Wednesday 27 May 2015

Tour Till Death!

Thought I'd start a semi-regular post about bands and tours that are heading through Europe (and more importantly the UK). Read on:-

All Out War - Europe/UK Summer 2015

US hardcore veterans All Out War are appearing at European festivals in August, as well various club  shows on the mainland and a sole UK date in London. Check out the dates and cities/venues below -

07/08/2015 JZ St. Peter - Duisburg, DE
08/08/2015 Still Cold Fest - Hannover, DE
09/08/2015 Cassiopeia - Berlin, DE
10/08/2015 Underworld - London, UK
11/08/2015 Werk 21 - Zurich, CH
12/08/2015 Molotov - Marseille, FR
13/08/2015 La Mechanique Ondulatoire - Paris, FR
14-16/08/2015 Motocultor Fest - Bretagne, FR
15/082015 Ieperfest - Ieper, BE

Here's the flyer too -

Cowards - France/Switzerland Summer Tour

Cowards round out the final dates of their Infamous Tour MMXV with June dates in France and a date across the border in Switzerland -

02/06/2015 Le Klub - Paris, FR w/ Suburban Scum, Rude Awakening, Pyrecult
03/06/2015 TBA - Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, FR

04/06/2015 Kawati Studios - Strasbourg, FR w/ Haut&Court
05/06/2015 TBA - CH

Ensiferum - Summer Festival 2015

Finnish battle-mongers Ensiferum will be playing a number of European Festivals this year, including our own Bloodstock-Open-Air - 

20/06/2015 Hellfest - Clisson, FR
31/07/2015 Wacken Open Air - Wacken, DE
06-08/08/2015 Party San Open Air - Schlotheim, DE
08/08/2015 Into The Grave Festival - Leeuwarden, NL
09/08/2015 Bloodstock Open Air - Walton-On-Trent, GB

13/08/2015 Rockstadt Extremefest - Rasnov, DE
13-15/08/2015 Summer Breeze - Dinkelsbühl, DE

Ghold - Temples Festival 2015

By now, anyone who's going to festival will know this but Ghold are playing at Temples Festival in Bristol in just six days time -

31/05/2015 Temples Festival - Bristol UK 

Goatsnake - Temples Festival and Europe 2015

Southern Lord's Goatsnake are hitting Temples Festival the day before Ghold and will also be playing dates across Europe in June - 

30/05/2015 Temples Festival - Bristol, UK
01/06/2015 De Kreun - Kortrijk, BE
02/06/2015 Melkweg - Amsterdam, NL
03/06/2015 SO36 - Berlin, DE
04/06/2015 Freakvalley Festival - Siegen, DE
07/06/2015 AN Club - Athens, GR

Halshug - Denmark 2015

Goatsnake's Danish label mates Halshug are playing a couple of dates in June in Copenhagen - 

12/06/2015 Pumpehuset - Copenhagen DK w/ Harms Way, The Southern Oracle, No Fealty, Czar
18/06/2015 Copenhell Festival - København DK

Iron Reagan - Summer Euro Tour 2015

US thrashers Iron Reagan are playing loads of Euro festivals and club dates in Europe and the UK this June/July - 

18/06/2015 Copenhagen DK - Copenhell
19/06/2015 Haarlem NL - Patronaat
20/06/2015 Hiausterdyk NL - Dokk'em Open Air
21/06/2015 Clisson FR - Hellfest
23/06/2015 Lyon FR - Warm Audio
24/06/2015 Sadenia IT - TBA
25/06/2015 Milano IT - Solomacello Festival
26/06/2015 Belgrade SB – Rockaway Lake Festival
27/06/2015 Bologna IT - Freakout Club
28/06/2015 Rome IT – Traffic Club
29/06/2015 Nova Gorcia SL - Mostovna
01/07/2015 Antwerpen BE - TBA
02/07/2015 Tilburg NL  - Hall of Fame
03/07/2015 Munster DE - Vainstream
04/07/2015 Tabor CZ - Mighty Sounds Festival
05/07/2015 Wien AU – Viper Room
08/07/2015 Bristol UK - The Exchange
09/07/2015 Newcastle UK - Think Tank
10/07/2015 Glasgow UK - Audio
11/07/2015 Manchester UK - Star & Garter
12/07/2015 London UK - The Underworld
16/07/2015 Giedrius LT - Devilstone Festival
17/07/2015 Viveiro ES - Resurrection Fest
18/07/2015 Albi FR - Xtreme Fest
19/07/2015 Paris FR - Le Petit Bain

Here's the flyer for the UK shows - 

Maruta - Euro/UK Summer Tour 2015

Relapse grinders Maruta will be playing across Europe and selected dates in the UK as part of their 2015 EU tour in June and July, leading up to a performance at Obscene Extreme. They'll be joined by Evisorax on all dates too - 

25/06/2015 Maguires Pizza - Liverpool, UK
26/06/2015 The Red Lion - Bristol, UK
27/06/2015 The Unicorn - London, UK
28/06/2015 The Pit's - Kortrijk, BE
29/06/2015 Les Runes - Bordeaux, FR
30/06/2015 Les Pavillons Sauvages - Toulouse, FR
01/07/2015 Stage Live - Bilbao, SP
02/072015 TBA - Madrid, SP
03/07/2015 TBA - Barcelona, SP
04/07/2015 TBA - Turin, IT
05/07/2015 Circolo Colony - Brescia, IT
06/07/2015 Dürer Kert - Budapest, HU
07/07/2015 RC Brooklyn - Brno, CZ
08/07/2015 Reil 78 - Halle, DE
09/07/2015 TBA
10/07/2015 Black Fleck - Potsdam, DE
11/07/2015 Obscene Extreme - Trutnov, CZ 

Piss Vortex - Denmark Label shows

Danish grinders Piss Vortex will be playing two Indisciplinarian label shows in June - 

12/06/2015 TBA - DK)- Indisciplinarian Label Night w/ Fossils, Anti Ritual
13/06/2015 Von Hatten - Randers DK)- Indisciplinarian Label Night w/ Fossils, Anti Ritual

Primordial - European Festivals 2015

Primordial play selected European Festivals in June and July -

13-14/06/2015 Metalhead Meeting 2015 - Bucharest, RO
19-21/06/2015 Graspop Metal Meeting - Dessel, BE
17/07/2015 Bang Your Head - Balingen, DE

Skinless - Hellfest Open Air 2015

US death metallers Skinless play Hellfest in France in June -

20/06/2015 Hellfest Open Air - Clisson, FR

Today Is The Day - Euro Tour w/Weedeater

Today Is The Day head out with Weedeater to obliterate Temples Festival at the end of May before laying waster to rest of Europe together - 

29/05/2015 Temples Festival - Bristol UK
30/05/2015 La Paniche - Lille FR
31/05/2015 This Is Not A Love Song - Nimes FR
01/06/2015 Connexion - Toulouse FR
02/06/2015 Razzmatazz3 - Barcelona ES
03/06/2015 Boite Live - Madrid ES
04/06/2015 RCA Club - Lisboa PT
05/06/2015 Hard Club - Porto PT
06/06/2015 Sala Dabadaba - Bilbao ES
07/06/2015 Heretic - Bordeaux FR
08/06/2015 La Zone - Liege BE
09/06/2015 Hafenklang - Hamburg DE
10/06/2015 Scheune - Dresden DE
11/06/2015 Cassiopeia - Berlin DE
12/06/2015 Robustfest - Kiev Ukr
13/06/2015 Feierwerk - Munchen DE
14/06/2015 Durer Kert - Budapest HU
15/06/2015 Arena - Wien AU
16/06/2015 An Club - Athens GR
17/06/2015 Freakout - Bologna IT
18/06/2015 Init - Rome IT
19/06/2015 Lo Fi - Milano IT
21/06/2015 Hellfest - Clisson FR

Watertank - June 2015

French band Watertank play one last release show for their new album "Destination Unknown" with Torche in June - 

01/06/2015 Le Ferrailleur - Nantes, FR w/ Torche

Herod - They Were None


1. The Fall
2. The Glory North
3. Inner Peace
4. Northern Lights
5. Sad Hill Part 1
6. We Are The Failure
7. Albert Fish
8. Betraying Satan
9. Watch 'em Die
10. No Forgiveness For Vultures
11. Sad Hill Part 2

Seeing this band's record appear in my inbox brought back some memories. It's been a while since I've read about of heard anything by Swiss metallers Herod, but they released an album last year via Danish label Mighty Music (the label I remember for releasing music by the likes of Raunchy and A  Kid Hereafter, amongst others). They've been a home to European metal for many years. Herod themselves have quite a history. Featuring members from bands like Twisted and A Fine Day To Exit, debut album They Were None was originally recorded three years ago before finally seeing a full a release last year. 

Herod have billed themselves as a progressive sludge band with influences stretching from Cult Of Luna to Converge to King Crimson! They’re certainly heavy on album opener The Fall. Their sound here edges more towards hardcore while retaining the experimental edge of German cousins The Ocean (collective). This opener was always going to test people at nearly ten-minutes long, but it’s angular riffs and off-kilter time signatures are definitely rousing. The song is split into two distinct movements with both coarse screams and clean vocals making an appearance, while the latter half is made up heavy instrumental metal for the most part. There’s more to Herod’s music than just sludge though. The Glory North is chock full of subtle nuances of sound and metallic guitar that belies their progressive nature. I guess that’s where the Converge influence starts to show itself. I’ll be honest, it’s been a little while since I’ve sat down and actively listened to actual progressive metal. I’m a bit out of practice after months of black metal/grind/hardcore worship. Hearing Inner Peace takes me back over ten years to the days before I’d properly discovered those genres of heavy music and was still being drip-fed exciting new music by the likes of Rock Sound and Metal Hammer magazines. Outside of the guitar work on They Were None, there isn’t much in the way of melody to Herod’s music. They are very European in their approach and having been in multiple bands previously, they’ve learned how to create atmosphere in their own way. Northern Lights is as majestic as the natural phenomenon it’s named after. The Mastodon-like guitar alongside the technical drumming reminds you that there are still progressive bands to be proud of. It’s an art form that not too many bands manage to actually pull off without sounding boring. Sad Hill Part 1 is a bit of a departure for Herod, as it’s quite restrained and is solely instrumental, which actually does a good job of breaking things up a bit. We Are The Failure goes slightly grungy. Excuse my comparison, but that’s what the vocals remind me of. The song itself is mid-paced and less immediate. Thankfully be the time the bizarrely titled Albert Fish comes around, Herod are finding their level again. It’s not warp-speed but it just seems more wholesome to me. They sound of Betraying Satan is strangely distant. Maybe that’s the approach they wanted here baring in mind the song’s subject. That distance is only felt during the opening verse though, as they pepper the song with melodic guitar that washes over the recording and gives it plenty of warmth. Again, Watch ‘Em Die features a passing nod to The Ocean during it’s math-laden delivery. No Forgiveness For Vultures feels weirdly occult during the Russian spoken-word that heralds in the song. It’s bitterly stark and actually works really in the context of Herod’s music. It begins to fade slowly as the instrumentation builds but it just sits on top of the recording, like a reminder that the Iron Curtain is still very much alive. After nearly three-minutes of that, Herod spring into life in menacing fashion. There’s one last opportunity to groove to their metal on Sad Hill Part 2, before it descends into a mountain of earth-shattering feedback. At nearly an hour, They Were None is definitely an album that requires attention but Herod manage to hold that attention throughout. They’ve waited a long time to get this out there, but the wait was worth it!

They Were None is for streaming and digital purchase here:-

If you're in the UK, They Were None is distributed via Plastic Head here -

Herod Facebook -
Mighty Music Facebook -

Monday 25 May 2015

Shrine Of The Serpent - S/T EP


1. 9 Gates Of Shadow
2. King In Red
3. Gods Of Blight

As I tuck into one of my favourite dark beers, it's only right that I listen to something equally as dark. This is the debut EP from Portland (Oregon) doom band Shrine Of The Serpent. This band initially went by the name of Tenspeed Warlock when they formed in 2008 and remained until 2014, before changing to the name they have today. Featuring members that have links to Aldebaran (Profound Lore) and Roanoke, they're due to release their self-titled debut on tape/vinyl via Parasitic Records (also of Portland) and have already released a special CD version. 

I know a fair few people who will be hooked on this as soon as opener 9 Gates Of Shadow unfurls itself. Shrine Of The Serpent are truly hideous (in the best possible way). Their’s is a despairingly heavy death/doom sound, but one which isn’t all doom and gloom. There are moments of metallic clarity amongst the riffs that make this more that just a staple doom record. This EP tells a story. It’s riffs and structure seem to wander throughout like some kind of evil storyboard. King In Red continues where the thickness of 9 Gates Of Shadow left off. The kick-drum in the opening bars creates a vortex-like effect when held up against the lurching guitars. Dragging you deeper and deeper into your own hell! Not even the occasional groove can save you here. It’s obvious that this is the work of experienced musicians. There’s a quality about the music and the production that screams perfection, without being over-produced or false. Just when you think that Shrine Of The Serpent can’t get any heavier, they launch into Gods Of Blight, which is just that! Infiltrated by subtle strains of NOLA sludge, they march on to destroy all. The song gets truly hypnotic as the same riff is repeated and repeated during the verse. They draw the EP to close in a way that only a doom band can, by slowly edging to a silent end. They don’t care for immediacy or the quick-fix. Shrine Of The Serpent make their craft sound effortless and in doing so, they put together an EP that really deserves to be heard. Brilliant from start to finish.

Stream the EP here:-

You can purchase the EP both digitally or on CD (with cover art designed by the band) from their bandcamp page above.

I'm able to find any further news or links regarding tape/vinyl pressings, but keep an eye out via the band's website here -

Shrine Of The Serpent Facebook -

Rainmaker/Ojne - Split 7"


1. Rainmaker - Le Poids Des Ombres
2. Ojne - Da Qualche Parte, Nel Momento Giusto

This split 7" from Sweden's Rainmaker and Italy's Ojne is amongst the nicest looking I've ever come across. If you purchased their previous Dog Knights Productions releases Alienation and Undici/Dodici, you'll be familiar with their music but the attention-to-detail that's been put into this release is second to none. Limited to 500 copies, 150 on white vinyl and 350 on light clear blue vinyl, the covers were die-cut and the artwork is striking. Right down to the lyric insert, where the theme from the sleeve is followed through. Both bands play scream with touches of hardcore and post-hardcore.

Even though they’re based in Sweden, Rainmaker performs Le Poids Des Ombres in French during the opening lines. They switch between French and English during the song, while the vocals are backed up by moments of clean guitar and moments of chaotic screamo with crunching noise. There’s a whole range of emotions and creativity running through the song. Ojne approach their side with the same sense of melody on Da Qualche Parte, Nel Momento Giusto. Their Italian mother tongue really fits the music well and the volume that builds as their screams get more frantic is really powerful. They temper that energy with some great clean guitar, in between some spazzing, off-kilter violence. This split is too short. Both Rainmaker and Ojne do what every good band does on this format and leaves you wanting more. They give new listeners a tantalising first-impression while sating the hunger of those who are familiar with them. Hopefully they’ll both have new records out soon.

You can stream the split here:-

You can buy the 7" from either band or from Dog Knights Productions here -

Rainmaker Facebook -
Ojne Facebook -
Dog Knights Productions Facebook -

Sunday 24 May 2015

Faces Of Eve - The Story So Far EP


1. For My Fallen Heroes
2. Feed
3. Crime Of Passion
4. Temporal Rotunda
5. One Man Show
6. Dwellers

I've been focusing a bit more on homegrown bands recently. I like to try and strike a balance between featuring them and featuring bands from abroad. The latest band to catch my attention is Southern UK progressive metallers Faces of Eve. The Story So Far is their debut EP and is due for digital release on June 29th. They're already selling CD copies to promote it as well. Faces Of Eve formed back in October 2013, from the ashes of a few local bands. They've toured the UK recently with Oaths (whom I featured here not so long ago) and seem to have the right people behind them. 

There’s a bit of pattern forming in the UK at the moment. The scene (depending on your definition of it) is being filled with more and more bands that seem to be getting big pushes. A lot of melodic hardcore and metal band mainly, which appeal to a wider and younger audience. There’s nothing wrong with that because it funnels listeners towards heavier bands, even those that are more DIY orientated. I don’t blame bands like Faces Of Eve for moving in that direction at all though. Certainly their music does all the talking for them. EP opener For My Fallen Heroes is wonderfully melodic before some crunching, djent-like riffs enter the fray towards the end. The unnecessary gap between it and Feed spoils the EP's momentum a bit, but when Feed does finally kick in it reminds of early Exit Ten (and I really liked that band). On The Story So Far you’re getting a slickly produced EP, with samples and solid instrumentation that does offer something different. With the rise of bands like Mallory Know in recent years, Faces Of Eve are well placed to make a big impression and on Crime Of Passion, it’s easy to see why. Benjamin Fordham-Black forego’s the usual Americanisms that creep into modern vocalists repertoires, while the instrumentation that backs him up is off-kilter but also honest;y simple. Temporal Rotunda features a surprising layer of ambience and noise that highlights the band’s progressive nature a bit more. They borrow more from metal’s arsenal here and the song is more hard hitting because of it. Faces Of Eve are clearly very good at what they do and have found a sound that seems solid. The momentum from Temporal Rotunda continues on into One Man Show. While there’s plenty of riffs used in the song, it doesn’t descend into a breakdown-fest and features some great improv-jazz flourishes, similar to Incubus at times. Dwellers is a great song to end as well. It highlights this band’s quality perfectly I think. Faces Of Eve aren’t trying to hard to be something they’re not. They’ve produced something that has real appeal and that will gain them a big foothold on the UK scene when it’s officially released next month. This surprised me a lot!

The Story So Far is not yet online (for obvious reasons) but you can check out videos for both One Man Show and Dwellers on Youtube:-

Also, they're giving away free EPs with merch orders made via their Bigcartel page -

Faces Of Eve Facebook -

Saturday 23 May 2015

Morbid Slaughter - Wicca 7"


1. Wicca
2. Nightly Breath Of God

South America and black-thrash are synonymous and there's a lot still to be discovered. I'm starting with Morbid Slaughter, a trio from Lima (Peru) who released this 7" via US label Boris Records last year, following the release of a comp in the same year and three previous demos. They contain members of fellow Peruvian bands Sexorcist and Evil Spectrum.

Wicca is a brief but ripping two-track 7”. The title track is full of raw and honest thrash, with blackened shrieks and rock n roll fury. Don’t expect a polished production, because you’re not going to get it but what you do get is honest and unique. The drums are most prominent on the recording, while the guitars sit in the mix behind the vocals. That doesn’t stop the solo from kicking ass though! Nightly Breath Of God ratchets up the menacing atmosphere on Wicca. The vocals might be a bit hard for some people to bare, but they sit perfectly with the music and the feel that Morbid Slaughter put across. This is Hells Headbanger’s good and that’s a compliment to the band! 

Stream Wicca via Boris Records here:-

You can purchase the 7" digitally or physically from the bandcamp page above.

Morbid Slaughter Facebook -
Boris Records Facebook -

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Flowers Taped To Pens/Bread Club/Beds/Skull Kid - Split


1. Flowers Taped To Pens - I Suppose It's Just Our Nature
2. Bread Club - If Your Song Title Is "If Your Song Title has the word 'beach' in it, I'm Not Listening To It", I'm Not Listening To It
3. Beds - Sweet Dreams
4. Skull Kid - Avenger's Song

This is way-cool split. Featuring four US indie/emo bands, it was released on vinyl and tape via a co-operative of six labels. Flowers Taped To Pens comes from San Diego, Bread Club from San Jose, Beds from Sterling and Skull Kid from Pittsburgh. As the sun in finally shining outside, I'm in a twinklemo kind of mood, as I really don't feature enough of it here. Plus, I'm unfamiliar with all four of these bands so here go's. 

Flowers Taped To Pens offer up a glorious piece of Americana with distant screams over the top. It’s short and features some really high-pitched screams, which are bewildering at first but actually fit really well. The instrumentation is brilliant and reminds me a lot of Crash Of Rhinos (RIP). Bread Club not only has one of the best song titles I’ve seen in years but they’re also more punk than I was expecting, in a Promise Ring kind of way. Their addition to this split is less caustic and very catchy. Beds come at things from an experimental angle. They weave twinkly melodies with off-kilter time-signatures and siren like vox. I can’t think of a comparison for them to give people a clue as to their sound. I reviewed UK band Simmer recently and Skull Kid could well be their US equivalent. So mellow for the majority of their song, it’s a bit of shock when they suddenly launch into a brief passage of screams. I realise that this review is short, but sometimes it’s good not to overanalyse. I love this split and it’s the sort of record that you can spin over and over again, without getting bored. Yeah it’s short, but it will help each band draw in new fans and it’s a labour of love. Excuse while I melt!

Stream and download it here:-

You can buy physical copies from Driftwood Records below:-

Driftwood Records -

Links for the bands and participating labels are below (for the ones I can find!):-

Flowers Taped To Pens Facebook -
Bread Club Facebook -
Beds Facebook -
Skull Kid Facebook -

Driftwood Records Facebook -
Mutt Tapes Facebook -
Cool Shoes Records Facebook -
Little L Records Facebook -
Age Crisis Records -
Dingleberry Records -

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Conduit - Life On Repeat


1. Eyes Wide Shut
2. Sovereign
3. The Road
4. Others
5. Pulled From The Water
6. Interlude
7. Let Your Breath Become Your Sound
8. Outstretched Arms
9. We Were Kings

Midland lads Conduit surfaced in 2009 from varying backgrounds and have been building ever since. Life On Repeat is their debut album and is due for release at the start of June. In their own words they play "progressive, melodic hardcore" and have shared stages with the likes of H2O and Hacktivist, to name a few. They seem like the sort of band who've taken things steady, not allowing themselves time to get complacent. A band who chooses to hone their sound live before writing a full record, usually comes out better in my opinion.

Conduit produces epic melodic hardcore with plenty of clean singing and lung-killing screams, all back up by up-tempo instrumentation. Eyes Wide Shut is an exhilarating start to Life On Repeat, while the sheer volume of the band being enough to focus your attention on them. They’re very much a modern band in that they make use of electronic touches. Sovereign uses said electronics during it’s intro, so they are used sparingly. I have my views on them and their intrusiveness, but that’s not to take anything away from Conduit at all. Life On Repeat is really listenable. The Road contains some great melodies that will bury themselves in your head. There’s equal parts punk and hardcore nestled in the drum rhythms, while the bass and guitars create plenty of noise. At times they venture into introspective territory. The intro to Others being a case in point. They also bare some resemblance to Funeral For A Friend during their more recent, softer albums. Conduit certainly has the musical chops to reach plenty of new fans here. Pulled From The Water shows Conduit at their most epic. The mid-paced song features lyrics that could be sung from the rooftops, while being strangely gentle at the same time. A difficult skill to master. They split the album with an Interlude, which isn’t necessarily needed but leads nicely into Let Your Breath Become Your Sound. At times, the vocals spiral into Swe-death territory towards the end, but that makes for a great listen. They’re at their most accessible on penultimate song Outstretched Arms, which is probably the most catchy and melodic song on the album. Those pesky electronics are back on album closer We Were Kings, but thankfully they’re balanced by gang vocals. Overall, it’s a rousing end to a record which is very much a product of it’s time and it’s makers influences. Conduit are really good and while they’re striving for a more mainstream sound (in hardcore terms), they certainly make a good case for it. Good work.

Life On Repeat isn't streaming online, but there are videos up on Youtube and you can find them via Conduit's website here -

Conduit Facebook -

Monday 18 May 2015

Cloak - MMXIV


1. Young
2. Throat Laceration
3. Gilded Heart
4. When The Bough Breaks
5. Clouds
6. Sleeping Under The Mist
7. Widow Womb

I've been staring at a screen for way too long this past week. To make matters worse, I've decided to start uploading my record collection onto Dead Format, which means even more time spent on my laptop. Still, the show must go on. I've been receiving more and more messages via the blog and one band that got in touch was hardcore band Cloak, from Arizona. They literally just asked me to have a listen to their new EP and dropped me their bandcamp link. I'm going a step further with this though, as I think they're worthy of more attention. As well as creating tremendous metallic hardcore and playing alongside bands like Enabler, Cloak also has a social conscience and a message. As far as I can tell, they've not even been a band for twelve months yet, so didn't waste any time in releasing their debut EP last September. 

You can line Cloak up alongside bands like Of Feather And Bone, as well as many of the early CoF Records roster (Esoteric Youth, Knifecrimes, Heksed etc). Their metallic, blackened hardcore is fantastic. EP opener Young begins with the most disorientating, feedback-addled barrage of riffs you’re likely to hear this year. They don’t stick staunchly to the hardcore blueprint though, as sludge creeps in and pushes the atmosphere into deeper depths. Cloak go from the slow bludgeon of Young to the up-tempo, PV-esque Throat Laceration with ease. Pumping MMXIV with some much needed pace. They go into full-on black metal attack mode on Gilded Heart, with raging shrieks and blasts from the off. There’s not a great deal of treble going on in the guitars, but that’s not what Cloak are about really. The lean towards lengthy instrumental passages in this song create a really claustrophobic feel. The deeper you get into MMXIV, the heavier and more harrowing it seems to get. When The Bough Breaks is three-minutes of abject chaos, condensed and left to rot. At times, this EP is raw and on Clouds, that statement is epitomised by the stop/start nature of the riffs and vocals in it’s first half. The second half settles into more of a groove, but it’s a deceiving one. The subtle echo effect or reverb that's used on the vocals during Clouds sounds as real as you’d like. I can definitely imagine how they must sound live, listening to this. The noise-laden Sleeping Under The Mist is reminiscent of “Rudiments of Mutilation” era Full Of Hell and it leads into the final slab of blackened hardcore, Widow Womb. They fit a lot into the song, which gives off the illusion that it’s a lot longer than it actually is. It’s bass heavy and even contains some small rock n roll vibes. As always, with music like this it’s better to listen to it yourself. Cloak are great if you like anger inducing heavy hardcore and they’re definitely heading for bigger things if they keep on like this. 

You can stream MMXIV and grab it as a name-you-price-download from Cloak's bandcamp page below:-

Keep up to date with future happenings via their Facebook page -

Thursday 14 May 2015

Atlas Losing Grip - Currents


1. Sinking Ship
2. The Curse
3. Cynosure
4. Shallow
5. Nemesis
6. Closure
7. Kings And Fools
8. Cast Anchor
9. Unknown Waters
10. The End
11. Downwind
12. Through The Distance
13. Cold Dirt
14. Ithaka

Swedish punks Atlas Losing Grips have released a new record this year. Currents was released in January via Cargo Records/Creator-Destructor Records and since it's release, Atlas Losing Grip have played all over the UK and Europe. They've been going since 2005 and Currents is their third full-length. Calling them a punk is a bit misleading though, as they also draw influence from heavy metal. This fourteen-track album should show both sides of the band.

I certainly wasn’t expecting pogo-inducing pop-punk when I pressed play on Currents, but the dual-guitar intro to Sinking Ships is the biggest hint you’ll get about ALG’s musical palette. They draw from thrash, metal, progressive rock and of course punk to create a very characteristic sound and aren't afraid about spreading their songs out over several minutes at a time. The clean vocals that kick things off after the lengthy intro, remind me of the pipes of Zoli Teglas from Ignite/Pennywise, though here they are slightly over-produced for my liking (in a, dare I say it, power metal kind of way!). I think  I prefer ALG’s take on punk and The Curse is more like it for me, featuring more urgency and punch. The same can be said for Cynosure. The thrash/crossover pace and riffs make it really frantic, but it never runs away and the stays controlled, backing up the vocals well. I still can’t escape that sense of power metal though (maybe I’m missing the point). They can write a good emotive song though. Shallow is definitely one that’ll be belted out live. The more you get into Currents, the more you realise that it’s all about the metal. Nemesis features an intense intro, chock full of heavy metal guitar work. It leads into a high-voltage song that features loads of real hooks and a classy solo. Closure takes me back to the acoustic grandeur of “Nothing Else Matters’ era Metallica. It’s a great way to break up the frantic pace of Currents so far. Kings And Fools comes across a little bit goth-pop during the verses. as Niklas Olsson’s vocals are lower-pitched. I love the song though. It subtly restrained and very listenable. The old-school melodic hardcore sound I alluded to when the album’s opener started is back on Cast Anchor. It gives the second half of Current a good kick in the behind. The way Currents flows is quite striking. There’s no great gaps between songs and the momentum is strong throughout. The melodic power of Unknown Waters is another good aspect that makes this record stand out as well. It’s definitely a grower! They’re at their anthemic best on The End and Downwind,  which come around remarkably quickly. They use electronic effects on Through The Distance, as well as some clever drumming to add modern appeal. Penultimate number Cold Dirt a pretty majestic ballad, with piano for added effect. They leave mightiest prog-song till then end. The 11+ minutes of Ithaka. Even with that description and mention of prog, it still features everything that is great about Atlas Losing Grip. I wasn’t really sure about Currents when I pressed play, but as I listened to it, I realised that there’s a lot more to it than I’ve described in this review. It’s passionate, mature and thankfully on the right side of cheesy. You could do far worse than give this your time. 

I can't find a stream of Current online, which is a bit odd but there are some videos available via ALG'S website here - and you can buy the record and other merch directly from the band here -

Atlas Losing Grip Facebook -
Cargo Records Facebook -
Creator-Destructor Records Facebook -

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Torpor - From Nothing Comes Everything LP


1. From This Time
2. Surrender To The Light
3. The Wake
4. As Waves Crash
5. Abandon
6. Everything We Left Behind

I can't believe it's been nearly three-years since Torpor released their debut tape, Bled Dry! That tape from Headless Guru Records was my introduction to this London/Brighton based heavy band. Torpor's debut full-length was released earlier this year on CD by Prismatik, on tape via Black Bow Records and on vinyl via Head Of Crom. The vinyl version comes on glorious clear/smoked wax and in a blue sleeve featuring the above artwork, which is even more striking in the flesh! Torpor recently played Desert Fest in London, oh and with Primitive Man, Sea Bastard and Art Of Burning Water too (probably the best line-up ever!).

From Nothing Comes Everything opens up with a calming post-metal intro on From This Time, before breaking into a tumultuous passage of sludgy riffs and heavy bass. This was the first song that Torpor put online prior to the release. It moved me then and it moves me still now. The dual male/female screams, Nats Spada’s spoken-word and the crawling instrumentation backing it up paints a bleak picture. After the slower tempo of From This Time, Surrender To The Light has a lot more urgency and sound even more furious. The scream could almost strip paint (which is a compliment by the way!). The guitar is really atmospheric and the quality production brings clarity to the drums, while the song overall is pretty bass-heavy during the verses. I really like Torpor’s ability to weave subtle introspection into their songs, again similar to Scottish post-metallers Voe (whom i’ve name-dropped here a few time recently). The Wake follows with quiet dignity and layers of feedback. It would be wrong to call this an interlude due to the use of vocals within it, but it does sound really bleak! The duo of As Waves Crash and Abandon explore a different side to Topor’s sound. As Waves Crash features clean vox and a more up-tempo groove during the first half, while making an about turn back into heavier territory later on. Abandon is all encompassing and really emotional. Torpor again seem to have condensed their song-writing here, while Abandon itself sounds more menacing compared to As Waves Crash. They’re certainly not one-trick ponies, with all kinds of musical influence rearing it’s head on record. Minimalist is the best word to describe the initial rumblings of closing song Everything We Left Behind. Off-kilter rhythms and metallic guitar go hand in hand throughout and at times, it becomes mesmerising. Torpor features an originality that is hard to put your finger on. They’re catchy without being cheesy and they know how to pen a song, even when it’s this extreme! They’re easily one of the UK’s best doom/sludge/post-metal/noise/whatever bands right now and long may it continue! 

Stream and download From Nothing Comes Everything here:-

CD copies can be purchased directly from Torpor's bandcamp page and via Prismatic here - Tapes can be purchased from Black Bow Records here - and vinyl copies can be grabbed from Head Of Crom here -

Torpor Facebook -
Prismatik Facebook -
Black Bow Records Facebook -
Head Of Crom Website -

Sunday 10 May 2015

Dissension - Of Time And Chronic Disease


1. Thralls Of The Crucified
2. Graceless Death
3. Blacksteel
4. Brutality
5. Set To Kill
6. Legacy
7. Dreamsong Of The Divine
8. Of Time And Chronic Disease
9. Dissention
10. Apotheosis

The march continues and I'm actually on schedule! That's right, my need to remain semi-organised has meant a readjustment of my posting schedule. I've got loads of new stuff on the way soon, but for now I wanted to write about a band that hasn't appeared on this blog before. Canadian melodic death/thrash band Dissension started in 2007 as Set To Kill, releasing one demo called Dawn Of Despair. In 2011, they changed their name and went onto release an EP that same year. By Time And Chronic Disease was released two-years later and remains their most recent recorded output. These guys have had their set backs (through no fault of their own) in recent years, but are now moving on and up, so here's hoping this review gets a few more people on their side!

So you decide to start a band, you choose extreme metal as your genre, you write and release music and start playing live. Then once you’ve built up a bit of a following and you’ve released more music, you start to look for more exposure from further afield. Seems simple enough, except there are always things that get in your way and spoil your momentum. Dissension know this only too well and without going into specifics, they’re at the point where they want to draw a line under it and move on, which shows great determination. On the strength of their performance on Of Time And Chronic Disease, they are absolutely right to do that. Their melodic death metal and thrash should be propelling them into more people’s ears and music collections. Straight from the off on Thralls Of The Crucified, they show how talented and musically adept they are. There are heavy riffs, atmospheric keys and screaming solos all present. Dissension have chosen a modern-path and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Don’t worry though, over-produced and manufactured this is not. Graceless Death comes complete with disgustingly old-school death vox and a thrashing urgency, proving they’re as comfortable raging as they are with their progressive side. There’s power-metal catchiness to Blacksteel straight from the off, thanks to some great guitar work. Dissension continue to build momentum, injecting their music with plenty of clever melodic touches and real tempo. On the aptly titled Brutality, Dissension mix their up-tempo gallop with more progression. The keys are more prominent in places and I can see their sound coming across really well live. While researching Dissension, I read that they’ve shared the stage with Threat Signal in the past. I would have loved to have been at that gig! Set To Kill seems like it’s a nod to their previous incarnation. It’s also another catchy death-filled anthem. I think I’ve mentioned it above, but this band’s catchiness is one of their endearing qualities and it sets them apart from a lot of their peers. The acoustic guitar at the beginning of Legacy lures you into a false sense of security, but the foot is still firmly planted on the gas. Prior to the final trio of songs, there’s a moody interlude called Dreamsong Of The Divine, which is full of orchestral might. it leads nicely into the title-track, which is also where Dissension hit their majestic stride. It feels like their most focused effort, even with the power-metal affectations at it’s core. it’s definitely a song that needs to be listened to and not just slapped on in the background. Things get weirdly industrial on Dissention, but there’s no problem with being danceable is there? This song takes things back down a more urgent path, which isn’t a bad way to finish things. It’s left to album closer Apotheosis to hammer their melodic death home and to finish an album of assured, quality heavy music. Dissension are definitely deserving of more attention!

Stream Of Time And Chronic Disease here:-

Support Dissension and grab a digital download!

Dissension Facebook -

Saturday 9 May 2015

Abstracter - Wound Empire


1. Lightless
2. Open Veins
3. Cruciform
4. Glowing Wounds

Abstracter's 2015 full-length really was a labour of love. A collaboration of different labels used different formats to bring it to the world. Fragile Branch Recordings, Vendetta Records, 7Degrees Records and Shove Records conspired to release it on vinyl. Sentient Ruin Laboratories and An Out Recordings released a tape version, while CoF Records handled the CD version. Coming three years after Tomb Of Feathers, Abstracter have ensured that their musical stock keeps on rising. That previous effort definitely left it's mark on me and from what I've read so far, Wound Empire should be no different.

Wound Empire begins with an earth shattering wail of feedback, as Lightless whirrs into life. It’s a strangely mournful beginning, but one befitting of Abstracter’s considerable song-writing. The instrumental build-up lasts for over two minutes before the bass and drums connect in unison to raise the volume. It’s heavy and doom-laden with a menacing undertone that ushers in deep bellowed screams. Lightless is not an easy listen, as the guitars spit out black metal ambience to back up the raw shrieks. This is the kind of cathartic experience that will wash away even the dirtiest of sins. Open Veins deceives you with a glimpse of light through the darkness. The down-tempo guitar work provides the backdrop to a slow and sludgy trip. Whereas Lightless was had a driving pace, Open Veins meanders at first before Abstracter quicken’s the pace and flings atonal riffs out of the speakers. It feels like it began life as multiple movements before being moulded together with continual noise. The noise that holds it together makes for a more wholesome listening experience. There’s no gap between Open Veins and Cruciform, so no momentum is lost. Cruciform is majestic right from the start. If you were stood alone on the top of a mountain, staring over creation, this would be the song playing in the background. The darkness within Abstracter’s collective head begins to reveal itself as you get deeper into Cruciform. While it’s not solely a black metal record, it retains that genre’s abject despair and mixes it with post-metal. You’ve really got to listen to it to appreciate the sheer weight of the song and it’s feeling. There’s no chance of salvation by the time the occult-chanting of Glowing Wounds envelopes you. It’s yet another nuance that makes Wound Empire special for all who hear it. The clean vocals provide a welcome siren-song that pierce the bleak atmosphere and leave you at peace, before Abstracter performs once final exorcism. Music like this can be interpreted in many ways and none of which will be the same. There is one universal conclusion that can be drawn from Wound Empire though; it’s incredible!

Stream Wound Empire here:-

You can purchase it on all formats from Abstracter,s bandcamp page above. You can also buy it from the labels below:-

Fragile Branch Recordings -
Vendetta Records -
7Degrees Records -
Shove Records -
Sentient Ruin Laboratories -
An Out Recordings -
CoF Records -

Abstracter Facebook -
Fragile Branch Recordings Facebook -
Vendetta Records Facebook -
7Degrees Records Facebook -
Shove Records Facebook -
Sentient Ruin Labs Facebook -
CoF Records Facebook -

Friday 8 May 2015

War Wolf/Crossburner - Split Tape


1. War Wolf - The Worm
2. War Wolf - Old Knives
3. War Wolf - Obey
4. Crossburner - Diseased Youth
5. Crossburner - Rotten Book
6. Crossburner - Pray To Me

This review has a special poignancy, as in April Brighton's War Wolf announced that they were to cease. They've been ever-present across the UK over the last two years, releasing a 10", an LP and two split tapes. This recent split with UK hardcore mob Crossburner acts as their final recorded epitaph and should warm you up nicely prior to their final gig at Temples Fest! The now sold out tape was released by Headless Guru Records in October 2014. Alongside reviews of all of War Wolf's previous releases, some of you may remember seeing Crossburner on this blog last year, following the release of their debut S/T 10" last year via Footloose Records. 

It’s a bit weird listening to this knowing that War Wolf will soon depart, but it’s nonetheless raging. The Worm is not an ode to that fabled dance move, but a song that crawls under your skin with it’s infectious chugging riffs. Old Knives contains the punk energy of co-conspirators Teef atop of the song’s sludge-ridden underbelly. They’re at their grooving best on final number Obey. War Wolf has taken influence from so many corners of heavy music during their tenure, that it’s been hard to pin them down and with these three songs, they leave a legacy of spite and anger behind them. As Crossburner’s Diseased Youth comes into view, it kind of feels like the torch is being passed on. Their’s is a blackened hardcore racket though, straight out of the school of Holy Terror and the H8000 scene. The ringing feedback at the end tells you all you need to know about their metallic leanings. On Rotten Book, they hit warp-speed with grinding drums and riffs to match. They’ve really turned their song-writing up a notch here and if you’re not furiously moving to this, you’re already dead! The pace doesn’t change on Pray To Me and Crossburner just obliterate everything. The amount they fit into each song in nuts and leaving no time for breath is the best way to keep people’s attention. This whole damn tape deserves to be turned up to 11 and played on repeat until civilisation crumbles. War Wolf may be passing to the next realm but Crossburner are more than ready to take their place. 

Stream the split and download it for free via Headless Guru Records here:-

Tapes are sold out.

War Wolf Facebook -
Crossburner Facebook -
Headless Guru Records Facebook -

Astarium - Heritage Of Warlords Tape


1. Holocaust Black Metal (Evil cover)
2. Black Metal Kommando (Satanic Warmaster cover)
3. Black Metal War (Graveland cover)
4. Hidden Track - The Crying Orc (Burzum cover)

I made a promise to myself that I'd sit down and write about some of the releases sitting in my physical review pile, as it's been neglected recently and thankfully, the awful weather outside has presented me with the perfect opportunity to do just that. I'm starting my evening with this four-song tape from Russian one-man black metal band Astarium, whom I've featured here a few times over the years. This tape was released in 2013 via Zombie Records (Rus) and then later on CD by Black Metal Cult Records (USA), before being reissued in 2014 on tape again via Chupacabra Productions (Rus). The tape is made of four covers, originally released by bands that have influenced sole member SiN. They include songs by Evil, Satanic Warmaster, Graveland and Burzum. I've also been able to dust off my tape player for this special vigil!

This tape starts abruptly with no intro. Opening with a cover of Evil’s Holocaust Black Metal, this is as raw as it gets. Astarium has always had a staunchly DIY approach and this is no different. After the somewhat short Evil cover, SiN turns his attention to Satanic Warmaster and a cover of Black Metal Kommando. There’s plenty of melody present in this cover, which makes it sound strangely upbeat. SiN ins’t afraid to wear his influence on his sleeve. The cover of Graveland’s Black Metal War seems to turn from industrial to medieval in an instant, with SiN gargling black metal vocals sitting in the mix. There’s enough space on Heritage Of Warlords for a hidden track and for that honour, SiN has chosen to pay homage to Burzum. The Crying Orc is full of ambience and mournful organ. It’s instrumental nature finishes of this tape well, especially after the three icy blasts that preceded it. Heritage Of Warlords is a both a brief indulgence and a subtle tribute at the same time. It’s not often nowadays, that bands produce cover records but in this case, it makes perfect sense. Heritage Of Warlords is one for the die-hard black metal fans who like their music filled blasphemic passion.

While Heritage Of Warlords isn't fully streaming online, you can here a sample and download a free MP3 copy of the Evil Holocaust Black Metal cover from Astarium's website -

Tape copies from Zombie Records and Chupacabra Productions have sold out but you can still buy CD copies from Black Metal Cult Records here -

Astarium Facebook -
Zombie Records Facebook -
Black Metal Cult Records Website -
Chupacabra Productions Website -

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Disciple In Extremis - UKEM Records Part 2

It's time for the second part of my feature on UKEM Records. This time it features the label's two most recent releases. As I said yesterday, UKEM Records has a pretty stellar record when it comes to releasing music by solo-projects and tonight's two reviews feature thrash metal project Morti Viventi and black metal entity Angmaer.

Morti Viventi - The Day The Dead Returned...


1. Hell On Earth
2. The Day The Dead Returned...
3. Whorehouse Of The Undead
4. Maniac/Face The Shape
5. Spawn Of Another Kind
6. The Arrival Of The Anti-God
7. Thrash Or Die

Morti Viventi hails from Lincolnshire, which isn't really known for it's metal pedigree. That being said, The Day The Dead Returned was recorded by a lifer. As with many solo bands, MV retains sole control of the music recorded and the overall vision created. That means that a lot of care has gone into the whole package.

I needed this to keep me awake, as I’ve had one too many beers this afternoon. Morti Viventi is a solo thrash band that pulls no punches. Opening with the battery that is Hell On Earth, MV fills the speakers with semi-clean thrash vox, fast-as-hell blasts and virtuoso lead work. In fact the band’s sole protagonist plays all the instruments here. The so-called thrash revival may have come and gone. but there’s still people that hold it in high regard. The title-track is a melodic thrash masterpiece. It may begin in a mid-paced style, but the sweep picking of MV soon takes over and rules all. The melody gives the song a great accessibility throughout too. Even the seven-minute+ length is no issue, as MV plays with real quality, which in turn improve the listening experience. It hits you as Whorehouse Of The Undead that MV is treading a fine line between the mainstream and the underground. A line where the band’s credibility isn’t compromised and nor is the music. It’s not aimed at the heavier-than-thou crowd yet it’s still graciously extreme. Maniac/Face The Shape is weirdly industrial. MV clearly hasn’t been paying too much lip-service to the recent thrash revival and has written songs that he want’s to hear. It’s pointless trying to dissect it too much though, as once that epic solo kicks in, you’ll have forgotten what the hell you were trying to say anyway! Spawn Of Another Kind is furious from start to end. There’s pace aplenty and a welcome no-nonsense approach. What follows is a thrash-opera of epic proportions. The Arrival Of The Anti-God is how you do instrumental thrash and it’s hard to believe that it’s all being played by one person! There’s one final exhilarating dip into the fast stuff on Thrash Or Die. I remember seeing Evile play their first ever gig in Leeds, before I’d even heard them and my jaw hit the floor. I get the same feeling from this record. Morti Viventi might have just released the best thrash album of the year. Don’t miss this!

Stream The Day The Dead Returned... here:-

Morti Viventi Facebook -

Angmaer - Towards Darkness' Paradise


1. Towards Darkness' Paradise
2. Hvitulven
3. Necromantic Summoning
4. Den Guddommeligens Riket
5. Helvete
6. Astaroth
7. The Rebirth Of Pagan Lands
8. Transcending

Following the theme above about one-man projects, Angmaer is the latest UK black metal band to release a record this year. Residing in Wolverhampton, Angmaer channels all of the misery and bleakness that comes with living in "the black country", via the best possible outlet. This is the second release from the band since it's formation in 2013 and following the debut EP Sorg, Trolldom, Vinter last year.

It all starts with a brooding and atmospheric intro that also features as the title-track. Subtle ambience sits atop of swirling rain to set the scene. What follows is the raw black metal of Hvitulven, which straddles nearly fourteen-minutes. It begins with a rousing opening section of black-thrash that bombards you and that pace is carried throughout, save for the odd drop in tempo. The vocals are used sparingly too with the instrumentation doing most of talking. In the middle it extends into a lengthy full of clean and sombre guitar that’s really good, prior to Angmaer launching a final assault. It’s a full-on intro to the band, but one that will easily stay planted in the memory. The blasts that follow are all together shorter. Necromantic Summoning harks back to the glory days of Dissection and Darkthrone, but also features added groove for good measure. It’s actually very impressive hearing the amount that’s shoehorned into Angmaer’s shorter songs. Necromantic Summoning flows straight into Den Guddommeligens Riket, where the atmosphere turns more insipid (in the best possible way). It’s gloomy and dark, as black metal should be, yet it ends with the most raging black-thrash possible! Helvete features a fist full of great melodic riffs that really command attention. There’s quiet chanting hidden in the depths of the music, which also provides a more haunting feel (at least I think there is!). The almost unnoticeable gaps between songs really help the album flow. Astaroth’s powerful drumming and engaging sound carry that momentum forward even further. As with a lot of more traditional black metal, Angmaer infuses folk and medieval musical influences into Towards Darkness’ Paradise. The Rebirth Of Pagan Lands pays tribute to the early days once again. The album closer is aptly titled Transcending and that’s exactly what Angmaer does. This album is well-written, well-produced and well-played throughout. It’s got the right amount of raw feel to stop it from sounding gimmicky and it demonstrates that the UK is still throwing out top quality black metal. Get this!

Stream the album here:-

Angmaer Facebook -

Finally, to complete this half of the feature I give you the compilation that inspired it's name -

All of UKEM's releases and comps can be downloaded from the label's bandcamp page and physical releases can be purchased via the online store here -

UKEM Records Facebook -