Wednesday 29 October 2014

Twilight Fauna - Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland

A lot of people write about music on the Internet, I know that. There are more and more blogs popping up and people writing because they have a platform. It's a good thing for bands, but bands, they can inherently lazy. This reminds of a thread on good old Facebook recently about bands not taking up opportunities for exposure. It pretty much boiled down to the fact that they expect everything to come to them and not the other way around. People were commenting about seeing and hearing less up and coming or unknown bands and their music, while on the flipside, I mentioned that I was seeing more and more bands approaching me (not blowing my own trumpet) looking for attention and exposure. While, I don't consider myself to be a pro writer, I do this because I enjoy and as a way to give something back to the genre that I enjoy and the bands that take the time to produce music.

You may ask what that previous, slightly long paragraph has to do with this review. Well, Twilight Fauna and it's sole protagonist Ravenwood is exactly the kind of band I was talking about when I commented about new bands contacting me off their own back. Ravenwood is used to the DIY approach, I mean you have to be when you're the sole contributor. Earlier this year, Twilight Fauna's fourth full-length was released via Fragile Branch, which is a pretty big deal I think. To think that Ravenwood has only been releasing music as Twilight Fauna since 2012, things are really moving forward.


1. Coming Home (A Wilted Harvest)
2. Baying In The Hills
3. An Autumn Longing
4. Roots Stained By Time
5. The Wind Chimes Through The Trees
6.  Of River Willow

Twilight Fauna has always been very much influenced by it’s surroundings and American culture. You get that feeling instantly with album opener Coming Home (A Wilted Harvest). It’s minimal, with a mix of acoustic guitar and bass sitting on top of distant screams that sound like chants. Previously. I reviewed TF’s 2013 full-length Grief and it felt more instant and more brash almost. Baying In The Hills and the whole album for that matter, sounds very different. There’s a calmer and more focused feel to everything, almost a sense of accomplishment on Ravenwood’s part. Most people are used to black metal being loud and raw but it’s not all about that here. Twilight Fauna seems to have transcended that and moved on. with Ravenwood’s influence taking more of a controlling seat.

An Autumn Longing is dripping with acoustic guitar and lowly vocal melodies. It’s really laid back in fact and moves Twilight Fauna further away from the black metal roots of the band. It’s a bit of jolt when the initial riffs of Roots Stained By Time ring out. This is the longest offering on Hymns… and still carries the same laid-back approach as the songs it’s followed. This is where TF mixes the black metal of old with the more reflective textures that have found home on the album. The Wind Chimes Through The Trees is a beautifully piece of music. By now, you’ll stop expecting TF to break out into full, crunching BM and will be well and truly wrapped up in Ravenwood’s interpretations of the Appalachian countryside that surrounds him. It’s almost like being there at times. You feel the atmosphere through every note and sound.

On album closer Of River Willows, there’s a gruff melody in the vocals and that melody follows through the whole song. Again, as mentioned before, it’s not what you expect and I think it’s all the better for it. Metal’s many sub-genres need progressions and experimentation and black metal is no different. Here, Twilight Fauna has created a record full of emotion and genuine inspiration. One that, without being elitist or obtuse, gives the listener something that they’ve perhaps been missing.

Stream Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland here:-

You can purchase it digitally from Twilight Fauna's bandcamp page above; however, it's best listened to on the analog warmth of vinyl. That's why Fragile Branch released it that way and you can buy a copy here -

Twilight Fauna Facebook -
Fragile Branch Facebook -

Monday 27 October 2014

Putrid Yell/Eaten Alive - Vicious Manifestation Of Horror And Death Split 7"

Today's been a testing day. Monday sucks I know, but this particular one sucked more. Thank god then for nasty death metal. Chilean death metal to exact, in the form of Putrid Yell and Eaten Alive. I the UK especially, underground South American metal is not represented all that often, unless you count Mystifier's recent jaunt to these shores. Iron Bonehead released this split 7" in the early part of this year. With the exception of entries on Metal Archives, I knew very little about either of these bands. This is a perfect excuse to get to know them a bit better.


1. Putrid Yell - Wrenching Putrid Yell
2. Eaten Alive - Mangled In The Morgue

Putrid Yell begin their side with a haunting sample that feels pretty unnerving. Once their death metal kicks in, it’s raw and noisy. The vocals are low and gargled, sitting on top of blackened-thrash filled death. The screaming solo mid-way through conjures images of bullet-belts and blood! Wrenching Putrid Yell is as underground and as true as you’d expect. 

Eaten Alive offer up a song of similar length, but with the added bonus of twin-guitars. They too are mid-paced and feature an old-school sound, paying homage to the originators in both South America and indeed Sweden. Mangled In The Morgue occasionally breaks into a classic rock n roll rhythm that accompanies the their thrash-laden sound, adding their own melodic yet atmospheric solo to round out the split.

Die-hard death metal fans will lap this up, especially due to it’s old-school delivery. In spite of the relative obscurity of both Putrid Yell and Eaten Alive, being brought to more people’s ears by Iron Bonehead will do them no harm at all. 

You won't find this split streaming on the Iron Bonehead bandcamp page, but both bands are streaming the songs (though Putrid Yell only provide a sample of theirs) via their own pages below:-

You can still buy copies of the split (limited to 500) from Iron Bonehead Productions here -

Putrid Yell are not on social media.
Eaten Alive Facebook -
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -

Sunday 26 October 2014

Sea Bastard - Scabrous 2xLP

There's nowt like a lazy, lumbering Sunday. Thankfully I have a clear head, which is about to tackle this hefty double slab of black wax. Scabrous is the second full-length release from Brighton's Sea Bastard and was released earlier this year in a four-way collaboration between Mosh Tuneage, Dry Cough Records, Black Reaper Records and Cat Face Records, while once again featuring brilliant artwork by guitarist Oliver Irongiant.

Sea Bastard are one of the bands currently leading the surge in UK doom/sludge and are already in the process of releasing a new split LP with Californian band, Keeper. Scabrous itself was only released in May, so it's a productive period for the band.


1. Nokken
2. Nightmares of The Monolith
3. Door Sniffer
4. Metamorphic Possession

There aren’t many bands I know of that choose to open a record with a seventeen-minute song (or who could indeed get away with it), but then there’s no rule book when it comes to music. Nokken is that song and it’s initially full of feedback and drawn out riffage. The vocals are low and the cymbal crashes keep the time-signature at a crawl. It’s not rammed with melody either, just crushing low-end heft. After a while, the rhythms drag your head back and forth, threatening the muscles and bone that holds it up. Nokken is split into movements that are bridged by minimal guitar/bass driven sections and when the heavier riffs ring out, it’s punishing. 

Sea Bastard’s formula is obvious to spot on Scabrous, but that’s no bad thing at all. Nightmares of The Monolith takes the feedback drenched feel of the album opener and condenses it into a song with more urgency (if that’s even possible from a doom band!). It’s not warp speed and will never be, but live it’ll be a beast. It’s the musical equivalent of the fat that is slowly wrapping itself around your arteries.  The excellently named Door Sniffer starts off in a pretty laid back fashion and retains part of that feeling throughout. I guess it would have made Scabrous ultra challenging if Sea Bastard kept it at the claustrophobic level of the previous songs. The lead guitar adds melody and there’s extras groove hidden within the song. Add to that some trippy guitar effects and the mood of the album changes from dank to subtly psychedelic, at least for a few minutes anyway.

Sea Bastard leave the most torturous song till the end. Metamorphic Possession takes the hints of the psychedelic guitar from Door Sniffer, adds some jazz and fire headfirst into one final twenty-minute slab of doom. It’s instrumental for the most part, allowing the vocals to take a back seat at times. I think the slightly different approach that Sea Bastard take with this song underlines how heavy they are. As the feedback builds toward the mid-point before giving way to bass-heavy riffs, it’s hard to imagine things getting lighter. That does happen though shortly after, when the band settles into an introspective passage. It’s short and acts as a mere break before they pick up the sludge one more time. It ends with a barrage of riffs, in the same way it started.

Scabrous, like other doom/sludge long players, definitely deserves a full sitting. It’s not the sort of album that you can listen to is small doses. It’s more focused than the band’s self-titled debut full-length and it benefits from all of the honing they’ve picked up from the road. Sea Bastard have settled on a formula that hits right where it should. Good job!

You can stream Scabrous and grab it as a name-your-price download from Sea Bastard, via their bandcamp page:-

Grab vinyl copies from the below places:-

Mosh Tuneage -
Dry Cough Records -
Black Reaper Records -
Cat Face Records -

Sea Bastard Facebook -
Mosh Tuneage Facebook -
Dry Cough Records Facebook -
Black Reaper Records Facebook -
Cat Face Records Facebook -

Saturday 25 October 2014

Dodsferd - The Parasitic Survival Of The Human Race

I was at the pub with a mate last night and he mentioned that he'd been listening to a lot of Dodsferd recently. The conversation reminded me that I still had this album to review. Released in 2013 via Razorbleed Productions and then re-released in 2014 via Moribund Records, this is the eighth full-length from the Greek black metal four-piece (I seem to be on a bit of Greek extreme metal binge at the moment!).

As a band, they have been writing and releasing truly hateful black metal since 2003. They have been a constant since then, with splits, live-albums and of course those aforementioned albums. They are a band that don't care for people's opinions yet show great respect for their loyal fans. In November, they will be playing first-time shows in Italy and Switzerland, playing the latter alongside Negura Bunget and Glorior Belli amongst others.


1. Breeding Chaos
2. Creator Of Disease
3. Stupid Worthless Sheep
4. Doubting Your Worth
5. We Are 138 (Misfits Cover)

Dodsferd aren’t your typical black metal band. They have transitioned over the years and on this record, their sound is bolstered by rock n roll. Breeding Chaos seems to channel the energy of Motorhead into it’s riffs, while the screams from vocalist Wrath are really intense. That’s not all that Dodsferd have in their arsenal though. Mid-way through the song, they lurch into hyper-speed, filling the song with blastbeats and buzz-saw guitar. A rip-roaring opener if ever I’ve heard one.

The songs are linked by samples of what sounds like rioting and other forms of chaos. I like that because it stops the album from losing momentum due to silence between songs. Creator Of Disease keeps the album’s pace up while the production gives Dodsferd a raw and honest sound. There’s no overproduction here and a scuzziness lurking in the background that reminds you of Dodsferd’s musical allegiance.  

The intensity doesn’t stop and Stupid Worthless Sheep carries that band’s anti-human message. It’s the longest song on The Parasitic Survival… and for the most past, it remains mid-paced. It doesn’t quite have the same punch as the songs before it, but it’s still to plenty of presence. Dodsferd’s final original offering here is Doubting Your Worth. The rhythms played by drummer Maelstrom are really catchy (I’m sorry, I tried not to use this term) and at times the song sounds industrial, though it still retains an air of punishing quality.

Dodsferd finish up with a Misfits cover (We Are 138), which includes both clean singing and Wrath screaming the same lyrics over the top. It’s bizarre ending the EP, but actually fits their sound perfectly. The Parasitic Survival Of The Human Race is over pretty quickly but is strong enough to stick in your head. You don’t hear people say that about a black metal very often!

You can stream the whole record online currently, but you can here the opening track via Razorbleed Productions below:-

You can buy CD copies from Razorbleed Productions here - and from Moribund Records here -

Dodsferd Facebook -
Razorbleed Productions Facebook -
Moribund Records Facebook -

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Moloch/Haggatha - Split 7"

Earlier this year, Moloch (the UK sludge act) and Canada's Haggatha joined up to release a two-track split, that ended up seeing the light of day with help from Dry Cough Records (UK), De Graanrepubliek Records (NL) and Choking Hazard Records (Can). This followed up Moloch's previous two split records with Meth Drinker and Ensorcelor, so it had big shoes to fill and expectations to smash.

Moloch have been active since 2007 and have one full-length to their name is "Possession", which was released in 2011. They've mainly been releasing splits since then including the aforementioned ones. Moloch also has links to UK label/distro Feast Of Tentacles, for those who don't know. Vancouver's Haggatha are of a similar age and have released two previous EPs and two albums. This split marls their first recorded material for two years. Their drummer also plays in Bison B.C. and appeared on the second 3 Inches Of Blood record, Advance And Vanquish!


1. Moloch - Head Of Coil
2. Haggatha - Time And Suffering

Moloch’s side of this split is full of stop/start groove and an urgency, that only they seem to possess. More recently, Moloch haven’t favoured overly long slabs of sludge. Head Of Coil slithers it’s way through just over four-minutes of bass-laden feedback and minimal growls. Sometime less is more and Moloch don’t over complicate things.

This is my first experience of Haggatha, but the prove to be perfect split companions here. They contain more melody, but at the same time they are darker thanks to the low/high vocal attack they spew forth on Time And Suffering. The guitar noise at two-minutes is squalidly low yet thick like molasses. This song fits perfectly with Dry Cough’s modus operandi, which is to continually find and release the slowest of the slow.

There seems to be more sludge bands around now than ever and picking your way through them can be hard. Just stick this on and in ten short minutes, you’ll have found two of the best.

Stream the whole thing here:-

Grab the vinyl from the following labels:-

Dry Cough Records (UK) -
De Graanrepubliek Republiek (NL) -
Chocking Hazard Records (CAN) -

Social media links to the bands and labels are below too:-

Moloch Facebook -
Haggatha Facebook -
Dry Cough Records Facebook -
De Graanrepubliek Records Facebook -
Choking Hazard Records Facebook -

Saturday 18 October 2014

Great Reversals - Natural Burial 7"

I've spent some of today listing all of my vinyl records and some of my tapes, so I know what I have in case something happens or I try to re-buy what I already own. It made me feel tired, but also left me feeling as though I've accomplished something. Now it's time to truly relax with a new-ish 7" from Detroit hardcore band Great Reversals. Natural Burial was released in April via How Soon Is Now Records, Protagonist Music and Hydrogen Man Records. As I write this review, Great Reversals are either playing or have just played with Homewrecker and Pharaoh in Ohio. I'm not sure about the time difference between the UK and that part of the US, so sorry for the vagueness.

Great Reversals have been together since 2009 and have quite a resume, when it comes to opening/support slots. They've played with the likes of Defeater and Agnostic Front along the way. They've also released a demo, EP and two splits so far. Natural Burial is their latest output.  With the US's current record in terms of top-notch new hardcore, as well as recent new music from scene stalwarts like Bloodlet, Drop Dead and Haymaker (to name a few), this should be good.


1. Leviathan Smiles
2. Siren Song
3. Reason In Madness

Like the 7” artwork at the top of this review, Leviathan Smiles opens with plenty of atmosphere. It features big-sounding guitars and shouted vocals that sound a bit like La Dispute. Screamo though, this ins’t! It’s mid-paced hardcore with plenty of stomp. This 7” instantly grabs you with it’s musicality and production, which are both stellar. Siren Song features acoustic guitar during it’s intro, which provides a gentler sound. Again, when Great Reversals kick into a higher gear, you’re left with a cavernous offering. I mean, I know everything’s bigger in the US but the sound on here reaches as high as the church roof on the cover!

With so much hardcore around nowadays, it’s hard to pick out genuine contenders in terms of quality and originality. Great Reversals separate themselves from their peers with subtle metal influences, while not seeing the need for “br00tal” breakdowns on Reason In Madness. In fact, that goes for the whole 7” really. Three tracks really ain’t enough here. This is the sound of a band who have honed their chops live and know how to write hardcore songs that stick in your head. There’s aggression, but it’s channelled and mature. Things may be over quickly, but that just means you have to press repeat!

You can stream the entire 7" via GR's bandcamp page here - 

Natural Burial is available as a free download, but you really should make an effort to grab a vinyl copy from the below labels and the band themselves:-

Great Reversals Bigcartel -
How Soon Is Now Storenvy -
Protagonist Music Bigcartel -
Hydrogen Man Storenvy -

Great Reversals Facebook -
How Soon Is Now Records Facebook -
Protagonist Music Facebook -
Hydrogen Man Records Tumblr -

Friday 17 October 2014

War Possession - Through The Ages

It's Friday night! While others are out with the intention of drinking and then forgetting what they did (I did that last Friday by the way!), I've been sitting here deciding what to write about. I stumbled upon Greek death metal band War Possession, glanced at the cover art for Through The Ages and decided this could be fun. This EP was released on CD by Polish extreme metal label Hellthrasher Productions in 2012. War Possession themselves date back to 2008, when they released their initial demo, though the individuals featured have been playing and continue to play in other bands, of a similar extreme ilk. Following this EP, they released a split with fellow Athens death-metallers Respawn The Plague, with whom they share a member.


1. In The Shadow Of The Ancient Gods
2. Medieval Bloodlust
3. World War Domination
4. A Taste Of Things To Come (Chaos Awaits)
5. Deathmarch (outro)

War Possession slay! Old-school death metal full of Scandinavian flair and Greek brutality. A clash of strains you might think, but it works perfectly. They clearly don’t care for the slick US sound of now, instead content for EP opener In The Shadow Of The Ancient Gods to sound as if it was written by Nihilist themselves. Those guttural vocals and low tuning show how serious War Possession are about their death, while the subtle melodic leads keep you hooked.

I love how raw they sound on Medieval Bloodlust. The blastbeats that greet you are intense but the natural way in which they’re played is endearing. There’s no trigger use going on here! The song itself is a six-plus minute slog through mid-paced death, straight from the killing fields. When they slow the riffs down to an almost sludge-like crawl, it’s like something out of your recurring nightmares.

WP deservedly have a few seconds extra to rest before the slow dirge of World War Domination starts. What starts off slow though, becomes anything but. WP thrash and flair through five and a half minutes. Lead-guitar treble has a fist-fight with rumbling bass, while the kick drums march on unhindered alongside those now characteristically low growls. 

A Taste Of Things To Come (Chaos Awaits) sounds more like black-thrash at first, which is no surprise really. It’s dark and murky, much like War Possession. It’s also angular, in the riffs anyway! WP make it more punchy and urgent, electing to play faster. They still throw in some shorter mid-paced transitions but when these are replaced with speed and technicality, it’s pretty damn impressive.

Through The Ages ends with Deathmarch, a horrifying and haunting outro. It caps off a terrific EP that’s full of real promise. The production works just right and the musicianship is spot-on for the corner of the genre that War Possession frequents. Greece may still be reeling from the recession, but it can still produce brilliant extreme bands.

You can stream Through The Ages via Hellthrasher Productions here:-

CD copies (that come with digital downloads) can be purchased via the above page.

War Possession Facebook -
Hellthrasher Productions Facebook -

Thursday 16 October 2014

Never A Hero - Bleed Between The Lines

I'll be honest, I'm approaching this record with a certain sense of trepidation. Never A Hero are an "alternative rock" band from Sudbury, who formed in 2009. Nowt wrong with that. They released their debut album Bleed Between The Lines in 2013. Again, all moving in the right direction. The reason for the trepidation is the names they've given themselves on Social Media. Before you say it, band members give themselves stage names all the time, it's nothing new but it's just that it reminds me of my late teens when I started listening to metal and thought stage names were cool.

Moving on from that though, I'm not gonna give them too much of a hard time because they're trying to make their way in the industry and are doing what they can to propel themselves above everyone else. This blog wouldn't be here were it not for bands like Never A Hero.


1. Read Between The Lines
2. Burning Skies
3. Roses Are Dead, Violets Are Too
4. The Call
5. Screams Of Silence
6. Days Of Patients
7. Vogue
8. >|<
9. Untouchable
10. Dreamcatcher
11. Hollow And The Crow
12. Sunbeam
13. Stalked
14. Bleed Between The Lines

Alternative can mean many things in music nowadays. In Never A Hero’s case it mean samples and electronics. Title track Read Between The Lines will provoke obvious mutterings of “they remind me of Enter Shikari”, but hold you breath and at least take in the rest of this album! The instant leap to Burning Skies from the opener is a nice touch. No unnecessary pauses to block momentum. It’s here that Never A Hero show their hand for real. Mixing post-hardcore style vox with electronics. You may think you’ve heard it all before, but at least their vocals are delivered in their native accent and things feel genuine. 

The opening riffs of Roses Are Dead, Violets Are Too are surprisingly thrash-laden and throughout the song, smatterings of Bullet For My Valentine (whatever happened to them?) can be heard. That’s not a disservice to Never A Hero though, who actually good musical structure and ideas within themselves here. The grand orchestral opening of The Call may be seen through my some, but it creates a whole new atmosphere. Too be honest, there’s a lot going on in the song. All kinds of elements make their play, from djent-style melodic vocals too hair-metal solos. There are smatterings of a fairly well known Armenian-American band within Screams Of Silence but there’s also a whole lot of quality musicianship that will make you smile. I love the eighties-electro coursing through Days Of Patients. It’s a pseudo ballad that’s got hooks and great melody.

Seventh number Vogue comes at you surprisingly quickly, such is the punchy delivery thus far. There more thrash and added twin-guitar harmonies for good measure. Actually, the lead work here is amongst the best on the record. It’s followed by >|<. a dramatic instrumental interlude, which flows into the latter half of the album and Untouchable. It’s piano introduction makes you think they’re going for another ballad. They’re not, but this is the longest song on Bleed Between The Lines. They throw some technical instrumentation into the mix, which really works in between the melodic verse/chorus make-up. The addition of the clean female vocals further heighten Never A Hero’s pop-sensibilities. Dreamcatcher follows in much the same vein, but with added breakdowns!

They hit the dub-step line hard during the intro to Hollow And The Crow. It’s an angular rock song without being pretentious and while it may sound like you’ve heard it somewhere before, but like the rest of Bleed Between The Lines, that’s not the point. It’s a well crafted album with cross-over appeal aimed at rock/mainstream metal fans. Sunbeam goes someway to reminding you that this troupe are British (in case you somehow forgot) and the UK grime-inspired spoken word/rap helps too! Stalked is another track that could well be this albums standout. It’s less cluttered and complicated, relying more on a simpler structure and approach. It took them till the penultimate song to do it, but it works. The title-track closes out proceedings and leaves you time to digest what just happened!

In summary, what first seemed like a poorly-conceived idea to re-awaken the ghosts of the old alt-rock/nu-metal late 90s thing, actually turned out very differently. Granted, Never A Hero’s debut album was all about them finding their sound and  providing a block for them leap from. It’s done that and that block has provided a stepping-stone for rock fans who are bored of the self-pitying grunge that’s around now. It’s fun and that’s what you really want, right?

You can stream various songs from Bleed Between The Line via Never A Hero's website here -

Never A Hero Facebook -

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Misgivings - Delete History EP

I've recently started getting Maximum Rock n Roll again. I really appreciate it as a monthly encyclopedia of punk and that's exactly what I need to cheer me up during the quickly advancing winter months. While have more in common with Alkaline Trio and Astpai than the likes of Los Crudos and Stressors, I'm giving Southsea's Misgivings a shot.

Delete History is their debut EP and is due for release in early November. Props to the guys for making the trip to Europe for some shows recently too, though I'm not sure they enjoyed the roads too much!


1. Century
2. It's A Bone, You Lucky Dog
3. The Natives
4. Black Book
5. Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel
6. Stay Dull

Misgivings play gruff punk that takes nothing from the US pretenders that made it super clean and super melodic. There’s good old Britishness coursing through Delete History and opener Century features fun riffs and vocal harmonies. They remind me of the many bands that have made it onto the All In Vinyl subscription series (Timeshares, Dividers, etc) and we can never have too many of them.

It’s A Bone, You Lucky Dog points you towards the band’s sense of humour and their gutter-punk leanings, full of stiff upper-lip and fighting spirit. While Misgivings don’t play at a million miles a minutes, they more than make up for it in the infectious make-up of their songs. The Natives gives you the biggest hint towards their Alkaline Trio influence yet and you’re half expecting the silky tones of Dan Adriano to come floating through your speakers. To be fair, Misgiving’s tones aren’t far off!

There’s something seriously grin-inducing about Delete History and it’s even more apparent during Black Books. You might think I’m waxing lyrical a bit too enthusiastically, but having starved myself of decent, honest music for over a week for various and boring reasons, I’m just glad of the time to sink back into it. Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel starts off all gentle and nice, but it’s not too long before the rousing punk rears it’s head again. The song reminds me of drunk sing-along's in small pub back-rooms. It’s always better that way. Spit and Sawdust is all you need!

Even though the EP’s opener had a little more polish applied to it, closer Stay Dull feels very different. Delete History seems to get gradually more DIY and as eluded to in this reviews opening sentence, slick production is no friend of Misgivings. Instead they make use of a production job that ensures that they lose none of their musical skill while keeping their essence and energy at the right level. Six songs in about under twenty-minutes is fine by me, when they’re this good.

You can stream opening track Century via the band's bandcamp page below:-

Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for news about the limited CD release too -

Monday 6 October 2014

Oak - Oak LP

It seems like ions since I reviewed the EP by a Swedish hardcore band called Anchors & Roses, when in truth it was only last year. Since that release, the band have changed their name to Oak and have released a tape and this, their self titled album. They released it on vinyl in July with Woodhammer Entertainment and HoboRec, while the tape version was handled by Miss The Stars.

When I first came across Anchors & Roses, I was really digging fellow Swedes Totem Skin and Buried Below. This new incarnation of the band seems to be really pushing on and have recently completed a European tour with fellow Swedish band Murderofcrows.


1. Prologue: Modest Hopes
2. Chapter I: Torn Down/Tearing Down
3. Chapter I: Dust
4. Chapter I: Roots
5. Chapter II: Ash
6. Chapter II: Haze
7. Chapter II: Galanty Shows
8. Chapter III: The World
9. Chapter III: Each Other
10. Chapter III: Ourselves

Oak’s self-titled album is split into three chapters. It all begins with the intro track, Prologue: Modest Hopes, which is filled with rage noise and feedback. It’s a pretty intense opener, full of off-kilter tendencies and heavy riffs. Chapter I follows where Prologue… left off. Torn Down/Tearing Down is equally as heavy but does feature more obvious structure between the quick-fire bursts of grind. Oak flit between different modes and Dust nods towards their hardcore influences and lets the percussion dictate the pace. It’s still hellishly moody and the atmosphere gets ever darker. There’s a caustic beauty about Roots, which is the final salvo of Chapter I. The metallic guitar that was hinted at on Dust, rears it’s head further and adds something akin to melody. It’s a welcoming listen, that hooks you in.

Oak ratchet up the intensity further on Chapter II, with the writhing and smashing of Ash. Haze is their longest tome at nearly six-minutes and while it may seem to some like the track that’s most aligned to metal, it has much more too it. There’s some great lead work and bass-heft, while Oak show further glimpses of the experimentation they’ve been hinting at during the opening blows of the album. Their expansive song-writing does them a good service here. For me, Haze is the standout track. Closing the second chapter with Galanty Shows, your presented with orchestral strings and gentle piano in what is both an interlude and a moment to take breath.

The final chapter fires you back into the dark minds of the band. Guitar strings clash and bend while screams of bare emotion ring out on The World. It’s a minimalistic approach before Oak switch to full, epic overdrive with a section that is more than equal to the noise created by Cult Of Luna. All the intricacies of The World are soon forgotten about though, as Each Other fills you head with more off-kilter imagery. The screams burying themselves further into your head and the drums threatening to spill over the top, before more heaving noise elevates things to a maddening level. Ourselves builds with the kind of anticipation that is normally only reserved for the Northern Lights. I can just picture it’s majestic light-show with Ourselves playing in the background. 

It’s a fitting and soothing end to one hell of an album. It’s twists and turns, from grinding hardcore to emotive ballads shows great assurance. Oak have found a sound worth building and one which will separate them from their peers. Hats off to them.

You can stream it all here:-

Oak is available as a name-you-price download from the above bandcamp page.

You can order physical records and tapes from the below links:-

Woodhammer Entertainment -
HoboRec Mailorder -
Miss The Stars -

Oak Facebook -
Woodhammer Entertainment Facebook -
HoboRec Facebook -
Miss The Stars Facebook -

Sunday 5 October 2014

Arcane North - Enter The Arcane North EP

I've got MS of Glorious North Productions to thank for this little EP. While GNP didn't release it, the label has distributed the CD release for one-man County Durham black metal band Arcane North. Arcane North (William) began making music in 2013 and Enter The Arcane North was released in June of this year and was limited to just forty copies. There's not much else to say, apart from that the picture at the top of the review, isn't the actual CD cover, though the background image is the same.


1. Ravenous And Cavernous
2. Eternal Forest Waltz
3. Beneath The Crooked Oak

Knowing the sort of bands that have been released by Glorious North Productions (many of whom have been reviewed here before), the fact that the label has been involved in this release comes a no surprise. Arcane North is honest and grand solo black-metal. EP opener Ravenous And Cavernous is initially filled with a wall of guitar, before the drums and atmospheric effects are added to the mix. The vocals are rasping screams and there are medieval textures throughout, which bring to mind the cold and bleak countryside that provides the background to the song. It’s an engaging initial listen and the twin-guitar melodies are a really nice touch.

The hooting of the Owl during the into to Eternal Forest Waltz, conjures images of nights alone in the woods. That’s probably the atmosphere William was going for! Here the guitar provides the melody, while the chanting used adds a menacing edge. Eternal Forest Waltz doesn’t contain the same impact as the EP’s opener, but the structure and texture is more geared towards the epic end of the black-metal spectrum. Hiding the percussion deep within the mix softens the aggression and brings out a more calming feel.

The menacing, occult tones carry through Enter The Arcane North to closing song Beneath The Crooked Oak. The vocals are slightly deeper in the mix in this song, allowing the instrumentation to shine through. The ending to this song is brilliant though, as Arcane North shrugs off the majestic soundscape and ratchets up the pace to a level, which at times leans towards grind. It certainly livens up the mood on the EP.  Featuring three-tracks that together, add up to nearly half an hour of playing time, Enter The Arcane North is very assured and focused. I hear there are more songs on the way, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more from AN.

EP opener Ravenous And Cavernous is streaming via Arcane North's Soundcloud page below:-

Physical CD's can be purchased via Glorious North Productions here -

Arcane North Facebook -
Glorious North Productions Facebook -

Saturday 4 October 2014

Night Runner - Demo Tape

Bands that keep their online presence minimal are few and far between nowadays. Night Runner from Boston, are one band that prefers it this way. They only have a bandcamp page containing this demo and well...nothing else. This four-track demo was recorded in their hometown in 2013 and was released by Headless Guru Records in May of this year. This tape to me, epitomises what a demo should be. It plucks a band out of obscurity and puts their music in front of people. There was only 70 copies of the demo released, but it's found it's way into the hands of 70 people who will really appreciate it and will hopefully, go forth and recommend Night Runner to other people.


1. House Pet
2. Thick Heads
3, Cross Mind
4. Night Runner

This demo is over before you know it, with four raging hardcore songs in under six minutes. Night Runner play hardcore-punk in the truest sense. They don’t water it down with modern electronic touches and there’s melody in their music. House Pet is the perfect opener, with a slight horror-punk vibe going on in the lead work. Thick Heads turns up the urgency and for sixty-eight seconds you’re sucked into a wild, circle-pitting frenzy.

I imagine these guys are solid skaters. Cross Mind belongs on a Thrasher video (yeah, an actual video tape). Closer Night Runner cries out with feedback, before turning into exactly the type of song you’d be screaming out live. Such a good vibe, great riffs and simple hardcore punk. Surely that’s more than enough of a reason to jam this demo!

You can stream and download it for free directly from Night Runner's bandcamp page below:-

The tape version is long since sold out, but you can also get a name-your-price-download from Headless Guru Records via their bandcamp page -

Headless Guru Records Facebook -