Sunday 30 November 2014

Like Pigs On Embers - Demo 2014

I've got time for one more review this weekend and I thought I'd take a look at a band that contacted me via the blog just last month. Like Pigs On Embers are a hardcore band from the West Coast of France. They released a four track demo digitally in July and asked me to review it.

They're a four-piece who decided to hold off contacting people until they had music recorded and released. They didn't print a thousand t-shirt designs or start a store without a song to their name. That's how it should be. They've played a few shows around France since the demo's release but they remain in background as individuals, which adds an air of mystery.


1. L.P.O.E
2. Roses Are Fading
3. Peaceful Knight
4. Wood Revenge

L.P.O.E starts in noisy fashion with tonnes of feedback before Like Pigs On Embers launch into some heavy hardcore-punk. The vocals are pretty furious, in the vein of Trap Them while the riffs are everywhere. The opener doesn’t reach past two-minutes thanks to the addition of some fast grind. As I eluded to above, this is fast, but it also features the odd sludgy moment like in Roses Are Fading. That extra texture within their music makes things more edgy.

There’s a lot here that people will like, if you like a lot of modern blackened hardcore. Peaceful Knight takes more from the band’s influences, but they stay focused and weave those influences into their songs instead of just apeing them. The band themselves mentioned Ruins as a starting point, which I don’t think is too far wrong. Wood Revenge ends things in great punk style. It’s faster and contains the same energy as the demo's opener did. There are real moments of groove here and the DIY recording doesn’t let them down at all. 

This is fast, loud and short. Like Pigs On Embers sound remarkably focused for such a young band (not in age terms, but length of time together). I’ve always thought that the French scene was a little detached from others in Europe, but there are some great bands there and Like Pigs On Embers are added to that list.

You can stream the first half of the Demo here:-

The demo is only available digitally. You can download both Peaceful Knight and Wood Revenge for free, but if you want the full EP, it's only 3 euros.

Like Pigs On Embers Facebook -

The New Tusk - Monster Trucks

The New Tusk has a new EP out, I reviewed their last 7", Mine To Breathe in July and they've just capped off 2014 by releasing a new four-track EP in October called Monster Trucks via Get Into It Records. After yesterday's extended heaviness session, I needed something to ease me into Sunday and to help me forget about the new working week that's peering over my shoulder. Thankfully, The New Tusk play lo-fi punk/indie/emo or as they call it "lo-fi short attention span punk". To be fair, it's about time I featured some more punk on here.


1. Nice Charity
2. Toystory
3. Uncomfort
4. Stones To Make It

Monster Trucks was self-recorded by the band and it’s that DIY energy and dedication that shows through here. Nice Charity features dual shouty-punk vocals and lo-fi indie clean singing. it all sits on top of melodic guitar and a noisy rhythm section. I thought Toystory was going to be about the film. Ah well, you can’t have everything! It’s more laid back than the EP opener and leans more towards the band’s indie sound. It’s got plenty of presence and danceable groove, yet is short and sharp.

The New Tusk have a keen eye for melody. Just listen to the opening riffs on Uncomfort! There’s also a slight hint of goth-rock in the song, especially in the low sung vocals. It kind of reminds me of a cross between The Velvet Underground and Franz Ferdinand in some ways. It’s really hard to pin The New Tusk down to just one genre here. They really mix things up and challenge you. EP closer Stones To Make It carries on along that exact path. It’s hard to put a tag to, which is a good thing, because it shows originality and strong musical ability.

I think that The New Tusk are starting to find their sound and identity and if they carry on like this, they’ll surely grow in stature. I recently read a quote from a big arena-playIng US punk band that read “The problem with modern rock is it’s not modern”. Bands keep taking from each other and try to create new, interesting takes of genres, but few do it properly. The New Tusk are compelling enough to buck that trend.

You can stream Monster Trucks here:-

It's also available as a pay-what-you-want download.

Tape copies can by bought from Get Into It Records here -

The New Tusk Facebook -
Get Into It Records Facebook -

Saturday 29 November 2014

Jotnarr - Divide The Growth And Stone

Another tape I've been slack on is the recent two-track tape from Jotnarr. I reviewed their earlier demo quite a while ago and have had this sitting in my physical review pile staring at me for ages. Released in July, again via Vetala Productions, it's been getting Jotnarr plenty of attention. They've been "band of the day" on the Terrorizer website, been in the magazine itself and they've played alongside Fen as well as one of my fave bands Totem Skin since it's release. Scrolling through the flyers of the gigs they've played, proves that they're pretty hard to classify musically. Best let it do the talking then!


1. A Plague On Earth
2. Relics

What you’re getting here is two tracks of blackened crust essentially. A Plague On Earth is a dirty, low-slung slab of filth with abject screams buried within the instrumentation. There’s no flashy solos or uber-produced effects, just honest noise and tangible despair.

has more ambient melody in it’s ranks. It’s more apparent at the beginning but it then retreats back into the mix. Where A Plague On Earth was more barren and stark, Relics is a variation on a theme that shows a different side to the band. One influenced by harsh screamo and featuring actual catchiness!

Both songs here are the same length bizarrely, but they both represent different things. For band finding their way and their sound, these songs hint at a point in time and an evolution for Jotnarr. Surely and album must be on the way, but for now there’s enough to keep the hunger sated here.

You can stream Divide The Growth And Stone here:-

You can also get it as a pay-what-you-want download there as well.

The physical tapes appear to be sold out from both Jotnarr and Vetala Productions.

Jotnarr Facebook -
Vetala Productions Facebook -

Abomnium - Solace For The Condemned

I've just got back from Christmas beer/whiskey shopping. I know it's a bit soon, but I hate crowds in shops and going on Black Friday would have been plain stupid. The bonus of going so early on a Saturday means that I can spend the rest of the day listening to music. I'm starting with something that more than matches the wet, dank day that greeted me this morning. The third full-length Solace For The Condemned, by black/death band Abomnium.

It was released in July via UKEM Records (whom also released the Ulfarr/Hrafnblod split CD, which I love) and is the third record in four years to come from sole member Sapient. It has one of best covers I've seen for a while. I like simplicity and art that matches the music, so this is perfect. I'm just sorry it's taken me this long to write about it.


1. Condemned
2. Yad Al Jauza
3. Crown Of Feathers
4. The Walking Man
5. Witchlight
6. The Paths Of The Dead
7. Purpose Of The Flesh
8. Solace

Opening with swirling, haunting atmosphere and ambience, Abomnium sets the scene and bursts into Condemned, which is filled with fast drumming and blackened guitar harmonies. Sapient’s vocals are ice-cold as well, but it’s his guitar playing that really stands out for me, even this early on. The melodic lead-work throughout the song is very assured and helps create a really engaging sound. There’s a industrial feel to the start of Yad Al Jauza, but it’s quickly overtaken by angular guitar melodies. The bursts of thrash that pepper the song keep it’s momentum strong, while musical virtuosity keeps you hooked right in. For me, it’s the instrumental sections that set this album apart from those of Abomnium’s peers.

There’s more of the aforementioned thrash in the crushing Crown Of Feathers. It’s a real pity that Abomnium isn’t a live entity, because this would go down so well in an intimate live setting or at a DIY festival, especially at a future edition of ‘Kin Hell Fest (if that were to happen again). Sapient’s death metal influences really start to come to the fore during The Walking Man. It’s blackened atmosphere is enough to turn you to stone, only to then be re-awoken by the siren-like guitar solos. The progressive nature of mid-section to The Walking Man is especially breathtaking.

It’s not until the you’re passed the mid-point of Solace For The Condemned and settling into Witchlight, that you realise just how majestic the album is. There is a lot going on in each song, but instead of the song-writing and structure being all over the place, things are split into obvious and classy movements. Transitions between time-changes and moods are seamless and the album’s production is such that no quality is lost. The Paths Of The Dead is just one massive thrash attack from start to finish. It’s infectious pace and groove leaves no time for standing still. Listening to Purpose Of The Flesh, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a straight-up metal chugger, but it soon reveals itself to be anything but. Sapient’s frosty, blackened-rasps drag the song down into darker depths and the intense double-bass sweeps through the song like wave after wave of battle-ready infantry. Terrifyingly good!

Album closer Solace sums up the entire album in one final burst of majesty. Since I started writing this blog’ I’ve listened to more and more one-member bands and I can honestly say that the quality of said bands keeps getting better. It’s in part down to the control that the members have and here, Sapient has created an album that will live long in the memory and be repeated aplenty.

You can listen to album closer Solace on Youtube below:-

The CD can be purchased from UKEM Records while stocks last -

Abomnium Facebook -
UKEM Records Facebook -

Thursday 27 November 2014

Obstacle - S/T EP

Part of what I enjoy so much about writing this blog, is that I'm my own boss (so to speak). I have the freedom to write about stuff when I want to write about it. That's not to say that I don't take it seriously, it's just like many of the bands I review, I have a life outside of this. I'd love to spend more time on it but work, friends and family also get my attention. There's a point to this, believe me!

Music is freedom. Being in and touring with a band is freedom. Obstacle are a band discovering that freedom for themselves. These four lads from Ireland released their self-titled EP this July through new UK label Footloose Records and it's already helped them to get support slots with Madball, amongst others.


1. Intro
2. Certain Death
3. Terraforming
4. Nothing
5. The Fissure
6. Malaise
7. Monarchy
8. Revulsion

Ireland has been on the map for a while thanks to it’s ability to spit out scathing, heavy bands. Bands like Crows and Altar Of Plagues (RIP) have helped to shape it and more recent arrivals like Raum Kingdom have done it’s reputation no harm at all. Obstacle’s metallic hardcore gets an airing straight away in the brief intro, before they launch into Certain Death. The religious sample at the start rallies against rock music, but thankfully Obstacle don’t take it to heart. Their brand of hardcore is energetic and full of stomp, especially on Terraforming, with the vocals leaning towards powerviolence-esque screams. 

Nothing is an interlude featuring a haunting sample with another religious slant to it. Religion seems to the theme running through the band’s S/T EP. The Fissure is brimming with pounding drums, cymbal crashes and high-pitched guitar harmonics. The second half of the song bleeds into sludge territory. Malaise has a real skate-punk feel to it thanks to it’s up-beat tempo. It’s also one of the maddest songs on the entire EP. That chaos follows immediately with penultimate song Monarchy. Closing song Revulsion is the only number that nudges passed two-minutes and it’s were the band’s crossover appeal really breaks loose. It’s just damn good punk that doesn’t let up. 

You can download the EP free directly from Obstacle here -

Tape copies can be purchased from Footloose Records via their store here -

Obstacle Facebook -
Footloose Records Facebook -

Monday 24 November 2014

The Body/Thou - Released From Love 12"

Few people could believe it when The Body and Thou said they were collaborating.  Thou's last record Heathen was mightily good, but the thought of them not just sharing a split, let alone writing four songs together with The Body was too exciting. Well they did and it surfaced in April via Vinyl Rites.

The Body have been going since 1999 and could be considered veterans of the US sludge scene, while Thou have been hugely productive since their inception in 2005. Both bands played at this years Gilead Fest. They performed separately and together. Released From Love contains three original collaborations plus a cover of Coward by American folk singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt.


1. The Wheel Weaves As The Wheel Wills
2. Manifest Alchemy
3. In Meetings Hearts Beat Closer
4. Coward (Vic Chesnutt Cover)

The Body’s electronic infused sludge should be at odds with Thou’s more traditional doom approach, but this meeting of minds ends up making both bands sound even heavier (if possible). Opener, The Wheel Weaves As The Wheel Wills fills your ears with rumbling and sprawling bass, while the dual-low and high screams fill you with unease. So far, so very good.

Now while the opener was heavy, Manifest Alchemy that follows takes things a bit further. It’s more claustrophobic and slower, but shifts it’s weight when the electronics kick in, turning strangely minimalist at times. This is not a quiet Sunday evening listen by any means, but if you persevere it’ll leave grinning menacingly.

Their final original collaboration, In Meetings Hearts Bear Closer is the longest offering on Released From Love. Seeing both bands play this live must have been pretty amazing. It’s huge and even the eerie atmospherics don’t detract from the sheer heft that both bands present. The sprawling feedback that winds away to the songs conclusion, pretty much says all you need to know about the heaving mass of this record.

Their cover of Coward by Vic Chesnutt provides a warming embrace thanks to gentle acoustic guitar, that is until Chip King’s curdling howls enter the fray. Re-imagining a country song in this manner is bound to raise a few eyebrows, but neither band cares. This is their art and it’s for themselves. 

I’d go as far as to say that four songs are not enough here. Both The Body and Thou create a head-spinning cacophony of spell-binding noise. It’s this kind of progression and brevity that is rarely seen, but when it is, it blows normality out of the window. This EP may be short in the grand scheme, but is glorious when it’s here.

You can stream the opening song via Vinyl Rites on Soundcloud below:-

Physical copies of the 12" can be purchased here -

There is no digital version of this record, but then analogue is the way forward anyway.

Vinyl Rites Website -
The Body Facebook -
Thou Facebook -

Sunday 23 November 2014

From Her Eyes - Demons EP

Over the years, Bridgend has been somewhat of a breeding ground for great UK hardcore and metal. Bullet For My Valentine helped to introduce a whole generation of kids to metal and Funeral For A Friend (still one of my favourite bands) were able to take post-hardcore by the scruff of it's neck and turn it into something really meaningful and honest. It's no surprise then that the town in producing more bands, hoping to follow in their footsteps.

From Her Eyes are a new metalcore band that formed in 2012 and released their debut EP "No Place Like Home" a year later. Since then, they've been honing their sound and playing live as part of a bustling local scene, sharing stages with the likes of A Skylit Drive and Continents. From Her Eyes released their second EP "Demons" in August and are starting to build a pretty big buzz.


1. Decay
2. Comatose
3. Porcelain
4. Disillutionist
5. Elysium
6. Demons (Ft. Lucas Woodland of Falling With Style)

From Her Eyes are very much influenced by modern metal and hardcore, as the atmospheric opener Decay shows. It features great, dramatic drumming that is matched with melodic guitar. Comatose follows the instrumental opener with technical guitar and death-esque screams. From Her Eyes add something extra to the current modern-metal formula and sound really assured in their delivery, even this early on into the EP.

They show that their song-writing can be both sensitive and strong during Porcelain. From the measured intro to the barrage of riffs that greet you, there’s melody and dissonance in equal measure. The rest of song follows in similar fashion, with epic verses and introspective passages that keep the intensity going. They’re helped out by the solid mixing and mastering job on Demons. The volume helps Disillusionist leap out at you and there’s not a heavy reliance of breakdowns in the song either, so From Her Eyes don’t sound bloated.

Elysium is an interlude of sorts, though it still carries enough momentum leading into the closing title-track. They welcome vocalist Lucas Woodland from fellow Welsh post-hardcore band Falling With Style for this one. Demons is probably the strongest song on the EP for me. It features the same amount of melody and rhythm but seems to have a grittier and more majestic edge. Woodland’s clean singing contributes to that edge.

From Her Eyes have written a very strong EP here and sound more mature and assured than I was certainly expecting. They’ve got a big future ahead of them if they can maintain this energy and focus. It’s a pretty competitive part of the genre they’re in, especially with the number of similar bands in UK at the moment, so From Her Eyes have to get out there and show people they can work hard and do it themselves, if they’re to get signed and reach the next level. On this showing though, that will happen.

You can stream and purchase Demons digitally below:-

From Her Eyes Facebook -

Saturday 22 November 2014

Wolvhammer/Krieg - Split 7"

Today's been a pretty frustrating day, as only now (at 7.30pm GMT) am I able to sit and immerse myself in some heavy music. I had been meaning to write a few reviews today but reality bites, so this time is all the more sweet.

Tonight's chosen tonic (apart from a pint of real ale) is this split 7" between USBM institutions Wolvhammer and Krieg. It was released earlier in the year by Broken Limbs Recordings and features two tracks. Much like BLR, both Wolvhammer and Krieg have been very productive in 2014. Wolvhammer released their third full-length as well as tour the US with Mortals amongst others, whilst Krieg managed to find time to release four splits, two EPs and their seventh long-player!


1. Side A - Wolvhammer - Slaves To The Grime
2. Side B - Krieg - Eternal Victim

For this split, Wolvhammer have recorded an alternate version of Slaves To The Grime, which appeared on their 2014 Profound Lore full-length Crawling into Black Sun. The thing I like about Wolvhammer is their ability to weave real groove into their black metal. The riffs on this version of Slaves To The Grime really accentuate that. 

They do harness atmosphere though. They slow their tempos down and then hit back with blast beats, which back up the rasping growls. The melody hidden within the song is subtle and Wolvhammer never allow it to take centre stage. The odd hit of metallic guitar shines through towards the end, leaving crackling feedback.

Krieg follow with a hugely engaging soundstage on Eternal Victim. They sound meatier and while they share some of the mid-paced rhythm with Wolvhammer, they inject it with guitar effects that add urgency and cold blackened images. Song-writing wise, it’s hard to separate both bands due to their extensive experience and instrumental prowess, but for me Krieg hit the spot.

This split is by no means a competition though, as it acts as a bridge for both bands as they move into exciting stages in their evolution. While Krieg are more deeply rooted in USBM and show that twenty years within the scene has helped them to hone their sound and to push themselves forward, Wolvhammer demonstrate the breathe of variation and freedom of thought that exists within black metal. This partnership is as addictive as it is inspiring.

You can stream the whole split via Broken Limbs Recordings here:-

As well as the stream above, you can also purchase a digital download and the limited 7" directly from BLR's bandcamp page. This is well worth your time.

Wolvhammer Facebook -
Krieg Facebook -
Broken Limbs Recordings Facebook -

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Corrupt Leaders - S/T 7" + Dogma/Corrupt Leaders - Split 7"

It's mid-week and I already feel whacked. Now seems as good a time as any then, to check out some fast stuff I've not had chance to write about yet. I'm starting with a 7" that came out right at the start of the year and was the first physical release to come from Moshpit Tragedy Records, in 7 years! It's a four-track EP by Canadian crust band Corrupt Leaders.

Since forming in late 2013, Corrupt Leaders have released this and a split with Dogma, which I'm also reviewing here. In August, they played Don't Call It A Fest (which was headlined by Magrudergind and Young And In The Way).


1. Dig Their Own Graves
2. Breathe
3. Backward To Death
4. Traditions Of Abuse

Yeah, this hits the spot! It’s groovy, d-beat filled crust with huge guitars. The vocals are raspy, angry screams and opener Dig Their Own Graves has immediate impact, much like a kick in the face!
The punk influence is also strong. Breathe spins CL’s crust out and features riffs that could (loosely) be described as danceable, at least until the sludge kicks in anyway. The sludgy riffs actually give this an extra dimension.

I’m not leaving the bass out of this either. To match the big sound and Audiosiege mastering, the bass is turned right up. It hits hardest during Backward To Death, where it juxtaposes the metallic lead guitar. The mid-section is full of more mid-paced sludge groove and a menacing introspective instrumental passage, which features distant birdsong to quell the mood. CL close out with one final fast blast. Traditions Of Abuse takes you back to their crusty beginnings but distills some Southern groove into the mix for good measure. 

Stream and grab it as a name-your-price-download below:-

Fast-forward to September and Corrupt Leaders released this split 7" with US cohorts Dogma, whom they toured with the previous year. It was again released through Moshpit Tragedy and features two tracks from Dogma and three from CL. Dogma are just one of a huge number of US bands that I'm only just discovering!


1. Dogma - Premeditated Obsolescence
2. Dogma - Wolf
3. Corrupt Leaders - Power Lines
4. Corrupt Leaders - Patterns
5. Corrupt Leaders - Antennas

Dogma start us of with Premeditated Obsolescence that plunges headfirst into grinding punk territory. It’s raw and fast, with some great lead guitar. Wolf is where Dogma lose their shit. They flit between punk and groove with ease and drag a million circle-pitting goons along for the ride. I may be building this up too much, but what they heck. The mix of punk and stoner groove is pretty damn infectious.

Corrupt Leaders follow up in the same fashion and with a more gutter-drenched sound than on their self-titled 7”. Power Lines is a furious minute of squalid crust. CL thrash on Patterns. The opening riffs and drum-blasts are great and their later forays into sludge during the song’s second half, provides a bit of relief (though it’s not light by any means). Their closing tome, Antennas, is stop/start and features dual high/low growls for added bite. Like their previous contributions above, CL manage to weave so many different styles into their crust. 

Stream Dogma's side here:-

Stream CL's side here:-

You can get both sides a pay-what-you-want downloads from the above bandcamp pages.

These records are being distributed by Give Praise Records here -

Corrupt Leaders -
Dogma -

Frogskin/Lahdon Aika - Split 7"

Finland and doom are two words that fit together like Cheese and Toast. They're just meant to be! Both Frogskin and Lahdon Aika are completely new to me, but when an e-mail appeared in my inbox with a promo for this split attached, I was a little more than curious. I've been enjoying a lot of Svart/Ektro Records releases of late (when I've found the time to just sit and listen to stuff) and so was more than ready for this two-track record.

Frogskin started releasing music in 2005 and are nearly at the ten-year mark, as are Lahdon Aika, who released their first self-titled CD a year earlier. This split was released by three unknown (to me anyway) labels - Ramekuukkeli, 82-Records and Rusto-Osiris. Anyway, less talk and more doom!


1. Frogskin - ITSE
2. Lahdon Aika - Hiljaisuus Kaikkialla

Begin with Frogskin and you’re greeted with some of the slowest/heaviest doom/sludge this side of Profetus! ITSE is a sprawling eight-minute slab of slithering, crawling noise that features deep riffs and hellish growls. Even the occasional flourishes of trebly guitar and organ can’t drag Frogskin up from their deep-water grave!

Lahdon Aika are not as suffocating as Frogskin and their contribution, Hiljaisuus Kaikkialla is more mid-paced. There’s stoner groove and a punk backbone to the song, while the lyrics are in Finnish. When they do break out the doom, they do so in a subtle way. It reminds me a little bit of fellow Finns Terveyskeskus (punk/hc) at times.

Both bands are portray their own ideas of doom/sludge in a unique way. Both bands are well worth hunting down and checking out if you like heavy music with character. Good stuff!

You can stream Lahdon Aika's side of the split via their bandcamp page here:-

You can buy the 7" in physical or digital form from the above page as well.

Also available from the labels via the links below:-

Rusto-Osiris -
Ramekuukkeli -

Lahdon Aika Facebook -
Frogskin Metal Archives -
Rusto-Osiris Facebook -
Ramekuukkeli Facebook -ämekuukkeli-levyt
82-records (under construction) -

Monday 17 November 2014

Acrania - Totalitarian Dystopia

Acrania is a UK death metal band who released their debut album via Unique Leader earlier this year.   They're pretty extreme and that extremity has seen them crossover and cross-pollinate with the beatdown scene, just like Ingested and Tintagel have. They're even off out with Desolated in December on a UK tour and then in Jan 2015, they're playing alongside US bands Within The Ruins and I Declare War. Both tours include dates in Leeds, which is handy.

Acrania have been playing their brand of political death metal since 2012, when they released a split with Californian grind band Blue Waffle and a single. Their debut EP, The Beginning Of The End came out a year later and helped them catch the attention of Unique Leader. I should probably stop telling you what you already know now and get on with the review!


1. Hollow
2. Festering With Dishonesty
3. Totalitarian Dystopia
4. Servants Of Hypocrisy
5. Survival Sequence
6. A Gluttonous Abomination
7. Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability
8. Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate (LDN)
9. Messiah Of Manipulation
10. Disillusion In A Discordant System

I think the last slam/death bands I feature on here were Engorgement and Dutch band Kraanium, which was quite some time ago now. Acrania are pretty heavy from the get-go. Their intro song Hollow is full of breakdowns and insanely fast double-bass, which is definitely a sign of things to come. They kick into gear with Festering With Dishonesty, which features more of that double-bass. They use dual-screams and the guitar sound is thick, with solid production. Acrania’s death metal is pretty technical and isn’t just made up of breakdowns. The title-track sees the band railing against authority and the tax system. It suddenly becomes clear why these guys are so angry and why they channel in this way. 

While the title-track seemed like a bit of a long-player at nearly five minutes, Servants Of Hypocrisy is totally the opposite. It sounds crazy and Acrania don’t take their feet of the loud pedal, meaning their momentum is carried right through the song. They show a more varied side on Survival Sequence, which features some awesome lead work and even some piano. This is the sort of thing I was hoping to hear amongst all the slams and Acrania didn’t let me down. I appreciate that it’s an instrumental song, but that doesn’t matter.

A Gluttonous Abomination is a beast of a song. It’s lengthy, so don’t expect an easy ride. The signatures changes and the transitions are done really well, which isn’t a surprise when you consider the band’s technicality. The closing two-minutes of A Gluttonous Abomination share some of the melodic grandeur from Survival Sequence and it breaks up the brutality. They ratchet the heaviness up again with Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability. From here on in, the song-writing and the delivery pulls no punches whatsoever. Their urgency is back to full speed and Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate (LDN) threatens to smash your head in.

There’s no time for breath during the final numbers of Totalitarian Dystopia. Messiah Of Manipulation features some great off-kilter sections that are sandwiched between more warp-speed drumming. The guitars retain their thickness and the whole package is intense. The juggernaut ends with Disillusion In A Discordant System. Acrania vent their anger one last time and it dawns you exactly what’s just happened. It’s not often that the true meaning of the word extreme actually comes through on a record. This is one such record that defines the term. Acrania should be proud that they’ve managed to make it so. 

Unique Leader doesn't have a bandcamp page and Totalitarian Dystopia isn't up on Acrania's page yet, but you can stream the whole album vie Youtube below:-

You can buy the album directly from Acrania's Bigcartel store here - and from Unique Leader Records here -

Acrania Facebook -
Unique Leader Records Facebook -

Saturday 15 November 2014

The Hammer - Demo 2014

It's hammer time! I'm not sorry for the pun either. I have drunken memories of seeing Swedish hardcore band The Hammer playing with Agent Attitude in Harrogate earlier this year. It was a hot day and I was drinking scrumpy, which looking back was a pretty bad idea. They played at a matinee show along with Clocked Out, Dog Eggs and newish local band Mother Culture, which was really good fun.

I picked up their three-track demo from Headless Guru Records, who were responsible for it's release. The tape is now sold out. The Hammer only formed at the back end of last year, but thankfully had enough material to fill a reasonable live set. They've got a 7" coming out at some point too.


1. Intro/Is This Life?
2. Comprehension
3. Born To Lose

This is fast, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it punk. Demo opener Intro/Is This Life? doesn’t even reach a minute. It’s not until the final twenty-seconds of the song that The Hammer's punk kicks in. After that, it’s full steam ahead.

Comprehension is raw and The Hammer’s old-school leanings are more obvious. They kick out fast hardcore mixed with moments of mid-paced thrash-laden punk. There’s no pretence or modern trickery here, just honest noise.

Born To Lose closes out the demo in typical infectious fashion. It’s hard to write a lot about a demo that barely reaches four-minutes, but to be honest, demos shouldn’t be too long or they lose their impact. The Hammer make a short-sharp impression that leaves a definite imprint. 

You can stream the demo and grab it as a name-you-price-download from The Hammer's bandcamp page below:-

The Hammer Facebook -

Headless Guru Records Facebook -

Friday 14 November 2014

Oblivionized/Razoreater/Let It Die - This Is Stuck On A Name

Earlier in the year, three bastions of the UK grind/fast scene played a gig at Nottingham venue Stuck On A Name. It featured Oblivionized, Razoreater and Let It Die. It was filmed and recorded live for a split tape that featured both Oblivionized and Razoreater. It was released on swish purple tape by Witch Hunter Records. This review features the live sets from all three bands, including Let It Die's that wasn't committed to tape, as well as various videos.

This one of those moments where I freely admit that I'm gutted I wasn't there. All three bands are really tight live and don't mess about with histrionics. They demonstrate enviable morals and genuine work ethics, while also proving that the UK heavy music scene is a true force to be reckoned with.

Tape Tracklist:-

Side A - Razoreater - 

1. Drown Your Daughters
2. Filth Scheming, Shrill Screaming
3. Strangle Your Sons
4. I, Dreadnought
5. Weyward Covern
6. Eeyore (Slipknot Cover)
7. Necropolitan

Side B - Oblivionized - 

1. Pathetic, Like Everyone Else
2. Lower Your Expectations
3. Cry Yourself To Ash
4. 57% Old
5. Your Mouth Is A Wound 
6. Life Is A Struggle, Give Up
7. Whore Dogs

8. You’re Spineless

Let It Die

I’m starting this review with Let It Die and their set from the gig. It wasn’t committed to tape, but was made available as a special digital bonus for the release. I can’t think of a band that would have been more perfect to open this gig. The live recording manages to capture their intensity straight from the off. Ringing feedback, thick riffs and an overall battering of grind is really all you need. The quality of the mixing and the volume of the recording places you right in the venue with them.

I grew up with an impression of live-recordings that left me a bit let-down. Big arena bands never seemed to cut the mustard and the sound was always pretty weak, this time however; it’s entirely different. The dedication to Oskar Thomas, who tragically took his own life around the time of the gig also provides a poignant snapshot of the true emotion of Let it Die’s performance. 

The sound of the new song mid-way through was huge. The sludge riffs and full-on musical barrage leave no room for breath or respite. It’s the same story throughout the rest of their sub-twenty minute set. The whole thing transports me back to when I first heard their demo. A more than fitting way to start things off.


Next up was Razoreater, starting with Drown Your Daughters (which you should be familiar with if you picked up their split with Iced Out last year. Let It Die’s set was strong, so following them would have been difficult but the momentum was carried with aplomb. The metallic heft of Razoreater’s grinding hardcore was represented brilliantly.

Their other contribution to the Iced Out split, Strangle Your Sons was also included in their set and sounds every bit as nuts as it did on that piece of wax. At this point, I’m wondering why I haven’t seen Razoreater live more often. Various things have conspired against me in the past and I’m hoping that my luck changes in the future. 

I realise it’s tough to place yourself in the middle of this gig if you weren’t there, but you don’t need to worry as you get treated to a candid retort about male genitalia that will likely remind you of it for weeks to come. Well, that and the heaviness that Razoreater spew forth throughout their set, which also include a sneaky Slipknot cover. 


Oblivionized are pretty much one of the most technical grind bands that our fair isle has to offer. This set underlines that point. A three-piece that can make as much noise as the bands that preceded them says it all. Sammy Unwin’s guitar on opener Pathetic, Like Everyone Else is a joy to behold. From here on in their math leanings take the stage, in the least pretentious way possible. Will Merlin’s drumming makes you think it’s being played by someone with eight arms, such is the pace.

This set underlines the sheer breathe of their musical offering. From the head-spinning grind to the sludge-filled dirge, nothing is sacred and all is laid bare. Plus, Zac’s delivery befits his mysterious persona. Oblivionized keep things punchy and brief. There’s no opulence on display, just pure unadulterated rage und blast. 

It’s hard to sum up this review without gushing uber-praise on all three bands here. More bands should do this though, as the format and the delivery worked flawlessly in my opinion. Chris of Witch Hunter was in attendance and set all this in motion, along with Stuck On A Name. Without them, this would not have been possible and a moment in time would not have been captured. Whether you’re familiar with these bands or not, you owe it to yourself to grab this tape and the added digital goodness that is Let It Die’s set. 

You can stream the Razoreater and Oblivionized sets here via Witch Hunter Records here - 

Videos from those sets are available below - 

You purchase the tape from Witch Hunter Records via the link below or grab it digitally from the bandcamp page above

Let It Die Facebook -
Razoreater Facebook -
Oblivionized Facebook -
Witch Hunter Records Facebook -

It’s hard to sum up this review without gushing uber-praise on all three bands here. More bands should do this though, as the format and the delivery worked flawlessly in my opinion. Chris of Witch Hunter was in attendance and set the tape in motion, while the the vision and the gig was sorted out by The Bloated Corpse Of Punk along with Stuck On A Name. Without them, this would not have been possible and a moment in time would not have been captured. Whether you’re familiar with these bands or not, you owe it to yourself to grab this tape and the added digital goodness that is Let It Die’s set. 

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Possession (Belgium) - His Best Deceit EP / Anneliese 7"

This was supposed to be a single review, but it's turned into a double review instead. I'm not complaining and neither should you be. Belgian black/death metallers Possession awoke in late 2012 and released their debut EP, His Best Deceit a year later on tape via Iron Bonehead Productions and on CD via Invictus Productions. Then in April 2014. the two-track 7" Anneliese was released, this time as a co-release between the same two labels.

Amongst the many black/death bands that are growing in stature, Possession have been received very passionately by fans of the genre, with both His Best Deceit and Annelise selling out or close to it and having to be repressed. Couple that with live appearances with bands like Denial Of God and Mgla, plus a split with Gospel Of The Horns in the works, there looks to be no time for rest.

His Best Deceit Tape/CD


1. Possession
2. The Trust In Cain
3. His Best Deceit
4. Necromancer (Sepultura cover)

Opening with a chilling intro that more than befits their name, the opening bars of Possession are filled with haunting choral singing and blood-curdling screams. The intro and overall song length brings to mind originators like Celtic Frost and Venom. The music itself is raw and fast, with instrumentation that more than compliments the deranged shrieks and growls. The solo towards the end hails subtle thrash influences too.

The Truth of Cain is a more urgent and bestial number. The crashing cymbals that light it up, rage throughout the song and provide the perfect backdrop to Possession’s intense death metal. Darkness courses through it, as it does no the whole demo but when Possession settle down into a controlled groove, they are equally as enthralling. 

The soundstage of this demo’s title-track is as thick and engaging as you’d like. There is no clean or modern production involved, just raw old-school venom mixed with passion for the genre. It’s one of the most accomplished black/death demos I’ve heard ever, period. 

Covering Sepultura’s Necromancer, that appeared on both their very first split with Overdose and the subsequent EP Bestial Devastation makes complete sense. Those were the rawest and heaviest days of Sepultura and that is what Possession are paying homage too here. They make the song their own too, while not twisting or butchering it. It’s every bit as manic and evil as the original. I wish Sep would go back to those days!

Stream it here via Iron Bonehead Productions - 

Anneliese 7"

Tracklist - 

1. Anneliese
2. Apparition

The Anneliese 7” was released earlier this year and here, Possession contain the same intense guitar sound that made Bolzer stand out for me, when I first heard them. By that, I mean the heaviness and genuine feel that it projects within their music. A-side Anneliese sees the band pushing more toward black metal. The song’s tempo switches between mid and fast paced sections, with the thrash elements from His Best Deceit still present.

B-side Apparition follows with a kind of stomp that I wasn’t expecting. A slightly more modern addition to their sound, it’s only brief but doesn’t sound out of place. Their song-writing can’t be questioned either and it’s succinct nature leaves the song feeling almost catchy. Who would’ve thought that!

In a day and age where extreme music fans seek out and/or are bombarded by new bands every day, it’s exciting to be able to sit down and listen to one band that genuinely embodies what we all look for. True passion, emotion and enjoyment. I may have been slightly late in saying this, but Possession are brilliant and worth all the praise they’ve received so far. 

Stream Annaliese via Invictus Productions here -

You can purchase both releases as downloads from the bandcamp pages above.

Physical copies can be purchased from Iron Bonehead Productions here (when they're back from Nuclear War Now!) - and from Invictus Productions here -

Possession Facebook -
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -
Invictus Productions Facebook -

Monday 10 November 2014

Nervewrecker - S/T EP

This weekend just gone hasn't been very productive on my part. I'm not sorry though. as part of the weekend was spent at Yorkshire Riffer 2, sheltering from the rain in Leeds watching some great bands. Clentsch and Envoys were especially good. Check them out if you're ever in Leeds and they're playing.

Back on it this evening, at least while I can tear myself away from Footie Manager 15! This relief comes from Norwich metal/doom band Nervewrecker, who got in touch with me through the blog about their self-titled EP. They started playing heavy music as a band last year and this is their debut EP. For such a new band, they've managed to play a fair few gigs, including support slots for the likes of Bent Life, Napolean and Vales.


1. Intro
2. Stoic
3. Plague Ridden
4. Excerpts Of Lies
5. Empty Vessels
6. Sea Of Trees

The Intro to Nervewrecker’s debut EP is a building wall of guitar feedback that sounds like a jet engine firing up. That’s pretty ominous! Stoic is the first proper song on the EP and is full of equally big riffs. There are dual-vocals, drums that sit high in the mix and rumbling bass. Each instrument is clear, thanks too the mixing job and the mastering, which was done at Audiosiege (it seems like the go-to place now). 

Plague Ridden is a briefer affair but it makes up for that is power. There’s hardcore blood running through this EP, but it’s subtle and it’s the tempo of the song where it’s clearest. Nervewrecker follow the well-trodden path that’s been forged by a lot of UK bands over the last couple years, but that’s not to say that they don’t bring anything new to the table. The single guitar approach on the EP works really well and sounds every bit as heavy on Excerpts of Lies, as it would if two were present. There’s also some surprisingly brief grind exploits woven in for good measure.

As the EP progresses, it gets heavier and more and more influences are noticeable. Metal plays a big part in Empty Vessels. The dual-vocals from earlier on are not as immediate but there’s plenty of groove in their place. EP closer Sea Of Trees is the most batshit mental song and it’s left to end, which is more reason to listen to the whole thing through. It captures elements of grind, hardcore and everything in between and spits it out in the form of something pretty damn nice. It shows the assured nature of Nervewrecker and their song-writing. 

I watched the MTV EMA’s last night and couldn’t believe how crap both it and mainstream music is at the moment. All we need is for more bands like Nervewrecker to come to the fore and we can banish that horrendous drivel for good! I’m not saying that it’ll take over the mainstream, but at least it offers people a more than valid and artistically pleasing alternative to what “they” say we should be listening to. 

Stream it all here:-

Nervewrecker Facebook -

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Dakhma - Ungeziefer EP

Fireworks night doesn't grab me much anymore. The thought if standing outside during a typically cold British winter evening isn't my idea of fun, mainly because it usually rains. So, instead of that I have a new and special stream to keep myself and other sensible people warm. This is the debut EP from San Fran hardcore two-piece Dakhma.

Unlike most modern bands, Dakhma chose to join the rat-race (in social media terms anyway), once they actually had music to offer people. They released their five song demo in August and later self-released it on tape and cd, so they had something to sell at gigs. Talking of shows, one of their first gigs happened to be a house show with Leeds' (UK) very own punks Nu, pogodi! in Oakland (Cali) and there's the small matter of a show with ACxDC later this month too.


1. Left // Right
2. Waste
3. Exordium
4. Through The Cockroach
5. Caustic Existence

Dakhma are fast and loud. Seems like a simple statement, but that’s the point. Straight from the off, Dakhma know what they’re going for with EP opener Left // Right. Heavy guitar, breakneck drumming and dual-vocals with an old-school feel. Like Lifes, whom I featured a little while ago, Dakhma smash it!

Waste lasts barely twenty-seconds but is still technical enough to lessen the blur of the duo at full speed. Talking of technical, Exordium features some flourishes of metal inspired sweep-picking during the intro and it’s here where Dakhma’s doom influences take root. Low-slung riffs and a complete change in pace replace the grind that has so far made up Ungeziefer, leaving you with speakers full of feedback and dank atmospherics.

They go full-force punk during Through The Cockroach with pogo-inducing rhythms, off-kilter time signatures and double bass. EP closer Caustic Existence is an insane ending. There’s more doomy sections that make use of the production, which I think really adds to Dakhma’s appeal by not being too clean and instead allowing them to sound really fresh.

The lines between sub-genres are becoming more blurred than ever now, but at end of the day they’re really just words. What matters is the music itself and how it makes you feel. Dakhma clearly hold that latter musing to heart, because Ungeziefer is full of energy and enthusiasm, which you’ll feel once you’ve spun it a few times.

Dakhma have kindly given me permission to carry a stream of Ungeziefer on my bandcamp page, so check it out below - 

If you dig it, head over to their bandcamp page and pick it up as  a name-your-price download or on tape/cd -

Dakhma Facebook -

Monday 3 November 2014

Nebiros/Nekromanteion - In Commvnio Tenebrae Split 7"

It's Monday night, TV's crap and blasting some South American black/death metal is far more rewarding anyway. The South American duo that share this split are Colombian black metal two-piece Nebiros and their Bolivian brethren Nekromanteion. Released earlier this year by Iron Bonehead Productions, it features one song from each band.

Nebiros have been creating hellish black metal since 1990. They released a number of demos and a full-length up to 1996, after which they took a break. They resurfaced in 2006 and went onto release a number of compilations, splits and two further full-lengths, which brings us up to date. Scrolling through their Facebook page, I noticed their devotion to their fans, as they've posted a lot of pictures of merch collections that were submitted by people.

Nerkomanteion from Bolivia, are a much newer band. They began in 2011 and have so far released a demo and this split. They are much more illusive, with no such presence on Facebook.


1. Nebiros - Yo Pecador
2. Nekromanteion - Occult Revelations

Both bands contribute one song to this split. Nebiros are up first with Yo Pecador. It starts with an acoustic guitar intro that I wasn’t expecting. Things take a turn shortly after and Nebiros lurch into some low-fi black metal. Low-fi might be doing them a disservice, because being a two-piece comes with limitations by Nebiros seem to cope with that extremely well. The drums and vocals are clear, while the guitar provide buzzing melody, while sometimes sounding symphonic. That melody from the lead guitar comes across well towards the end and the Spanish vocals at real bite to the song.

Nekromanteion sound more menacing as Occult Revelations begins. Their black/death begins in simpler fashion with a brooding intro and low-pitched vox. The bells that ring out herald in some raw as hell death metal. Despite their Bolivian roots, Nekromanteion sing in English and their sound is much more akin to that of British bands. They are more frenetic early on, but balance that speed with a groove-laden section mid-way through. There are elements of thrash throughout and they fit perfectly alongside Nebiros here.

It’s great to see a veteran band (if you can call Nebiros that), sharing a split with new-blood and both bands compliment each other here. Fans of underground black/death will enjoy this split and if it opens more people’s ears to these two bands, then it’s gotta be worth it.

Stream this split it all it's unholy glory here -

This split is now sold-out from Iron Bonehead, but you could contact the bands directly via the links below to see if they have copies.

Nebiros Facebook -
Nekromanteion Metal Archives -
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -

Saturday 1 November 2014

Black Art/Surrender The Coast - Split 7"

UK hardcore punk has always led the way. It's influence so many bands from around the world for longer than I can remember. I've seen it change and grow over the last ten years, with new bands going over the top of the invisible "trench" of the underground and getting into people's faces. Black Art and Surrender The Coast are two such bands and this split 7" is a perfect of example of two bands   making their way into public consciousness. I say that because until Footloose Records shoved this under my nose, I hadn't heard of either band.

Black Art are from the South West and play self-professed "hard punk". They recently toured Europe in September and October, taking in shows in The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland. Meanwhile, Leicester troupe Surrender The Coast are also no strangers to the road and recently toured the UK with Sworn To Oath.


1. Black Art - Life Stalker
2. Black Art - The Endurance
3. Surrender The Coast - Lost Souls
4. Surrender The Coast - Dreamcatcher

Black Art’s side of this split begins with Life Stalker and their sound is strangely familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. There’s melody in their riffs, with hints of post-hardcore. The vocals switch between intense screams to semi-shouted/gruff singing. There’s also plenty of rock n roll swagger too. This is reminiscent of the late Alexisonfire and even The Ghost Of A Thousand. Second song The Endurance is equally as rousing, with a great intro and powerful tempo. Black Art ring the necks of their instruments but still manage to sound controlled and focused. Those groove-laden riffs are more than welcome within their hardcore-punk. They’re catchy and will definitely appeal to a pretty wide group of hardcore fans, while bridging the gap for those who are into rock and more straight-up punk.

Surrender The Coast are equally as catchy with Lost Souls, while being slightly heavier. There’s off-kilter guitars in there and a pretty big stomp too. Separating both bands is harder than you think on this split, because they both come from a similar end of the spectrum. Dreamcatcher follow the same formula, with plenty of Southern flavour akin to that of A Life Once Lost’s Iron Gag. The pace is pretty frenetic, as it has been throughout this split and  you can’t fault Surrender The Coast for keeping the momentum high. The production levels across both sides compliment the furious styles and pace of both bands.

So, here’s two bands that are putting the groove and swagger back into British hardcore and punk. They come across really well, showing strong intent and song-craft. Whichever way you look at it, the UK is getting stronger all the time and both Black Art and Surrender The Coast are definitely going to move on to bigger things.

You can buy the split from Footloose Records here -

You can stream Black Art's track The Endurance and Surrender The Coast's track Lost Souls via Youtube below:-

Black Art Facebook -
Surrender The Coast Facebook -
Footloose Records Facebook -