Sunday 31 July 2016

The Zenith Passage - Solipsist


1. Holographic Principle I: Emergence
2. Holographic Principle II: Convergence
3. Simulated Reality
4. Deus Deceptor
5. The Dissension Consensus
6. Dreamsphere
7. Hypnagogia
8. Metaphyiscal Solipsism
9. The Tenebrous Veil
10. Luminary Singularity

I've taken a few days out to catch up on real life, so this is the first time in the last few days that I've been able to sit down and write. The Zenith Passage and their recent album is one of intrigue for me. Released in April via the ever present Unique Leader Records (and the band themselves featuring current and ex-members from US death metallers The Faceless, Fallujah and All Shall Perish), it's been one that I've been meaning to get better acquainted with., especially as I seem to be getting more and more excited about tech-death/progressive music in general. 

As the album opener, Holographic Principle I: Emergence kicks in, I’m reminded of Transformers. A rather unnecessary pause breaks up the intro track and Holographic Principle II: Convergence. When the latter reaches full flow, it’s both heavy and technical yet something is missing. It’s like a meeting of superior minds that became corrupted by artificial intelligence. Simulated Reality is better but there’s too much electronic interference for me. I mean, it’s obvious that the musicians present on Solipsist are extremely talented, but their potential doesn’t fully come across because of over-production. Thankfully as you progress though the record it gets better and Deus Deceptor is an eight-bit dream (you’ll know what I mean when you hear it). The Dissension Consensus is by the far the most brutal song on the record so far, thanks in part to the utterly intense drumming. The song is also the most straight-forward tech death song on here, thanks to the lack of obvious effects and guitar playing that’s out of this world. I think I’m finally beginning to get this band!. Menacing atmosphere envelopes you during Dreamsphere, which is a bit like a semi-improv jazz number. After what seems like a breath of clean air, Hypnagogia snaps you back into reality with crazy time-signatures, deep bellowed screams and choral melodies. Add to that the typically brutal instrumentation and you’ve got a recipe for something uplifting and theatrical in equal measure. With Metaphysical Solipsism, The Zenith Passage has demonstrated the perfect example of straight-to-the-point modern death metal, condensed into three minutes. Penultimate song The Tenebrous Veil takes use of triggers to the max, but is rescued by strong riffing and lead work. It finishes with a weirdly ambient piano section and effects that could have been straight out of a sci-fi computer game. It flows into album closer Luminary Singularity, which is one last intense blast of technicality. At first, I didn’t warm to this record but the more I listened to, the better it sounded. I’m still going to say that Cerebric Turmoil is the best technical death metal band I’ve reviewed so far but The Zenith Passage certainly has a lot to offer and fans of technical death metal will enjoy this. 

Stream and download Solipsist via Unique Leader's bandcamp page below:-

Grab cd, vinyl and merch packages here -

The Zenith Passage Facebook -
Unique Leader Records Facebook -

Monday 25 July 2016

Braineater - Weak, Frail and Powerless EP


1. Call In The Bear Jew (Ode To Donny Donowitz)
2. Hooked On LCD
3. The Bird And The Lamb
4. Opinionated

Today has been the first time in a long time that I've suffered with the Monday blues. In the end I had to dust myself off and carry on regardless, while wishing I was somewhere else. At least now I can escape reality for a bit. Tonight's reality crushers go by the name of Braineater (pretty apt I think). I wasn't familiar with these guys until I received an e-mail from Sun Chariot Records, who released "Weak, Frail and Powerless" back in February. Braineater have had a few previous guises in their time. Starting out in 2010 as Astaroth, then changing their name to Volvagia in 2013 before quickly switching again. They released their first demo under the Braineater name in 2013, swiftly followed by a split tape with Vanquisher (2014), an EP called "Reclusive" and then this one. You certainly can't call them lazy!

Braineater specialises in death/grind though on Call In The Bear Jew (Ode To Donny Donowitz), they’re pace is sludgy and their guitars are thick. Who needs labels nowadays anyway, as this is all over the place and it’s great! Hooked On LCD is a really clever title and the song itself is a riff-laden mix of hardcore, thrash and death. I get the feeling these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. I have a sore neck that hasn’t been helped by recent gig attendance (I think age is catching up with me!). The Bird And The Lamb isn’t helping my recovery, as it’s hard to keep still when this song’s on. The noise levels are increased further during Opinionated with walls of bass rattling everything nearby. The off-kilter time signatures remind me of some Hydra Head-era bands for some reason and I’m liking the fact that Braineater keep things decidedly old-school. If you’re idea of shutting yourself off from the world is to sit is a pitch black room with harsh music at unbearable volume, Braineater would more than likely be your soundtrack. Do yourself a favour and jam this. 

Stream and download the EP below:-

If you like tapes, they have five copies remaining too. Other merch is available here -

Braineater Facebook -

Sunday 24 July 2016

Twilight Fauna/Jennifer Christensen - Split 7"


1. Jennifer Christensen - Sickness Unto Death
2. Twilight Fauna - Crossing The Threshold

This split 7" was another that was released towards the end of last year. This time featuring Twilight Fauna, whom I've featured here before and composer/musician Jennifer Christensen. This split is again not confined by genre, which isn't surprising considering the direction that Ravenwood (Twilight Fauna) is taking with his music nowadays. I like discovering music at my own pace but I do have to apologise at this point for my delay in writing about this release. This was limited to 300 copies of frosted clear vinyl. 

This is the time I have set ears upon Jennifer Christensen. Her contribution Sickness Unto Death is a hauntingly dramatic instrumental piece led by cello and violin. Heavily improvised and very much outside of my comfort zone, it’s chilling atmosphere is strangely addictive and exciting. Twilight Fauna follows suit on Crossing The Threshold, but with ambience and guitar that comes across like white-noise. It’s a bit of a shock after the calmness but it’s also expected. The noise fades mid-way through to reveal quiet, ghost-like whispers and gentle guitar tones that act as a transition as well as brief moment of solitude. As the rain falls outside my window, I feel at peace and even though this split has carried me through a variety of emotions across it’s two tracks, it has done so with a strange comfort. This is definitely for the more adventurous and the more discerning music fan.

Stream the split and purchase it digitally or physically below:-

Jennifer Christensen Facebook -
Twilight Fauna Facebook -

Thetan - Who Will Protect Us?//Relief pt2 7" Lathe


1. Who Will Protect Us? (Brother Inferior cover)
2. Relief pt2 (Doom cover)

I've decided to take some time to write about some shorter (two-track) releases, because short and sweet is good. I'm starting out with this 7" lathe that Thetan released last November via Anti-Corporate Music Inc. It features the band covering songs by Brother Inferior and Doom. There was only 50 copies of this made and remarkably there are still copies available! For those who have checked out my previous review featuring Thetan, they are a heavy and fast hardcore bass/drum duo from Nashville (TN).

This is raw and nasty and perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. Dan’s vocals on Who Will Protect Us? are almost incomprehensible, not that there’s any time to try and follow them anyway. They channel the spirit of Doom during their cover of Relief pt2, somehow managing to drag the same murky atmosphere into the recording too. It’s not often that my reviews are shorter than my opening paragraphs, but there’s no point in getting too fluffy with things. If you like fast and raw music of the grind/hardcore/PV variety and like to boast about owning rare records, buy this. It’s good.

Stream and/or grab it in both physical and digital formats from Thetan below:-

It's also available from Anti-Corporate Music Inc. here -

Thetan Facebook -
Anti-Corporate Music Inc. Facebook -

Friday 22 July 2016

Dreamwaves - Elements EP


1. Nines
2. Focus
3. Echo
4. Breeze

Tech/Progressive metal in the UK is gaining quite a bit of momentum right now, with help from Tech-Fest and a impending visit from Animals As Leaders (who're doing a huge run of EU/UK club shows). It's a sub-genre that's lacking in my personal record collection but that might be about to change. Brighton, known for it's bulging punk scene has spawned Dreamwaves, who play instrumental progressive modern metal. Elements is their debut EP and it's due for official release in August via Infectious Sounds.

There’s no frilly build-ups from these guys. They immediately bring to mind the instrumentation of bands like Fall Of Troy and the aforementioned Animals As Leaders on EP opener Nines. They are not lazy comparisons either, as the guitar work proves. Dramatic piano is a great way to end the song with a little bit of cinematic flair. Nines flows straight into Focus without a pause (which is great for the flow of the EP). There are some more chunky riffs underneath the lead-work and the drums forge their own path with a time-signature seemingly all of their own. They turn down the technicality a bit on Echo, which is a lot more introspective and laid back, at least during the song’s first half. Quiet electronics give way to post-hardcore arrangements and rousing harmonies. Some people may find this EP a little overproduced or polished and in places it is, but what that exhibits is how good musically Dreamwaves are, so it’s no bad thing on this occasion. EP closer Breeze is heavier on the piano and it’s up-tempo pace is the perfect send off. If Dreamwaves can focus on sounding more organic on future recordings and  can get plenty of live experience under their belts, there’s no reason why they can’t rise to the top of the scene and join the band’s I mentioned above. Great first EP with lots of promise. 

Dreamwaves have released EP track Focus as a sneak preview and you can listen to it via their bandcamp page below:-

You'll have to keep an eye on their Facebook page for official release news.

Dreamwaves Facebook -
Infectious Sounds Facebook -

Wednesday 20 July 2016

In Mourning - Afterglow


1. Fire And Ocean
2. The Grinning Mist
3. Ashen Crown
4. Below Rise To The Above
5. The Lighthouse Keeper
6. The Call To Orion
7. Afterglow

Bands go through stylistic changes all throughout their careers. Swede's In Mourning are no exception. From their early beginnings as a doom/gothic metal band at the turn of the millennium, to the progressive/melodic death metal band we know of today, In Mourning sure has more than a few stories to tell. With their profile growing, they released their fourth full-length in May via Agonia Records and have appeared at a number of European festival this summer.

I’ve always been a big fan of older bands like Dark Tranquillity, (early) Opeth, Insomnium and the like. In Mourning has more than earned their place amongst that list in recent years and their latest effort Afterglow is not going to change that. Album opener Fire And Ocean is an inviting slab of modern metal that still pays plenty of respect to the Swe-death of old. Mid-paced melodic riffs, cold blasts and deep bellows show In Mourning in their best light, alongside almost mystical guitar solos. You’ll forgive them for allowing the opening bars of The Grinning Mist to sound a bit like something Korn would write, when they hit full stride. Don’t take that last sentence wrong way, it’s just how it sounded to me initially. The song itself could not be further removed from the sound of the US nu-metallers. It’s filled with mournful(?) atmosphere and even thought it near’s ten-minutes in length, there’s plenty to keep the attentive extreme metal fan happy. The clean vocals are really soothing and in keeping with the genre that In Mourning calls home. The grandest example of In Mourning’s melodic death metal has to be Ashen Crown. The time-signatures jump all over the place and while the majority of the song may not sound overly groundbreaking, the lead work that provides the soaring melody is well worth waiting for. The quieter introspective string section later on it pretty good too. At this point, I wish I was sat on a deserted beach watching the waves lap against the sand. That’s how relaxed Below Rise To The Above makes me feel. The effortless way in which In Mourning switches between musical elements isn’t really a surprise, but it still highlights how proficient they are at what they do. Modern progression is key on The Lighthouse Keeper and it’s done really well. Subtle hints of djent (I’m sorry for using that horrible word) and jazz hide between swathes of more conventional doom/death. it just works really well. The Call Of Orion takes things back in more of a traditional direction (if there is such a thing) but the crooning banishes any thoughts of a formulaic effort. The title-track finishes off the album is understated style. The keys at the end sound like the voice of a siren but prove to be a clever nod to the band’s early years. In Mourning has crafted a very listenable and mature record with Afterglow. I’m a convert for sure and will definitely try to this up on vinyl soon. You could do worse than give it your time too.

Stream and purchase Afterglow digitally here:-

CD and vinyl merch packages can be purchased from Agonia Records here -

In Mourning Facebook -
Agonia Records Facebook -

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Deathinition - Art Of Manipulation


1. My Personal Maniac Fear
2. Art Of Misunderstanding
3. Priest
4. Klamstwa Dla Mas

It feels way to hot to be writing this today. On the menu this evening is Polish thrash metal band Deathinition and their (2013!) Art Of Manipulation EP. It seems as though the PR wheels are turning for this quintet. They formed back in 2008 and have so far released a single, a demo, this EP and more recently a split tape with Canadians Terrifier last year. Art Of Manipulation was self-released on CD and digitally.

When it comes to thrash metal, the lines between originality and pure plagiarism are blurred, It’s a surprise then that Deathinition is pretty remarkable. Their instrumentation is razor sharp on My Personal Maniac Fear and they choose to sing (or scream) in their own accents, instead of putting on stupid faux-American ones. This is already a winner in my book! They mix the old with the new on Art Of Misunderstanding by throwing in some great modern melodic riffs, while also borrowing from the speed/power metal fraternity in the vocal department at times. Definite future candidates for “Bloodstock Festival” in a few years I think. Priest is slightly more on the low-fi side to start with. The kick-drumming sounds a bit odd but still snaps necks. They’re also fans of lengthy instrumental sections (in true classic thrash fashion) and you can’t argue with their instrumental skill. I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t heard of Bydgoszcz (their hometown) before I looked up these guys, but it turns out that Poland’s eighth largest city has quite a scene going on. Deathinition ends with Klamstwa Dla Mas and blows away any thoughts of them slowing down. It’s sung entirely in their mother tongue and it’s backed up by lead work that some of the genre’s leaders would be jealous of. This is a really infectious EP and that’s testimony to how much of a surprise Deathinition turned out to be. Good work indeed!

You can stream and purchase Art Of Manipulation digitally below:-

You can get the EP on CD via their online store here -

Deathinition Facebook -

Sunday 17 July 2016

Contacts and Press Releases

I get so many e-mail promos and press releases from PR companies and bands, but bands also contact me directly asking for other people they can approach for reviews, PR, etc. With that in mind, I am looking for build a personal contact list to further help bands and also because (as they say), it's not what you know it's who you know! So if you write a blog, zine, mag or own a website that covers metal and punk, if you're a show promoter, a PR person, a radio/podcast presenter, a record label owner, a screen-printer, artist or anything else connected with the metal or punk scenes globally then please send me your contact details, any links you have and a small bio about what you do. My e-mail address is

Also, I am thinking about getting into the press release writing game again. I did a brief stint of PR last year and feel that I might be better at writing press releases solely instead of trying to do the full PR thing straight from the off. That way, I can write a press release and then bands could use them to gain promotion. Please get in touch if this sounds of interest to you, your band, your label etc.

Saturday 16 July 2016

Giant Gutter From Outer Space - Stumm


1. Sturm
2. Ruinen

I might as well bring you another release out of left field, seeing as most of my reviews over the last week have been similar. This little two-track EP was released in April by Brazilian experimental metal duo Giant Gutter From Outer Space. It was recorded as part of the Rubber Tracks Converse project and released via three labels (Sinewave Label, Terranean Recordings and Splitting Sounds Records). This was their first musical output of 2016 and their fourth piece since October last year. I guess that means I'm a little late to the party!

Living within close proximity to one of the UK’s most rich and vibrant scenes in Leeds, I have high expectations. GGFOS have to go some to reach the levels of bands like Khuda, Sunwolf and Sloth Hammer. Thankfully they pass the test. Opener Sturm is a visceral improv bass/drum experience. Instantly written with weird off-time head banging in mind, this instrumental collage of noise is great. There’s really no need for the gap in between Sturm and Ruinen, but I suppose they feel it’s necessary. Ruinen is slightly more head-spinning than it’s predecessor with even more perplexing time-signatures. This is something that I can seriously get behind. The band themselves e-mailed me about their recent releases, so expect more of this very soon!.

Stream and download "Stumm" here:-

Giant Gutter From Outer Space Facebook -
Sinewave Label Facebook -
Terranean Recordings Facebook -
Splitting Sounds Records Facebook -

Thursday 14 July 2016

Persecutory - Perversion Feeds Our Force


1. Obey The Sempiternal Impiety
2. Maelstroms Of Antireligious Chaos
3. Zero-Tolerance For Believers
4. Perversion Feeds Our Force

This year saw the first release from new UKEM Records sister label, Hell's Hammer Music. Hell's Hammer was set up to offer a home for underground extreme metal bands from outside of the UK and this EP by Turkish black metallers Persecutory, was the label's first. It was released back in February so I'm catching up but the lure of unholy black metal is still strong. Persecutory themselves only formed in 2014 in the town of Kadikoy. The band shares members with other hometown extreme metal bands Sarinvomit, Impuration and Horrocious.

I’ve currently got my head buried in a book about the formation and early years of black metal (part of the Cult Never Dies series by Dayal Patterson), which has given me a much better perspective on the scene of today. The fact that extreme music can still reign in such uncertain times like those currently in Turkey is a testament to the genre’s staying power. Persecutory plays an orthodox and rabid form and EP opener Obey The Sempiternal Impiety is definitely powerful with it endless blasts, icy growls walls of guitar. Persecutory isn’t the type of band to stick around for too long and their short bursts are perfectly formed for maximum impact. Maelstroms Of Antireligious Chaos takes the punk attitude of early Darkthrone and mixes it with their hatred of organised religion. The latter sentiment hasn’t felt this real in a long time. They barely stop for breath through these four songs. Zero-Tolerance For Believers is a three-minute whirlwind with musicality to match. The songwriting sees Persecutory stitching together simple textures with technical instrumentation. It’s pretty accessible in black metal terms (not that they’ll thank me for saying that!). The title-track has more ambience and melodic atmosphere thanks to the guitars. There’s still no let up in pace but then there shouldn’t be.Persecutory put in a hell of performance here. One which few bands can replicate with twice any many songs. If you think underground metal is dying, you’re not looking in the right places. It’s alive in Persecutory and indeed in Turkey!

Stream and download it here:-

Grab a cd copy from Hell's Hammer Music here -

Persecutory Facebook -
Hell's Hammer Music Facebook -

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Shuly To 104kz - Infinite4ce


1. Liberation Express
2. Still Alive
3. 屍 (Dead)
4. Inifinite4ce
5.  花 (Flower)
6. Still Grind
7. S.T.1 Pride
8. For Freedom

Here's the second slab of Japanese madness that I promised earlier in the week. This is due out via MeatCubeLabel in the US tomorrow! Shuly To 140kz proudly proclaim to be a mix of post-rock and hip hop. They're very much rooted in the DIY scene in Japan, having organised their own shows and this is their debut album. There's not much else I can say about these guys, as I can't find anything else. I guess it's all down to the music!

I’ll be honest, I’m not really a big fan of hip-hop but I’ll give everything ago here once (within reason!). Liberation Express is very much a progressive opener with spoken/shouted vocals in Shuly’s native tongue. The guitars are really nice and there’s a real air of traditionalism about. Still Alive feels and sounds like your favourite post-hardcore song but overplayed with poetry in the form of hip-hop verse. The lyrics go over my head (for obvious reasons) but that still does’t I can’t enjoy it. That’s the quality of music though, even if you’re not able to translate what’s being spoken or sung, at least you can find universal ground with the band, especially when the hardcore screams kick in!. (Dead - according to Google translate) shows that there are still subtle elements of nu-metal hanging around in Japanese music, but that’s no bad thing. It’s quickly banished by the traditional violin and clashing screams. The title-track’s up next and it’s a brooding, atmospheric piece. It’s the kind of song that would perfectly accompany the rising (or setting) of the sun. I realise how cliched that sentence sound’s here but I don’t care. Even the angry and intense vocals don’t diminish it’s beauty. (Flower - again translated via Google so apologies for any inaccuracy), could well be a child’s nursery rhyme song thanks the glockenspiel that tingles throughout. It’s deeply rooted grit and emotion is hard to shake off and it’s shows off Shuly’s musical variation in the best way possible. In between the post-rock and thoughtfulness, they fit in a couple of songs that are a bit more crazy. Still Grind is an apt title and the song that bares it’s name is another prime example of the Japanese to grind so well. It’s not super intense but it is unique. What follows is the longest song on Infinite4ce, S.T.1 Pride. I’ve tried my best throughout this review but I still don’t think my words can really do this justice. Shuly’s music is so varied and engaging that it’s only really understood through listening. The closing sixty-seconds sound like a mighty film score for good measure too. The madness comes to a conclusion with For Freedom and it’s off-kilter post-hardcore. It may take repeat listens for you to truly appreciate this record, but if forward-thinking is your thing then you’ve got no time to lose. 

You can stream, download and purchase Infinite4ce on tape below:-

MeatCubeLabel Facebook -

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Guevnna/Self Deconstruction - Split 7"


1. Guevnna - Parasitic
2. Self Deconstruction - Vulture/Our Graves/In His Name (Infest Cover)/Malice/K.A.P (Kill All Politicians) (Brutal Truth Cover)/Poor Replacement

I'm a little late with this write-up (sorry Christer!). This split 7" was released back in February by Christer's Kakusan Records (Nor) and W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A Records (Ger). It features two bands from the land of the rising sun (neither of whom I'd heard of before getting a heads up on this), Guevnna simply describes themselves as a rock band, while Self Deconstruction play madcap grindcore.

First up is Guevnna on the a-side with Parasitic. When I received the promo details for this, they were described as being disco-doom and I’m not going to contest that. Their take on doom is groovy and danceable in the same way that HIM is, but without the pop-sensibilities or clean vocals. Heavy guitars, familiar growls and authoritative percussion keep things on the right track, alongside the subtle electronica that resides in the mix. Guevnna will definitely appeal to a wide range of music fans with this. Typical of the Japanese to bend genres and to get away with it! Self Deconstruction puts six songs into one, so I’m not going to talk about each one individually. They play rabid, off-kilter grind and do a great job of paying homage to both Infest (In His Name) and Brutal Truth (K.A.P - Kill All Politicians) along the way. Those covers are sandwiched in between their own songs Vulture, Our Graves, Malice and Poor Replacement, with all but a split-second pause between each song. It’s intense stuff indeed! This split is one of the rare one’s that’s ambitious but completely right. The slow, catchy rock of Guevnna is complemented by the utter madness provided by Self Deconstruction. Essential is you’re not scared of breaking away from convention!.

Stream and download the full split below:-

Grab the physical 7" from Kakusan's bandcamp page above or from W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A Records here -

Guevnna Facebook -
Self Deconstruction Facebook -
Kakusan Records Facebook -
W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A Records Facebook -

Monday 11 July 2016

Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows


1. Nomini
2. An Archer In The Emptiness
3. Transfiguration
4. Primordial Wound
5. The Summer Drones
6. Potomac
7. The Paradise Gallows
8. Violent Constellations
9. Where The Earth Meets The Sky

I've decided to take a break from my compulsive record hunting to write a review (I'm searching for one solitary record to complete a collection and having no luck!). Anyway here's something new that it was only officially released three days ago. Richmond, VA metallers Inter Arma begun their voyage back in 2006. They released two demos, a split, an EP and their debut full-length "Sundown" (via Forcefield Records in 2010) before signing with Relapse Records. Their second full-length "Sky Burial" appeared in 2013 followed by a one-song 45-minute LP a year later.  Now comes "Paradise Gallows". They've recently confirmed a hometown release show alongside Withered and old split buddies Battlemaster for August 5th, so you better go if you live in or near Richmond!

The (sort-of) gentile opener Nomini contains a mix of both acoustic and wailing electric guitar melodies. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to pull off a Baroness (you’ll know what I’m getting at when you hear it). Just for clarification though, I love Baroness. An Archer In The Emptiness is the bastard son created during a menage-a-trois between sludge, death and black metal. Angular, riffy and with endless low-end. It’s an assault on the senses of the unaware. They venture further into the realm of black metal on Transfiguration. It definitely contains a more sinister edge, with the double-bass drumming and higher pitched shrieks. The atonal claustrophobic textures of drone are woven into Primordial Wound. It’s very effective musically as well, especially with chanting set against it. When it finally spills over, it’s cathartic in the best way possible. I’m a big fan of a lot of doom/sludge (the usual suspects that shall remain nameless here) and Inter Arma pulls it off with aplomb. That said, Primordial Wound is an intense listen and will drive some into an almost irreversible trance. They also get the quiet pauses between songs right too. The Summer Drones enters stage right after a fading cymbal crash that then picks up in volume to reveal groove-like rhythms and psych vox. At time it’s gloomy and at others it’s quite bright musically. Paradise Gallows shows lesser bands how they can be both consistent yet texturally different in each song they write. it’s a bit of a masterclass so far. Potomac uses the same glorious melodies that surfaced during the album’s opener. It’s continuation like this that really makes me smile. The piano will no doubt appeal to true music fans too, being dramatic yet welcome. It ends with the best solo as well! The title-track feels very isolated. There’s plenty of melodrama in the opener bars. Inter Arma seems to gather all of their ideas into one song here, which makes a lot of sense. Violent Constellations is violence personified (that’s all I need to say about this song). Closing with the soothing peace of Where The Earth Meets The Sky is a touch of class, though you still get the feeling it could blow up at any time. In nine songs Inter Arma reaffirms both how fragile and how beautiful life can be. Positivity can be found in the darkest of placed, so I urge you to listen to this record.  

You can stream Paradise Gallows and pick it up digitally, on CD and double LP below:-

Inter Arma Facebook -
Relapse Records Facebook - 

Friday 8 July 2016

Verdun - The Eternal Drift's Canticles


1. Mankind Sepukku
2. Self-Inflicted Mutalitation
3. Dark Matter Crisis
4. Glowing Shadows
5. Jupiter's Cover

We're now well over halfway through 2016, yet even more gloriously heavy music is being thrust into the ears of those who seek it. French sludge/doom band Verdun released their first full-length via Throatruiner Records/Lost Pilgrims Records/Head Records at the end of April. Their last release was an EP back in 2012, so they've been taking their time with this one. I have no problem with bands taking their time over writing and recording, so this should be worth be wait.

I’ve been waiting for this moment all day. I find French bands amongst the most captivating. I mean every country has their own take on heavy, atmospheric music but France just seems to do it better. The Eternal Drift’s Canticles opens up with what sounds like Accordion’s that build in volume to an almost defining level on Mankind Sepukku. They give way to slow and heavy sludge, chant-like singing and tortured screams. The hypnotic duo of powerful drums and sporadic melodic lead work is a strong recipe that makes this thirteen-plus minute opener more engaging. There’s a menace hovering over Self-Inflicted Mutalitation and it’s not just because of the sample at the start. It all starts off rather minimalistic but you just know it’s not going to stay like that. Verdun channels grooves like the best of them and while having subtleties in common with US cousins Primitive Man, they plough their own dank furrow. There’s a slight increase in tempo here but don’t let that fool you. The guitar on Dark Matter Crisis envelopes itself around you like a bizarre Western soundtrack, at least for a little while anyway. It isn’t long before things are back to normal (if there is such a thing!). The good thing about Verdun’s take on sludge is that it’s written and performed in a way that keeps the listener hooked. The songs aren’t filled with stop/start sections and it all fits together as one whole. Verdun takes a step mournful step back into slower territory on Glowing Shadows, but the meaty riffs make it sound more up-tempo. This is a more droning affair for the most part, with vocals used sparingly. It’s still beautifully jarring though. Closing song Jupiter’s Cover pulls some black metal textures up from somewhere and takes the mood even deeper. It’s entire duration is strangely comforting even during this muggy summer’s evening. Verdun has produced a very strong record in The Eternal Drift’s Canticles. Fifty-five minutes of disgustingly precise sludge/doom/hardcore pleasure. 

You can stream and purchase The Eternal Drift's Canticles in various form and merch packages below:-

It's also available from Throatruiner Records & Lost Pilgrims Records here -

Verdun Facebook -
Throatruiner Records Facebook -
Lost Pilgrims Records Facebook -

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Ice War - Dream Spirit EP


1. Dream Spirit
2. Warriors Of The Sea
3. Chains And Leather

I've listened to a lot of solo-black and death metal in recent times, but Ice War hold the title of the first solo-heavy/speed metal band to pierce these ears. Beginning in 2011 as Iron Dogs before that band was put to rest in 2015 following an EP and two full-lengths, sole member Jo Capitalicide ventured on to form Ice War. Dream Spirit is the third EP from the band, seeing the light of day on tape (via Shadow Kingdom Records) and on cd (via Hellforced Records). 

Dream Spirit’s title-track takes more than just cues from Ice War’s Canadian nationality. The band is heavily influences and indeed indebted to the native peoples of Canada. It also highlights the immense instrumentation of sole-member Jo Capitalicide. Classic NWOBHM riffs mix with clean vocals and up-tempo rhythms. Warriors Of The Sea at first is even more upbeat and the vocal melody has a certain innocent charm (if that’s the right choice of words!). You’ll see what I mean when you listen to it. Chains And Leather closes out the EP with one last fine display of heavy metal worship, with a nod too snotty English punk for good measure. This release might only just be on the right side of parody for some but it’s great fun and well played. Ice War is definitely worth a go if you less serious than an orthodox-black metal fan (and I mean that in a good way!).

You can stream and download the EP below:-

You can order tape and cd copies from the labels below:-

Shadow Kingdom Records -
Hellforced Records -

Ice War Facebook -
Shadow Kingdom Records Facebook -
Hellforced Records Facebook -

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Whores/Rabbits - Split 7"


1. Whores - Jumping Someone Else's Train (The Cure cover)
2. Rabbits - A Reflection (The Cure cover)
3. Rabbits - Give Me It (The Cure cover)

I've only got time for a quick one tonight but thought I'd go for something a little different. This split 7" was released as part of a split 7" series that Brutal Panda Records did but with help from Eolian Empire, back in 2014. For those that don't know, Whores are from Atlanta (Georgia) nd Rabbits are from Portland (Oregon), both of whom play noise-rock. In spite of my musical knowledge, I know very little about The Cure so I apologise for any glaringly obvious errors.

Whores’ bass-heavy, sludge-like take on The Cure’s misery seems super fitting on their version of Jumping Someone Else’s Train. The clean vocals are a cross between Sabbath and the obvious gothic tones of the band they’re covering. It’s pretty rad in a morbidly depressive way and I like that (read into that what you will). Rabbits has an approach not far removed from that of Whores. Their version of A Reflection is even slower though and more miserable (if that were possible!). It’s a sub two-minute bass/drum/guitar crawl. Screamed vox greets you on their cover of Give Me It, which is welcomed if you are missing any semblance of extremity. It’s intensely groovy towards the end and it rounds off one of those splits that you really wish you had in your collection. I know it’s a couple of years old now but it’s well worth grabbing if you can. 

You can stream the split below:-

You can still get copies directly from Eolian Empire here -

Whores Facebook -
Rabbits Facebook -
Brutal Panda Records Facebook -
Eolian Empire Records Facebook - 

Monday 4 July 2016

Kumulus - White 12"


1. IX
2. VI
3. VII

Before I kick on any further with my current review schedule, I wanted to give this LP a proper write-up. I didn't know much about German three-piece Kumulus when I received this LP and I still don't to be honest. This glorious white slab of wax was released in November 2015 via a quintet of like-minded labels (whose links I'll throw up at the bottom of this review). They played with Sick Thoughts in Bielefeld in March (Sick Thoughts played Harrogate on the same tour and they were great!).

Instrumental hardcore-punk is the order of the day here. I’m not really surprised that this LP was part-released by Time As A Color to be honest. The same label that released a split 7” of post-hardcore and traditional German folk. This, however; is somewhat darker. IX is mid-paced and while at times it threatens to turn heavy, it refrains from doing so. It is dramatic though. The songs on White really do work well in their longer form. VI is perfect for just sitting back and switching off too (which, is what I’m trying to do after a draining day). It’s amazing how cathartic music can be without words over the top sometimes. VII leans more towards punk with it’s shorter playing time, but don’t let that fool you. The melodies woven by the guitars and the tempo of the drums/bass still make for a sad song. Closing song VIII is a droning, hypnotic masterpiece. The feedback and lowly plucked guitar morphs into one last dreamy instrumental ballad with lead-work inspired by rock n roll’s greats. This may be relatively short for an LP, but it’s well worth it. Kumulus has settled on a sound that is unique and musically pleasing. I like this one a lot!

You can stream and download the LP (for free) below:-

LPs can be picked up from the label stores/sites/Facebook pages below:-

Dingleberry Records And Distribution -
Holy Goat Records -
Monday Morning Records -
Time As A Color -
A L'ombre De Cette Vie Records (not sure if this label is active now) -

Kumulus Blog -

Sunday 3 July 2016

Words Like Daggers - Perfect Weather


1. Miss Fortunate
2. Surgery
3. Speak Easy
4. From Sorry To Listless
5. Sunny Escape
6. Under The Gun
7. Dead Weight
8. Nothing Left To Prove
9. Illusion
10. Perfect Weather

There must be something in the Des Moines water, as this is the second band from the area I've featured in the last week or so. This time I'm writing about post-hardcore band Words Like Daggers. They released their latest album "Perfect Weather" in March via Third String Records and they remind me a lot of bands like Beloved (US), ArmsBendBack and Taking Back Sunday. I'm a sucker for well played post-hardcore in amongst the extremities I feature on here most of the time, so I've been looking forward to giving this a spin.

I really hope that Words Like Daggers are the start of a resurgence of decent post-hardcore, as it’s been lacking in recent months. Opener Miss Fortunate is a signal of intent, with soaring vocals and strong melodic-hardcore instrumentation. The sweeping guitar during the chorus is the clincher here. The brief pause between Miss Fortunate and Surgery is abrupt but when the latter kicks in, it sounds all the better. Yes the sound is slick and well-produced, but when they mix it up with hardcore screams, they sound more than comfortable. The riffy intro of Speak Easy takes me back to those countless hours listening to Trustkill/Drive-Thru Records bands in my teens. I could draw from some comparisons but I won’t because these guys deserve to let their music to the talking. The lead-guitar work later on in the song pretty much confirms it as my standout track. They prove that they’re equally adept at balladry as they are at writing bold melodic hardcore songs. From Sorry To Listless is surely their key to bigger things. Words Like Daggers are free from pretence, which is a funny thing to say considering the sub-genre they call home but I genuinely believe that. There’s none of the stupid electronics effects that bigger US bands seem to be using and they keep things simple, like on Sunny Escape. The song-writing on Under The Gun is polished and uncomplicated, while the song goes by way too quickly. You think that Dead Weight is going to some kind of twinkly acoustic song but don’t worry it’s not. It’s filled with driving guitar that sounds even better in between the introspective moments. There’s also some more technical instrumentation going on too, showing that Words Like Daggers are more industrious than at first glance. That they place Nothing Left To Prove towards the end of Perfect Weather is quite apt, as by now they’ve proved themselves pretty effectively. It’s full of restraint and sensitive textures amongst a backdrop of melodic hardcore crunch. There’s more technicality on show during Illusion, which drags the tempo of the album back up a few notches. It’s also probably the heaviest song of Perfect Weather though Words Like Daggers manage to prevent it from becoming formulaic by the use of their signature melodic riffs in between the breakdowns. The title-track ends things in what has become a perfect storm of sorts for the band. Everything has fallen into place and the album as a whole is worthy of taking them onto greater things. One of the best kept secrets in the current post-hardcore scene…I think so! 

You can stream and download Perfect Weather from Words Like Daggers below:-

CD copies can be purchased from Third String Records here -

Words Like Daggers Facebook -
Third String Records Facebook -