Tuesday 24 March 2015

Blue Friend - Home/Violence 7"


1. Home
2. Violence

Japan as a nation really intrigues me and their music even more so. Specifically, the hardcore and screamo scenes. One band that has caught my attention is recent months is Tokyo's Blue Friend. They released an LP via Dog Knights Productions last year and have gone on to release this two-track 7" through the same label this year. Both tracks featured on a split CD that Blue Friend were part of, which also included Asthenia and Calculator (it was released to coincide with Calculator's tour of Japan last year).

Blue Friend are surprisingly visceral when at their loud, violent best. They progress through passages of emo-violence to calming instrumentals easily on Home, while showing that they have their own unique identity. It’s an identity that seems to frequent a lot of Japanese hardcore bands. Violence is a pretty apt title for the second track, as after the sound clash that kicks it off, Blue Friend flail and fling themselves through the song, only allowing brief moments of rest. The longer playing time of Violence allows their song-writing to spread out and the song becomes more encompassing and emotive. Blue Friend say a lot in two songs, more than a lot of other bands say in ten. If you’ve not got this 7” or in fact their recent LP, I urge you to pick them up.

You can stream and purchase Home/Violence here:-

You can also buy the vinyl version from Dog Knights Productions here - http://dogknightsproductions.bigcartel.com.

Blue Friend Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bluefriendtokyo
Dog Knights Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Monday 23 March 2015

Putrid Offal - Mature Necropsy


1. Purulent Cold
2. Garroting Way
3. Mortuary Garlands
4. Gurgling Prey
5. Repulsive Corpse
6. Suffering
7. From Plasma To Embalming
8. Organic Excavation
9. Premature Necropsy
10. Symptom
11. Rotted Flesh
12. Birth Remains
13. Outro

A lot of people have a fascination with gore and violence, though this fascination is usually brought on by TV or video games and never manifests itself into anything more than a curious fantasy. Death metal bands have been playing on this fascination for years and gore is now a staple subject within the genre. A lot of people credit Cannibal Corpse for starting it all off. Following a mere two-years after the humble beginnings of that band, French gore-grind/death maniacs Putrid Offal released their "Unformed" demo in 1991. After three or so years of demos and split releases, they sunk back into the shadows before re-launching in 2014 with the "Suffering" EP and a compilation prior to this, their first full-length, released via French extreme metal label Kaotoxin Records in February.

Having been active during the golden years of gore/death in the early-mid 90’s, Putrid Offal are seasoned pros when it comes to slamming, fast death. Opener Purulent Cold is truly a testament to that point and it sets out their stall early. Warp-speed kick drums, buzzsaw guitar and guttural screams are all present and correct. It’s impossible to stay cold to Putrid Offal’s goreific noise and Garroting Way adds haunting dynamics to the mix. I think judging by the intense speed of the percussion on Mortuary Garlands, it must be programmed. That doesn’t take away from the intensity of the song though and even the slower sections sound mighty. Things are more structured on Gurgling Prey, with groove and lead-work adding to PO’s arsenal. PO use mid-paced intros to great effect on Mature Necropsy, as is the case during Repulsive Corpse. In fact, throughout the song it adds a whole load of weight to their death/grind barrage. Suffering a brief and repeated stab to the chest that reeks of rumbling bass and spilled guts. PO go from fast to slow on From Plasma To Embalming, which features some ace off-time drum fills. The second half of Mature Necropsy is no time to rest either, as the momentum stays strong on Organic Excavation, which rings to the sound of harmonics and rasping growls. Premature Necropsy is also the name of the compilation album that came before this record. The song itself feature more haunting atmospherics. Symptom is 40 seconds of stop-start grind that Carcass would be proud of. They pummel you with some of the fattest riffs on Rotted Flesh. This would certainly keep slam fans happy in a live setting, The fetid atmosphere of Birth Remains leaves one last taste of death in your mouths and all that’s left is for your to contemplate your existence and the Outro leads you to a life of torture and depravity. You have to be made of very strong stuff in order to stomach Mature Necropsy, but if you do you’ll be rewarded with probably one of the strongest death metal records of recent times. 

Stream Mature Necropsy here:-

You can purchase a digital download from Kaotoxin's bandcamp page above or you can grab a physical CD copy here - http://www.kaotoxin.com/shop/

Putrid Offal Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/putridoffal
Kaotoxin Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kaotoxinrecords

Saturday 21 March 2015

Sky:Lark/Meadows - Split 7"


1. Sky:Lark - Broken Feet
2. Sky:Lark - How Many Times?
3. Sky:Lark - Centurion Beast
4. Meadows - Super Thunder Blade
5. Meadows - I Am Stone Head

I've had this 7" for a while and love it, but it's taken me a while to write about it. London based trio Sky:Lark and fellow Brits Meadows came together last year to release this split via SuperFi Records. Five songs in all and great cover art too! UK noise is the best noise.

Starting with Sky:Lark, opener Broken Feet is loud and full of angular sludge riffs and schizoid musical movements. This is exactly why the UK can’t be beaten when it comes to forward thinking noise-rock and punk. This is mathy and shouty. How Many Times? should really be renamed How Many Riffs?, as it’s filled with ‘em. Sky:Lark are pretty minimal in vocal terms but that’s no bad thing. Their last contribution Centurion Beast is their grooviest number on the split, but that groove doesn’t stop them launching into something all the more frantic and heavy later in the song. This song epitomises their sound, which is one that’s hard to categorise and one that you should just roll with. Meadows are perfect bedfellows for Sky:Lark. They are more bipolar though as one minute they’re bulldozing their way through some throbbing sludge and the next minute they’re a ferocious mass of blast n grind, on the brilliantly titled Super Thunder Blade. I Am Stone Head is a different beast, as it plays to their stoner/sludge tendencies. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of madcap fast parts in it but altogether it sounds more contained. Listening to this is making me yearn for more curious noise/hardcore/sludge 7” records and I’ll probably end up going on an almighty splurge soon. Anyway, you should probably get this split if you haven’t already and keep an eye on both bands while you’re at it. Sky:Lark have a new LP on the way and Meadows have recently contributed to a comp tape from Eolian Empire. They also play many gigs.!

You can stream the whole split via Sky:Lark's bandcamp page here -

You can purchase the 7" from Sky:Lark via bandcamp above and from Meadows here - http://www.meadowsband.co.uk.

It's also available from SuperFi Records here - http://superfirecords.limitedrun.com/categories/superfi-releases

Sky:Lark Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/SkyLark
Meadows Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ruralmisery
SuperFi Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/superfirecords

Crowns & Thieves - Gravity LP


1. Pulse
2. Less Than A Stranger
3. Ghosts
4. Release Me I: Shelter
5. ...And If We Are Still Breathing
6. Release Me II: Hopeless
7. Days We Used To Love
8. Lifeless
9. More Than Meets The Eye
10. Nothing

I've made it a bit of a personal mission this year to write about the 2015 Dog Knights Productions discography and it all started well a few weeks ago, when I reviewed the LP from Raccoon City Police Department. During that review I mentioned German band Crowns & Thieves and their first full-length Gravity, which was released at the same time. I've finally been able to sit down and write about it, now that things have settled down a bit. Crowns & Thieves are due to go out on a Euro tour in April on the mainland (sadly no UK dates as yet). They released an EP 12" in 2012 called The Half Dream Hologram, but haven't had a great deal of press coverage since then.

Gravity starts off with an unexpectedly emotive piano intro on Pulse. It certainly builds expectation for the rest of the record. What greets you on Less Than A Stranger is hardcore filled screamo that flails to the sound of double bass and thick guitar. There’s a massive soundstage during the opening 60 seconds before Crowns & Thieves settle down with gentler clean guitar. They progress through movements filled with introspective calmness and outright heaviness in the same way that No Omega did on their 2012 LP Metropolis. It’s just hardcore that fills your ears when listening to Gravity. Ghosts features some great off-kilter metal guitar that takes things in a different direction for a time. The atmosphere they create in the second half of the song is menacing but also hauntingly good. The delivery of Gravity gets stronger and stronger, with Release Me I: Shelter hitting an even higher plane. Even the spoken word mid-section is backed up by an huge instrumental barrier that seems to level everything it comes into contact with. With …And If We Are Still Breathing, Crowns & Thieves take a step back and provide a shorter musical interlude of sorts. They use woodwind instrumentation and other musical effects to good effect, which changes the pace. They hit back with Release Me II: Hopeless, which feels slightly more condensed and focused. The caustic screams in the song really make it a cleaning experience to listen to. There’s a hint of clean vocals during Days We Used To Love, but only a brief one as Crowns & Thieves prefer to continue to pave their way through the song.  The clean vocals make another appearance towards the end of the song and give it a real organic, earthy feel. The band’s experimentation becomes more obvious on Lifeless, with the use of more progressive song structures that take their sound further away from the staple hardcore/screamo sound. They’re definitely a product of their surroundings and of the myriad of influential bands that make up the German scene now. Gravity seems to cover a hell of a lot of ground wit no song sounding completely alike. The big lead-work during penultimate track More Than Meets The Eye adds a metallic edge to it all. As the beat gets louder at the start of Nothing, you know that Gravity’s gonna end on a mighty note. Equally as ravaging as they have been throughout the record, they lay waste to everything including their instruments and vocals chords. There’s simply no point in dipping in and out of Gravity, because it deserves to be listened to in it’s entirety. Crowns & Thieves care not for weakness and they’ve crafted a body of songs here that embodies their spirit. Brilliant stuff and definitely worth your attention and more.

You can stream Gravity here:-

You can purchase a digital download of Gravity from Dog Knights Productions above.

Physical LPs can be purchased here - http://dogknightsproductions.bigcartel.com/product/dk070-crowns-and-thieves-gravity.

Crowns & Thieves Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/crownsandthieves
Dog Knights Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Friday 20 March 2015

Oaths - Stag Party EP


1. Lover, Another
2. Idols (Rivals)
3. Hank Moody
4. Amsterdam
5. I Am The Danger

Staying in the North-West, I've also been sent the latest EP from Manchester based hardcore n roll band Oaths. Stag Party is their debut EP, following their earlier single - I Am The Danger, which actually features here. By the way, if you think the term hardcore n roll is a bit daft, just think about bands like Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats! It's been doing Oaths a lot of good as they've been getting coverage in the pages of Metal Hammer and played on Kerrang! Radio recently.

At first listen to Stag Party, opening track Lover, Another leans more towards post-hardcore but then Oaths hit their stride and up the anti. Like fellow Brits The NX, they’re loud and full of riffs, but aren’t afraid of melody and clean singing either. So it’s radio friendly to a point, but it’s also heavy. That melody I mentioned is used to greater effect during Idols (Rivals) and provides a catchy element to the song. The clean guitar that Oaths use also proves a good move, in my opinion. The whole of Idols (Rivals) is a joy to listen too. As Hank Moody begins, I’m beginning to think that the hardcore n roll tag is doing them a disservice. That’s the last time I let pre-review research creep into the final piece! There are times when Oaths remind me of some of the best UK post-hardcore bands of the early 00’s and that make me happy. Amsterdam shows Oaths at their pin-point best. They don’t write overly long songs, yet Amsterdam feels full of urgency and vigour due to the earnest screams and powerful drumming. They end Stag Party with I Am The Danger, which was their very first recorded output last year. It contains more of a rock n roll feel but still fits the vibe of this EP really well, as their post-hardcore is not outweighed. I think that Oaths could well be as big as Funeral For Friend in the future, which is big praise for such a new band. They deserve it though, as Stag Party is great.

Oaths don't utilise Bandcamp or Soundcloud, but you can stream and download Stag Party here - http://open.spotify.com.

Saltwater Injection - Vinegar/Cuntryfile Single


1. Vinegar
2. Cuntryfile

After a week or so of disruption due to real life, things are back to normal. I can get back to the never ending task of catching up with the myriad of releases that keep popping into my inbox. This time, it's the turn of Cheshire based noise-punk duo Saltwater Injection and their up-coming single. It's due out at the end of this month officially via Antipop Records and they're currently playing across the UK as I write this. It's not often that a band contacts me who're so obscure that I haven't at least heard of them, so I'm approaching this with open ears.

Noise-punk is a funny term in my opinion. It can describe a whole host of bands, from those that lean towards grunge right the way through to those who are genuinely raucous and heavy. Saltwater Injection sit somewhere in between on first listen. Vinegar is raucous but the duo employ a garage-rock vocal style that reminds me of spaced-out indie or stoner. I suppose that’s a good thing because it’s pretty hard to describe exactly where this duo are coming from. Don’t let the mid-paced delivery of Vinegar fool you because Saltwater Injection hit their stride on Cuntryfile, which is faster and dirtier. At times, their orchestration reminds me of an earlier-System Of A Down, such is it’s craziness. Saltwater Injection deliver two solid punk tracks here. They’re doing their own thing and that’s all you can ask for!

You can hear both tracks and more via their Soundcloud page here:-

News about future gigs and releases can be found on the following links:-

Saltwater Injection Website - http://www.saltwater-injection.com
Saltwater Injection Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saltwater-Injection
Antipop Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/antipoprecords

Thursday 19 March 2015

Resistance: Anti-NSBM Volume 1 & 2 Compliations

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Bogdan from Void Forger, who told me about a comp that had been set up by The Dark Skies Above Us for Emilio, who was badly injured when he was attacked (along with others) at Dordoni social centre in Cremona, Italy. The attack was carried out by a far-right group of around 40 people. with Emilio and others being injured; some seriously. The compilation has been made available as a name-your-price download to raise money to help.

Since Volume 1 was released, a second volume had also been made available and both feature a whole host of bands, including the like of Void Forger and Twilight Fauna whom I've featured here before as well as Doom, Misery Index and tonnes of others. Both comps have been set up by The Dark Skies Above Us, who promote anti-right wing heavy music. I've posted the full listing for each comp below:-

Resistance: Anti-NSBM Volume 1

1. Nihilist Waves (Italy) - Where Is The Unity
2. Doom (UK) - Nazi Die
3. Absolutist (Ireland) - Pain
4. Ruinas (Argentina) - Iconoclastas
5. Void Forger (Romania) - Raise The Curtain (Jerry's Kids)
6. Dode Rotter (Italy) - Zoom
7. Macula (Brazil) - Seguindo o Coracao
8. Aurea (Venezuela) - VI
9. Iskra (Canada) - Cursed Reamls Of The Winter Demons
10. Human Host Body (Slovenia) - Sankcije
11. G.U.O.R (Italy) - Quante Volte...
12. Social Horror (Venezuela) - Caracas
13. N.I.S (Italy) - Parassiti
14. Headshot (Mexico) - Slaves
15. Eternal Noise Doom (Italy)- Dust
16. Norn (Iceland) - Eg Hata Island
17. Kalashnikov (Italy) - Vampirizzati Oggi

As well as the good cause that this comp is raising money and awareness for, The Dark Skies Above Us have brought together a really broad selection of bands. There’s quite a few here I’ve not heard before so I decided to sit and check them out. Nihilist Waves (Italy) create some really unsettling noise on Where Is The Unity. They sound quite avant-garde but with undertones of crust and black metal. It reminds a bit of Sutekh Hexen’s soundscapes and is a menacing way to start the comp. Crust legends Doom (UK) need no intro, but the utterly disgusting blast of Nazi Die says all you need to know. The post-metal tones of Absolutist (Ireland) provide some respite on their contribution Pain. That respite is short-lived though as they soon launch into some blackened hardcore. Ruinas (Argentina) were another band that I hadn’t heard of prior to this comp. They deliver some hefty crust on Iconoclastas. Void Forger (Romania) were another familiar name. If you want to sample their sludge-laden noise then check out Raise The Curtain (Jerry’s Kids). Next up is more fast as hell crust n grind from Dode Rotter (Italy). I think their song is called Zoom, but what I can confirm is that it’s insane and is over too quickly. There’s more South American punk flavour in the form of Macula (Brazil) up next. Their raw crust-punk on Seguindo O Coracao is over in a flash but it’s well worth listening too, with plenty of melodic guitar textures. Aurea (Venezuela) are a welcome change of pace, though I don’t know too much about them. Their blackened crust features some really furious screams and really makes them standout on VI. The bruising crust of Iskra (Canada) and the track Cursed Realms Of The Winter Demons is where the familiarity ends on this comp, as the second half is given wholly to unfamiliar bands, which means time for discovery! Human Host Body (Slovenia) are brilliantly belligerent on Sankcije, which is full of blasts, double-bass and crazed powerviolence. The mysterious G.U.O.R (Italy) come next with Quante Volte…, which features raw as hell punk that flies by in less than two-minutes. More South American flare comes in the form of Social Horror (Venezuela). Caracas features the sort of punk that would be lapped up by MRR and it’s rad! I can’t describe the sound of N.I.S (Italy) on Parassiti. It’s tech, thrash and punk all swished around in a blender and than spat back out. Top stuff! Headshot (Mexico) follow on with some more obvious crust on Slaves, but it’s no less fun. Eternal Noise Doom (Italy) are as horribly vile as you’d expect with their track Dust. The gut-wrenching screams that come in over the top of the music are torturous. Harrowing but worth waiting for all the same. Norn (Iceland) bring some native-language hardcore to the comp and pummel you with Eg Hata Island . Kalashnikov (Italy) close out the comp with Vampirizzati Oggi and something really different. It’s horror-punk that’s been injected with traditional metal guitar licks and clean vocals. It’s a great light-hearted note to end on.

The second volume of the compilation has been set up to help US citizen Eric get back on his feet, following an unfair incarceration. This volume features 24 songs, again performed by bands from across the globe. Unfortunately, I've not been able to locate the nationalities of the bands on the second compilation due to time constraints, but you can find the band/track listing below. 

Resistance: Anti-NSBM Volume 2

1. Modesto Continente - Cat-Ass Trophy
2. Acromo - Faces Do Ecocidio
3. Cuscuta - Untitled
4. Larva Ov Cum - Imploro Flumi Di IRA Sociale
5. Satanatum - Do The Drones Dream Of Electric Gods?
6. Angoracoid - Satanico Pandemonium
7. SatAnarchist Apparition Storm - Total Fucking Anarchy
8. Regnvm Animale - Samsara
9. Pulso Etilico - Paranoia
10. Ierru - Cussu Chi Depet Essere Fatu
11. Nephilim - The Necromancer
12. Wild's Reprisal - Death Of Nature
13. Schattenlight - Niemals Vergessen
14. Virium - Wolved By The Moonlight
15. In Flagrante Delicto - Ultio
16. Misery Index - The Color Of Blood
17. Gulag - Gauzes
18. Deafest - Rising From The Ridgeline
19. Rejekts - Caduta
20. Black Cascade - Arise
21. Karg - Asternregen
22. Twilight Fauna - Emancipation In Chaos
23. Peregrine - Reduced To Ashes
24. Smarta - Postmodernism

Both compilations can be streamed below and please make a donation if you wish to download them. All funds go to the causes mentioned above.

More info about The Dark Skies Above Us and the cuases they support can by found here - https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkSkiesAboveUs

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Doom Over Edinburgh 2015 - Post-Gig Review

The weekend just gone saw the first edition of Doom Over Edinburgh. The festival was curated by Miguel Santos, to bring together doom bands and fans for two days to help celebrate the UK's doom scene. Held in the very suitable surroundings of Bannerman's, aptly situated in Edinburgh's old-town, it provided fans with an intimate setting in which to appreciate bone-shaking riffs and earth shattering bass. I made the trip across the border to immerse myself in the festivities, with the aim of not only checking out a fistful of bands I'd never seen live before but also to write my own live review, once the dust had settled. This is my attempt. There's also some photos from the first day that were taken using my phone, so apologies if they're not brilliant.

Saturday 14th March - Day 1

Line-up - The Prophecy, Ommadon, Aye-Aye and In Absence

After travelling up that morning and spending the afternoon taking in the sites and sounds of Edinburgh's historic centre, I made my way to Bannerman's for the evening to catch the first four bands of the weekend. Unfortunately, Solstice were due to headline the evening but had to pull out for personal reasons, so in their place The Prophecy were elevated to the top spot on the bill.

Local doom band In Absence opened the festival with some laid-back but progressive doom, which featured clean vocals and plenty of melody. The male/female vocals harmonies that were buried amongst the fuzz provided a great start.

(In Absence)

Next up was Glaswegian trio Aye-Aye, who provided groove-laden doom that picked the pace up slightly and got the crowd going pretty well. Amongst the songs in their set, "Procrastinate" was a heavy jewel to behold and got a fair few people vigorously nodding along.



Ommadon were one of the very few bands on the bill that I had previously heard of and having bought their latest record from Dry Cough Records, I was eager to check them out. Comprising of just two members and mainly instrumental, the drums and lead-guitar were backed up by electronics that provided the bass. Unsurprisingly, they provided the heaviest set of the weekend so far. 


The evening's closing set from Yorkshire doom/death band The Prophecy proved why they were elevated to headliners. They had great stage presence and a really encompassing sound, which could only come from a band with their experience. Bannerman's was the perfect setting for their melodic doom and they certainly put on a strong performance.

(The Prophecy)

The opening day was certainly varied and all four bands were great. I left feeling really fortunate to have witnessed all four bands and also slightly drunk. 

Sunday March 15th - Day 2 

Line-up - Iron Void, Uncoffined, Witch Charmer, Headless Kross, Of Spire & Throne, Atragon and Pyre of The Earth

After a bit of sightseeing to try and clear my rather fuzzy head, I clambered back into Bannerman's for the second day. I didn't take any photos this time.

Starting in mid-afternoon, there was a dedicated crowd gathering to watch opener's Pyre Of The Earth. The local-Glaswegian band put on an opening set full of occult doom, with captivating female vocals and a sound that was the heaviest of weekend so far.

Edinburgh's Atragon were up next and were surprisingly energetic (for a doom band). They were heavy too and had plenty of local support in the crowd. Even from the bar, with the door to the room closed, they still managed to shake the venue.

Following them came Of Spire & Throne. Another trio and with guitarist/vocalist Ali Lauder full of flu, they destroyed the venue. Following on from the release of Toll Of The Wound, they proved why they are held in such high-regard.

Headless Kross took the prize for the best-dressed guitarists of the weekend and their intense, mainly instrumental noise was full of energy. Again, they proved that there was strong variation amongst the genre and were a great addition to the weekend.

At this point, I have an admission to make. I was suffering and the weekend had taken it toll on me, so I took the decision around 8pm to go and rest and catch up on sleep, so missed Witch Charmer, Uncoffined and Iron Void. That didn't take away from what was a great weekend though and one that I hope will be repeated next year. 

Tuesday 10 March 2015

I'm attending Doom Over Edinburgh 2015!

I don't usually make a song and dance about gigs or festivals that I'm going to, but I felt I should give a shout-out to the inaugural edition of Doom Over Edinburgh that takes place this coming weekend (14th and 15th of March) at Bannerman's Bar in the heart of Edinburgh.

The festival will feature 11 acts across both Saturday night and Sunday, including headline slots from The Prophecy and Iron Void. Full running order below:-

Saturday 14th March:-

The Prophecy
In Absence

Sunday 15th March:-

Iron Void
Witch Charmer
Headless Kross
Of Spire & Throne
Pyre Of The Earth

Depending on my levels of intoxication and the quality of my phone photo-taking skills, I may have pictures and a review of sorts up when I return.

Last minute advance tickets can be purchased for either individual days or for the weekend here -
https://dreamofpoe.bigcartel.com/. It is recommended that you purchase advance tickets if you're planning to go, due to the limited capacity if the venue.

More info can be found leading up to the event on Facebook here - https://www.facebook.com/events/DoomOverEdinburgh

Saturday 7 March 2015

Anarchos - Descent Into The Maelstrom


1. Anointing Of The Sick
2. Morbid Ways To Decay
3. The Great Black Death
4. Sarggeburt
5. Tales Of The Mutilated Remains

I'm almost at the end of my current review cycle, with just a couple more to go after this one. I'll then re-work my schedule for the coming weeks. Things have gotten so busy that I need to organise myself a bit more effectively. I can put that to one side though and focus on the task in hand, which is a look at the 2014 EP from Dutch death metal band Anarchos. Descent Into The Maelstrom was released via VIC Records and is only the band's second release after their demo in 2012. The members of Anarchos have their roots planted firmly in 90s death metal so this should be an old-school treat!

Anarchos put together a sound that’s without pretence. Anointing Of The Sick features a huge barrage of sound, created by powerful guitar and deep-bellowing growls. The drums are furious too, even when played at mid-pace while the melody that sits in the mix is sinister and harks back to the greats like Autopsy and even Entombed. This isn’t just blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kick drum fodder. Their gloomier, slower leanings are more obvious during passages of Morbid Ways To Decay and provide welcome tempo variations that make their death more real. There’s even the slightest of black-trash peeping through the dirge at times. This is the most subtly infectious song on Descent Into The Maelstrom in my opinion. There’s no pause between Morbid Ways To Decay and the brief blast of The Great Black Death. It just comes, hits you in the face repeatedly and then leaves! The dank atmosphere returns on the slow burning Sarggeburt. It comes complete with majestic guitar harmonies too. Anarchos inject more off-kilter textures into the song but it retains its evil flair. Tales Of The Mutilated Remains sounds like it’s been spliced from millions of other death metal song titles, but you can forgive Anarchos for that. It’s members were playing death metal long before most of today’s bands were even born. Tales… itself is one last ravaging blast to the cranium. Anarchos definitely leaves an indelible mark with this EP.  

You can stream certain tracks and purchase CD copies of Descent Into The Maelstrom directly from the band here - 

Alternatively, pick a CD up from VIC Records here - http://www.vicrecords.com/ or a tape from Murder Records/Hellprod here - http://www.helldprod.com/.

Anarchos Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/anarchos666
VIC Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vic-Records
Murder Records/Hellprod Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HELLSTORE

Friday 6 March 2015

Older - You Don't Know What You're Talking About EP


1. Disease
2. Eyes
3. Past
4. Dead Beat
5. Still Not Scared
6. Noose
7. Stray Cats

So another week has almost passed and in spite of the impending chaos I'm going to face next week (including a weekend away in Edinburgh at Doom Over Edinburgh), there's still plenty of time to get some more write-ups done. I'm continuing my foray into the immovable physical release pile and checking out this seven-track tape from Southwest PV/Punk trio Older. Released digitally by the band in June 2014 and a few months later on tape by the ever formidable Headless Guru Records, it was the first chance I've had to check out another new band. 

This tape opens with the jarring intro of Disease and is followed by just over two-minutes of punk-laden hardcore noise. Its fast and plenty raw. Just like the best PV bands from this fair isle, Older don’t mince their words and don’t outstay their welcome. They sound like an angrier version of Gallows on Eyes, with the vocals retaining a refreshingly British accent. Past deceives you as it starts of at breakneck speed before Older settle into a mid-paced stomp. They lift the pace with Dead Beat in the second of two sub one-minute blasts. The riffs are melodic and hark back to the old-school sound, instead of sounding forced or manufactured. They channel the spirit of Napalm Death into Still Not Scared, favouring a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it approach. There’s absolutely no denying their quality on Noose. It’s loud and pretty damn rousing, with no room for sentiment. It makes me wonder why punk like this isn’t more popular, when over-produced and sometimes atonal moshcore is. I guess there’s no accounting for taste! Closer Stray Cats is the kind of song that would surely get Maximum Rock n Roll buzzed. Plenty of rock n roll sass in the guitars and gang vocals that could fill a room. Older are brilliant and HGR have yet again managed to shine a spotlight on a UK punk band that deserve attention. This is great!

Stream and grab this EP as a name-your-price download here:-

You can still get copies of the tape from Headless Guru Records here - http://headlessgururecords.bigcartel.com/product/older-you-don-t-know-what-you-re-talking-about-cs

Older Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/olderviolence
Headless Guru Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HeadlessGuruRecords

Thursday 5 March 2015

Venowl - Patterns Of Failure


1. Patterns Of Failure
2. Hung Alive By The Ribs To A Gallows
3. The Bounded Are Loathed

There's a lot of stuff that I've been behind on and this tape from last year is one such example. The 2014 release of Patterns Of Failure by Venowl, which I picked up from releasing label Broken Limbs Productions (along with some special tapes that were pressed only for Martyrdoom festival). The tape features the re-mastered demo from 2012 and was limited to 100 copies. Venowl themselves play crazed doom that comes right from the depths of Illinois and include a mammoth three-way vocal attack.

With recent releases from Coltsblood and Primitive Man, doom has been shaking the foundations of metal with plenty of slow and low grooves. Venowl shakes them further, but with a more improvisational style. The re-mastered title-track that starts this tape off is truly frightening. From the crawling pace of the guitars and percussion to the shrieking disarray ushered in by the vocals, this is the definition of uneasy listening. There isn’t a lot in the way of melody within Venowl’s music but the cleanly plucked guitar at the beginning of Hung Alive By The Ribs To A Gallows is a brief distraction from the madness. It’s not long before the trio are once again torturing you with sound. The bass feature more prominently on Hung Alive… and the sultry tones are backed up with what seem like the screams of the dead. The claustrophobia felt throughout Patterns Of Failure is best summed up on The Bounded Are Loathed. The only band that made me feel this uncomfortable previously was Sutekh Hexen, but I think Venowl might have even surpassed them! At nearly an hour long, Patterns Of Failure lurches and lists, at times sounding the creaking bowls of a ship. This review won’t do Venowl the justice they deserve, but it acts as a mere interpretation of what goes on once this tape is is released from it’s plastic tomb. People say that horrific and evil deeds can sometimes cleanse their victims. In the case of Patterns Of Failure, the dirt will never disappear.

You can digitally stream and download Patters Of Failure here:-

Tape copies are sold out from both band and label it would appear, but you may still be able to pick some up from various distros.

Venowl Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Venowl
Broken Limbs Recordings Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/brokenlimbs

Tuesday 3 March 2015

The NX - Night Heaver EP


1. Lonnie Johnson's Greatest Hit
2. The Great Unwashed
3. The Day It Rained Forever
4. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

March has been pretty rad so far. Things seem to be settling down and I seem to be busier than ever! Tonight I've treated myself to a catch up on a couple of newer releases, starting with the EP from North-East punk band The NX. Night Heaver was released on limited vinyl-effect CD by Footloose Records on 27th of February. It's the first release by the band since they reformed at the end of 2013. They've been getting plenty of love in Metal Hammer and Rock Sound, so it's about time I heard what all the fuss is about!

The NX are the UK’s answer to Cancer Bats and The Chariot. Much like sadly gone Leeds band The Plight, The NX play groovy hardcore with swagger. Lonnie Johnson’s Greatest Hit is a sure-fire crusher with plenty of Southern fried riffs and belligerent screams. Things are bid more spaced-out on The Great Unwashed, at least until they explode once more. There’s all kind of garage punk and even low-fi influences going on with deeply-crooned clean vocals and 80s rock harmonies added for good measure. By third track The Day It Rained Forever, things have loosened up. The NX (dare I say it) take the best bits from nu-metal and add it to the melting pot. I’m not talking about shitty radio-friendly ballads here, but the fast-paced textures from late-90s/early-00’s dance hall fillers like “Bodies” era Drowning Pool etc. I realise that the comparison to nu-metal is seen as sacrilege nowadays, but with the sub-genre making a sudden comeback thanks to the likes of Alien Ant Farm and Coal Chamber, it doesn’t seem like such a bad move by the band. Their closing number Let Sleeping Dogs Lie retreats back to more familiar territory. The riffs are there and so is the snotty attitude. At times it sounds like Scott Weiland has taken over the mic, but the breakdown at the end of the song shatters any similarities to Stone Temple Pilots. There’s a lot going on in these four songs but it’s more than enough to get your blood-pumping. If you’ve read some of my recent reviews, you’ll probably be thinking that metal and punk are scenes filled with serious bands with furrowed brows and no sense of humour. Thankfully there are bands like The NX around to shatter that misnomer.

You can stream Night Heaver via The NX's Soundcloud page here - https://soundcloud.com/thenxofficial

CD's can be purchased from both the band and Footloose Records via the links below:-
http://thenxofficial.bigcartel.com and http://www.footlooserecords.com.

The NX Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thenxofficial
Footloose Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Footlooserecords

Monday 2 March 2015

Twilight Fauna/Old Thunder - Bloodlines Split Tape


1. Twilight Fauna - Blood From Stone
2. Twilight Fauna - A Revelation (Conceding The Scars)
3. Old Thunder - An Inheritance Of Ashes
4. Old Thunder - Burnt Bone Garland

In mid-February I was fortunate enough to be able to reveal two tracks from the split tape between Twilight Fauna and Old Thunder, prior to it's release. I'm now sitting down to write my own review of the split. Bloodlines was only the second physical release to come from US black metal label Into The Night Records. It was a coming together of two solo-black metal projects from the Appalachian region of the US. I've featured Twilight Fauna's two most recent full-lengths on the blog already, including last year's "Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland" but this split was my first introduction to Old Thunder.

I really enjoyed Twilight Fauna’s most recent full-length and Ravenwood follows on from where he left off on his side of this split. Blood From Stone features gentle acoustic guitar and clean singing, almost similar in tone to that of the indigenous ancestors of his homeland. It’s a different yet logical change of direction that steers Twilight Fauna away from the raw black-metal of the projects early beginnings. After the calming entrance comes a harsher reality. A Revelation (Conceding The Scars) is nearly twelve-minutes of atmospheric black metal and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was being played by a different artist all together, were it not for the familiar guitar tone that nestles underneath the feedback. The latter acoustic passage takes you back to calmer waters but there’s still an undercurrent of foreboding in the song as the volume builds again for a final tortured passage of eerie black metal. Old Thunder follows with two tracks and it’s the first time I’ve heard this band (apart from when I posted the stream, of course). An Inheritance Of Ashes begins with a considered build up of clean guitar and drums before a sludge-like layer of music accompanies the low growls of lone member DG. The song meanders through nearly nine-minutes of mid-paced black metal that sets a gloomy tone (in a good way). Old Thunder’s second song Burnt Bone Garland follows a similar path but builds upon the band’s post-metal laced sound. It’s slower and more claustrophobic. Only brief light is let into the music through subtle clean guitar. On Bloodlines you have two bands following different creative paths yet striving for the same thing. If you enjoy music, you’ll find beauty and meaning in whatever you listen to and this split is no different. While their appearances here may be short in comparison, both Twilight Fauna and Old Thunder have left plenty to love. That may sound soppy but I stand by it! This isn’t just black metal, this is heartfelt and creative music that transcends the genre limitation that was placed on it. All you have to do is immerse yourself in it!

You can stream the whole split here via Into The Night Records:-

The tape release has been limited to just 65 copies. 50 standard copies of red tape and 15 very limited green copies, housed in a burlap bag with added extras (of which there are 5 copies remaining. You can purchase both editions of the tape or a digital copy from the above bandcamp page.

Twilight Fauna Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/twilightfauna
Old Thunder Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/oldthundermetal
Into The Night Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Into-The-Night-Records

Sunday 1 March 2015

Rash Decision - Seaside Resort To Violence


2. Boredom
3. Cost Of My Pride
4. Seabiscuit's Revenge
5. Dislocate
6. Learning Things About The World, Part III
7. Ratican
8. Losing The Fight
9. Bottom Feeder
10. Cathcart, Robert A
11. Protection
12, Gears
13. Rotted Out
14. Kobayashi Maru

There's a risk of me getting to serious with all this black metal/sludge, so it's time to take a step back and jam something a bit different. It's hard to see what could possibly make you angry in Cornwall, but Rash Decision have found it and are writing about it. They're hard touring and have a bloody strong underground pedigree to boot. I even have a copy of their early split CD with Ericbana somewhere! Their brand of punk is infused with thrash (a la Municipal Waste), hardcore (a la Minor Threat) and they've got links to Monolithian and F.Emasculata. Seaside Resort To Violence was released in 2014 as a collaborative effort by the band and a load of labels, including Pumpkin Records, AWOL Records, Charlies Big Ray Gun Records, Smegma Records, Atomsmasher Records and Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records.

This ought to get rid of the Sunday blues! Rash Decision are straight to the point punk. They start Seaside Resort To Violence with a slab of hardcore-fuelled noise called MRCC. It’s great to hear some genuine punk riffs played by proper punks and the quick-fire duo of Boredom and Cost Of My Pride are ace. There’s gang vocals and some top lead work included for good measure too. There are times where Rash Decision turn the pace right up and Seabiscuit’s Revenge is a slab of good old grinding fun, which demonstrates that their humour is in the right place! Some songs are filled with so much energy that they seem longer than they are, with Dislocate featuring some heavy-hitting sludge riffs, Rash Decision uses the experience of their members to great effect. Learning Things about The World, Part III may as well be a Spazz song, as it’s over before you know it. They have a stab at the pope on the amusingly titled Ratican (at least that’s what I think they’re singing about, but I’m probably wrong!). It bleeds straight into Losing The Fight where punks gang-mentality is well and truly alive. I’m a big fan of crossover thanks to growing up listening to Municipal Waste and the like and I was grinning all the way through Bottom Feeder. They’re snotty and belligerent on Cathcart, Robert A, even with the hardcore stomp that ends the song. It takes a lot of endurance to play at the pace that Rash Decision do throughout Seaside Resort To Violence but there’s no sing of tiring as they come to the end of the record. Protection and Gears are both furious from start to finish. The samples they use in some songs like Rotted Out, add atmosphere that’s sometimes unnerving but once the punk kicks in again, any such feeling is banished. They close the album with Kobayashi Maru, which is the only song that passes the two-minute mark. The drumming is intense and the song is one last excuse for Rash Decision to hit full-throttle and remind you of what you’ll be missing when it’s all over. I’ve not been listening to a huge amount of fast stuff recently but this got by blood flowing. The UK needs grassroots punk to keep it grounded and you can’t get much better than Rash Decision.

You can stream Seaside Resort To Violence below, where you can also get it on CD and as a pay-what-you-want download:-

It's also available from the labels below:-

Charlies Big Ray Gun Records - http://www.shatterpunk.co.uk/
Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records - http://www.riproaringshitstormrecords.bigcartel.com

Rash Decision Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rashdecision
Pumpkin Records Faceook - https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinrecordsuk
AWOL Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AwolrecordsUK
Charlies Big Ray Gun Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/shatterpunkCBRG
Smegma Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/smegmarecords
Atomsmasher Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AtomsmasherRecords
Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rip-Roaring-Shit-Storm-Records