Thursday 30 April 2015

Ancst/Ast - Split 12"


1. Ancst - Blame Chord
2. Ancst - Spark
3. Ancst - Seizures
4. Ancst - Elegy Of Self-Deceit
5. Ast - Unbenannt
6. Ast - Hybris & Hamartie
7. Ast - Von Einem Ende
8. Ast - F.S.

It's the last day of April but if feels like it's winter still. Pretty apt then that I've chosen to write about a split of heavy, frosty proportions. This 12" split between German blackened crust band Ancst and their black metal comrades Ast was released earlier this year via Vendetta Records. While Ancst have been plying their trade for a few years now (with many awesome releases to their name), this is only the second recorded material from Ast. Ancst recently toured the UK with Children Of God. The artwork for the split was done by Tomisthebastard. 

Ants have stepped up the blackness on this split. There’s still plenty of hardcore and crust influences here, but they just seem bleaker somehow. It’s fast and even the metallic riffs behind the vocals don’t let any light through. Blame Chord is a pulse-raising opener, with epic grind-fuelled blasts!  Things become subtly atmospheric on Spark, where the music is more mid-paced during the opening bars. That doesn’t last the whole song though, as Ancst still hit the fast pedal mid-way through. Aside from the crushing grind and black metal, Ancst have put out some stellar ambient/noise releases and Seizures harks back to those with the instrumental passage that starts it off. The following few minutes are filled with blackened hardcore of the highest order. Their final offering on the split is Elegy Of Self-Deceit. It captures Ancst at their brazen best, collecting all of their different musical elements and weaving them into one final succinct icy blast. There is absolutely no time for breath as Ast immediately launch into Unbenannt. They are somehow louder and more caustic than Ancst, which is a feat in itself! They do sit in a similar place to Ancst in musical terms, but manage to set themselves apart on this release. Hybris & Hamartie is a totally cathartic experience from start to finish. Those screams are really bleak!  Ast go all angular on Von Einem Ende. If you’ve listened to the last LP from We Came Out Like Tigers, you might know where I’m coming from. The riffs are more melodic this time yet they still conceal real menace, just like WCOLT did on Ever-Crushed At Pecket’s Well. The mood remains the same on LP closer F.S. It’s more frantic in an emo-violence kind of way and Ast put all of their furious energy into making it memorable, even when it descends into chaotic shards of noise at the end. I was well aware of the crusty-brilliance of Ancst before hearing this split and my opinion of them hasn’t changed, but Ast are the real surprise for me. This is the first time I’ve heard them and they’re excellent.

Stream the whole thing via Vendetta Records here:-

Digital and vinyl copies of the split can be purchased from them above, or from either band. Links can be found on the Facebook pages below:-

Ancst Facebook -
Ast Facebook -
Vendetta Records Facebook -

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Regresser - .2 EP


1. All Watched Over
2. Too Much, Too Little

April has been my most productive month so far this year in terms of reviews and there's still a couple of days to go! Some of you may remember my review of the Raccoon City Police Department record back in February, that was co-released by UK label Dog Knights Productions and new Aussie label Split The Dummy Records (it was actually the labels first). Well, Sam who heads the label up gave a shout after that review to let me know about Regresser and their new EP, which should see a tape release through the label this year. I had to check out, especially after Sam took the trouble and the time to contact me directly from the other side of the bloody world! So, some stuff about Regresser. They're from Newcastle (I'm not bitter about Australia stealing our city names!) and they put their first music out in 2014, two EP's titled .1 and .1b. They play a lot of shows and this year looks set to be a busy one. Heck, they recently played a hometown show supporting the mighty Norma Jean!

I approach Regresser with a completely open mind, having not written a review for the past five days. It’s good to have break sometimes but I’ve been aching to get back into it. All Watched Over in the first of two tracks on .2 and it starts with a brooding and atmospheric opening passage. It’s akin to post-hardcore, features clean vocals and a sax! Regresser blaze their own trail, with elements of jazz and whirring post-rock across this expansive track. At the five-minute mark their hardcore influence explodes into life and an enriching and affirming presence. This is anything but formulaic. There’s no pointless gap before Too Much, Too Little so none of Regresser’s momentum is lost. The solemn guitar takes on a country music sound and it’s certainly a laid back song. It follows the same approach as All Watched Over, with a softly-building and layered sound. There’s a really endearing quality about .2. One that begs attention from anyone listening. They don’t just go for a quick fix either, preferring to make their songs very spacial and by letting their collective progressive talents loose as a band. Too Much, Too Little gets noisier towards the end but just when you think it’s going to descend into walls of jarring feedback, the brakes are put on and it settles back down. Again, they leave the most intense emotions till the end. Two songs in eighteen-minutes is very good value from a band so new and .2 is definitely worth your time. I’d go as far to say that a lot of today’s more planted bands could learn a thing or two from Regresser. Listen to this!

Listen to .2 here:-

You can currently get this EP as a name-your-price-download from the band.

Keep an eye out for news on any impending tape release via the links below:-

Regresser Facebook -
Spit The Dummy Records Facebook -

Tuesday 28 April 2015

This Is Ends Here - Afterwards EP stream + New release news

Back in September 2014 I wrote a review of the Afterwards 7" by Bristol's This Ends Here. It was the band's first 7". Fast forward to 2015 and the band have just finished writing and recording their new release. Guitarist/Vocalist Myles Roberts calls it "the most preposterous slice of prog-crust you've ever heard!". If that doesn't get you excited about it, nothing will!

This Ends Here have just toured Ireland with the mighty Human Cull and are due to play Red Sun Fest in Cardiff next weekend alongside a massive amount of quality UK bands, including Oblivionized, Siege Mentality and Isolation Tank. Check the poster below:-

I will hopefully be streaming one of their new tracks in the near future, but for now I've been given permission to stream Afterwards, to help spread the word in prep for the new release. Make sure you check it out and pick up a copy from the band.

Keep an eye out for news on their new release here -

Both vinyl and digital copies of Afterwards can be picked up here -

Thursday 23 April 2015

Irk/Wren - Split


1. Irk - You Sound Like My Ex-Wife
2. Irk - A Dead Elephant
3. Irk - Life Pervert
4. Irk - Cibo Per Gattini
5. Wren - Arise
6. Wren - Before The Great Silence
7. Wren - An Approach

Here's my second original review, leading up the this weekend's No Fun Intended festival. It'll also be my last review before until at least next Monday, so there will be sometime for you all to catch up! The only thing that troubled me when thinking about this review was that Irk are probably going to be only band I can catch on Saturday, due to family commitments. I wish I could stay for the whole of Saturday but I messed up. Some background on the bands then; Irk are a trio from Leeds who play noisy rock type stuff with heaviness thrown in. Wren are from London and play down-tempo metal, sludge and a whole lot more. This should be great.

Irk begins with a bag full of loud riffs. You Sound Like My Ex-Wife is filled with off-kilter rhythms, semi-clean vox/screams and bass, lots of bass. The vocals occasional remind me of Chino Moreno in a spaced-out and lazy kind of way. The next couple of songs from Irk are much shorter. A Dead Elephant is a brief and violent slab of noise, but one filled with arty progression. Life Pervert is a spoken-word song that sits atop of buzzing bass that leads into their last offering, Cibo Per Gattini. They’re back to their energetic and cathartic best here. Those full-on verses are punctuated by a spoken-word passage and jazz-laden instrumentation during the mid-section, before naturally evolving to heaviness some more. Irk is a fantastic advert for the diversity and originality that exists in Leeds musically.  Wren’s side of the split features three songs. They feel more menacing compared to the fraught shapes of Irk. Arise leans more toward post-metal and droning sludge instead, allowing the song to crescendo mid-way through. The instrumental build-up felt in Arise leads you to Before The Great Silence, which is where the band really come alive. Reminding me of Scandinavian band Kollwitz and Leeds’ own Mausoleion in it’s delivery. It’s massive but also catchy. The same can be said for closing song An Approach. It takes their post-metal stomp and magnifies it. The use of dramatic instrumental structure in the song makes it a fitting way to end the split. I’m a big fan of split releases, which is something I’ve said many times. Both Irk and Wren operate in different niches but work together so well. There’s no excuse for ignoring either of these bands. 

Stream the split here:-

It's also available to stream via Wren's bandcamp page in full, along with both bands offering digital downloads -

I don't think the split has been released physically yet, so someone really needs to do that!

Irk Facebook -
Wren Facebook -

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Pyrrhon - The Mother Of Virtues


1. The Oracle Of Nassau
2. White Flag
3. Sleeper Agent
4. Balkanized
5. Eternity In A Breath
6. Implant Fever
7. Invisible Injury
8. The Parasite In Winter
9. The Mother Of Virtues

Pyrrhon are playing in Leeds tonight alongside Department Of Correction, but I'm unable to go. Writing a review is the next best things I suppose! Pyrrhon, from Brooklyn NY, released The Mother Of Virtues via Relapse Records in early 2014. They've been lauded in the extreme metal music press for their forward thinking death metal, in the vein of scene-legends Gorguts and newer bands like Ulcerate, but seem to have gone over a lot of people's heads. They're due to release a new album in June so there's no better time to check them out properly.

I wasn’t expecting that kick to the face! Most bands begin with an atmosphere building intro, but Pyrrhon just go for it with opening track The Oracle Of Nassau. It’s utterly chaotic, with flailing riffs, pummelling double-bass and crazed screams. A mix of grind and weirdly jangling guitar makes it very engaging, even for such a short track. On White Flag the pendulum swings completely the other way. Pyrrhon start with a sludge-laden slow build. Menacing bass and guitar melody go hand in hand alongside their off-kilter arrangements. The feedback that accompanies the vocals hits a terrifyingly satisfying spot, though they’re used sparingly and don’t take over from music itself. The expansive nature of White Flag will either have you surrendering or will drag you deeper into the mad-cap grinding collage of sound that they create. I’m only two-tracks into this so far but already it’s hammered home just how far-reaching and technically impressive this “primitive” genre of music can be. I used the speech marks because some people just don’t understand the work and passion that goes into creating an album like this and just write it off as noise. I pity those people. Sleeper Agent condenses the power of White Flag before it, halving the song-length but not the ideas. If you can follow the amount of time-changes in this, you’re a better person than me though! They seem to ratchet up the intensity on Balkanized. It’s impossible not to be moved by the contents of this album, especially if you enjoy metal on a higher plane. The instrumental mid-section of the song needs to be appreciated as it is and it’s great that Pyrrhon let it breathe on it’s own. There are intricacies in it that won’t be picked up when coupled with the vocals. Slowing the pace again, Eternity In A Breath (which is a very apt title for the song) ploughs its own sorrowful furrow. Anyone who really listen to doom or sludge will appreciate the hell out of this. Sometimes, it’s better just to sit and soak up the music without thinking about what to write as it plays. I did that with Implant Fever. I shut my eyes and lay back with a clear head. The images that it painted in my mind were as vivid as the music itself. Now, I don’t use chemical coercion (unless you count alcohol) when writing reviews so for a band to do that, they have to be pretty good. Thankfully, the piledrivng intensity of Pyrrhon is that good! The bilious, rampaging vocals on Invisible Injury show Doug Moore at his best. It’s tough to compete with the music itself, but he does here. The fact that the lyrics are audible makes it more endearing as well. Invisible Injury has to be my standout track on The Mother Of Virtues. The way Pyrrhon moves between slow/mid-paces death slabs and feverishly fast grind is both joyous and scary at the same time and it’s demonstrated perfectly on penultimate song The Parasite Of Winter. Here though, they don’t change signatures at a-mile-a-minute and are more measured. They leave it till the end to unleash their biggest and in some ways, their most unholy sermon. The title-track brings to a close an album that can’t be ignored. I’ve heard from some who say that it’s ahead of it’s time. I say to hell with that notion. As with my review of Formes yesterday, music like this needs to exist in order to challenge the status quo. Pyrrhon are grabbing what we know by the scruff of the neck and are ripping it up, replacing it with something very special. 

You can stream The Mother Of Virtues here:-

Digital copies as well as CD's can be purchased from Pyrrhon's bandcamp page above.

LP's can be picked up via Relapse Records here -

Pyrrhon Facebook -

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Formes - Dysphoria Part 1


1. Through This Whole
2. Tumult
3. I Am Nothing
4. I Will Make You Ill
5. Smile Club
6. Dead Ends

Following on from yesterday's Agrimonia review, I mentioned that I was gonna write two original review prior to No Fun Intended this weekend. Well, here's the first of the two. Formes, who play the festival on Sunday 26th, released their first record via No Fun Intended's record label arm in  March. The trio from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire have been all over the place recently and I can't wait to see them live.

You’d think that after a day at work and in this heat, I’d want to switch off; no such chance of that! I’m in a strange mood. A mood that can only be sated by progressive, experimental music. West Yorkshire has a bit of a rep for experimental bands. Take Leeds’ bands like the sadly departed Tangaroa and the newly formed Clenstch, to pluck some names out of the air. Dewsbury’s Formes are another band to add to the ever growing list. Dysphoria Part 1’s opener Through This Hole is a head-spinning mix of extreme metal and jazz with blissed-out clean vocals. There’s certainly no quick gratification to be found here. Formes prefer the considered approach with the first three tracks wading in a nearly seven-minuted apiece. Tumult is your first encounter with their death-metal influences as the song features blackened-growls in between the clean vocals. They mix the extreme elements in well alongside their calming textures. That intense experience comes to a peak on I Am Nothing. The musicality on show is pretty special and at times, you forget that you’re listening to what is ostensibly a heavy band. Music and it’s boundaries are there to be pushed and so far Formes are doing that with Dysphoria Part 1. The second half of the record is slightly more condensed but no less atmospheric. I Will Make You Ill could describe the way that Formes intend to make you feel after listening to this record, but in truth its ambient and haunting feel is more uncomfortable (in a good way). Smile Club is probably Formes’ most melodic piece. It’s weirdly catchy and even (dare I say it) accessible, but the ending is a fab collage of feedback-ridden riffs. Dead Ends finishes the record with riffs that air on the side of dirge, while still effectively inducing a trance. Formes are really really hard to categorise, in spite of the influences and nuances that they weave into Dysphoria Part 1. They are going to be something special live, for those who haven’t seen them yet.

You can stream Dysphoria Part 1 via No Fun Intended here:-

There are digital, CD and CD/T-shirt packages to be grabbed from NFI too.

Formes Facebook -
No Fun Intended Facebook -

Monday 20 April 2015

Agrimonia - Rites Of Separation Review

With the first edition of brand new, Leeds based metal festival No Fun Intended just five days away, I thought I'd upload this review that I wrote for Ghost Cult Magazine back in 2013. Sweden's Agrimonia are playing on Saturday evening, right before US sludge band Noothgrush. I'll unfortunately miss some of Saturday's bands due to family commitments, but that doesn't stop everyone else from getting in the mood for some smash! This review has been posted with the kind permission of Ghost Cult Magazine.


1. Talion
2. Hunted
3. While Life Lies
4. The Battle Fought
5. Awaiting

Sweden’s crust-sludgers Agrimonia are about to spew forth their third full-length, and debut for Southern Lord, Rites of Separation. The album promises to be an aural experience like no other, weighing in at just under an hour and featuring five songs. It’s been three years since their last record Host of The Winged, in which time the band have honed both their stagecraft and song writing even further. Rites of Separation starts with Talion, which after an initial whirring build up, goes on to fill your ears with thick but bright guitar. The riffs are angular yet melodic and seem to belay Agrimonia’s sludge/crust sound. Christina’s vocals are intense and add a passion to the music. The leads feature an almost middle-eastern epic-ness, with the melody they possess in the first solo. Overall, it’s a song driven by constant but controlled guitars. It’s more atmospheric that it is filthy too, especially during the more thoughtful and introspective passage towards the end of the track. Here, gently plucked guitar is interspersed with otherworldly sounds and swathes of noise, before those unmistakable riffs come back into view. They throw in different textures by introducing Hunted with a nice piano opener. I’m still not getting a sense of the crust/sludge they’re known for! Hunted features another prolonged instrumental opening passage. It takes nearly three minutes fro those crazed screams to come back into view. During the main verses, the song seems more fraught and faster than opener Talion. The drums are more prominent and the screams are pretty savage. I’d compare Christina’s vocals to those of Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy, purely due to their intensity, though I know that may not be a popular comparison! One thing I do love about Rites of Separation is the way that Agrimonia weave such uncharacteristic melodies into their music, so as to avoid being truly pigeonholed. It really brings the album to life. Hunted ends very suddenly and flows straight into While Life Lies. This isn’t an album that instantly hits you between the eyes, it’s subtle, it has heart and soul and musically, it’s superior to a lot of music I’ve listened too recently. Just take the crescendo at the start of “While Life Lies” as an example. It builds up with slow, menacing drumbeats and well placed guitar melodies, before the noise level ratchets up, peaks and the screams kick in. It’s more off-kilter but loses none of its majestic appeal. I guess you shouldn’t expect anything less from a band of this quality. Bassist Martin Larsson currently plays in At The Gates and Skitsystem, while Drummer Bjorn and Guitarist/Keyboardist Pontus also feature in death metal band Miasmal and second guitarist Magus plays in crossover band Atomvinter, to name a few. On The Battle Fought there’s more of a black metal nastiness seeping through the guitars, it may have been laying in wait with previous songs, but this is the first time you get a proper sense of it. Being the shortest song on Rites of Separation, there’s an inevitable speed to it, but again it’s controlled. Before you know it, you’re listening to the opening bars of album closer Awaiting. For an album with songs of this length, it certainly ain’t a chore to sit through. There’s enough creativity within the music to keep it interesting throughout. The ambient noise elements at the start of Awaiting are somewhat unsettling, but fit well with the rest of the music. The instrumentation then hits another epic stride and that claustrophobic black metal influence rests within the vocals. The music takes a slightly haunting twist with some cleanly plucked guitar, which lumbers on through the mid-way point of the song, as the textures build and the band switches meticulously between full-on assaults and more considered passages. The whispered vocals are especially spine tingling! I can’t fault this record one bit. It’s just got such a personality about it. Each member of Agrimonia plays a significant role in making Rites of Separation what it is and this could easily be contender for album of the year!

You can stream Rites Of Separation via Southern Lord here:-

Agrimonia Facebook -
Southern Lord Facebook -
No Fun Intended Facebook -

Metal Moth - Rise EP


1. Moth To The Flame
2. Meltdown
3. One More Time
4. Metal Maniac

For the first time in what seems like ages, I'm actually featuring some straight-forward metal. Not one of the myriad sub-genres or crossover strains, just good old metal. Rise is the debut EP from Newcastle five-piece Metal Moth and is the first of what is due to be a three-EP set. It was self-released by the band in July 2014. I've been told that they will appeal to fans of 3 Inches Of Blood and Bullet For My Valentine and as both bands appear in my CD collection, I'm eager to hear this.

This EP gives off very strong first impressions. EP opener Moth To The Flame features heavy thrash riffs and melodic vocals. I can here that Bullet For My Valentine comparison in their music and they’re very good musicians. This strand of metal takes me back to when I first started listening to heavy bands and picking up copies of Metal Hammer for the first time. It’s not going to break boundaries, but it’s very listenable. There’s plenty of Southern-flavour in Meltdown. The sludgy, groovy guitar that kicks it off give Metal Moth a heavier edge. The song also has a subtle Alice In Chains influence hidden within it. They take the same direction with One More Time. They condense that heaviness into a more urgent slab of anthems metal and throw in a couple of solid solo’s too. Twin-guitar harmonies at the start of closing track Metal Maniac tell you all you know. This song has plenty of rock n roll swagger and ends Rise on a high. Metal Moth put up four classy metal songs that show that good things are coming from them. Can’t wait to hear what they do next.

Stream and grab a digi copy of Rise here:-

Keep an eye out for future EP news via Metal Moth's Facebook page -

Sunday 19 April 2015

Castellan - The Flower, The Thorn EP


1. The Flower
2. The Thorn

This two-track record contains the final parting words of the sadly departed Castellan. This quartet from the South of the UK released their debut EP Feeding Tube, via Animal Defence Records in late 2012. The Flower, The Thorn was released nearly a year later, again through Animal Defence Records  and also digitally through Hope Lost Records. Shortly after, Castellan called it a day. I've been meaning to write about this for ages, so apologies for my tardiness. 

Castellan were always slightly left-of-centre when it came to creating loud, hardcore related noise. The Flower contains experimental, math-orientated hardcore with plenty of jazz arrangements. The instrumentation on here is pretty breathtaking. It would be unfair to call this artsy or anything equally as wishy-washy. Castellan just plain go for it. Second song The Thorn is more than an equal to The Flower. Listening to this EP, I’m scratching my head to think of a reason why these guys called it a day, as they were brimming with talent. I know it’s easy for people to say that when a band has gone, but I genuinely mean it here. I guess better to go out on a high than to burn out playing recycled, turgid shite. R.I.P.

You can stream and download The Flower, The Thorn (name-your-price) here:-

Castellan Facebook -
Animal Defence Records Facebook -
Hope Lost Records Facebook -

No Mercy - Widespread Bloodshed/Love Runs Red Reissue


1. We're Evil
2. Crazy But Proud
3. Master Of No Mercy
4. Day Of The Damned
5. Controlled By Hatred
6. I'm Your Nightmare
7. Widespread Bloodshed-Love Runs Red
8. My Own Way Of Life
9. Waking The Dead

Following on from my Brotherhood review a week or so ago, I thought I'd check out another reissue. This is the only LP from the mid-1980's thrash band No Mercy, formed by Suicidal Tendencies member Mike Clark. Many of the members that played in No Mercy, also played in Suicidal Tendencies, including vocals Mike Muir. This 9-track LP was reissued in late 2014 via Suicidal Records. 

I went to see Suicidal Tendencies at Download Festival in 2006 and listening to No Mercy takes me back to that summer. Obviously there are similarities between both bands. These songs have been remastered for this release yet still sound as raw and as fun as they did back in 1987. It’s scary to think that this record came out just a year after I was born. We’re Evil opens the record and proves why crossover bands were so influential on the thrash scene both back then and indeed now. Plenty of gang vocals, high-pitched lead guitar and crucially, melody. Unlike Anthrax, who ploughed a similar furrow at the time of this record, Crazy But Proud shows that No Mercy possessed more personality and originality. I don’t think either No Mercy were ever on any of the Tony Hawks Playstation game soundtracks, but they bloody should have been. Master Of No Mercy would have slotted in perfectly alongside The Ramones and Guttermouth! Definitely more punk than thrash, but still circle-pit inducing and with more urgency too. I love the melody that No Mercy injects into these songs. They’re not just about full-on hardcore aggression. Mike Muir especially proves why he’s such a revered vocalist on Day Of The Damned. No Mercy weren’t afraid to change pace or atmosphere either, as songs like Controlled By Hatred will attest. There’s a menace to it but the song also has a strangely chilled out surf-punk vibe, like on Master Of No Mercy before it. No Mercy are back at their thrashing best on I’m Your Nightmare. It’s pretty impossible to keep still during the song, as it’s infectious tempo gets to you. The title-track’s furious riffs are exhilarating and leave on time for breath. The key to this record is it’s momentum and No Mercy knew how to keep it high. My Own Way Of Life has some great picking in it and more characteristic melody, which I’m sure added to their approachability at the time. closing song Waking The Dead is a pure, unadulterated thrashathon! Seven and a half minutes of whirlwind crossover that ends the record on a huge high. I personally think it’s great that early bands are having record reissued. It allows people with a genuine interest in metal/punk to check out the bands that probably influenced the bands they listen to now. Widespread Bloodshed/Love Runs Red is truly infectious and it’ll be getting repeat spins from me!

The whole record is streaming song-by-song on Youtube here:-

You can grab physical copies direct from Suicidal Records here -

No Mercy/Suicidal Tendencies Facebook -

Saturday 18 April 2015

Death Kindly Waits For Me - Wires//Iron//Blood


1. Cutting Room Floor
2. Best Friends Just Don't Do That
3. Decade Of War

So this band's name will have you believe that their an occult doom band or a death metal band, but they're not. They're from Northampton and they play post-hardcore. They formed in early 2014 and Wires//Iron//Blood is their first EP (though the coverart says Iron//Wires/Blood). They've definitely been creative with their cover art, as when turned around, the face of the man above turns into the face of a wolf! The UK's record with post-hardcore is a strong one and I a lot of faith in the bands we produce, so I'm looking forward to checking these guys out.

Death Kindly Waits For Me is full of good old English Charm. The vocals are a mix of clean English-accent singing and occasional heavy screams on opener Cutting Room Floor. There’s a bit of a garage-rock feel to the clean vox, while the guitars are melodic and the overall instrumentation is pretty big! As I listen to Best Friends Just Don’t Do That, I’ve just realised who those vocals remind of. Davey Havoc from AFI! That’s the last comparison I’m going to make in this review. This song is an anthem though, even during the introspective passage towards the end that's filled with calm guitar. It undeniable that these guys are solid musicians. Decade Of War is a great slab of alternative rock that only us Brits can muster. When you hear a band producing a debut EP like this, you know that it’s something special. Death Kindly Waits For Me are gonna get big quickly on this showing. 

You can stream Wires//Iron//Blood and pick it up digitally for the princely sum of £2 here:-

Death Kindly Waits For Me Facebook -

Friday 17 April 2015

Mutank - M.E.C.H. Metal


1. M.E.C.H Metal
2. Mutank
3. Minions
4. W.A.R
5. Heavy Hand Of A Doomsday Clock
6. No Spoils, No Mercy
7. Corporate Child
8. Thrashback In Time

Another week has gone by. Time seems to flying at the moment. Tonight I wanted to write about a band that I've been meaning to write about for ages. Canadian thrashers Mutank released M.E.C.H Metal in February 2014, which was their first full-length following their 2013 demo. It was self-released both digitally and on tape. On browsing their recently announced shows, I noticed that they're due to play with Night Demon (Century Media) in May and last year they played Wacken! 

Listening to M.E.C.H Metal, I can see how Mutank ended up playing Wacken last year. Their slick thrash on the opening title-track is full of rip-roaring guitar and keg party vibes. They play with a balls-out style that in completely in-tune with their Canadian heritage. I’m not sure if they’ve played in bands previously, but it certainly sounds like it on Mutank. What’s even better is that M.E.C.H Metal was recorded live, so you know you’re getting a true record featuring the band’s own sweat and blood. If you’re expecting Minions to be an ode to those little yellow beings from Despicable Me, you’re gonna be sadly disappointed, as its a headbanger’s dream. They up the ante on W.A.R with a sub two-minute burst of gloriously groovy thrash. Mutank may contain crossover but they truly excel when playing straightforward thrash. Not even some of scene legends in recent times can lay claim to that crown! Heavy Hand Of The Doomsday Clock proves that, even at mid-pace. The production of this album helps Mutank out as well. It’s pretty beefy and isn’t too clean. I guess a thrash band that makes use of too many filters and effects is no longer a thrash band. No Spoils, No Mercy flies by in a flash. Imagine being caught in a whirlwind and you’re close! Corporate Child rages with a great sounding solo, before album closer Thrashback In Time calls you to battle. The drum beat that kicks in at the sixty-second mark will have you head-banging like nobody’s business. Much like the whole album. Prepare to spin dry in your own circle pit. This is ace.

Stream M.E.C.H Metal and grab it as a name-your-price-download here:-

Tapes and merch has sold out.

Mutank Facebook -

Thursday 16 April 2015

Hereza - Misanthrope


1. Misanthrope
2. Grob
3. Kraj
4. Unholy Flame Of Blasphemy
5. We Are The Disease
6. Objesen
7. Whole World Burn
8. Bullet Storm
9. Cancerous Demise
10. Pills
11. Noc Zivih Mrtvaca
12. Death Army March
13. Erase The Disgrace
14. Mud

Canadian label PRC Music is on a march this year. I reviewed Rise From Ruins by Wreckage back in February and while a lot of music is on the way from the label, I thought I check out Croatian death duo Hereza, whose debut album Misanthrope was released around the same time. Hereza is a another new band to me, having only formed in the middle of 2014. They've been super productive though with this fourteen track beast!

One thing I’ve discovered over the years is that it really doesn’t matter how many bands members you have. You can have six, seven, or even eight if you want, but having fewer is better for the creative process in most cases. The Croatian duo of Hereza prove that with some incredibly tight and focused death metal. The title-track opens up with a nice nod to the old-school while Grob is chock full of thrash. The guitar teeters between melodic and buzzsaw, with plenty of punch. Hereza’s thrash influence spills over into Kraj, which sees the band going for it in both song-length and outright pace. Oh and there’s a small matter of that solo too! Unholy Flame Of Eternity starts with a raw black metal intro before punk overrules it. This urgent approach is infectious and is channels the speed-worship of Motorhead. There are so many strands of death metal these days and it can be hard for bands to settle of a specific sound, so it’s great to hear that Hereza have chosen to play fast and have stuck with it throughout. We Are The Disease is frenzied and they only get faster from here on in. I thought that fourteen tracks was gonna be a bit much for those with ADD, but on hearing Objesen, that assumption is completely wrong. In true review fashion though, Hereza through in a curveball at the mid-way point. Whole World Burn is a dirge-laden crawl compared to Misanthrope’s earlier songs. Their mid-paced and off-kilter instrumentation changes the atmosphere of the record and takes it in a darker direction, even if it is only for one song. Normal (fast!) pace is resumed with Bullet Storm, which is an apt name for the song. It full-on rages from start to end and it complete with plenty of heavy metal goodness, including another top solo. That pesky Motorhead influence is back on Cancerous Demise, with some of the best riffs since Ace Of Spades! Pretty bold statement to make, but just listen for yourselves. Pills goes by super quickly, with no time for breath. Noc Zivih Mrtvaca is one of the only songs that Hereza sings in their native tongue and despite my lack of Croatian, it still sounds mighty. Even though Misanthrope is coming to a conclusion, things don’t slacken off. Death Army March feels more muscular than some of it’s predecessors, with some pretty hefty riffs amongst the death metal backbone. The sound levels during closing duo Erase The Disgrace and Mud is set to stun. For a duo, Hereza are not just musically sterling but also powerful. The production on Misanthrope brings out the best in them and judging by the standard of this debut record, they are only going to get bigger and better.

You can stream Misanthrope here:-

You can buy the CD from PRC Music here -

Hereza Facebook -
PRC Music Facebook -

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Sadiemae - Susanatkins-Whitehouse + II


1. Susanatkins-Whitehouse

I occasionally feature weird noise on here. It's something I dabble in and UK one-man noise band Sadiemae contacted me via the blog in September last year, to let me know about this self-released track that was concocted through the use of different electronic toys/effects and the Manson family! This entity has no social media presence and just a sole bandcamp page that marks it's existence. I have no other info!

Susanatkins-Whitehouse spans ten solitary, terrifying minutes. It builds with all kinds of pitch-bent spoken word samples, effects and rumbling feedback. I remember watching Sloth Hammer live and hearing similar effects in their set, but here Sadiemae doesn’t incorporate rhythms, bass or anything close to doom. Some the higher pitched effects sound like bastardised bagpipes or harmonicas. The Manson samples that are masked within the piece only add to it’s sinister delivery and feel. The pulsing siren-like squeal at the 6-7 minute mark is strangely hypnotic and while Sadiemae doesn’t produce the kind of skull-crushing noise that some might have expected, there’s still more than enough atmosphere to leave a mark. Harrowing indeed!

Stream the whole track below, where it's also available for free download:-


1. I
2. II

While listening to Susanatkins-Whitehouse, I noticed a second offering that had been posted onto bandcamp in February. This time featuring two very short tracks, so extra investigation was needed.

I is mixture of squalid white noise and feedback, while II is more ambient and features a sample that stretches the entire length of the track and it kind of reminded me of the constant propaganda delivered to people by the ruling class in North Korea.

Again you can stream both tracks below:-

They're also available as a name-your-price download.

Sadiemae really should be producing haunting background ambience for horror movies on the strength of these two digital releases. Noise fans get acquainted!

Monday 13 April 2015

Brotherhood - Till Death...


1. The Deal
2. Breaking The Ice
3. Stolen Mind
4. Gain
5. Three Things
6. Till Death
7. Courage
8. No Tolerance (For Ignorance)
9. Support
10. Get Involved
11. Won't Turn Our Backs

When I first started collecting vinyl I found myself buying a lot of SXE and Youth Crew records, by bands like xCurraheex and Truth Inside. I'm not straight edge myself but I love the music and the positive message that those bands portray. Brotherhood came to my attention recently thanks to this release via Southern Lord and Overkill Records in September 2014. I had no idea about the band's history either, until I read that they were formed only a year after my birth and included members that went on to form some of rock and punks most seminal bands. Now with the release of this collection of 7" and demo material, they're making their way back into people's consciousness and are doing their bit to champion awesome like-minded bands in the process. 

The songs contained on Till Death.. came from an era when hardcore and more specifically the straight-edge scene was vibrant and not overly contaminated by copyists. The music and the attitude wasn’t watered down or plagiarised. Brotherhood provides a snapshot in time to that era with their brand of fast and off-kilter hardcore. They mix punchy and brief songs like opener The Deal (from the No Tolerance For Ignorance 7”, 1989) with more expressively structured ones like Breaking The Ice (from the Brotherhood Of Friends demo, also in 1989). The songs featured on this compilation are from those two early releases and the track list is the same as the one that appeared on the Crucial Response comp, Words Run..As Thick As Blood!. Brotherhood’s influence can be heard in a lot of more recent punk and hardcore bands, such as early Gallows and the bands I mentioned at the top of this review. I can definitely hear similarities in songs like Stolen Mind and Gain. The remastering job that’s been done on these songs takes none of their original feel away, The instruments and vocals sound real and emotive as they would have done at the time. Brotherhood use Three Things and the title-track demonstrate their forward-thinking approach while Courage and No Tolerance (For Ignorance) act as rallying cries for disenchanted youth and for those who want to make a change. That goes for the comp as a whole though! It’s cool to hear how much they packed into their songs, with the final trio of Support, Get Involved and Won’t Turn Our Backs being furious anthems.While my review doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said about Brotherhood and their music, this band have to be respected for what they achieved and for the positive focus they brought to hardcore punk. This remastered comp will bring them to new fans and is another important piece of hardcore’s history that’s been documented. 

Stream Till Death... here:-

Various digital, vinyl and merchandise packages can be purchased via Southern Lord's bandcamp page above.

Brotherhood Facebook -
Southern Lord Recordings Facebook -

Friday 10 April 2015

Forced Kill - Hard Death 7"


1. Fastlane To Demise
2. Hard Death

My final review of the evening features a 7" that might have slipped past you. This two-track 7" was part of a triple release from Svart Records, late last year. Finnish thrash-metal band Forced Kill formed in 2008 and released a demo a year later. Since then, they've released a further demo and a compilation, with this EP coming at the back-end of 2014. This seems like the perfect way to end an evening of intense proportions!

Old-school thrash and heavy metal always puts me in a buoyant mood. Finnish thrashers Forced Kill shake me up right away with Fastlane To Demise. It’s just over three-minutes of old-school worship with plenty of glorious virtuoso sweep-picking moments. The title-track is an absolute beast. Anyone who liked the first Noisem LP will feel at home here. The tempo is high and Forced Kill don’t take any prisoners. They pack a huge amount of riff-worthy thrash into this song. Whether you’re old-school or not, you’ll love this!

Stream and download it (name-your-price) from Forced Kill here - 

You can grab the 7" from Svart Records here -

Forced Kill Facebook -
Svart Records Facebook -

Ramlord - S/T 7"


1. The Breached Sanctum
2. The Fog Of Neglect

Straddling the Cara Neir link, it seems like the right time to review the latest self-titled 7" from New Hampshire's self-proclaimed "blackstench" band Ramlord. Following on from their split with Nuclear Devastation last year, Ramlord have decided to spread their hatred further! I'll let the record do the rest of the talking for me.

When I first saw the term “blackstench”,  I didn’t expect this. The clean beginnings of The Breached Sanctum took me by surprise. It didn’t take long though for Ramlord to hit their blackened stride! They’re crusty in parts but disturbingly dark in others. Fast and slow dynamics make up the bedrock of their sound. The bass/drum duo that kicks off The Fog Of Neglect is necro as hell, while the time-changes and deep growls pull the song in different directions. Ramlord have presented two squalid tracks of black filth here and damn they’re good!

Stream and download the 7" here - 

Grab a physical 7" here -

Ramlord Facebook -
Broken Limbs Recordings Facebook -

Cara Neir/Venowl - Split Tape


1. Cara Neir - Aeonian Temple
2. Cara Neir - Nights...
3. Cara Neir - Pitiful Human Bindings
4. Venowl - Scour (Parts 1 & 2)

I can't believe it's nearly mid-April. It doesn't feel like I've got anywhere near far enough review- wise. I plan to write several this weekend in-between gigs and stuff. Tonight is all about black metal, Broken Limbs style! Starting with the Cara Neir/Venowl split tape from late last year. Both bands have featured here in recent-ish times but I craved somemore. Dallas black-metal duo Cara Neir have a new full-length on the way, while Illinois' Venowl continue to pummel with their blackened sludge-nightmare.

Cara Neir’s sound on this split is really clean. There’s black metal vox alongside sickeningly good melodic guitar. Anyone familiar with We Came Out Like Tiger’s latest and last full-length will definitely appreciate Aeonian Temple. In fact, they’ll appreciate all of Cara Neir’s contributions to this split. Nights… is a laid back song full of chilled guitar and spoken-word style vocals. The last time I reviewed them was when they released their split with Ramlord, but here they sound like a different band altogether. Pitiful Human Bindings is more punk-like in approach and Cara Neir make great use of their side of this release, filling it with gloriously varied music. This final track is their most expansive but is a pleasure to listen too. Their blackened-crust piercing through the airwaves. Venowl are a completely different beast, but you’ll know that already if you’ve heard their Patterns Of Failure tape. Scour (Parts 1 & 2) is chock full of uncomfortably claustrophobic doom. The recording/production takes on a greater live sound than that of Cara Neir’s, though for me the latter’s is more suited to their style. Venowl are a more haunting proposition and can’t really be compared to Cara Neir. For starters, Scour (Parts 1 & 2) is over twenty-minutes long and is pretty harrowing. Its got a sense of real improvisation to it, which sometimes only comes from the most creative of doom bands. The genre is known for it’s trance-like nature and Venowl invoke that here. The ringing feedback coupled with the rumbling-bass makes the song impossible to ignore. I didn’t think a split like this would work, with two bands from opposite ends of extreme metal spectrum, but it does. It’s infectious and the vision of both Cara Neir and Venowl is admirable. Hats off to Broken Limbs for making it happen as well. 

You can stream and download the split here:-

Tapes can be purchased from Broken Limbs Recordings via the above bandcamp page or via their store here -

Cara Neir Facebook -
Venowl Facebook -
Broken Limbs Recordings Facebook -

Thursday 9 April 2015

Conquer - A Worm's Demise EP


1. A Worm's Demise
2. Hell's First Born
3. God Is The Destroyer

Death metal seems to be staple of the extreme metal genre in Canada. Conquer, from Oshawa (Ontario) are one of it's latest exponents. Forming late last year and coinciding with the release of their debut EP, A Worm's Demise, Conquer are taking tentative steps having played their first show in March. They're currently working on their debut album so things are looking bright!

Conquer kick off A Worm’s Demise with the title-track, which is mid-paced and full of low-end. The vocals are deep bellows and the drums are frenetic blasts, backed up by grooves during the verses. Conquer’s approach has been spot on in my eyes. They waited until their debut EP was ready before they announced themselves to the world. A lot of bands need to take note! Their death metal is laced with thrash, which raises the heart-rate at times but it’s also sympathetic to the old-school and Conquer don’t rely on modern production touches too much. Hell’s First Born builds on what I just said. Conquer’s sound is pretty encompassing when they hit their noisy best. The wall of guitars that sit behind the vocals contain so much power and the percussion keeps up as well. Even the lead work is classy, without being too showy. They seem to speed up mid-way through the song, which increases their power right up to 11! They up their thrash game on God Is The Destroyer. Religion often takes centre stage in extreme metal, but the song-title does make you feel for those god-fearing types. The semi-clean growls remind me of James Hetfield or Tom Araya at times, which is no bad comparison. Conquer have built a solid foundation with this EP. Three songs in fifteen minutes is well worth the price of entry and this will appeal to a really broad range of heavy and extreme metallers. Good job!

Stream and download the EP (for free!) here:-

Conquer Facebook -

Monday 6 April 2015

Crow Bait - Separate Stations 7"


1. Separate Stations
2. Gran-Saloon Pt.2
3. Lost & Never Found

It's been a good long-weekend. Went to the first punk show to happen in Harrogate for ages and then got out and about last night with friends. To cap it all off, the sun is shining and all of the lawnmowers have stopped. Perfect opportunity then to check out the recent 7" from Long Island, NY punks Crow Bait. Separate Stations was released in January by Drunken Sailor Records in collaboration with Dirt Cult Records in the US. It's also great because I'm in one of those moods where I don't want to listen to anything too heavy.

I really don’t listen to enough punk. Crow Bait’s rough-around-the-edges melody and country-esque songs are at the calmer end of the spectrum, but that’s fine. Separate Stations is five-minutes of blissful punk with a nod to bands like The Beach Boys, sort of. That nostalgic sound follows through on this 7”s two briefer numbers. Gran-Saloon Pt. 2 is short and sharp, but super catchy too. Crow Bait’s songs never get too fast or angry, but there is an edge to Lost & Never Found. There’s more of a hardcore approach to the vocals, which leads to a grittier atmosphere. To me, Crow Bait and similar bands have much more credence and validity than Green Day and Blink-182 do nowadays. They are more indicative of the DIY/Grassroots punk scene and they should be embraced with open arms.

Stream Separate Stations here:-

You can buy digital downloads or physical copies from Drunken Sailor Records via their bandcamp page above.

If you're In the US, give Dirt Cult Records a shout here -

Crow Bait Wordpress -
Crow Bait Facebook -
Drunken Sailor Records Facebook -
Dirt Cult Records Facebook -

Visual Pleasure!

Dodgy title aside, I thought I'd put up a quick post featuring some new videos I've been sent recently. These are mainly from bands that I've featured here in the past but there's also a couple from bands that reached out to me via Facebook.

Like Pigs On Embers - Peaceful Knight

French hardcore band Like Pigs on Embers have released a video for the song Peaceful Knight from their 2014 demo -

Like Pigs On Embers -

Saltwater Injection - Vinegar/Cuntryfile

I recently reviewed Saltwater Injection's double-single that came out in March. They've also released videos for both songs -

Saltwater Injection Facebook -

Needless - The Dark Spirit of Ages (Full official EP stream)

Hungarian death/thrash band Needless shared the full-stream of their latest EP -

Needless Facebook -

Raum Kingdom - Wounds (Live In Belgium)

Irish post-metal band Raum Kingdom have released this live video filmed when they played in Ghent recently. It features a live version of Wounds from their recent EP -

Raum Kingdom Facebook -

Sunday 5 April 2015

Absentia Lunae - Vorwarts


1. Dissolution Mechanism
2. Furor Of The Monuments
3. Rapace Planare
4. Manipulated Statues Of Flesh
5. Vorwarts
6. Tragedy Told By Golden Horns
7. L'arrivee

When people think Italian extreme metal, the first name that may come to mind is that of symphonic/technical death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse. While they may have put the country on the map is recent years, there are more bands from across the spectrum that are equally as impressive. Black metallers Absentia Lunae are one such band and Vorwarts is their latest release. Spanning ten years as a band (give or take a few months of inactivity), Absentia Lunae has released two demos and three full-lengths to date.

Absentia Lunae are billed as an avantgarde band. On Dissolution Mechanism they initially come across as being industrial and militaristic, which is no surprise considering their penchant for wearing gas masks. What they do present is clever and approachable black metal with audible vocals and a solid production. Absentia Lunae are able to weave captivating atmospherics into their ritualistic battle songs, like during the opening passages of Furor Of The Monuments. They certainly aren’t just one-trick ponies. This is a side to their music that I especially like. Rapace Planare builds on the band’s occult overtones, amongst their icy attack. The metallic riffs throughout are great to listen too and the orchestral song-structure makes it sound pretty complex. The clean singing later on in the song compliments the orchestral structure and feel even more. They switch between earthy and orchestral to cold and raw with ease on Manipulated Statues Of Flesh. It’s a lot of heavier and contains more urgency, but still contains just enough atmosphere to keep even post-metal fans happy. The title track is Absentia Lunae at their battle-ready best. It’s a mid-paced lesson in controlled violence and hatred. Likewise, penultimate tome Tragedy Told By Golden Horns features some great rhythmic drumming and chant-like singing throughout. Absentia Lunae escape into moments of off-kilter merauding at times, but don’t lose their heads and always regain their momentum. Their final battle-laden song L’arrivee finishes Vorwarts with the same menacing atmosphere in which is began, although it is more of an outro than a full song. Absentia Lunae are very listenable and worthy of higher praise, due to the quality of musicianship and songwriting on Vorwarts. Their not just a black metal band and it shows. 

Stream the album here:- 

You can purchase both digital download and CD versions from ATMF's bandcamp page above.

Absentia Lunae Facebook -
ATMF Facebook -