Tuesday 2 September 2014

Cowards - Hoarder EP

I saw Cowards earlier this year when they toured the UK. They played in Leeds with Oblivionized and others. It was a really good gig in the upstairs room, which is always packed and full of atmosphere. I also think that Zac from Oblivionized is on a one man crusade to bring every Throatruiner Records band across to the UK and good on him!

Cowards are a five-piece from France and fill their music with all kinds of sludge, hardcore and black metal sounds. Hoarder was released in 2013 via Throatruiner Records and Ruins Records and is only their second release, following their 2012 debut Shooting Blanks And Pills.


1. The Old City
2. Smell Of An Addict
3. Fork Out
4. Where Lies The Anchor
5. Blessed Persistence (16 Horsepower cover)

It feels like I’ve been listening to way too much doomy, sludgy stuff recently yet I can’t seem to get enough of it. The proliferation of sludgy, gloomy, blackened-hardcore now is just crazy. I promise I’ll review some other forms of heavy music soon! I the meantime though, I’ve turned to French noisemakers Cowards and their EP Hoarder. Released somewhere around summer 2013 via Throatruiner and Ruins Records, it proved why our French cousins are so crucial at the moment. Starting with The Old City, a sprawling and off-kilter beast, Cowards set about destroying you with a mix of deep bass-ridden hardcore, coarse vocals and low-slung sludge. 

After the slow intro, Smell Of An Addict proves to be an ecstatically unhinged piece of urgent grind. The faster sections of bookended and broken up by short slower passages of sludgy guitar and there isn’t a melodic lead in sight. Fork Out takes the unhinged emotion of Smell Of An Addict but builds on it further, with flourishes of metal and math. The bands two guitarists creating a wall of feedback-filled noise, that really brings Hoarder to life.

The final duo of tracks are more progressive and cavernous. Cowards manage to syringe Where Lies The Anchor with some great atmosphere during the verses, while settling into a slower groove when needed. There’s a stop/start motion to the song that brings to mind a whole slew of metal and hardcore’s more experimental bands. The one thing that struck me when I saw them play was how concise and professional they were. They felt to me like they were heading for the next level.

Blessed Persistence (a cover of the song by 16 Horsepower) is by far the longest song on Hoarder. It feels more sedate, like it’s building up to something. The layers of noise do increase as expected and this song actually highlight the ferocity of it’s predecessors here. Cowards take their sludge influence further and lace the song with occasional metallic-hardcore riffs. It envelopes you when at full chat and is amazingly satisfying to listen to. If it’s one thing France can do, it’s produce decent heavy bands. That and wine!

Listen here:-

You can buy Hoarder from the above Bandcamp page for 5 euros as a digital download.

If you want the vinyl/CD versions, head to the following places:-

Throatruiner Records - http://store.throatruinerrecords.com/categories/throatruiner-releases
Ruins Records - http://www.ruinsrecords.com/categories/ruins-releases

Cowards Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cowardsparis
Throatruiner Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/throatruiner
Ruins Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ruinsrecords

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