Saturday, 21 October 2017

Geist - Disrepair


Tracklist:

1. Painkillers
2. Dear World...
3. Services Rendered
4. Eyeless Needle
5. Fiction Souls
6. Inkblot Lives

A year on since their first committal to vinyl, North-East England's Geist have been immortalised in 12-inches of glorious wax. This time it's a single-sided slab with a nice etched b-side. 2017 has been a good year for the band with the release following their successful UK tour with US black/heavy band Sunlight's Bane. The UK's heavy hardcore/grind movement has always been strong but Geist has been holding the extreme torch aloft for a long time now, elevating the impact made by their former bands. Staring into the black eyes that adorn the record's cover art should give you a sense of the emotion that fuels their musical intent.

Whenever I’ve seen Geist live they’ve always been intense. That intensity is bottled and dispensed here on record opener Painkillers, Ian’s vocals are relentlessly angry, while the band behind presents a mix between modern pv/grind and a throwback to the heavy hardcore that’s died away in recent years. The feeling is no happier on second song Dear World…, with Geist continuing their metallic assault, with guitars and feedback accompanying the palpable sense of dread that their music portrays. 

Geist doesn’t hang about, fitting no less than six songs onto one side of vinyl is pretty good going. Services Rendered contains a different approach from the band with a slower paced track full of metallic, brooding melody. The screeching feedback that heralds the start of Eyeless Needle pretty much sets it’s stall out early. What follows is intense but also creative. 

If you’re someone who sees the worst in everything, this would not be recommended listening but for those of you who’re more well balanced, you’ll enjoy it. Geist’s no-nonsense songwriting on Fiction Souls and indeed Inkblot Lives shows that song length has absolutely nothing to do with song impact. By now Geist is a band that feels and sounds like veterans amongst the UK ranks. They’re written a record in “Disrepair” that aptly describes their feeling towards modern life but also provides something constructive and mature to hold on to. Great work from a band who’re consistently on point.

You can stream and purchase "Disrepair" digitally from Geist below:-



They have vinyl copies available here - http://geistuk.bigcartel.com

Geist - https://www.facebook.com/ukgeist/

"Disrepair" was release by a cooperative of six DIY labels. Their links are below:-

Vetala Productions - https://www.facebook.com/vetalaproductions/
Black Omen Recordings - https://www.facebook.com/BlackOmegaRecordings/
Wooaaargh - https://www.facebook.com/WOOAAARGH/
Prospect Records - https://www.facebook.com/prospectrecords/
Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings - https://www.facebook.com/invertedgrimmillrecordings/
Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records - https://www.facebook.com/Rip-Roaring-Shit-Storm-Records

Friday, 20 October 2017

Insulters - Metal Still Means Danger


Tracklist:

1. Age Of Terror
2. Highway Of Death
3. Icons & Symbols
4. Bang Your Fucking Skull
5. Forged In Hell's Fire
6. Bastard Soldiers
7. Burn With The Witch
8. Here Falls The Hammer
9. Metal Still Means Danger

The title of this 2017 full-length from Spanish black/thrash band Insulters may divide some. There'll be those who say that metal is no longer as dangerous as in it's early days and there will be some who disagree, especially if they've grown up with more modern bands and blurred genres. Either way, the argument shouldn't stop you from enjoying this. Insulters formed in 2008 and have to date released a couple of demos, splits and comp and a full-length prior to "Metal Still Means Danger", all while keeping the Catalonian extreme metal flame burning in bands such as Krossfyre (Hells Headbangers) and Graveyard (War Anthem Records) to name few. "Metal Still Means Danger" was released on giant cd digipack via Unholy Prophecies and Equinox Discos in January. 

Insulters mix black/thrash and punk together on opener Age Of Terror. There’s raging Moterhead-esque guitar work, powerful drumming and dank growls throughout. with no let-up in pace. Their sound and approach early on is pretty consistent as no sooner has Age Of Terror finished, when Highway Of Death picks up the same tempo and mood. Insulters throw in some classy lead work this time that gives you more of a hint to their allegiance. the energy ratchets up even more on Icons & Symbols, as does the reverb and black metal atmosphere. So far “Metal Still Means Danger” is unrelenting and it’s momentum is strong. The aptly titled Bang Your Fucking Skull describes exactly what Insulters expect you to do at their live shows. There’s nowhere to hide when the band hit’s their stride during the song either. From here on in the songs get longer, beginning with the more thrashy and progressive Forged In Hell’s Fire. It’s more of the same music wise but as I said, there are some thrasher elements in the drumming and the riffs for sure. The mid section is a lot more mid-paced, allowing the guitar solo room to take the lead albeit briefly. They up the tempo again on Bastard Soldiers and they’re able to weave some nice textures into the music, especially when things seem to go into half time during the mid-section. It’s this subtle variation that keeps the album engaging. It’s hard to decide whether Insulters are better at black metal or thrash metal, as they both mould so well together on Burn With The Witch. The blasts sound so much more precise and the vocals more ravaged and evil, as the impressive wall of guitar carries on unabated. This is the album’s standout track for me. Penultimate song Here Falls The Hammer is another opportunity for Insulters to show-off their no nonsense songwriting and extremity. They leave the title-track until the end and go all out balls-to-the-wall. I was slightly worried that with the title “Metal Still Means Dangers, the record might be cliched and jokey but it’s anything but. Insulters inject enough extremity and hatred into it to keep you hooked and headbanging. Their rip-roaring delivery never fades and they end on a true high. 

You can stream, download and buy "Metal Still Means Danger" on cd from Unholy Prophecies below:-




Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Heavy Traffic/The Mad Doctors - Split 7"


Tracklist:

1. Heavy Traffic - Daylight Ripoff
2. The Mad Doctors - Yuengling Malmsteen

Last night's review left me with a yearning for some sludge/stoner/fuzz. It's probably due to the fact that my brain if pretty much worn out already this week. Here's a new split 7" featuring Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors, both from Brooklyn, NY. I chose this because neither band has featured here before and because I liked the cover art. Heavy Traffic seems to have been releasing their own brand of psychedelic doom since 2014, releasing five digital full-lengths within two years. Their sixth full-length "Plastic Surgery" was released in December 2016 and was the first to appear in physical form, on both tape and vinyl. The Mad Doctors formed in 2013 and have released a steady stream of noise themselves, with one EP, two LPs and two splits to their name prior to this one. They joined forces for this one earlier this year with the official release taking place last month via Twin Earth Records and King Pizza Records. 

This is a little bit different. Heavy Traffic are pretty much exactly as they described they would be on Daylight Ripoff. Psychedelic doom, traditional metal and noisy punk converging in various forms to create something that takes the retro sound of old and injects it with extra weirdness. The instrumentation is noisy and the vocals are spaced-out and clean. It’s ends abruptly but it’s way cool. 

The Mad Doctors are equally as bizarre on Yuengling Malmsteen, taking a surf-rock blueprint and warping it out of shape with equal amounts of punk and noise. The clean guitar works really well and they play at a more upbeat tempo. It’s hard to come up with any obvious comparisons, just as it is with Heavy Traffic. Both bands sound pretty original to me.

This is just a split from two bands that are having fun writing the music they want to and we’re lucky that they’ve invited us along for the ride. I just hope that the “hipster” set in New York doesn’t cotton onto them and end up diluting their music. 

You can stream the split and grab download/vinyl copies from both bands below:-





Heavy Traffic - https://www.facebook.com/heaviesttraffic/
The Mad Doctors - https://www.facebook.com/TheMadDoctors/

You can also grab 7"s from the labels below:-

Twin Earth Records - http://twinearthrecords.storenvy.com
https://www.facebook.com/twinearthrecords/
King Pizza Records - http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Desert Smoker - Void Of Smoke


Tracklist:

1. Intro/Void Of Smoke
2. Bleeding Trees
3. Goddess
4. Fading Society
5. SKVM
6. Outro/A Tribute To Carlin

Well, it seems as though I managed to dodge Ophelia! Hope the rest of you were just as lucky (we're not used to big storms in the UK). My attention this evening turns to new London-based band Desert Smoker. Billed as a sludge/doom metal band, Desert Smoker seems to have only recently surfaced yet has released a six song full-length in very quick time indeed. Featuring main songwriter/musician Chazz Fenrir who provides vocals/guitar/bass on the album (no word on who or what provides the percussion), 'Void Of Smoke" appears at first glance to be an angry and disturbing body of work.

“Void Of Smoke” begins with the Intro/title-track combo, which comes in the form of an instrumental. It’s solely made up of guitar/bass riffs and definitely leans toward sludge/doom. There’s a quiet melody that comes through from the bass, audible over the atonal guitar riffs and feedback. There’s low-slung groove on Bleeding Trees; however, that groove is shaken out of you by Chazz’s black metal-like shrieks. It sounds like Desert Smoker has employed a drum machine for percussion on the record, but it does the album no harm at all. One thing’s for sure, there’s more than a whiff of depressive/suicidal black metal influence on here. This album is very much presented in a DIY light and it’s lo-fi sound will be an acquired taste to some, but it makes it sound more organic especially on Goddess. It’s always hard producing an album on a shoestring budget or indeed on your own, so props to Chazz for having the conviction to put this work out. Fading Society features distant chiming bells ad haunting synths, which is where the doom element begins to come in on the record. The low-tuning of the guitar increases the sense of dread flowing through the song, while near ten-minute playing time helps too! Penultimate song SKVM creeps up on you and the further you get into the album, the more it grows. It’s not an easy listen but it’s rewarding if you have both the patience and virtue to give it a proper chance. The minimalist structure of SKVM is especially grim (in a good way). The ringing feedback that heralds in the closing duo of Outro/A Tribute To Carlin is as jarring as you’d expect. It turns to be an actual tribute to George Carlin and features a suitably harrowing sample. It ends the same way it begun, but this time with the feedback slowly fading. As I said before, “Void Of Smoke” is very much an album for the adventurous, but that’s meant as a compliment to Desert Smoker. Hopefully the band will grow and write more music. It takes time for new bands to mature but Desert Smoker is definitely heading in the right direction. 

You can stream "Void Of Smoke" below, where it's also available as a name-your-price-download:-



Desert Smoker - https://www.facebook.com/desertsmoker/

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Under Assault - Possessed By Steel 7"


Tracklist:

1. Possessed By Steel

2. Necrobutcher

The release train has started rolling at Witches Brew again! This 7" from Paraguay's Under Assault is their debut release for the label and is meant to plug the gap between now and when their next full-length sees the light of day. The South American thrash metal quartet started life in 2011, putting out two demos in the years that followed. Two splits with Evil Force and Sent To Destroy followed in 2015 before their debut full-length "Underground Metal Till Death" was unleashed last year. They now have the chance to be heard by a wider audience.

This is pure old-school denim and leather, studs and spikes worship. The opening title-track rips with dual-guitar harmonies, reverb-filled semi clean vocals and constantly blasting drums. It’s a style that South American bands do very well and Under Assault’s own take on it is no different. It’s no wonder they supported Onslaught in their home city earlier this year. The gloriously named Necrobutcher highlights their underground affection even more. It’s a rip-roaring song where Under Assault fits in solo after solo wherever they can. The recording and production is super tight on this 7” and Under Assault is clearly a very talented band. They’re once again putting South American thrash on the map and the maniacs will love them.

Stream, download and buy the 7" below:-



Under Assault - https://www.facebook.com/Under-Assault
Witches Brew - https://www.facebook.com/witchesbrewthrashes/

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Burn Down Eden - Ruins of Oblivion


Tracklist:

1. Serpent's Deception
2. Omnivorous
3. Whirlwind Purification
4. Kronosphere
5. Artificial Exitus
6. Sons Of Isengrim
7. Pandemonic Overture
8. I, Dooms Visage
9. Nebula
10. Cosmogyral Miscarriage

I've decided that this evening should be about the music that shaped my late teens. It was the time I was discovering metalcore/melodic death metal bands like Killswitch Engage and Dark Tranquillity, as well as many more. Those bands still play a big part in my life and I've always been up for discovering new bands that are following in their footsteps. Dresden's Burn Down Eden is the band of choice then and their 2016 full-length "Ruins Of Oblivion", which has been release on both cd and vinyl via Sliptrick Records and 7hard Records respectively. They released their first EP "Memoirs Of Human Error" in 2015 and have appeared at the warm-up show for With Full Force festival earlier this year.

Burn Down Eden don’t pull any punches with their furious death metal. Serpent’s Deception is frenetic from the off. The drums never slow down, the bass keeps the rhythm section beefy while the duelling guitars provide loads of melody and harmonies. The vocals are a mix of deep bellows and higher-pitched rasps that suit the music well. I wasn’t expecting a start like that! The band does seem to favour the lead work on “Ruins Of Oblivion” and that is evident in the production, which is clear and clean. That doesn’t affect Omnivorous though, which is filled with both technicality and powerful blasts. 

They were spot on when they named Whirlwind Purification, as it goes by in a tornado of catchy and succinct melo-death. I actually think that using the term melodic death metal as a description for Burn Down Eden’s music is a bit of a disservice, as there’s a great deal of heaviness to it. Just listen to Kronosphere if you’re not convinced! There’s something comforting about this record. It’s not pretentious and Burn Down Eden aren’t trying too hard to be something they’re not. They just thrash like their lives depend on it on Artificial Exitus. There are hints of Trivium before they did away with the jaw-dropping metal of “Ascendency” (still my favourite album by the band). Artificial Exitus is the standout so far for me. 

They’re a bit more straight-down-the-wire on Sons Of Isengrim, but the solo puts pay to that with a nice semi-improv feel and old-school tone. Talking of old-school, Pandemonic Overture takes Burn Down Eden further back towards their heroes and reminds you that no matter how modern a band may be in sound and production values, they still have the same bloodline. Pandemonic Overture is one of the heaviest songs on “Ruins Of Oblivion” and it’s charm is undeniable. People spend too much time in their own bubble, just listening to the same bands they grew up with. These guys prove that venturing into unknown and indeed underground territory is more fun, in musical terms at least. I, Dooms Visage isn’t the slow, meandering song you might have expected. Instead, it retains the band’s excellent song-writing. 

They find time to add in a little instrumental interlude called Nebula as the penultimate track. This may have been done many times before but it’s still a welcome change of direction, albeit for a brief moment as it fades straight into album closer Cosmogyral Miscarriage. It sounds like a gore-grind/brutal death metal song title and it has the tempo to be either, but Burn Down Eden has other ideas. They use it as an excuse to fill your ears with one final slab of expertly performed death metal. The musicality and precision on show here is that of a band well beyond their years. It’s hard to write an infectious record in a climate with so much musical competition but Burn Down Eden manages just that. You won’t regret taking a chance on this. 

You can stream "Ruins Of Oblivion" and purchase a download from the band below:-



Merch including cd and vinyl copies can be picked up here - http://burndowneden.bigcartel.com

Burn Down Eden - https://www.facebook.com/burndowneden
Sliptrick Records - https://www.facebook.com/sliptrickrecords
7hard Records - https://www.facebook.com/7hard.Records

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tdoafs/Duct Hearts - Split 6"



Tracklist:

1. Tdoafs - Kids
2. Duct Hearts - Enduring War

I've managed to drag myself away from an article published by a considerably bigger music site than mine, and the eschewing fallout in the comments thread to string a review together this evening. I'll return to witness the rest later! Here's a new split between Canadian trio Tdoafs and their German counterparts Duct Hearts. They've taken the more unusual route of releasing this split on a 6" record, with no less than nine labels collaborating to make the physical finished product happen. Many of you reading this will know that I've talked about Duct Hearts more than a few times now, but Tdoafs are new to me so this should be a lot of fun. 

As this is a 6” record, the songs from both bands are relatively brief. Tdoafs begin with Kids, which is a relatively lo-fi but ear-friendly song making the best use of both their melodic screamo and the formats limitations. The fact that the trio seem to all be providing vocals makes it even cooler. I’m sure I’ve said in a previous review recently how much I like the flourishing Canadian metal/punk scenes at the moment. Tdoafs just proves that my point further.

Duct Hearts very much pick up where they left off with “Feathers” on Enduring War. The mix of soaring melodic guitar and clean vocals, often joined by brief heaviness is a very different proposition to the sound of their split-mates, but it again demonstrates that they’re really maturing as a band. The raw energy of Tdoafs set against the more considered approach of Duct Hearts makes this short split a great listen. I just wish there were more songs to get my ears wrapped around. 

You can stream this split below:-



Tdoafs - https://www.facebook.com/Tdoafs
Duct Hearts - https://www.facebook.com/ducthearts/

The physical records are or will be available from the below labels:-

Zilpzalp Records - https://www.facebook.com/zilpzalp.rec
Time As A Color - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor
Dasein Records & Bookings - https://www.facebook.com/Daseinrecs
Civic Duty Records - http://civicdutyrecords.bigcartel.com
Don't Live Like Me Records - https://www.facebook.com/dontlivelikeme
Dingleberry Records & Distribution - https://www.facebook.com/Dingleberry-records-and-distribution
A Fond d'Cale Prod - https://www.facebook.com/afonddcaleprod
Hardcore For The Losers - https://www.facebook.com/HardcoreForTheLosers
Adorno Records - https://www.facebook.com/AdornoRecords

Monday, 9 October 2017

Couch Slut - Contempt


Tracklist:

1. Funeral Dyke
2. Company Picnic With Dust Off
3. Penalty Scar
4. Snake In The Grass
5. Summer Smiles
6. Folk Song
7. Won't Come

It's not often nowadays that a band name actually makes you sit up and take notice. They're either nothing you haven't seen (or read) before or the band is trying too hard to shock and as a result they are completely the opposite. Couch Slut is definitely a name that you'll remember and the band are very real. Their first album "My Life As A Woman" (graphic/topical cover and all) was released in October 2014 via Handshake Inc. They've now returned with this second album, which was released via Gilead Media in July. Their uncompromising noise-rock has seen them sharing live slots with the likes of Pyrrhon, Vanum & Yautja in the US of late too, so there's no point in trying to nail them to any genre cross.

There’s little time to sit and ponder Couch Slut’s direction or influences when opener Funeral Dyke springs into feedback-ridden action. It’s off-kilter, melodic, progressive, angry and a whole host of other things. The intense vocals sit perfectly against the backdrop of curiously upbeat instrumentation, which sets them apart from their peers. There’s a pained delivery of those vocals during Company Picnic With Dust Off, which is gut-wrenching and very emotive. The music reminds me of a sinister crossbreeding of QOTSA and Foo Fighters (I know that’s a strange comparison to make, especially as those two bands are very much intertwined anyway). Maybe you’ll get where I’m coming from with that, but maybe you won’t. It’s that mix of mid-paced groove and fuzzed-out rock, with occasional spazziness (if I’m allowed to say that!) that makes it great. 

There’s even more catchiness on Penalty Scar that seems to exist through the murky extremities of both the subject matter and the heavy musical textures. If you’re looking for a band that’s content with not testing your mental strength then you’re in the wrong place. As Couch Slut progresses through “Contempt”, their sound becomes darker and slower. Snake In The Grass mixes in elements of sludge and more familiar progressive touches. Aside from that, the song-writing steps up with some really memorable and punk-like guitar alongside the engaging percussion and those harsh screams. Something tells me that Summer Smiles isn’t going to be about sunshine and bunny rabbits, if the screeching feedback in the intro passage is anything to go by. It’s harrowing but the drumming and bass helps make it less so. Instrumental build-ups like this always lure you in to a false sense of security and it’s definitely the case here, as Megan Osztrosits reaches a terrifying plane and the rest of the band members do their best to keep up, with some of the most crazed instrumentation on the whole of the record. 

The slothenly Folk Song feels like a momentary breath of calm after Summer Smiles. That feeling of odd serenity lasts about as long as that sentence though and before you can blink, you’re brain and sense are being put through rendition again. I think that’s kind of the point with this album, as it’s supposed to reflect the ills of modern life and while your life may not be as difficult as the songs here portray, it doesn’t take long to imagine it being so. Album closer Won’t Come hammers the final nail into your already battered head in the same vein as the song it follows. The clean vocals towards the end of the song show a subtly more sensitive side to Couch Slut. It’s not forced and they don’t over-try. That’s the point of this album for me, it’s honesty and the unapologetic way in which it’s thrown at you. Heavy music isn’t all Neanderthals and fantasy rubbish. Sometimes it’s very genuine and socially aware. This is one of those times. 

You can stream "Contempt" and but both digitally and on vinyl via Gilead Media here:-



Couch Slut - https://www.facebook.com/couchslut/
Gilead Media - https://www.facebook.com/gileadmedia/

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Expulsion (US) - Nightmare Future EP


Tracklist:

1. Total Human Genocide
2. Altar Of Slaughter
3. Mask Of Fear
4. Nightmare Future
5. Funeral Bells
6. Compulsions
7. Comatose

Towards the end of August I wrote about Swedish doom/death band Expulsion, in which I mentioned these guys. The only link between the US Expulsion and the now defunct Swedes is the name though, as this new outfit weighs in with fast grind/death that plays to the strengths of it's members, whom also play in Exhumed, Gruesome, Intronaut, Lightning Swords Of Death and Repulsion to name but a few! The band came together earlier this year and swiftly released this EP via Relapse Records. They're worked fast and nowhere is that more present than on this record, which features seven songs in little under fourteen minutes. 

You don’t have to worry about musical quality with members of Expulsion’s ability. What you get is breakneck grind that brings to mind General Surgery and Municipal Waste. Total Human Genocide rages straight from the off, with percussion and guitars delivering quick-fire hammer blows while backing up the vocals that cross over between death and thrash. There’s no fluff or waste on any of these songs as no sooner has the EP opener finished, when Altar Of Slaughter hits you with some really atmospheric death metal riffs and typically screeching leads. Their old-school tendencies also make themselves heard on Mask Of Fear, which starts with a great drum/bass intro and then proceeds to rip through your skull with a little over a minute’s worth of grinding fury.  

The title-track highlights Expulsion’s catchy song-writing and their use of guitar melody within the riffs themselves. It’s also the mid way point of the EP already! There’s a huge dose of punk energy in Funeral Bells and a sense that Expulsion don’t take themselves too seriously, in spite of the subject matter. The sound on Compulsions is as grimy as it gets on “Nightmare Future”, with feedback aplenty adding to the old-school vibe. Closing song Comatose is the final blow to the head and it accentuates how precise Expulsion is musically. The drumming could well have been delivered by a drum machine if you didn’t know that it was Danny Walker behind the kit (if you know what I mean). The rest of the band do what they do best, which is produce entertaining grind/death metal. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and as I said before, they’re playing to their own strengths here. A strong EP from a side-project that shouldn’t promise anything less. 

You can stream "Nightmare Future" and grab it as a download or on cd/vinyl below:-



Expulsion - https://www.facebook.com/ExpulsionOfficial/
Relapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Spurn - Comfort In Nothing


Tracklist:

1. Spoiled Failures
2. Comfort In Nothing
3. News Feed
4. Reproduction
5. Obsolete
6. Quota To Meet
7. No Next Time
8. Old Man
9. No Safety
10. Refugees

Even though we're racing towards the end of 2017 there are still plenty of records to swoon over from last year. Spurn's "Comfort In Nothing" is on of them. You may think that swoon is a strange word to use about a grind band but I stand by it! These Canadian noise makers released their first demo in September 2015 and then followed it up less than twelve-months later with their debut full-length. They're part of new wave of bands that are cropping up in Canada right now, so it's a good time to give them your attention.

Fast, angry, riffy music is the perfect accompaniment today. Spurn is more so much more than that though, as their techy time-signatures reign supreme on album opener Spoiled Failures. Their’s is a sound that Mathcore Index would be proud of! The title-track highlights that earlier point with tight percussion and a mix of heavy and metallic guitar work that backs up the angrily delivered vox. It reminds me a lot of Leeds, UK band Tangaroa and I couldn’t be happier with that comparison. The collage of sound that’s created by Spurn is both challenging and exhilarating. They start off by heading down a sludge/pv direction on News Feed, before switching to punk rhythms and then to out-of-this-world bizarreness with a handful of tech-death riffs. I’m only three songs in and it’s already too hot to handle. Spurn’s grinding tendencies come to the fore on Reproduction. I can only imagine how sick this would be live. Maybe one day they’ll make it to the UK! The low roars and chunky instrumentation that kicks off Obsolete make it sound like early metalcore and indeed the song is about as brooding. The stop/start guitar work adds to the sense of venom. Quota To Meet is the fastest song on “Comfort In Nothing” and musically it’s one of the richest. The urgency that Spurn exhibits translates into a brutally intense delivery and thanks to the solid mixing/mastering, there’s no sense of weakness within the band’s armour. They really hit their stride on No Next Time, which pulls no punches. It contains a simpler structure in places but that just makes the technical parts stand out more. You just have to sit back and relish this record. By the time Old Man flails into view, you’re head is already beaten into submission from all angles. Dare I say that the intro to No Safety brings to mind the early musical phrasing on “Remission”-era Mastodon. They pepper the song with angular riffs and it all just fits together. Why am I picturing crazed strobe lights while listening to this? Album closer Refugees is Spurn at their most pissed-off. It seems to gather together every musical layer that they possess and turns them into a rage-fuelled barrage against the elite. For a song that barely two-and-three-quarter minutes, they fit a lot into it. As it dies down and reveals silence, you’ll either be panting for breath or comatose. There’s no middle ground. Keep Spurn close to your chest as they’re gonna get noticed soon, in a big way.

You can stream "Comfort In Nothing" and grab it as a name-your-price-download below:-



Spurn - https://www.facebook.com/SpurnBand/

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Sutekh Hexen/BLSPHM - Split 7"


Tracklist:

1. Sutekh Hexen - Azure Grael
2. BLSPHM - Abyss 3

Writing this blog has always transported me to a place of solitude and while I've always focused more on bands that made what could be traditionally pigeon-holed as metal or punk, I've shied away from noise. It's a sub-genre that I've never professed to knowing a great deal about, though in the past I have featured the likes of Horders, Colossloth, Sadiemae and one half of this split, Sutekh Hexen. This 7" was released in August by Sentient Ruin Laboratories and Spanish label Bestiarie. It's a re-release of the tape originally released in 2014 via Dead Accents and is extremely limited. Sutekh Hexen has been a very active project since it's formation in 2009 and is going on tour next week in the US with Hissing, while BLSPHM is new to me. 

My description of “noise” may have been a bit rudimentary in my opening paragraph but nonetheless it less features heavily here. Sutekh Hexen’s contribution Azure Grael treads the line between noise, ambient and black metal with no single texture taking over. The white-noise and guitar hides the low roars and high-pitched screams, meaning that they sit low in the mix. 

BLSPHM’s Abyss 3 isn’t initially as caustic in it’s delivery. There’s a haunting melody in the mix surrounded by percussion and layers of hissing feedback. At just past the three-minute mark the volume dies down and the lone guitar comes to fore slightly, opening up a sense of being alone. Neither song is easy to listen to here but artistically that’s no boundary for either band. Many artists use savagery to reveal beauty. Sutekh Hexen and BLSPHM achieve it perfectly.

Both songs can be streamed below:-



Sutekh Hexen - https://www.facebook.com/sutekhhexenofficial/
BLSPHM - https://www.facebook.com/blsphm/

7"s are sold out at Sentient Ruin Laboratories but the split can still be downloaded digitally here - https://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/split-7. Copies are still available via Bestiarie here - http://bestiarie.bigcartel.com/product/sutekh-hexen-blsphm-split-7.

Sentient Ruin Laboratories - https://www.facebook.com/SentientRuin/
Bestiarie - https://www.facebook.com/bestiarie/

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Rutsa - Rauha Ja Tasapaino 7"


Tracklist:

1. Koti
2. Tunnit
3. Umpikuja
4. Tunneli Tyhjioon

This new four track 7" from Finnish trio Rutsa was released yesterday. I had intended to review it prior to it's release but I had a problem with my record player. Everything's sorted now though and I can get back to it. Rutsa began their sludgy/grinding assault back in 2015 and release their self-titled demo in February last year, with their second EP "Hakissa" coming in July of last year (with a tape released in November). This is the first time their music has been committed to wax, thanks to Ramekuukkeli-Levyt & Kumiversal Music

An old choral intro welcomes you to opening song Koti before it gets swallowed up by screeching feedback. Rutsa then hits you with a crazed noise/sludge/grind attack that contains a mix of off-kilter fast/slow riffs, earth-shaking bass, crashing drums and a dual-vocal approach that can smell your fear. It’s stop/start but that does’t spoil the listening experience. It’s very bass-heavy  but that adds to it’s heaviness.. Tunnit is faster from the off, with reverb in the vox and an industrial-like groove within the instrumentation at times. It’s crusty and filled with rock n roll. Rutsa is full of raw energy and that’s translated in the music. Side A is over all too quickly but the get-in, get-fucked, get-out approach works in their favour. They show their groovier side on Umpikuja with some great drum work and catchy riffs. This song is a lot more mid-paced this time but it still features their unpredictability. The fast/slow dynamics work really well throughout and it’s pretty hard to pin them down for more than a few seconds. The vocal contortions during Umpikuja are maddening to say the least. EP closer Tunneli Tyhjioon is one last slab of low, slow sludge that always threatens to bubble over. Bubble over it does after the lengthy opening passage and you’re back in familiar territory. There’s not too much in the way if treble during the EP, but it does rear it’s head sometimes thanks to the odd metallic interjection. This EP is definitely best listened too on a turntable, as it was intended. Rutsa makes the grind/pv/sludge sound all their own on “Rauha Ja Tasapaino” and it’s that originality that makes them an underground hit. A hit I’ve slept on for too long!

You can stream the first two tracks from the EP via Rutsa's bandcamp page below (it still says it's available as a pre-order but that should change soon):-



Rutsa - https://www.facebook.com/rutsaband/.

Physical 7"s are available to order here - http://ramekuukkeli.nettisivu.org.

Ramekuukkeli-Levyt - https://www.facebook.com/Rämekuukkeli-levyt.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Void Forger/VVVLV - Split 7"


Tracklist:

1. Void Forger - Excess Collapse
2. VVVLV - Homo Economicus

Once again business that are supposed to make our lives easier somehow manage to reach a new colossal level of idiocy and unhelpfulness!!! My personal grumbles aside, it's Friday night and once again I find myself reaching for heavy music instead of going out on the town and getting horrifically drunk (wise move I feel!). The heavy music is question is the 2016 split 7" between Romanians Void Forger and VVVLV. Both bands feature sludge, doom and punk amongst their arsenals. Void Forger graced the stage at this year's Crust Picnic 3 in Belgium alongside the UK's own Deviated Instinct, Monolithian & Rash Decision, while VVVLV are due to play alongside Jucifer in Romania in mid-October.

Void Forger produces a noise that any UK-sludge/crust band would be proud of. Excess Collapse contains groove-laden riffs, incredibly up-tempo percussion and in-your-face roars, and if you think that’s too many hyphens, it’s because it is! Joking aside, Void Forger really does make a hellish racket and one that sits on the right side of raw. The recording and production brings out their organic heaviness without any compromise to their sound. 

VVVLV feature less of a punk influence on Homo Economicus, though what it looses in tempo it makes up for in sheer heft. The rasping vocals are delivered in a black metal style, while the musicianship is more restrained with downbeat melody from the guitars. Their use of an epically slow passage followed by a frantic finish is great too. Both Void Forger and VVVLV make full use of their sides of this split, which is rare and very welcome indeed. Excellent Friday night headbangs! More please.

You can stream and download the split via both band's below (and Void Forger has physical 7"s for sale too):-





Void Forger - https://www.facebook.com/voidforger/
VVVLV - https://www.facebook.com/herecomethevvvlv/

You can also grab the 7" from the below labels:-

Neanderthal-Stench - https://www.facebook.com/Neanderthal-stench
Gluga Neagra - https://www.facebook.com/Gluga-Neagra
Crust Or Die Collective - https://www.facebook.com/CrustordieCollective/
Dvvm Recs - https://www.facebook.com/onedvvmdeed/