title-track until the end of the LP. This song seems to gather up everything that is so good about the record and shoehorn it into ten-minutes of pure epic-ness. There are moments of complete serenity filled with just one sole guitar, then there’s the earth-shattering noise parts. It’s nice noise though, with Amber’s signature musicality layered to make something euphoric. It gives you chills, it calms you and it rouses you in equal measure. If you just sit back and listen to it, with no outside interruptions or thoughts in your head, you’ll be transported to a place where all you have is your inner calm. That’s the effect Amber and Lovesaken has on you. It’s incredible and considering it was only the bands second release, it’s all the more special in my eyes!

Make sure you listen to this breathtaking record here:-

As I mentioned, Lovesaken is now sold out from Halo of Flies, but you can still pick it up in various forms from other places:-

Firstly,  it's available as a name-you-price download and a limited CD from Amber themselves here -

Secondly, the LP can be purchased from Narshardaa Records here if you're in Europe and also from Protagonist music here if you're from the US/Canada etc.

Amber Facebook
Halo of Flies Facebook -
Narshardaa Records Facebook -
Protagonist Music Facebook -