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 -

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Lay It On The Line/Arizona - Split 7"


1. Lay It On The Line - Therapia Lane
2. Lay It On The Line - ...And Now I Own His Washing Machine
3. Arizona - I Knew A Girl In High School Called Pandora. Never Got To See Her Box Though
4. Arizona - I'm Not A Superhero, I'm A Latter Day Saint (Acoustic Version)

Here's another band who've just released a new record and here's another review of something that's a few years old. Lay It On The Line are a melodic hardcore band from South London, while Arizona is (was?) a hardcore band from Aarschot, Belgium. This four song split was released in 2013 via Fire Engine Red Records. Once again I'm sorry for not being conventional with my reviewing; however, I write about what I want to write about.

The opening half of this split belongs to Lay It On The Line and their portrayal of what happened to their friend Ben Gardner in Sutton in 2009. Therapia Lane is heavy melodic hardcore with a dark undertone to it (not surprising give the subject matter). The screams are heavy and the guitars fly between abrasive and melodic, while the drum keep the pace from getting away too much. …And Now I Own His Washing Machine (a seemingly sinister title) is a real mix of punk and hardcore but with an obvious British slant. It’s hard to fault their music. Arizona like long song titles and I Knew A Girl At School Called Pandora… is a Belgian take on American melodic hardcore/punk. It’s catchy and quite upbeat with a mix of clean and screamed vocals, with instrumentation that’s equally as strong. The acoustic version of I’m Not A Superhero… is a strange one after the momentum of the previous song, but it works well and has a weird jazz-lounge feel to it at times. I like Arizona too but they could do with laying off the Americanisms a bit. Both bands really compliment each other on this split. Lay It On The Line present that British grittiness that I love, while Arizona’s melody and clean singing presents a more sensitive side. Really good.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally below:-

The 7" is still on sale via Lay It On The Line's webstore here -

Lay It On The Line -
Arizona -

Monday, 3 July 2017

Recollection - Dan (Underdark)

(Photo Credit: Underdark's Facebook Page)

It's been well over a month since my last "Recollection" instalment. There's been no reason for the bizarre gap other than I've been busy and haven't been able to actively seek out new contributors. Thanks to previous contributor (and all round good dude Shaun from TIMNTOY/Yuri etc.), who shared his list on social media again recently, interest has picked up once more. This latest list comes from Dan, who is part of Nottingham-based black/noise/screamo quintet Underdark. Enjoy...

The Smiths – "Meat is Murder"
My all-time favourite record. Everyone who remotely knows me knows that Morrissey is my all time favourite artist (not as much as it used to be cause he’s a bit of a racist bell-end nowadays). Out of everything he’s done, this stands miles above anything.

Oasis – "Definitely Maybe"
Going to say that this is the best debut record ever made. Can’t pick a single fault with it. Every song is a banger in it’s own right. The first 2 records they did are both flawless, but this takes the gold.

Slayer - "Reign in Blood"
This is the record that properly got me into metal. When I was 13 I used to listen to the usual bands like Slipknot, System of a Down Etc, then my uncle gave me a copy of this. Dave Lombardo’s drumming was very inspirational towards my early drumming days (much to the annoyance of my very patient tutor).

Converge – "Jane Doe"
Quite possibly my first foray into hardcore/extreme music. Soon as I heard Jacob Bannon’s opening screams on Concubine it cemented me as fan for life. Afterwards my outlook on music was changed for the better, & paved the way for about 95% of the music I listen to now. I was very lucky to have watched Converge play "Jane Doe" in it’s entirety last year at Roadburn festival with my better half. One of the best moments of my life watching that.

American Nightmare – "Year One"
Having discovered Hardcore through Converge, American Nightmare were one of few bands to grip me on the same level as Converge did. American Nightmare to me are basically the Smiths playing triple the speed with mosh parts. The "Year One" compilation stands out to me the most, as I love the rawness/youthful energy you can hear from the recordings.

Integrity – 'Humanity is the Devil"
Thanks to Converge once again, I saw Integrity support them the first time I went to watch them. Perfect metallic hardcore record. Name a harder song than Vocal Test. I’ll wait...

Rancid – "...And Out Come The Wolves"
No explanation needed really. Another record that has banger to banger from start to finish. Perfect summer music.

Nine inch Nails – "The Downward Spiral"
Forever in awe of Trent Reznor. Incredible songwriter. This album made me start to take electronic music seriously (as a teen, my mindset was: if it wasn’t metal it was probably bollocks).

Deafheaven – "Sunbather"
You could see this coming from a mile away. I didn’t get this record at all when I first heard it & took a lot of listens before it clicked. If it wasn’t for this record Underdark wouldn’t exist.

Dawn Ray’d – "A Thorn A Blight"
Again if you know me, you’ll know how much I harp on about Dawn Ray’d. These guys get more listens out of me than Morrissey on a regular basis. Anarchist Black metal without all the nonsense Black metal usually entails. Respect how they practice what they preach with their political beliefs. Best current band in the UK. 

You can stream Underdark's debut EP "Mourning Cloak" via their bandcamp below, where it's available to buy on various formats:-

Thanks very to Dan for writing this.

Underdark -