Monday 31 July 2017

Protosequence - Schizophrene


1. Pitiless
2. Guardian
3. Cannabis Daggers
4. Darkness Weeps

While I was sorting out some e-mails the other day (I'm perennially behind with blog-related ones), an e-mail about Canadian band Protosequence caught my attention. I glanced at the cover art for their early-2016 debut EP "Schizophrene" and read the press-release that described them as a prog/tech metal band, at which I was sold. They're actually about to release a brand new EP called "Biophagous' in mid-August, but this is my starting point. They're played with Protest The Hero fairly recently and they site The Black Dahlia Murder & August Burns Red amongst their influences, so I'm hoping for good things.

That’s one to kick things off! Pitiless opens up with brutal drumming and is swiftly followed by modern death metal growls and a mix of tech and straight-up death guitar work. There’s actually a lot more technicality going on than that initial sentence gives credit for and the lead work is especially good. Guardian is no less frenetic, with plenty of virtuoso instrumentation that helps create plenty atmosphere despite the brutality. Its great to hear a modern band moving away from the whole “atonal djent” sound and crafting something that has real feeling. The bizarrely titled Cannabis Daggers leaves no moment for breath, with more than a nod towards a couple of bands I’ve mentioned above, sans the clean vocals. It’s also good to know that the band’s pace doesn’t drop despite the length of the song, which means the EP’s impact stays in tact. The riffs on EP closer Darkness Weeps are so damn catchy. The progressive elements are blown up in this song as well and it’s really listenable. You can compare Protosequence to as many modern metal bands as you want but they’re deserve being called more than “just another scene band”. “Schizophrene’ is more than solid and the new EP will be worth the wait on this showing. Cracking modern tech-death.

You can stream "Schizophrene" and purchase a download here:-

Protosequence -

Friday 28 July 2017

The Unholy Trinity: Satanath Records/Symbol Of Domination Prods/GrimmDistribution

This is the final label spotlight of the current run and it's a little different, as all three labels are essentially one and the same. Russian label Satanath Records started in 2012 and has since been releasing all kinds of extreme metal on a very regular basis. Shortly after Satanath opened it's doors, Belarussian sub-label Symbol Of Domination was founded in 2013 on the same premise. A second Belarussian sub-label in the form of GrimmDistribution also forms part of this trio, having originally formed in 2011. For this spotlight, I have chosen one album from easch of the three labels to review. As always, links to their respective bandcamp/webstore pages are included as well. 

Nordland - European Paganism (Satanath Records)


1. The Mountain
2. A Burning Of Idols
3. Rites At Dawn

I first came across North-East England's Nordland thanks to local black metal label Glorious North Productions. That was a few years ago now but the one-man black metal band seems like a good starting place for this spotlight. "European Paganism", the band's fourth full length, was released in March of this year by Satanath Records and fellow Russian label More Hate Productions. This new album features three songs and has been released on CD, as well as digitally.

The opening song on “European Paganism” is The Mountain, a sprawling near-thirty minute piece encompassing ambience as well as cold black metal. There are fierce passages filled with angry and expressive riffs, fast percussion and typically blackened shrieks; however, Vorh’s music also contains a great deal of musical maturity. That’s not a surprise given that this is his fourth full-length. The mid-section is a good example of that maturity, with quieter more sensitive instrumentation at time alongside a nice twin-guitar harmony/solo work. There are progressive elements afoot too with changing tempos and nods to doom. Following the lengthy opener is A Burning Of Idols, which contains a condensed version of Nordland’s expansive song-writing. It carries forth the atmosphere from The Mountain and it does so with more urgency. There’s certainly an element of bestial rage on show within the music, but it’s used in a controlled fashion and doesn’t detract from the atmosphere at all. Vorh’s instrumental layers are majestic and way more advanced than you’d expect from the casual solo-black metaller. Album closer Rites At Dawn is the briefest of the three songs on “European Paganism” but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you get from it. The way Vorh moves between the more extreme black metal sound to that of a melodic and ambient one is impressive and sums up the quality of this release. It’s not a conventional album by any means but it’s an impressive one. Nordland will continue to grow on the strength of it though and that growth it truly deserved.

You can stream "European Paganism" and buy it digitally/physically via Satanath Records here:-

You can also buy it directly from Nordland here -

Nordland -

Vomit Of Doom - Magnus Cruelty (Symbol Of Domination Prods)


1. Totality. Intro
2. Black Metal Invasion
3. No Divine
4. Eternal Enemy
5. Captor Of Light (Interlude)
6. Shadow Of Tyranny
7. Pest Of Tomorrow
8. Sodoma Conquest
9. Magnus Cruelty. Outro

My next review features Vomit Of Doom, a black/thrash/speed metal band from Argentina. Their latest EP "Magnus Cruelty" was released via Satanath sub-label Symbol Of Domination last October, with help help from Metal Masala (India) and Morbid Skull Records (El Salvador). I think Vomit of Doom are the first Argentinian band I've featured here. They formed in 2009 and to date they have released two demos, three EP's, been part of three split records as well as releasing a comp, a single and a full-length called "Obey The Darkness' via Satanath Records in 2015. 

Throughout my years of writing this blog I’ve always heard about how intense South American bands are, yet I haven’t featured very many in comparison to European and North American bands. That’s something I need to change. The first thing that struck about “Magnus Cruelty” was the strikingly evil cover art. Vomit Of Doom begins with Totality. Intro, which is a haunting noise track. Their first song proper is Black Metal Invasion. It’s a primitive and DIY take on the classic black/thrash template put through a South American blender. Taking cues from bands like Nunslaughter and Abigail, Vomit Of Doom offer raw, energetic instrumentation and hellish black metal vocals. The solo they throw in is of a high standard too, which will please any maniac. They use vocal reverb and screeching lead work on No Divine, while the rest of the music sits deeper in the mix, which is a bit of pity as it sounds really good and deserves to be louder. There are definite hints of America’s great thrash bands present on Eternal Enemy and while you’ve probably heard similar sounds a thousand times before, Vomit Of Doom still make a glorious noise. They break up the fury with interlude Captor Of Light and what sounds like demonic possession of a human being. That horror theme carries on into Shadow Of Tyranny. It’s a short song (much like the rest on the EP) but it has more impact because it. They walk a more obvious metal path on Pest Of Tomorrow, with meatier riffs and some death metal influence thrown in for good measure. Penultimate song Sodoma Conquest is pure unadulterated South American thrash metal. It has that characteristic sound that hits the sweet spot and shows that Vomit Of Doom is more than just a DIY extreme metal band. They end with Magnus Cruelty. Outro, another scary noise track. “Magnus Cruelty” is a great EP but it feels as though neither the Intro or Outro are really necessary. That being said, it’s still great listen and one of the better DIY extreme metal recordings I’ve heard this year so far.

You can stream "Magnus Cruelty" and buy it digitally or on CD below:-

Vomit Of Doom -

Freiheit - Безумие. Ненависть. Смерть / Madness. Hatred. Death (GrimmDistribution)


1. С.С.С.К. / S.S.S.K.
2. Волк / Wolf
3. Мясорубка / Meat Grinder
4. Корпус Смерти / The Corps Of Death
5. Правила разрушения / Rules Of Destruction
6. Технократия / Technocracy
7. Свобода / Freedom
8. Монумент / Monument
9. Горящая земля / Burning Earth

My last review features the latest album from Russian black/death metal band Freiheit. Their debut album (translated into "Madness. Hatred. Death.") was released via Satanath's second sub-label GrimmDistribution in May. Freiheit started in 2014 and released their debut self-titled EP last year. I've had to use Google Translate to help translate their song titles into English, as I can't speak Russian. If they're incorrect, please let me know so I can change them. 

I’m using the English song-title translations in this review, so I hope they’re accurate. S.S.S.K. opens “Madness. Hatred. Death” and the first thing you’ll notice is the tight production. It gives the song plenty of volume as Freiheit fly through a song that’s filled with marching rhythms, powerful guitar and authoritative vox. After the brief intro, Wolf shows more of what Freiheit is about. It leans more towards death than black metal, with precise drumming that sound almost machine-like (though it is delivered by a very capable human being). The progression and Russian lyrics add extra levels of originality too. They slow the pace a little with the mid-tempo Meat Grinder, at least in the first section anyway. They soon break out into full-paced lunacy again later on. Freiheit demonstrates a high level of technicality on The Corps Of Death, with a lot of straight-up metal flourishes thrown in too. For such a seemingly young band, Freiheit definitely shows skill above their years. Rules Of Destruction is really listenable death/thrash/black metal with no room for ponderous filler. They do well to keep their songs short and focused, which is good. The same can be said for Technocracy, which is equally as off-kilter. The lower guitar tones on Freedom hint towards a love of old-school death metal and there’s nothing wrong with that! It definitely got a catchiness too it, despite the obvious extremity. Penultimate song Monument is a real mix of both orchestral-like movements and proficient madness, all shoehorned into two-and-a-half-minutes. It’s left to album closer Burning Earth to deliver the last round of battery and it does it with aplomb. It’s extremely hard for many bands to gain the exposure they need to wider audiences, especially when there are so many more established bands from across Europe and further afield competing for the same thing. Maybe that’s why Freiheit have surprised me so much. They’ve written and released a pretty awesome debut album and certainly go down as one the finds of 2017 so far (in my opinion). 

As with the other releases in this feature, you can stream "Madness. Hatred. Death" and buy it digitally and on cd below:-

You can also download it directly from Freiheit's bandcamp page here -

Freiheit -

Make sure you also check out the rest of the releases from all three labels via bandcamp and via the Satanath store here -

Satanath Records -
Symbol Of Domination Prods -
GrimmDistribution -

Also, check out the other labels that helped to co-release both the Nordland and Vomit Of Doom albums here:-

More Hate Productions -
Metal Masala -
Morbid Skull Records -

Sunday 23 July 2017

Breag Naofa - Cearo EP


1. The Morning Of
2. Phosphorus

Seattle doom/d-beat band Breag Naofa are preparing to release their new LP via Halo Of Flies (US) and Shove Records (Europe). Earlier this year they released this two-song EP (soon to be self-released on ltd vinyl and tape) to help quench the thirst of their fans. It contains the first recordings since their 2014 split with Children of God and it helps the sextet to once again spread their anti-religious message. Imagery and individual thought have always been important elements of extreme music and none more so are they relevant than in today's society.

“Cearo” begins with the expansive intro to The Morning Of. After the unnerving sample at the beginning, layers of guitars and percussion build and Breag Naofa’s post-metal takes form. It feels like a very slow crescendo but one that’s filled with expectation and intrigue. The majority of the song is instrumental but when the vocals do come in near the seven-minute mark, they’re low growls that accurately bring the dark atmosphere of the music to life. Phosphorus shows the band’s other side, with blasting d-beat taking over from the doom tempos. In some respects this shift makes their music even more menacing. Once again the layers of melody created by the guitars are obvious and they make for a more dramatic spectacle. Breag Naofa has never been a band to rush things or to dumb down their art in favour of mass appreciation and that is what makes them more exciting in my eyes. This EP may be viewed by some as a way to satiate listeners prior to their up-coming full-length, but “Cearo” should be counted in it’s own right as another body of work that adds to 2017’s ever growing list of high quality releases. 

You can stream and purchase "Cearo" digitally below:-

News on the physical release of the EP and of course more details about the full-length can be found via Breag Naofa's Facebook page here -

Friday 21 July 2017

Monolithian - The Waning Moon


1. Crone
2. Nyarlathotep
3. The Mountain Bows To No One
4. Ixodes
5. Mantis Rider

Tonight's review features a band that's a bit closer to home, in the form of Cornwall's crust/doom duo Monolithian. They released their latest record "The Waning Moon" in January. It's release was a collaborative effort between Atomsmasher Records, Bad Roader Records, Autonomonster Records & Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records. This review goes out just as Monolithian are winging their way through Europe and Scandinavia with Rash Decision. 

I’ve got a lot of time for Monolithian. Simon and Shannon deserve all of the attention they’re getting right now, especially in Europe. Their new album “The Waning Moon” exhibits a new level of focus. Crone demonstrates that with an intense barrage of sludgy black metal and their unmistakable bass/drum, dual-vocal attack. Nyarlathotep demonstrates their ability to deliver ambient, restrained soundscapes as well as heavy noise. It doesn’t remain so restrained though as the latter half of the song returns to more familiar territory for a brief passage at least. It’s a glorious piece of music. Monolithian seems to have eschewed their more crusty leanings on “The Waning Moon” and I don’t think they’ve ever sounded better. The Mountain Bows To No One shows just how effective a bass guitar can be at punching out riffs and tone in perfect when set against Simon’s low bellows and Shannon’s mesmerising percussion. Ixodes airs more towards the metal end of the spectrum, which isn’t a bad thing at all, though it’s more extreme than mainstream as you’d expect. What it does show is the variation within the duo’s songwriting and their ability to experiment. it’d be great live. The drumming at the start of the brilliantly titled Mantis Rider is almost tribal to start with but the intro leads to a song with quite an off-kilter rhythm. Once the riffs and vocals fully kick in, it morphs into a very different beast. Infectious isn’t usually a term used for this form of heavy music but it’s nevertheless an accurate one. I could quite happily play this album over and over again. I think Monolithian has reached a new level and long may it continue.

You can stream "The Waning Moon" and grab it as a name-your-price download below:-

Physical copies of the record are available from Monolithian here -

Monolithian -
Atomsmasher Records -
Autonomonster Records -
Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records -

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Cavernlight - As We Cup Our Hands And Drink From The Stream Of Our Ache


1. Lay Your Woes Upon The Ground And Know That The End Will Soon Swallow You
2. Constructing A Spire To Pierce And Poison The Infinite
3. Wander, Part II
4. To Wallow In The Filth That Dwells Where Despair Is Born
5. A Shell Of One's Former Self

Never before have I read such a stark and poignant album title. "As We Cup Out Hands And Drink From The Stream Of Our Ache" (released in June via the band and due out on vinyl in August via Gilead Media) is the new full-length for Wisconsin doom band Cavernlight and it follows on from their 2015 release "Corporeal". With this album, the quartet promises a journey into their personal void. 

This evening the sky and atmosphere sits heavy, like the heavens are building toward a sinister spectacle. What better way to herald that spectacle in than with this record. Album opener Lay Your Woes… starts with unnerving noise and ambience. The riffs and percussion are at crawling pace while the shrieked vocals come from the lungs of a tortured soul. That initial passage of heaviness morphs into stoner-like groove and hallucinogenic soundscapes, with subtle metal piercing them before Cavernlight slows the tempo with their doom/sludge hybrid. Quite an impression is made during the first song alone. This year is producing some of the best doom/post-metal in years and it may be presumptuous of me to say this but Cavernlight belong’s on that list. Constructing A Spire… only drags their sound down a deeper mire and crawls with bass-heavy riffs and screams that sit deep within the noise. Nightmarish and arduous may be adequate descriptors for the song, but they are meant in the best possible way. This is not for the casual listener. Wander, Part II is a break from the bleak heaviness but it contains it’s own beauty with the help of minimal ambience and guitar presence. It reminds me of the misty and dark moors of my home county. The melodic guitar intro that greets you on To Wallow… is a moment worth waiting for. It’s cinematic majesty is beautiful, though it feels like it’s leading you into a false sense of security. Thankfully, it remains as Cavernlight unleashes more stark noise. For such a song and indeed album, the music within is cleansing and cathartic. The clean classical female singing on album closer A Shell Of One’s Former Self is not expected but is remarkable in it’s fragility and that fragility is shattered mid-way through by one last earth-shaking passage. It seems more tortured this time yet when the clean vocals return alongside Cavernlight’s dissonant textures, the song takes on a new life. At times “As We Cup…” is an uneasy listen, yet there’s a reason for that and when the light shines through Cavernlight’s music it’s truly brilliant. 

You can stream and purchase a digital download of the album below:-

There's also vinyl and tape pre-orders up via Cavernlight's bandcamp page.

Cavernlight -

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Ruined Families - Education


1. The Future Of Electronic Music
2. Image Of An Image
3. Naked Life
4. Underground Resistance
5. Demolition
6. No Rothko
7. Use Your Hands
8. Wholecar
9. Meta-Anthem
10. We Want Everything

I can't believe it's been over five years since I last reviewed Ruined Families. It was their 2012 untitled 7" that I wrote about and since then they've given us two LPs with "Eduction" being their newest. It was released via Adagio830 last November and it's already onto it's second pressing! The album was mixed in their home city of Athens, Greece and was mastered at the infamous Audiosiege studio. Ruined Families played at Miss The Stars fest in Berlin in May and are playing Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic this Friday. 

I’m not sure if Ruined Families have been taking cues from Refused with the title of “Education” opener, The Future Of Electronic Music. Either way, it’s a short and sharp song to kick off with and the mixture of harshness and melody doesn’t pull any punches. Unsurprisingly there’s a lot of feedback and bass within their music and on Image Of An Image they use it to accentuate their heaviness. At times “Education” grinds and flails onwards yet there are brief glimpses of introspection too. Naked Life doesn’t feature such a glimpse though as their off-kilter violence prevails. They get faster and faster to the point where Underground Resistance enters the fray, knocks you out and exits the ring without an apology, all in just over sixty-seconds. They take things a bit slower on Demolition, which is a song that threatens to explode during it’s first half. The vocals are more tempered and audible, while the instrumentation is more musical and less gung-ho. It shows a different side to them but one that’s clever. The relative calm of Demolition is somewhat shattered by No Rothko, with it’s mix of emoviolence-like passages and glorious punk riffs. It’s a song of many sides and all the better for it. There are many more intricacies within RF’s music than I can aptly describe here, which is why it’s better for you to listen to “Education” for yourself. Use Your Hands covets many of those intricacies with a raging percussive/vocal backdrop and cinematic walls of guitar. The punk influence is back on Wholecar, with it’s garage/goth undertones. I suppose post-punk is more applicable but what’s in a name! Whatever you want to call it, it’s great. The fact that no two songs are the same is key to this album’s energy and intrigue. Meta-Anthem goes through phases of utterly chaotic noise and broken hardcore, all while staying relatively controlled. It’s left to the menace of album closer We Want Everything to leave you aching for more. It’s decidedly brutal and hammers the band’s impact home. “Education” is short in playing time but is rich in emotion and personality. That’s all you should ask for from music really. 

Stream "Education" below:-

You can also buy it digitally, on tape and on vinyl directly from the band above or from Adagio830 here -

Ruined Families -
Adagio830 -

Monday 17 July 2017

Sigh - Infidel Art (2017 Reissue)


1. Izuna
2. The Zombie Terror
3. Desolation
4. The Last Elegy
5. Suicidogenic
6. Beyond Centuries
7. The Zombie Terror (Lamentation Version)
8. Suicidogenic (Chthonic Version)

I'm not sure how I feel about reissues from a reviewer perspective but from a listener's perspective they serve a purpose, especially if that purpose is to bring bands and their music to new audiences. I think that's what UK label Cacophonous Records has tried to do with this reissue of Sigh's 1995 album "Infidel Art" (released in November 2016). Originally released by the same label in 1995 on CD and then on various formats via various other labels since then, the six-track record has been embellished with re-mastered audio and two added bonus tracks. Sigh has rightly been recognised as one of the originators of avant-garde black metal and this gives new listeners a change to trace the sub-genre's roots back to it's beginnings. 

Sigh originated at a time when black metal was in a simpler place and despite being active for many years, I’ve overlooked them somewhat to my behest. They certainly live up to their avant-garde billing on opener Izuna, which goes through different movements with screeching guitar, orchestral textures and raw shrieks. Granted that could be a description of many a band but the way in which Sigh forged their sound has meant that they were (and indeed still are) leading the way musically. The Zombie Terror initially sounds like a traditional sludge/stoner song before the song changes pace and the mix of clean chants and harsh shrieks take over. The orchestral synths and keys distract you from the madness yet also fit in perfectly amongst it. The guitar that leads to the three-minute mark of the song is very well executed and reminds me of the more sensitive solos performed by doom/death bands of old. At times Sigh are very introspective and inward looking with their music, but you never quite know what’s coming at the next turn. If ever there was a piece of music that sound’s most like a hellish lullaby then its Desolation. It wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of a Tartan Asia horror film in the intro is anything to go by. That intro feeds though and gives way to a minimal, slow march into the bleak void of it’s creators. Sigh becomes more and more experimental as they go on “Infidel Art” and while it may seem primitive so some (who’re more used to today’s big budget records), it has a lot more warmth and real atmosphere. The use of what sounds like either a flute or a tin-whistle at the beginning of The Last Elegy adds a traditional layer to Sigh’s music, while once again the bewildering mix of extremity and bombast takes a bit of adjusting too but is exciting and rewarding in the end. The synths once again play a big role in the song-writing and the overall delivery. Suicidogenic is the kind of ambient piece that you’d expect to here on a DSBM record and I guess Sigh may have been slightly responsible for that sub-genre because of it. It’s a much shorter song than it’s predecessors and the ambience heard early on is ravaged by grinding, black insanity later on. Beyond Centuries is the last song that featured on the original version of “Infidel Art”. After the urgency of Suicidogenic, it’s back to business as usual with the addition of an Organ for added horror-esque feeling. Well, that and some bluesy/jazz-like piano. This reissue features two alternate versions of songs from the original album, starting with the “Lamentation” version of The Zombie Terror. There’s not a massive amount of difference between it and the original to these ears. The second bonus song is the “Chthonic” version of Suicidogenic. This version is over a minute shorter than the original if that makes any difference!. I don’t mind bonus tracks but I think that in the case of this record, they should have just kept it simple. Sigh, like many of the black metal bands from their era and beyond, don’t need embellishing. They were, are and will carry on as one of the most innovative avant-garde black metal bands that exist today. 

You can stream and purchase this reissue via Cacophonous Records below:-

The Cacophonous Records bigcartel page is currently down at the time of writing.

Sigh -
Cacophonous Records -

Saturday 15 July 2017

Dream Awake - Don't Hold Your Breath EP


1. The Weathering (Feat. Wes Thompson of Napoleon)
2. Mind's Eye
3. Cataclysm
4. T.O.D (Feat. Christina Rotondo)
5. Heavy Heart

Posts have been a little hit and miss this month so far and I need to get my reviewing momentum back. Hopefully the second EP from Belfast's Dream Awake will help with that. The metalcore quintet formed in 2014, when they released their debut EP "Pathfinder". This new EP sees them pushing on from tour slots with Carcer City and Napoleon, whose vocalist Wes Thompson appears on the opening track. Their recent set at Download Festival was one of their biggest shows to date and did their reputation no harm at all.

EP opener The Weathering is typically grand with a building clean guitar intro and dual harsh/clean vocals. The song is mid-paced and the production is clean and clear, which suits their sound and doesn’t take too much away from their heaviness. Electronic touches here and there do bring to mind some of America’s recent metalcore bands, which no doubt have influenced Dream Awake. My only criticism after listening to the first song is that it could have had a bit more impact as an opener. Mind’s Eye is more off-kilter and definitely has a more post-hardcore feel to it. It’s punchy and catchier with melodic vocals layered throughout the song, while the breakdowns are used sparsely but effectively to add subtle brutality. They take their sound down a more metal path on Cataclysm, with double bass and crunching riffs. It reminds me more of bands like Soilwork due to the more traditional heavy verse/melodic chorus structure. It’s good. Their momentum only increases with T.O.D, which sees their song-writing and focus really growing. Christina Rotondo’s vocals are a nice addition to the song as well, making it my standout on the EP. Closing song Heavy Heart is similar in approach to the opener and is nearly six minutes long. It’s a strong finish to the EP though and definitely makes use of Dream Awake’s more experimental edge. Overall “Don’t Hold Your Breath” is a strong EP that demonstrates Dream Awake’s modern sound. It’ll appeal more to younger listeners who’re in to modern metalcore but will certainly increase their audience. 

You can stream and download "Don't Hold Your Breath" from all the usual digital outlets, while you can pre-order it and pick up merch via Dream Awake here -

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Recollection - Andy (Arkless)

(Photo Credit: Arkless Facebook page)

Here's a new instalment of "Recollection" from Andy of Arkless. I reviewed their 2016 self-titled LP a while ago. The thing that I really enjoy about these features is that no single one is the same in terms of albums that contributors pick. This list from Andy is no different with quite a lot of variation. I hope you enjoy it and thanks goes to Andy for taking the time to write it.

The Van Pelt - "Sultans of Sentiment"
Definitely my favourite record of all time, the most hypnotically beautiful album I've ever heard and one that seems just as fresh today as the first time I heard it maybe 15 years ago.

Flux of Pink Indians - "Strive To Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible"
Encapsulates everything I love about punk, the most blisteringly angry but equally eloquent and thoughtful record of its generation. 

Fugazi - "The Argument"
'Repeater' was the first Fugazi album I bought, aged something like 14 and bought on CD from HMV on the premise of "I think I'm supposed to like these guys" when my favourite bands at the time were Green Day and AFI. It never really clicked with me at the time, but in the years that followed I grew to love Fugazi like few other bands. It's a hard choice but "The Argument" is the one I go back to most so it gets the spot in my top 10.

Yaphet Kotto - "The Killer Was in the Government Blankets"
Probably the best band that came out of mid 90s emo, an absolutely unrelenting record.

Party of Helicopters - "Mount Forever"
A lot of good memories associated with this record - it's super tied up to two of the most important in my life for a variety of reasons for me so as well as being an incredible record this goes in as sentimental pick in a lot of ways. 

The Cure - "Disintegration"
The album of choice for anyone who is still holding on to the 14 year old goth in them.

Wilderness - "Vessel States"
When members of a band you loved (Don Martin 3) make a new band you always get excited, when they release an amazing first album it's great but when they top it with an even better second album that is such a rare thing I find it hard to believe this album even exists. No one else sounds like Wilderness. What a band.

Talking Heads - "Speaking in Tongues"
There's not really many Talking Heads records I don't love so it was difficult to choose just one, but this has my number one favourite song of all time This Must Be The Place on it so there you go.

I Hate Myself - "3 songs"
I can't really think of another band that actually got progressively better throughout their records and went out on a high. Their final record and their best. An absolutely heartbreaking set of songs.

Mount Eerie - "No Flashlight"
I love everything Phil Elverum has done, he has a really unique voice and perspective and his approach to creating art is something I find super inspiring. This was the first of his records I heard and still the one I go back to the most.

You can stream Arkless' self-titled record below:-

It's also available to purchase digitally above and there are links to buy the physical record there as well.

Thanks once again to Andy for taking the time to write this list for me and if you want to submit one, please do get in touch via the contact form on here or via

Tuesday 11 July 2017

This Ends Here/Wolfbeast Destroyer - Split Tape


1. This Ends Here - Sharp Elbows, Sharp Knees (Part 1)
2. This Ends Here - Sharp Elbows, Sharp Knees (Part 2)
3. Wolfbeast Destroyer - There Is No Hope
4. Wolfbeast Destroyer - Thrown To The Wolves
5. Wolfbeast Destroyer - No Turning Back
6. Wolfbeast Destroyer - Carved Into Bone
7. Wolfbeast Destroyer - The Triumph Of Death
8. Wolfbeast Destroyer - Whistlers & Mortars

Here's a new split from Bristol atmospheric post-rock band This Ends Here and Boston (UK) d-beat mob Wolfbeast Destroyer. The split has been released on tape via Prejudice Me Records & Distro, Fenland Hardcore Collective and Never Fall Into Silence Records. I previously wrote about This Ends Here and their 7" EP "Afterwards" way back in 2014(!) but Wolfbeast Destroyer are featuring for the first time and are completely new to me. They released an EP called "Far From Grace" back in 2011 and this split features their most recent recordings. Apologies for the delay in getting this review up.

The two tracks from This Ends Here that kick off this split are both 7+ minute belters. Sharp Elbows, Sharp Knees (Part 1) starts with pulsing, piercing noise and rumbling bass. It’s sludgy intro gives way to a lot of groove and more up-tempo metal, coupled with bleak screams/bellows. Their sound reminds me of early music by bands like Knut, Johnny Truant and Opium Lord combined. Sharp Elbows, Sharp Knees (Part 2) is no different in it’s approach either. Crusty and raw with a production to match. The subtle use of melody that sits within the mix is great and adds to the DIY feel of the tape. The next six tracks belong to Wolfbeast Destroyer and they’re a lot shorter and faster. There Is No Hope is scathing with a wall of instrumentation that doesn’t let up. The riffs and the vocal barrage remind me of the aural attack of bands like Totem Skin and Geist. Thrown To The Wolves contains more of the Scandi-crust vibe and a solo for good measure. Like with This Ends Here, the bass is prominent on Wolfbeast Destroyer’s recordings and it makes No Turning Back all the heavier. It definitely brings out the punk influence in their music and I can imagine Carved Into Bone accompanying a VHS skate video (if VHS was still a thing). They’re stupidly catchy on The Triumph Of Death, with stomping riffs and even some twin-guitar heavy metal worship. Split closer Whistlers & Mortars forsakes all of that though and just slays. This Ends Here don’t just ape the current post-metal/doom craze that’s sweeping the UK at the moment and their noisy rock marks them out as a band that’s refreshing, while Wolfbeast Destroyer restore my faith in UK crust with their catchy (and fun!) sound. Two bands that deserve more attention.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally and/or on tape below:-

At this stage, the label's involved don't have copies up in their respective stores but I've their page links below -

Prejudice Me Records & Distro -
Fenland Hardcore Collective -
Never Fall Into Silence Records -

This Ends Here -
Wolfbeast Destroyer -

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Kamikaze Girls - Seafoam


1. One Young Man
2. Berlin
3. Teenage Feelings
4. Good For Nothing
5. KG Go To The Pub
6. Lights & Sounds
7. Deathcap
8. Weaker Than
9. Unhealthy Love
10. I Don't Want To Be Sad Forever

I saw Kamikaze Girls live before I listened to them on record. They played at a small show in Harrogate with Martha at an independent coffee/beer/pizza place called Major Tom's Social. It was a great gig and to this day, a one-off. The Leeds duo played songs from their 2016 EP "Sad' on the night as well as others and it's no coincidence that they've been on rise since the EP's release. Their debut album "Seafoam" was released just last month via both Big Scary Monsters and Wire Tap Records and they've just finished a 12 date co-headline UK tour with Nervus.

Kamikaze Girls make the most heart-wrenching and soulful music. “Seafoam” opens with One Young Man, which contains grunge/post-punk sound alongside the tear-inducing spirit of Amy Winehouse that’s channelled through the vocals of Lucinda Livingstone (you’ll get what I mean when the first verse passes). After the melancholy of One Young Man, Berlin kicks and screams like a garage-punk song with a whole heap of 80s swagger. The layers that this duo create with their music are spellbinding and the whole production job really brings them out so they’re even clearer. Teenage Feelings is very much the song for a generation that, while being more politically active than ever, are still lost and somewhat doomed. KG take their grunge influence and use to good effect during the self-pitying Good For Nothing. The riffs and the song’s slower pace are perfect and definitely compliment the mood given off by the lyrics. They follow it up with a song that is about the UK’s sad social drinking problem (at least that’s how I translate it) called KG Go To The Pub. It’s quite stark and reminds me why I don’t ordinarily like being around drunk people. There’s no one over-arching sound going on during “Seafoam”. Lights & Sounds is like a weird mix of Disco without the electronica and The Lightning Seeds (again another one of my strange interpretations, sorry). Needless to say, it’s great. I shared the video for Deathcap on here a while ago and I can’t stop listening to the song. It sums up KG’s catchy and sincere song-writing for me. Weaker Than is a testament to the breadth of the UK’s alternative music scene. It’s emotional and minimal in approach but it shows that Kamikaze Girls are destined for much bigger things. The same can be said for the whole record really. Penultimate song Unhealthy Love is full of genuine feeling, with a chorus that will mean something to every listener who hears it. Despite the sad overtones throughout “Seafoam” it’s actually very uplifting. I Don’t Want To Be Sad Forever is a perfect example of that last statement. It’s a reminder to us all that we need to be better people, that we need to make our society better and that we need to help each other, now more than ever. Kamikaze Girls are not just relevant but essential. 

You can stream and purchase "Seafoam" digitally via KG's bandcamp page below:-

UK and RoW vinyl orders can be placed via Big Scary Monsters here -
US vinyl orders can placed via Wiretap Records here -

Kamikaze Girls -
Big Scary Monsters -
Wiretap Records -