Saturday 31 May 2014

Tombs - Savage Gold

If you're not already sick of me today, then you won't mind one more review to round out the day. Just like the Powerxchuck 7" I reviewed earlier, this album from Brooklyn, NY's Tombs isn't out yet. Savage Gold is the band's third full-length. Tombs were recently over in the UK playing at Temples Festival in Bristol, in which they played some of the songs from their new album. They also due to hit the road in the US with Pelican in support of Savage Gold, which you'll be able to get on download, CD and glorious double gold vinyl from Relapse Records in June.


1. Thanatos
2. Portraits
3. Seance
4. Echoes
5. Deathtripper
6. Edge of Darkness
7. Ashes
8. Legacy
9. Severed Lies
10. Spiral

Tombs have been on the edge of my radar for a while and even though I like to listen to a lot of bands, I’ve always missed out on them. I’m a fool for doing so, as with many Relapse bands, they are right up my street. They sound really evil on album opener Thanatos. They wedge black metal next to groove-laden death and post-metal, in an amalgamation that defies categorisation. Double bass and crashing cymbals fight with chunky riffs and raspy growls. Their black metal influence is further expanded with the intro to Portraits. Clean guitar is used in between the verses to weave some really nice melodies, which break up the blastbeats and add an extra dimension to their sound. 

The soundscapes that Tombs create in the song help to make the various parts into a cohesive whole, which a lot of bands struggle to achieve when they strive for progression. There’s a lot of subtlety hidden within the depths of Savage Gold. The reverb and dissonance nestling underneath the riffs of Seance are a prime example. The production manages to bring out a more encompassing sound, that seems to circle you from the speakers. Mike Hill’s vocals are super intense, but refrain from being inaudible, which is a skill in itself. Echoes takes the atmosphere in a different direction, with the vocals turning from blackened rasps, to part spoken-word/whisper, with droning guitar during the opening verse. As a result, the song takes on a more occult feel.

Tombs explore the sense of occult further with Deathtripper, which is the standout track on Savage Gold in my opinion. That riff that sits high up in the mix really caught my attention, straight from the off. Overall it’s a pretty menacing song with spoken-word, chant-like vox and an undercurrent of noise, bristling through it. Tombs do ratchet up the brutality as it gets toward the end though. Things keep getting better too, with the awesome lead work during Edge of Darkness. Just kicking back and listening to it opens up all manner of metallic wonder. That statement sounds a bit weird, but who cares! It strikes me that the second part of Savage Gold seems so much more varied than the first half. It’s almost as if Tombs have settled down and loosened up, as Ashes sounds huge and more urgent.

Talking of urgency, Legacy is fast by Tombs standards, with plenty of blasting and some great dual guitar. Severed Lies hammers home just how good the production on Savage Gold is. The swirling melody created by the guitar sounds majestic and it compliments the doom-edged feel of the song.  It all ends on a high with Spiral, which is utterly mad. The rhythms and drum fills are constant and attack you straight from the first second. The guitars and vocals take you back to the blackened beginnings of the album, like it was meant to be. 

Tombs have managed to craft an album which will appeal to people across the whole metal spectrum, without it sounding unfocused and messy, which is to be expected when you consider their previous bands and the experience they’ve got. It’s riffy, it’s loud and it’s epic. 2014 just keeps getting better. Awesome!

You can listen to Deathtripper, Edge Of Darkness and Spiral via the Relapse bandcamp page here:-

You can pre-order the digital download from the same page or you can order Savage Gold on CD and double vinyl from the Relapse Store here -

Tombs Facebook -
Relapse Records Facebook -

Powerxchuck - S/T 7"

This Australian powerviolence band was a tip from Jan of Constant Vulse. Their self-titled 7" is due out shortly via Psychocontrol Records but they've posted the tracks online, so it would be rude of me not to check them out. They've been getting around a bit in the media, with a track featuring on a recent Terrorizer Mag CD. They've been damn busy since they formed at the end of 2013. They already released a demo, they've got this 7" due out soon as well as a split with Cancer Patient due in July! This is two tracks that barely last a minute.


1. Reef Rash
2. Balls Deep Creek

Yeah, Australians and powerviolence. It more than makes up for the terrible Foster’s adverts that we get in the UK. Powerxchuck are more like Victoria Bitter. Refined and full-bodied. Their self-titled 7” made of Reef Rash and the amusingly named Balls Deep Creek, last just sixty-eight seconds but damn they’re good.

The production here is great and their sound is really tight for such a new band. I know PV is meant to be sloppy and DIY, but Powerxchuck sound really well rehearsed. I also know that name dropping doesn’t mean much nowadays, but I’d put them up alongside Water Torture and the UK’s own Famine, due to the quality of these two tracks. Really good fast stuff!

You can stream the songs here, as well as the demo and two tracks from the upcoming Cancer Patient split here:-

The 7" will be available through Psychocontrol Records here -

Powerxchuck Facebook -
Psychocontrol Records Facebook -

Voe - Rust Tape

Scotland and doom seem to go together pretty well. Edinburgh has it's share of dark and gloomy bands, while Glasgow is getting in on the act too. Manchester's slowest label (in terms of music anyway), Dry Cough Records caught on and released the bands first tape, Rust earlier this year. Voe started kicking out slow jams in 2013 and have made a bit of a name for themselves around their hometown, getting onto all manner of bills including supporting Loma Prieta, Downfall of Gaia and recently The Body and A Storm of Light. They've also recently been featured on the latest digital sampler from Church of Fuck.


1. Dead Air Pt One
2. Last Days of Burden
3. Beyond The Sea
4. Dead Air Pt Two
5. Rust

This is my first introduction to Voe, but I know that Sir Dry Cough has a good ear for these things, so I’m excited. That excitement is justified as opener Dead Air Pt One begins with some brilliant atmospheric guitar. There’s feedback and noise building in the background and simple drumming keeping it together. It’s solely an instrumental track, with more of a post-metal feel. That atmosphere is dragged down thanks to Last Days of Burden. It’s slower, lower and features dual, distant screams. There are still elements of the ambient guitar from the opening song and the minimalistic song structure makes it all sound a lot heavier.

In spite of Voe’s leanings toward doom and post-metal, their songs don’t drag and are instead long enough to allow you to take them in, while being short enough to make them stick in you head. Beyond The Sea rounds out side A of the tape with a winding, sprawling piece of delicate music, featuring the atmospheric guitar that first punctuated the airwaves during Dead Air Pt One. The vocals and the dissonance don’t come in until midway through the song, but when they do, they wake you up and make you pay attention. 

Side B consists of Dead Air Pt Two and the title track. Dead Air Pt Two starts with a brooding spoken word sample and more building noise. At time Voe are mournful and slow, but at times like this, they seem to hold a beauty that is not only unexpected but also euphoric. They end with the harrowing yet hauntingly good title track, which seems to take their sound to a more cavernous level. From the light-filled intro section to the heavier, rage fuelled verse, Voe open themselves up and channel pain and misfortune through their instruments. 

Rust is stunning from start to finish and Voe have created one of the best tape releases of the year so far, in my humble opinion. Nice one to Andrew for releasing it. Don’t sleep, pick a copy up before they’re all gone!

You can stream Rust as well as pick up the tape (coupled with a download) from Dry Cough's bandcamp page below:-

Voe Facebook -
Dry Cough Records Facebook -

Teef - Demo

Here's a release from the turn of the year. Teef are from Brighton and play fast punk, share members with sludge band War Wolf (as well as Ed Wood) and released their demo via Headless Guru Records. Talk about keeping it in the family! As is customary with tapes from HGR, the demo came in a card sleeve with the band's log on the front, running order on the back and the tape itself is gold. OG Punks!

Unsurprisingly, the demo tape sold out via HGR and has since been pressed on CD by When Planets Collide. They played their first show in March with Eisberg, have played with The Body and will be on the Full Of Hell/Disciples Of Christ bill in Portsmouth in July. It's in a 100 cap venue so should be insane!


1. Intro/Hell
2. Pale
3. Acid Spit
4. Regret
5. Quiet Life
6. Anxiety
7. Violent War
8. Soul Sucker

Intro/Hell is a building wall of noise that sets the tone for the demo. Teef’s sound is instantly snotty and full of attitude. There’s plenty of 80s punk influence and they would sit pretty comfortably on the hallowed pages of Maximum Rock n Roll. There’s no time to ponder anything while the demo’s running, because as soon as Pale finishes, it’s straight into the sub 30-second Acid Spit, which speeds past in a flash. 

Following those quick bursts, Regret and Quiet Life last a bit longer and are peppered with fast, grinding drumming. Its a slight departure from their more urgent, intense songs, but they are no less heavy and provide the band with an opportunity to flex their sludgier, groovier muscles slightly. 
Anxiety is more thrash-orientated and shows more variation from Teef. 

They still break out the 80s punk with Violent War and Soul Sucker, but the demo as a whole shows that they won’t have themselves shoehorned into one sub-genre. It over quickly, but Teef inject it with plenty of musicality, which means that you’ll be spinning the tape all the time. UK punk needs bands like this, especially as the scene gets crushed under the ever growing weight of modern metal and hardcore. Great stuff!

You can stream Teef's demo and pick it up as a name-your-price download via their bandcamp page:-

You can also pick up the CD version from the bandcamp page, or directly from When Planets Collide here -

Teef Facebook -
Headless Guru Records Facebook -
When Planets Collide Facebook -

Thursday 29 May 2014

Trapjaw - S/T EP

Here's the second Footloose Records review, featuring new German band Trapjaw. Many of you will know that Germany has been killing it of late, with some great bands coming to the fore. Bands like Ancst, Depravation and others. Trapjaw are following suit. They only formed at the start of the year in Dusseldorf but have just released their debut EP, thanks to Footloose. They're also setting out to get in as many people's faces as they can across their native Germany, so if you live over there, check out their Facebook and make sure you see them.


1. Death of Desire
2. The Styx
3. Into Obscurity
4. Samson
5. Devil Within

Trapjaw play a furious brand of hardcore, mixed with crossover. It’s better than you’re average mosh thanks to their lead guitar work, which is evident in the opening track Death of Desire. The live sound that the EP possess also makes them sound really heavy. Trapjaw haven’t taken on the current blackened-hardcore sound that is swelling up across the genre, instead taking a more straightforward approach. The Styx highlights that approach and they’re brave enough to shove a sample into the first half of the song, which breaks it up but then leads into a really epic, sludgy instrumental section that closes out the song.

It’s at this point that you realise that there is a lot more to Trapjaw than just hardcore and brimstone. The subdued intro to Into Obscurity leads into a mid-paced hardcore song that is ripe for the live setting. Their groove will no doubt have people in trances too. Samson continues in the same vein and even though it acts as an Interlude of sorts, it still has you head-banging. Last song Devil Within is one big slab of thrash-laden mosh. The leads are back, as are the Southern riffs a la Crowbar. It’s a hell of an ending and just like the rest of the EP, shows a lot of promise. 

2014 just keeps on spitting out amazing releases, whether they’re from established bands or new ones and Trapjaw’s EP is another one of them. 

You can stream the EP on Trapjaw's bandcamp page:-

It's available as a name-your-price download too.

As I mentioned above, Footloose Records have put out a physical version of the EP, which you can buy on tape here -

Trapjaw Facebook -
Footloose Records Facebook -

Sunday 25 May 2014

Taatsi - Season of Sacrifice Tape

With it turning increasingly grey and cold outside, I've decided to turn to my attention some music of the same intensity. This is the debut two track demo from Finnish black metal band Taatsi. The band wants to stay anonymous, so there isn't very much about them anywhere. Their tape is being re-released by Forever Plagued Records in May/June and Taatsi have recently released an album called Amidst The Trees. Beyond that, I am completely in the dark about the band. I'll allow their tape to do the talking.


1. Season of Sacrifice
2. Cult of The Northstar

According to the band’s recently created Facebook page, they have been involved in the black metal scene for over twenty years. To me, that just deepens the mystery that surrounds this band. Season of Sacrifice is filled with cold black metal that is peppered with folk instruments, which add atmosphere. The song is mid-paced but has plenty of momentum and instead of attacking you with brutal blasts, Taatsi instead choose a more measured approach.

Cult of The Northstar features more of the band’s acoustic guitar that I’ve been reading about. It creates a nice intro to the song. The orchestral ambience within the song is very majestic. It adds a layer of warmth that would otherwise be hidden by those icy growls. As demo’s go, this is a good introduction to Taatsi, though short. If you can track a tape copy down, along with their album Amidst The Trees (although I’m not sure if it’s been physically released yet), their folk-tinged black metal should keep you more than content for a long while. 

Luckily you can stream the Season of Sacrifice demo via Taatsi's bandcamp page, where it's available as a name-your-price download:-

You can buy a copy of the recently released tape version from Forever Plagued Records here -

Taatsi Facebook -

Saturday 24 May 2014

Crossburner - Crossburner 10"

This post kind of takes me back to when and why I started the blog. Darryl from newish UK label Footloose Records got in touch to tell me about the label's first three releases. He mentioned Crossburner and mentioned Nails, Integ and Entombed in the same sentence, which is usually a good way to get someone's attention. Well, it got mine. Crossburner are from Milton Keynes, they formed mid-2013 and this is their debut 10" EP!

A lot's been happening for them band since the turn of the year. They've obviously released this record and in terms of live shows, they've already shared the stage with French band Cowards and our own Oblivionized, they're due to play a weekender alongside Cholera (who've released one of the best sounding 7"s of the year so far) and they are due to play with Discharge in July!


1. Burn The Saint
2. Crossburner
3. Chaos Reigns
4. Seque
5. Wet Mary
6. Demonic Forces

Opening with the squalid feedback of Burn The Saint, Crossburner head straight into their Holy Terror infused hardcore with on messing. It’s furious, the vocals are tortured, the wall of noise from the guitars is piercing and the rhythm section adds a threatening sense of dread to the song. The production fuses all of these textures together and creates a kind of controlled chaos that will bring a smile to your face. 

The following title track sees Crossburner hitting a faster stride, with ore urgency and adding some great subtle guitar elements into the mix. The blastbeats toward the end cut through the metallic riffs like pneumatic drills. They display a deft thrash touch during the opening bars of Chaos Reigns, which highlights that British punk flair that we’ve been treated to over the years by the likes of Gallows and The Plight. It’s used in a more angry setting here, but it’s still present and good to hear. The mid-section changes the atmosphere of the song completely, with a decidedly darker passage of guitar before Crossburner let rip once more. 

They break things up with Seque, a short noise piece that co-exists alongside a haunting sample. Their obvious anti-religion theme carries on into Wet Mary. This is a more expansive song, with less of a chaotic slant. The riffs are more pronounced and there isn’t as much dissonance or feedback amongst them. It’s slower and takes more from the sludge end of the spectrum, which is very welcome indeed. Ending it all with Demonic Forces, Crossburner see one final opportunity to raise the volume. The cymbals and guitars conspiring to shake the inside of your head beyond the recommended medical limit. 

This 10” is as a big an impact as any band would hope to make. It’s great to hear another UK band taking the metallic edge of Holy Terror and chucking in their own vibe. Crossburner are ones to watch this year, so make sure you get out to a show!

You can stream the record in full here:-

Now, at £1,000, I doubt you'll be purchasing a download from Footloose's bandcamp page but it's a very clever ploy to prompt you to buy the physical record, which you can do here -

Crossburner Facebook -
Footloose Records Facebook

Thursday 22 May 2014

Constant Vulse - Hedonic Sleepwalkers

I'm jumping back into my physical review pile and pulling out a band that I'm not familiar with, but who's 2012 album was released by German label Wooaaargh Records. Constant Vulse started in late 2011 in Trier, Germany and Hedonic Sleepwalkers was their debut album. Wooaaargh Records have been responsible for some epic grind and powerviolence related releases in the last couple of years, including the Oblivionized/Human Cull Split 7" that I reviewed last year, so I have high hopes for this record. Plus, any band that shares members with a powerviolence band called Cpt.Caveman is a winner in my book.


1. Intro - Caught In Crises
2. Stampede of Pledges
3. Oversaturated
4. Trepidators
5. Alpha Male Complex
6. Serpents
7. Feeding The Scam
8. Mediocre Escapists
9. Grand Scheme
10. Regressing Mass
11. Instrumentalized Mental Siege

It’s pretty clear what Constant Vulse are raging against, from the opening sample of Intro/Caught In Crisis. They kick things off with a mid-paced death metal inspired stomp, which mix blastbeats with sludgy riffs and low, growled vox. Things get faster with the sub-one minute Stampede of Pledges, which is goddamn nuts! The grindcore/death metal mix within Constant Vulse’s sound is definitely an appealing feature. Oversaturated even contains subtle elements of thrash and I really dig the drum sound. It’s one of those blink and you’ll miss it songs, which flows straight into Trepidators, which perversely is their longest tome. It’s the song where they hit the death-nail on the head, with added hardcore and mosh! Imagine the type of hardcore/beatdown where the crappy half-rapped vocals are replaced with old-school death screams and you’ve got it.

This was the kind of death metal that I had a mosh too at ‘Kin Hell Fest (which in itself is surprising, as I never mosh for fear of breaking my entire body). That’s how good Alpha Male Complex is. Serpents features the same off-kilter time signatures and short, sharp brutality.  Hedonic Sleepwalkers has a real party feel too it. I’m not sure whether that was intentional, but it seems that Constant Vulse don’t take themselves all that seriously, which is good. I picture them being a bit like Basement Torture Killings, who are hilarious on stage. Feeding The Scam reminds me that death metal can be fun.

Even though I’ve mentioned a few of metal’s sub-genre’s in this review, Constant Vulse are not as easy to pin down as you might think. Mediocre Escapists features more of those ace beatdown riffs from earlier. The transitions during Grand Scheme show that as musicians, Constant Vulse are pretty damn accomplished. The live production job helps heaps too. There’s no blemishes on the record, yet it also doesn’t sound too clean.  Hedonic Sleepwalkers seems to get better towards the end too, with Regressing Mass being one full headband of a song. The madness continues into closing song Instrumentalized Mental Siege. I don’t actually know why they shoved a paused in between the two tracks, because it ruins the momentum slightly. 

Basically, if you like death, grind, hardcore and anything heavy, the chances are you’ll love this. The band are supposed to be writing new material so a new record will be more than welcome to these ears.

You can stream and download Hedonic Sleepwalkers (name-your-price) here:-

You can grab the CD version from Wooaaargh here -

A tape version was released via Hackebeil Records but that has sold out.

Constant Vulse Facebook -
Wooaaargh Facebook -
Hackebeil Records Facebook -

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Hazarder - Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!

Croatian doom/sludge band Hazarder have been on my radar for sometime, yet I've managed to miss the opportunity to write about them for various reasons. Their debut album Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! was released as an LP last December by a cooperative of labels including Mordgrimm (UK/USA), Insane Society (Czech Republic), Neanderthal Stench (Belgium), PMK Records (Serbia) and Black Dawn Records (Germany). It follows their earlier split record with Livia Sura. They recently toured the UK in support of the LP, but I managed to miss their Leeds show (Again, I failed!). Against His-Story, Against Leviathan contains seven songs.


1. Heart of Darkness (Instrumental)
2. Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!
3. Fertile Crescent
4. New Order of The Ages
5. Scorpiopium
6. Nova
7. Doomriders

Heart of Darkness, the opening instrumental features plenty of traditional Croatian folk atmosphere, which isn’t surprising as members of Hazarder also play in a retro rock band featuring folk and occult influences. Hazarder are a three-piece and as they wind their into the title track, their sound envelopes you with it’s bass heavy tone. The vocals are audible yet deep bellows from Radivojewitch. Their approach is doom-laden, with mid-paced instrumental passages and minimal vocals.

With the exception of the initial intro song, they don’t drop below five minutes with any number. Fertile Ground ups the bass-heaviness to a new level and settles into a classy groove. Those vocal bellows are used more in the song too and the rhythms created by the drums stick toward the front of the mix. The guitar fuzz reminds you that you’re listening to a doom band. It’s all massively trippy and trance-inducing. It’s awesome sitting here listening to the colossal intro to New Order Of The Ages, as the thunder clouds build outside my window. It’s hot and sticky here, to the point of claustrophobia and matches the mood of Hazarder to a tee.

Scorpiopium (sick title!) is Hazarder’s longest on the record at nine minutes, but it’s also the gnarliest sludge track. They pair things back and the riffs are slower, before they head into off-kilter territory just for shits and giggles. There’s still plenty of groove and while it’s mainly instrumental, you’ll still get lost in it’s steely gaze. That claustrophobic atmosphere carries on into Nova, the penultimate song. It hasn’t made the thunder start yet though! What it has done though is hook me in to Hazarder’s sound. It’s great that they’re able to sound so mammoth yet make their songs sound shorter than they are, which has kept me hooked throughout. 

Closing song Doomriders, pretty aptly describes Hazarder. It rounds out the album well with more of the bands groove n doom and actually sounds quite upbeat. Hazarder have crafted something here that’s not laborious, instead being pretty too the point and punchy. Good on them for getting the formula right.

You stream Against His-Story, Against Leviathan here:-

You can buy the LP from the below labels:-

Mordgrimm -
Insane Society -
Neanderthal Stench -
PMK Records -
Black Dawn Records -

Hazarder Facebook -
Mordgrimm Facebook -
Insane Society Records Facebook -
Neanderthal Stench Facebook -
PMK Records Facebook -
Black Dawn Records Facebook -

Monday 19 May 2014

Weight of The World - No Promised Land 7"

Sorry for the lack of anything over the few days. I seem to be the only person who gets a head cold in a heatwave!. I'm hoping that hardcore will cheer me up though. No Promised Land was released as a 7" by UK label Speedowax in late 2012, having originally been released by the band on tape. Weight of The World are a five-piece from Florida, in case people didn't know. All of their releases so far are available for download via their Facebook page.


1. Rational Man
2. Park Place
3. Sunrise
4. Boardwalk
5. No Promised Land

Having reviewed a few of Speedowax’s records before, I can confidently tell you that US hardcore is in an awesome vein of form. That’s evidenced by Weight of The World and their 7” No Promised Land. Opener, Rational Man starts off like it’s a tough guy song, but settles into a more melodic swing towards the end with some great guitar work. The vocals are strong yet audible and the rhythm section keeps it bouncing. As you’d expect, these aren’t long-players. The songs are too the point and Weight of The World don’t mess about. Park Place features an extended guitar intro before the song itself, which is headed up by the vox and drums. The mid-section features an obligatory sample which highlights the band’s political edge, before another melodic passage closes things. The drumming toward the end is definitely more than mosh worthy too.

Sunrise hints at something slightly more thoughtful and sedate, with some dramatic instrumentation. It remains that way as Dillon’s screams kick in and then transitions into a pacier section. Boardwalk is a punch in the face to follow. Weight of The World manage to keep things simple and because of that their hardcore is great and it sticks in your head for so long afterwards.  It all ends with title track No Promised Land, which is another huge hardcore anthem. I’ve said it before, but this kind of song makes you feel like you’re stood on the top of a building, with arms outstretched, letting it all out in a positive way. It just feel euphoric to me. 

It’s five songs of short, skilled hardcore. It’s not your cookie cutter tough guy shit and it’s definitely not boring. Hats off to Rich for putting these guys out and to Weight of The World themselves for just being awesome. You can have your Emmures and your Hatebreeds, I’ll take my heartfelt, DIY hardcore instead.

You can stream and download No Promised Land (free) here:-

Of course, once you've heard it you're gonna want to pick up a vinyl. You can get them from Speedowax Records here - on Translucent Violet vinyl.

Weight of The World -
Speedowax Records -

Thursday 15 May 2014

Atlases - Upbringing EP

As much as there's still a continuously bulging extreme metal scene, there's also a increasing modern metal/hardcore scene evolving in the UK. It seems that now more than ever, bands are rearing their heads to drag people away from nu-metal and major label popmo. I'm glad of this and even though some people reading this blog may turn their noses up, modern metal/hardcore has place here because it's what we all started with and what future extreme fans will start with.

Atlases self-released their debut EP Upbringing in January 2014. These five lads from Newbury, UK are just truly starting out but have a UK tour planned for this month with peers Prolong The Agony and have already garnered a lot of attention, even from Kerrang!


1. Betrayer
2. Secret Keeper
3. My Testament
4. The Deepest Dark
5. You Dreamer, You Fool
6. Consume/Deny

Opening with Betrayer, Atlases come across all djent thanks to the off-kilter guitar intro. The song itself is full emotive screams, powerful drumming and guitar melodies, which sit deep in the mix. Atlases add some nice touches too the song, with death metal vox in places and big atmospheric riff sections. It sets things up well. Secret Keeper is more bouncy and will get the two-steppers going live. I like the sections where they are more introspective, it shows maturity and a need to progress as a band, even at this premature stage in their career.

Atlases ratchet up the heaviness of My Testament. The screams show a vocalist on the edge, yet still stand up as life-affirming in a way that only hardcore vocals can. Also the fact that there are no false American accents here, makes it better too. There is heavy influence from the current crop of melodic-hardcore bands evident during The Deepest Dark, but that’s to be expected with a band finding their feet. The breakdowns are still mighty and the melody injected into the song is smile inducing. This is a pretty big song.

People who really like bands like Architects and the like, will dig You Dreamer, You Fool and in fact the whole EP. The cool thing is that Atlases are consistently strong across the whole EP. They know what they’re doing and they don’t try to be something they’re not. They close Upbringing with Consume/Deny, where they experiment a bit more with different textures at the start, before launching into a mighty hardcore anthem. No surprises that it’s their longest offering on the EP and hints a further promise from the band. 

A great effort and certainly worth a visit from anyone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and gives young bands a chance. Atlases are doing no harm at all, in fact they’re a sound addition to the UK scene. 

Atlases don't have a bandcamp page or anything like that, but you can stream the EP via the Saviour PR Soundcloud page here -

You can grab Upbringing from iTunes here - and buy mercy from Atlases website here -

Atlases -

Monday 12 May 2014

Art of Burning Water - The Humiliation Process 7"

Following on from my Esoteric Youth/Caina tape review yesterday, I've stumbled upon a theme. That theme is French label Swarm of Nails. That's because they helped to release this 7" alongside UK label Dead Chemists Records. Art of Burning Water are super busy this year, so before they release their slew of splits, I thought I'd set about their last 7", which surfaced at the back end of last year. I feel that they are under appreciated, but are one of the UK's heaviest bands. Some may see them as veterans, but they're still more than relevant and this is a quick-fire mixture of sludge and noise.


1. Extreme Noise Terror (David Cameron Noise Intro)
2. Posh Cunt Takeover
3. Pedro More Or Less
4. We Have No Friends
5. In Our Hopeless

In true fashion, Art of Burning Water kick this of with a noisy intro that leads into Posh Cunt Takeover. No guessing what this song is about. The vocals sit deep in the mix, amongst the feedback drenched instrumentation and it sets out a stall for the rest of the EP. Pedro More Or Less is more punk than sludge, with a bass line that rumbles alongside the guitar. The drums are chaotic and it’s all over too fast. 

We Have No Friends could be describing the band, but either way it’s loud and slightly obnoxious, especially during the sludge-ridden second half. It’s off-kilter but still holds enough groove. I like it! In Our Hopeless rounds things out in style, with more punk and a mid-paced backdrop. The riffs are drenched in noise and add heaps of volume to the record. With the production favouring volume over vocals, The Humiliation Process harks back to the days of punk and grind when bands just turned of their amps and went for it. AOBW are touring at the end of the month in the UK and will be loud. Take earplugs or forever lose your hearing!

You can stream the EP here -

You can buy the 7" directly from Dead Chemists Records here and from Swarm of Nails here -

Keep an eye out for those live dates (which have already started to be announced) on AOBW's Facebook page here -

Dead Chemists Records -
Swarm of Nails Records -

Saturday 10 May 2014

Esoteric Youth/Caina - Split Tape

By now, both of these bands should be more than familiar to you. Caina's black metal soundscapes and the caustic hardcore of Esoteric Youth have been filling speakers and blowing eardrums for the twelve months. They've bolstered and improved upon the current climate within the UK heavy music "scene" and earlier this year, they came together to release a split tape that was released via Church of Fuck and French label Swarm of Nails. Both labels have also collaborated on the forthcoming Heksed/Deathseekers split 7" that I reviewed earlier in the year.


1. Esoteric Youth - Kvarblivelse
2. Esoteric Youth - Forlat
3. Caina - We Sleep
4. Caina - Apochrypha

Having toured not so long ago with their Norwegian label-mates Heksed, it’s clear that Holy Terror has further infiltrated Esoteric Youth’s sound. Kvablivelse sounds ethereal, especially with the guitar tone that washes through the song. The slow crawling end section, the switch between low growls and high screams and the relentless drumming set a very high bar for the rest of the split. The swathe of feedback that ends Kvarblivelse runs into the intro of EY’s second contribution Forlat. It starts out slower and sits in a sludgier, darker place. Dom Moss’s vocals here are the closest they’ve been to a full-on black metal drawl while the guitar melodies are reminiscent of Drudkh’s hypnotic blueprint. These two songs may be short, but they sink in and bury themselves immediately.

In stark contract, where EY’s sound was warm and full, Caina’s is as icy as you would expect. Still a solo project, A C-B plays all the instruments and provides vocals on We Sleep. Creating black metal that surpasses that of your peers is very difficult, especially in a country where it’s becoming more prevalent but A C-B produces music that builds on the previous effort, Earth Inferno. Apocypha’s atmosphere instantly changes the mood. It has more urgency and even during the minimalism that takes hold in the mid-section, with added intensity created by Dom Moss's guest screams.

It’s all over pretty quickly and there are subtleties that you won’t pick up on first listen. What may have seemed like an unlikely split pairing before is actually an inspired one. They compliment each other with their contributions as they are, and excuse the phrase, singing from the same unholy hymn sheet. Plus, if you don’t find the sky blue and bright pink tapes super evil, then there’s no hope left for you!

Stream the whole split here:-

You can grab this as a digital download from the above bandcamp page. 

Church of Fuck have sold out of their allocation. Swarm of Nails still have white copies, as well as some bright pink tapes left here -

The terrifying sky blue tapes are only available directly from the bands, at shows. There may or may not be any left.

Esoteric Youth -
Caina -
Church of Fuck -
Swarm of Nails -

Thursday 8 May 2014

The Reticent - Le Temps Detruit Tout

I find that a lot of progressive, experimental metal can be fairly hit or miss. It's either really well played and perfectly woven into the a band's fabric or it's just boring. I like to keep an open mind though until I've heard a band of that nature. I'm delving back into my review pile to bring you something from 2012. The Reticent are situated in Charlotte (North Carolina) and Cheraw (South Carolina) and released Le Temps Detruit Tout via Heaven & Hell Records. As I write this, the band have decided to take a short break to take stock and to write a new album, so this still remains their most recent output. Amongst the artists they like, they list Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Steve Von Till.


1. Nihil
2. In Pursuit of Redemption
3. Mutually Assured Destruction
4. Enemy
5. Lie To Me
6. Silence
7. Le Tenia
8. Patience
9. Nihil Ex Nihilo

Setting the scene takes the form of a French language sample, choral chants and sporadic guitar in intro Nihil. The first song proper comes in the form of In Pursuit of Redemption. The vocals are clean and seem to remind me of Brandon Boyd from Incubus! They’re broody here and the music is simple, so as not to overpower them, with plenty of acoustic guitar. Things become more vibrant with Mutually Assured Destruction, especially during the rousing intro but it’s not too long before The Reticent slip back into their calming progression. They are very accomplished musicians playing good music, but playing it a bit safe perhaps. Le Temps Detruit Tout does grow on you though as you get deeper into it.

The majority of songs on the album are over 5 minutes in length. Enemy weighs in at just of eight and features some great chunky riffs and takes The Reticent’s experimentation to a higher level, to justify that length. The towering clean vocals during Lie To Me will make the hairs stand on the back of you neck during the chorus. The Reticent condense this song, which makes it more to the point and gives it more impact. It’s fully acoustic and I think it benefits from being so. 

Through it’s mixture of vocal textures, off-kilter instrumentation and dual-guitar work, Silence is the standout track on Le Temps Detruit Temps. They keep the calm attitude during Le Tenia. They certainly aren’t the sort of band that goes all out. Dissonance and distortion are not in their musical vocabulary but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because sometimes it’s nice to kick back with something less heavy. The temperature briefly rises during Patience and they come across all Dream Theater. I don’t know why I used Dream Theater as a comparison, as I don’t like them but I guess it was to give people a reference point to grandeur of the music in the song.

Nihil Ex Nihilo’s stark sample discussing the end of world spells the end of the album. It’s another sweeping progtastic song that leaves you feeling calm and content. The Reticent are so far removed from what I was expecting, that I was very pleasantly surprised by what I heard. I’d recommend this album to people who are open minded. Even if you’re not a metal fan, you’ll really enjoy this album.

Hear it for yourself here:-

You can buy it as a digital download and on CD from the above bandcamp page.

The Reticent Facebook -
Heaven & Hell Facebook -

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Miserable Failure - Hope EP

I'm picking up another 2014 release here. Earlier in the year, Kaotoxin Records released this four-track EP from Marseilles grind band Miserable Failure. It was a digital release, but the band themselves put out a limited run of Tapes. I've their name floating around in various magazines lately and they featured on a three-way split CD last year, as well as a recent split with Total Fucking Destruction amongst others. This EP barely lasts over four-minutes and that is probably why they've been compared to bands like Agoraphobic Nosebleed.


1. The Blueprints of Self Disgust
2. One More Reason To Set This World On Fire
3. Goodbye & Good Riddance
4. This World Ain't Mine

Damn this bunch are angry. I guess there’s a lot to be angry about in the South of France! The opening blast of The Blueprints of Self Disgust features some nasty riffs and crazed deep bellow and high-pitched screams. The drumming is so fast, I thought it was only possible via drum-machine! Miserable Failure have the same impact as the UK’s Corrupt Moral Altar did when I first heard them. One More Reason To Set This World On Fire flies passed you before you’ve had chance to think about what you’re listening to. Goodbye & Good Riddance is primed for a live setting and to destroy ear holes. The pinch-harmonics at the end tell you all you need to know!

This World Ain’t Mine is the final sub one-minute song to grace Hope and if you’ve kept up with Miserable Failure to this point, you’re doing bloody well. The music on here is very high quality and though it may seem chaotic, on multiple listens it’s actually pretty controlled. The one thing that lets it down for me is the brief playing time. Four songs in under four minutes is like this grindcore equivalent of a bag of Walker’s crisps, sparse! That’s not a criticism of the music or of Miserable Failure at all, it’s just that they’ve got such an infectious sound that more songs would have made me grin even more. If you’re checking these guys out for the first time, this is a great place to start. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be seeking out the rest of their catalogue. France is upping it’s game!

You can finger bang to it here:-

You can get Hope as a name-you-price download from their bandcamp page above.

If you want it on tape, go here

Miserable Failure Facebook -
Kaotoxin Records Facebook -

War Wolf/Sob Story - Split Tape

Last September, War Wolf and Sob Story put out a split tape that sold out pretty fast. It was a bit of a precursor to War Wolf's LP, Crushing The Ways of The Old. I'm not really sure what happened to Sob Story, but they seemed to dissappear as quickly as they appeared (I think they featured ex-members of or all used to be in Dashwood, though I'm sure someone can correct me on that). Each band performs two tracks on this split.


1. War Wolf - Land of Betrayal
2. War Wolf - Foxhole Nihilist
3. Sob Story - Not Like You
4. Sob Story - Get Out

The sample at the start of War Wolf’s opener Land of Betrayal is as harrowing as they come. The backdrop created by the nuns praying and their description of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ prepares you for the unholy sounds that lies ahead. War Wolf seem to take on a different persona here, with a menacing and more off-kilter sound. There’s still subtle elements of punk in the riffs, but the screams and stomp bring to mind the sludgy hardcore of Seven Sisters of Sleep. Tis good!

Obviously, War Wolf do not spare any sympathy for religion and Foxhole Nihilist follows in the same fashion as Land of Betrayal. They’ve just returned from a slot at Temples Festival in Bristol and it’s not hard to imagine why they were selected to play, especially when the line-up included the likes of Electric Wizard and Neurosis. These two tracks, while brief are thoroughly enjoyable.

Sob Story are more urgent and Not Like You is more of a straight-forward punk anthem. Their hardcore brings to mind Gallows during their Orchestra of Wolves era. Get Out possesses the same rock n role vibe as the aforementioned band and takes you an on old-school ride back to the 80s. Sob Story have that gritty edge that would appeal to more than just gutter-punks. 

The tape version of this split has long since sold out over at Headless Guru Records, but you can stream it via the below bandcamp page, where it's also available as a name-your-price download:-

War Wolf Facebook -
Headless Guru Facebook -

Monday 5 May 2014

'Kin Hell Fest 2014

I'm not one for writing live reviews usually, but I wanted to write something about my weekend at 'Kin Hell Fest 2014. Where do I start! How about by saying it was awesome. Paul and the rest of the crew did a great job all weekend with it. Just like last year, it was well organised and ran pretty smoothly, in spite of the last minute band cancellations.

The line-up was a great mix of local acts and bands from further afield, covering the multitude of sub-genres and including some big name headline acts and international bands, like Napalm Death and Massacre. It was a staunchly DIY festival and as a result was so relaxed and friendly, which is all you can ask for really. My standout bands during the weekend were Ephemeral Foetus, Pentagram (Chile), Jesus Crost, Employed To Serve and especially the intimate set by Khuda. That was something else!

My main reason for writing this post was that Paul and festival overall has not made enough money to cover costs. It's not for me to say that people should have made more of an effort to attend etc, but I just wanted to raise a bit of awareness I guess. I think one of the reasons for the deficit was the fees demanded by bigger bands on the bill. I realise that bands need to make a living and cover costs of travelling in order to play but when such bands denounce "big corporations" and don't exist in the mainstream, should they really be asking for £x thousands for the privilege of playing shows to their fans, whom without they would not have a career? Rant over.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I met some people I'd only ever spoken to via Facebook and met some of the bands too. People travelled from far and wide to watch the bands for the whole weekend and it was great chatting and partying with like minded people. I partied to hard on Sunday and it turns out that headbanging for three-four hours straight is bad for your body. Who knew?

Anyway, if you want to donate or pick of merchandise to help 'Kin Hell Fest, so that it might carry on next year, head over to their website here -

You can also chuck them a few quid and download their 2013 bandcamp compilation here -

'Kin Hell Fest Facebook -