Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Grift - Vilsna Andars Boning 7"


Tracklist:

1. Bortom Berget
2. Dårarnas Massiv 

I think my current level of tiredness is doing strange things to me, as I've not been sleeping all that well and I've been having some bizarre and vivid dreams. The dreams have nothing to do with this post except that if I could set them to music, they'd be even more bewildering. Maybe that's what drew me to Swedish black metal/folk entity Grift. This brand new 7" has only recently been released via compatriot label Nordvis Produktion. Sole member Erik Gärdefors formed Grift in 2011 and has since released a number of EPs, splits and two full-length records. 

EP opener Bortom Berget does not seem to sit within the vein of black metal at all, initially. It bristles with the soothing sounds of Swedish folk with Erik’s cleanly sung vocals, presented in native tongue. It is Metal Archives that describes Grift as a black metal band and while that may have been the case for the band’s earlier recordings, “Vilsna Andars Boning” feels like a natural progression towards music that is true to Grift’s roots and heritage. 

Dårarnas Massiv is equally as calming and majestic. Erik’s deep vocals sound authoritative and powerful, while the instrumentation stokes the fires of your soul with gentle melody and subtle yet upbeat melancholy. Talking as i was in my opening paragraph about the vivid dreams I’ve been having of late, this EP conjures up nice images through it’s music and buries itself subconsciously to help clear my head. We all need some kind of salvation and escape from both our conscious and unconscious minds. “Vilsna Andars Boning” is that salvation.

You can stream and buy the EP digitally below:-




Physical copies of the 7" are still available to purchase via Nordvis Produktion here - https://nordvis.bandcamp.com/merch

Nordvis Produktion - https://www.facebook.com/nordvis

Friday, 20 April 2018

Pandemix - Rank & File b/w Second Opinion 7"


Labels: Dirt Cult Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 16 Mar 2018

Tracklist:

1. Rank & File
2. Second Opinion

I'm celebrating the end of the working week with this new 7" from Boston (Mass) punks Pandemix. I first heard about this band thanks to Boss Tuneage Records, who release their "Pathological Culture" EP on 7" flexi. I picked it up along with a few other flexis and while I must have missed the boat on last year's "Scale Models Of Atrocities" full-length, I'm trying to make up for it now. Pandemix has been a band since 2016 and add an extra edge to the USA's ever growing punk scene.

Pandemix plays awesome punk with heaps of melody and attitude. Rank & File goes harder than I was expecting but the queer punk that’s the mainstay of their sound keeps it all grounded. The lyrics are highly political too, raging against the racist actions of US police and the idle attitudes of the white majority.

Second Opinion features the same gritty attitude and furious rhythms. the instrumentation is exactly what you want from a chaotic punk like this. The drums and bass keeps things nice and tight while the guitar work switches between melodic chords and hardcore-punk riffs. The vocals are delivered in a sassy but moody style that works really well set against the music. 

Punk is more relevant now than it’s ever been and with bands like Pandemix writing it’s future history, it’s in safe hands. 

You can stream and purchase the 7" digitally below:-




You can buy physical copies of the 7" via the links below:-

Pandemix webstore - http://pandemix.storenvy.com

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Hundred Year Old Man - Breaching


Labels: Gizeh Records/Wolves & Vibrancy Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 27 Apr 2018

Tracklist:

1. Breaching
2. Black Fire
3. The Forest
4. Clearing The Salients
5. Long Wall
6. Disconnect
7. Cease
8. Ascension

It's been little over three months since the bewildering EP "Rei" was released by Hundred Year Old Man, but in just over a week's time they'll have unleashed their debut full-length "Breaching". It's due to be released on vinyl, cd and digital formats via Gizeh Records and Wolves & Vibrancy Records, whom both released that earlier EP. To celebrate the release HYOM are hosting a listening party on April 27 at SingleShot Vinyl Records & Coffeehouse (in Leeds) that will be followed on May 5 by a release show at Temple Of Boom (also in Leeds) with a host of bands joining them. I'll post links to both events below this review.

If “Rei” was anything to go by then this latest effort will be just as sprawling and epic. The opening title-track begins with rumbling low-key noise and distant screams, punctuated by subtle ambient melodies. As the song flows the screams and the ambience get closer, almost like they’re trying to make you sit up and prepare yourself. It’s only when Black Fire jolts into life that HYOM’s post-metal sound becomes clear. Slow complex layers of sound that mix sludge/doom with noise make for something loud and harrowing, while the vocals echo as if they were recorded in the mightiest of caverns. They’re definitely a better  at generation atmosphere than most bands, even when recorded. The choice to allow songs to follow one another without needless pauses is a good one, as Black Fire flows into The Forest. The continuation is perfect. The Forest has more urgency than its predecessor, while retaining plenty of droning/hypnotic power. 

As they did on “Rei” HYOM place short instrumental pieces on this record to add variance and a bit of respite from their heavier moments. They let the guitar work take over on Clearing The Salients and weave some amazing sounds with it. The lengthy build-up on Long Wall breeds a lot of tension and expectation. The orchestral touches and harsh vocals do nothing to ward off those feelings as HYOM hit a heavier seam. Sitting as I am in a room with the light gradually fading, the images that this song is creating are both vivid and affirming. Disconnect is a very aptly titled number because by the time you reach this point on “Breaching”, you’re already disconnected with the reality around you and venturing into different ethers. 

Cease is another ambient piece that uses feedback and samples to change the mood to haunting for a few moments. Lengthy album closer Ascension offers you one last glimpse of avant-garde/experimental hedonism, though it’s a glimpse that lasts over ten-minutes. Offering droning instrumentation, volume shifts and cinematic grandeur in both the vocal and melody departments, it has all the ingredients to make a truly unforgettable statement on an album that’s been crafted with such care and detail already. Heavy music in the year of 2018 is surpassing expectations and with the way that we consume music changing from digital platforms in favour of physical mediums again (albeit slowly), this record should benefit. Hundred Year Old Man has done it again and end-of-year-lists beckon. 

You can stream both Long Wall and Disconnect below:-




Pre-orders are available from the links below:-


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Balcanes - Decrepita/Decadencia 7"


Labels: Pifia Records/Discos Finu
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 11 Sep 2017

Tracklist:

1. Decrepita
2. Decadencia

Today dragged one-minute and then flew by the next. I was so glad I made it home with my sanity intact. This evening I'm checking out a band that I was e-mailed about back in December of last year. The e-mail itself didn't give a great deal away but it did plug this 7" by Spanish post-punk band Balcanes, whom I'd never heard of before. This two-track single was released via Pifia Records and Discos Finu and it was their third release, following a 7" is early 2014 and an EP in late 2016. Sadly, I'm not able to translate Spanish so I wasn't able to understand many of their social media posts, but I'll let their music do the talking instead.

The screeching feedback at the beginning of Decrepita makes you think that you’re in for some grinding mayhem but in fact what Balcanes deliver is some mid-paced punk with a goth/garage-like twist. It’s full of atmosphere and wallows in subtle misery, with the clean but drawn-out vocals that backed up by brooding musicianship. Definitely darker than I was expecting. 

Decadencia follows with much the same vibe, but with a strange industrial feel. It’s not a comfortable listen and but one that makes sense in the dystopian and cold society that we currently inhabit. There’s a simplistic charm to the music encased in this single and while it may seem too angry for punk fans and not heavy enough for extreme metal fans, that common ground in the middle should endear it to both. There’s plenty to like here.

You can stream the single and purchase it both digitally and in physical form below:-




Sunday, 15 April 2018

Rash Decision - Karoshi


Labels: Angry Scenes Records/Autonomonster Records/Charlie’s Big Ray Gun Records/Kibou Records/Let The Bastards Grind/Pumpkin Records/Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records/Shatterpunk Records/Smegma Records/TNS Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: May 18

Tracklist:

1. 900 Minutes
2. The Martockian
3. Snakes
4. Buzzsaw Tomahawk
5. The Seagul Has Landed
6. Glass Cannons
7. Learning Part 5
8. Fuck The Tide
9. Knocked Loose
10. A Mouth's A Mouth
11. Sick And Tired
12. Salary Man
13. Medium Raw
14. Strife

I'm getting on it early today in a bid to cover a few things I've been sent recently. I've got a stacked list of releases that I'm still catching up on, as 2018 is already producing some stonking records and it's only gonna get better (trust me). I'm beginning with the latest LP from Cornwall's own mad-punks Rash Decision. The LP is currently up for pre-order and will officially come out in May. I hope that the track order's correct (please shout up it not).

Rash Decision has always been about fast punk with sense of humour. “Karoshi” takes that ethos and injects it with added amounts of thrashy hardcore. Opener 900 Minutes does not describe the length of the record but does kick things off at the right pace. The melody and straight-to-the-point nature of their sound is obvious on The Martockian. The riffs are punchy and the vocals (including the gang chants) are delivered with real energy. Considering many of the songs don’t get past two-minutes, Rash Decision still makes enough noise to make the price of admission more than worth it. Snakes balances aggression with groove, which overspills into Buzzsaw Tomahawk and helps create a catchy crowd pleaser, which will be popular live. The humour I mentioned earlier on manifests itself in the brilliantly titled The Seagul Has Landed, which sounds like a classic Descendents/NOFX mash-up. Snotty punk takes over on Glass Cannons and its great. Yeah some might say it’s abrasive but to hell with them. You can even headbang to it! Learning Part 5 channels the urgency of Napalm Death and the like into ten-seconds of mayhem.

The ominous sound of a storm and the sea can be heard as Fuck The Tide begins. It sounds and feels like a more venomous and serious song. The atmosphere created is palpable. They return to the grinding/fast sound on Knocked Loose, though there’s still a sense of tension in it and with the threat of a breakdown, it’s hard to ignore. There’s rock n roll in this here song. A Mouth’s A Mouth contains subtle bluesy guitar and ends very abruptly, while Sick And Tired introduces an extra level of technicality and some great hardcore vocal affectations to boot. They appear to be raging against the white-collar elite with Salary Man, though I may have got that wrong. Either way it’s like being curb-stomped by a bull. Penultimate song Medium Raw comes around way to quickly. More humour, a cheeky tribute to Enya’s Orinoco Flow and even a nod to veganism, it’s got it all. Album closer Strife hammers home just how infectious this record is. There you go. I’ve always maintained that this blog is a family blog but fuck this is good! The cover art, the recording/mixing/mastering, the songs and the performance show that Rash Decision has really stepped up on “Karoshi”. 

The link to the promo trailer for the album is below and the band has also just released a video for opener 900 Minutes, which is made up of various still shots:-


Pre-orders are now up on Rash Decision's bigcartel page - http://rashdecision.bigcartel.com


Links to all of the labels who are helping with the release are below:-

Charlie’s Big Ray Gun Records - https://www.facebook.com/CBRGrecords

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Glass Mind - Dodecaedro


Labels: Rockshots Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 10 Jan 2017

Tracklist:

1. Babel
2. Caliente
3. Fu
4. Humedo
5. Inside The Whale
6. Frio
7. Detritus
8. Seco
9. Dodecaedro

The weekend is nearly here and let's face it, we all want to ease into Friday. That's where Mexican progressive instrumental band Glass Mind comes in. Their 2nd full-length "Dodecaedro" was released in January 2017 by the band themselves and was then picked up by European label Rockshots Records on licence, who gave it a wider release in Europe and North America during the year. It follows their 2011 debut album "Haunting Regrets". Glass Mind has been compared to the likes of Dream Theater (minus the vocals) and Scale The Summit, though I'm gonna let those comparisons go and try to appreciate their music for what it is.

Opening song Babel was one of the band’s earlier singles prior to the release of “Dodecaedro”. It was made available digitally by the band in May 2015. What strikes you immediately with the song is Glass Mind’s use of traditional Mexican and South American influences during the opening passage. Those influences remain subtle throughout the rest of the song, which is a great mix of progressive melody and metallic heaviness. Caliente is a more restrained and shorter piece. In fact it’s interesting that Glass Mind elects to sandwich sub-two minute pieces in between their longer songs, so as to not lose the listener. Fu is incredibly upbeat and contains a lot of different textures and musical layers, which for a quartet that solely relies on their instruments (and not heaps of electronic wizardry) is great to hear. 

Humedo has a space-age vibe to it and some great drumming to boot. There used to be a time when I though that instrumental progressive metal bands were all about histrionics and classical music, but as I’ve got older and discovered newer bands like Intervals and the like, I’ve realised that isn’t the case at all. Inside The Whale is a beaut and takes more from the modern era of instrumental bands, while still ensuring that Glass Mind’s incredible musicianship isn’t tampered with in the process. Glass Mind makes Frio into a brief fairytale-like musical interlude that sounds beautiful. 

Detritus was the earliest single that Glass Mind released (in March 2014, the other being Inside The Whale in July of the same year) and it’s twin guitar work is something else. The piano lends a more sensitive edge to the music as a whole, with extra rock tendencies flowing through it. There’s all kinds of things going on in penultimate song Seco, which features some great guitar effects and what sounds like s Sitar(?). Glass Mind end with the title-track, which is probably the most experimental song on the record. It sums up both how assured this quartet is but also how amazing instrumental metal can be. I know that I’m writing about this over a year after it’s release but it still stands up as an incredible album. More please!

You can only stream "Dodecaedro" via Glass Mind's bandcamp page below:-



If you want to purchase the album digitally or on cd, links to all the major outlets are available on the above page as well.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Malformity - The Rapturous Unraveling 7"


Labels: Boris Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 13 Jan 2018

Tracklist:

1. Rapturous Damnation
2. Unraveling

I've been watching a few Youtube videos by a black/death metal fan who goes by the name of "Scourge Of Vinyl" recently and because of him, I've been rediscovering a lot of killer bands and also felt eager to discover those that are new to me. Atlanta, Georgia's Malformity is one such band. They formed in the early 90s, releasing a demo called "Black Holes To Heaven" before calling it a day in 1995. Two decades later they returned and released an EP called "Lectures On The Apocalypse", which coincidentally was the name of a band that featured founding Guitarist/Vocalist Dan Ratanasit. "The Rapturous Unraveling", their latest release, came out in January on Boris Records. To celebrate this new 7", they played a January Boris Records showcase in Atlanta and they're due to play alongside both Cannabis Corpse and Brutality soon as well.

Malformity plays a brutal but old-school form of death metal. Opener song Rapturous Damnation is filled with furious blasts, technical but headbang-able riffs and guttural vocals. Members of Malformity have previously spent time in bands such as General Surgery and Regurgitate, so they know their way around death metal pretty damn well and it shows. The twin-guitar melodies and brooding atmosphere in the latter half of Rapturous Damnation is good enough to break up the brutality while also adding an extra spectacle to the music.

They weave hints of Swe-death into the intro of Unraveling, which is mixed in with extreme USDM to great effect. There’s personality in the music, which can be lacking in certain areas of the death metal genre nowadays. The underlying melody and Malformity’s ability to fit a lot into a relatively short space of time are skills that set them apart. All in all this is damn solid death metal played properly. The US is filled with so many bands vying for the same listeners but it’s bands like Malformity that really deserve the attention.

You can stream "The Rapturous Unraveling" via Malformity's bandcamp below, where you can also purchase it digitally and on 7" vinyl:-




You can also buy the 7" from Boris Records here - https://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/merch

Monday, 9 April 2018

Gutlocker - Cry Havoc! EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 20 Apr 2018

Tracklist:

1. Bitter Memory
2. No Burden
3. Stuck
4. Welcome To Fucktown

Here's some new music straight from the UK's seedy metal underbelly or... Woking to exact! I don't know too many metal bands that come from that part of England, so I think this is a first for the blog. "Cry Havoc!" is Gutlocker's latest release. I'm unsure if it's their debut or not as I can't seem to find much of their music online, apart from on their Soundcloud page and on Youtube. They played Bloodstock in 2016 and since then, they've supported Raging Speedhorn and Abhorrent Decimation amongst others. "Cry Havoc!" is officially released on April 20th and while I've surmised above that it's going to be a digital release, you'll just have to wait and see.

Gutlocker plays the kind of metal that would’ve made eighteen-year old me very happy. That’s not doing them a disservice though as EP opener Bitter Memory is heavy, groovy and the vocals bring to mind UK death/thrash in it’s rawest form. The guitars are buried by the drums ever so slightly on “Cry Havoc!” , which loses a little bit of momentum in place but they are still audible and delivered with class. No Burden is more of a progressive song, being slower and more off-kilter. 

Stuck features great drum work and fully backs up the comparisons to the likes of Pantera and Lamb Of God. The song is as groove-laden as their sound gets, with elements of doom and sludge mixed into the thrash. It’s great fun and isn’t too obscure sounding, so should appeal to a large chunk of metal fans. The EP closer and latest single Welcome To Fucktown is the perfect straight-to-the-point number to end on. It features a subtle dirge that makes it hard to turn off.

Gutlocker is a true band for the metalhead. They’ve got plenty of live experience and while they’re still figuring out their true sound, they’re still really enjoyable to listen too. Onwards and upwards for them then. 

You can stream Welcome To Fucktown and a couple of their earlier songs via Soundcloud here:-



The a live video for EP opener Bitter Memory is up on Youtube here:-


Keep your eyes peeled on social media for news on the EP release too - https://www.facebook.com/gutlockeruk/

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Humanity Is A Curse - Raging For A Lighthouse


Labels: Shove Records/Hasiok Records/Counteract Recordings
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 18 Jan 2018

Tracklist:

1. Photic
2. Pelagic
3. Aphotic
4. Bathyal
5. Abyss
6. Demersal
7. Hadal
8. Benthic

Here's some heavy and crusty sludge from Berlin, Germany. Humanity Is A Curse is a fairly new trio and "Raging For A Lighthouse" is their debut release, as far as I'm aware. They call themselves "Immigrant Punx" and they're part of a growing breed of socially aware heavy bands that are coming out of Germany right now. The album has been released digitally and on both black & white/grey marble vinyl.

Why is it that my caffeine-fuelled Sunday mornings always seem to lead me to something dark and heavy! Humanity Is A Curse is certainly a band that fits that description and seeing as I’ve found time this morning, I’m getting round to writing this review up properly. I love bands like Hexis, This Gift Is A Curse and Ancst, so when album opener Photic begins, I can’t help but imagine Humanity Is A Curse playing alongside them. It’s fast and has great guitar sound that reminds me more of blackened-hardcore. The vocals are manic, as is the low-end rumbling bass the percussion. It definitely is raging! Pelagic shows the band’s slower and murkier side before turning the speed pedal up again. Ultimate headbanging fodder and if I hadn’t ruined my neck sleeping funny last night, I’d be all over it. as you’d expect with a crust band, they don’t hang around or ponder over their songs. 

Aphotic follows instantly on and picks up even more momentum as it flails. Humanity Is A Curse manages to fit a surprising amount of atmosphere into their music and this is a great example of that. The sound of crashing cymbals and screeching feedback are the staples of Bathyal, which ups the ante in terms of volume. The recording/mixing done at Hidden Planet Studios and unmistakable Audiosiege mastering have both made this untouchable. The second half of the record begins with Abyss, which is a really apt song-title as that’s where it leads you to. It’s another slower number and that just gives it more of a destructive feel. 

When reviewing records, I’ve always tried to convey my passion for the music (for the most part) and this is one record that truly ignites that passion (don’t worry, I’m not being paid to say that!). Demersal contains some catchy lead work amongst the black atmosphere. Again it’s more akin to hardcore during the earlier verses but there’s no escaping the band penchant for grinding/crusty intensity either. Penultimate song Hadal follows suit with subtle black metal textures and yet more urgency. Album closer Benthic is grimy and dirty (in the best possible way) and uses those textures to bring the album to a murky end. This album sounds way too good. If you’re into the bands I mentioned above and heavy music in any form, give these guys a listen. 

You can stream and purchase "Raging For A Lighthouse" digitally and on both vinyl colour-ways from the band below:-




Saturday, 7 April 2018

10 Questions: Gay Panic Defence


This new interview series is slowly starting to gather a bit of momentum. This instalment features an interview Mathew Webster, vocalist from new Scottish fast band Gay Power Defence. Thanks go out to Mathew for taking the time to answer my questions. Hope you all enjoy reading his answers as much as I did.

Who is in the band and where are you from?

Freddy plays the drums, Mathew (me) plays the voice, Ben plays the guitar but is living in New Zealand for the next year or so, so we have our bestie Red playing the guitar when we play down south. Red lives near Nottingham and we are all from Kirkcaldy in Fife.

What is the history of Gay Panic Defence? When and how did you form?

Well in short, I got pissed off with shit that was happening in Kirkcaldy. So I wrote some poems/lyrics and thought they would make some good tunes. I wrote a bunch of riffs and recorded them onto a shitty 16 track recorder and asked Freddy to drum over them. Basically that's how we did the first two demos. When it came to playing shows we asked Ben to play guitar and he became a permanent babe in the band. We have released a split with Terco from Columbia, been on a 10 day UK tour, released a tape on Skin and Bones records, done a sweet wee tour with our besties Endless Swarm and Lugubrious Children, played a cool Pride Punx squat show in London and just played Dreadfest in Leeds and we aren't slowing down. 

Have any of you played in previous bands and are you any other bands currently?

Ben played in a band called Blackmirror who were fucking sick and a band called The Ghost Train who are a cool 80s band. Freddy plays drums in Pedigree and Chums who are silly good and he plays keyboard in a funk cover band called Spliff Richards. Freddy and I both played in a band called SKELPED who were just fast hardcore noisy shit. I play in a band called Woollen formerly known as God Never Did Anything For Us. I also played in Our Smallest Adventures, Ernest, WHIV and Couch. Red plays in Let It Die, Ithaca and Mori Lucrum.

Who write’s the lyrics/music? Is it collective? 

I write the lyrics and the riffs. Freddy writes all the drum bits. We round the tunes out together but we would love to be more collective in future writing.

What subjects do you cover in your lyrics?

Aw jings, from veganism to stupid macho pricks. Loads of things mean a lot to us so we have lots to shout about. The whole reason for the band starting was because I needed somewhere to vent my frustration at the homo/transphobic attitudes of some folk in Kirkcaldy that we call friends. So we cover homophobia, transphobia, animal rights, feminist view points, racism, religion, macho bullshit and Westminster.

Are there any bands that have influenced you?

Far too many bands to mention but I grew up listening to The Smiths, Nirvana, Bjork, Whitney Houston, Fall Out Boy so I would say those bands have. I can only speak for myself but folk influence me more. People standing up for shit they believe in makes me want to do more in this band to highlight things that need to be highlighted. 

What are your favourite albums/EPs at the moment?

I'm well into the last Basement album, the Lugubrious Children tape “Oblivion” is unreal, the last Car Bomb album is great and I have recently become obsessed with the second Brockhampton album. I’m really looking forward to the Ona Snop album, Groak album and the Endless Swarm album. 

What is your favourite gig/tour story?

When we were on tour last October we spent a day in Leeds with our pals Beige Palace and that was really fucking good. We also got really into watching traveller call out videos and listening to Darkthrone albums on that tour too. We really don't party or that so we just like to hangout and go eat somewhere awesome. If you are ever in Glasgow you have to go to In Bloom for a vegan snowball because they are shit hot. 

What is your local heavy/punk scene like and who should we check out (band-wise)?

There isn't really one in Fife but Scotland has a really awesome bunch of bands making unbelievable music. Bands to check out are Bratakus, Defacer, Insufferable, Boak, Endless Swarm, Stonethrower, Kaddish, Please Believe and loads more. 

What are your favourite tipples?

Barr's limeade is a classic and club mate is a rarity but also up there. I don't drink so I'm probably the worst person to ask haha. 

You can stream and purchase downloads of all of Gay Panic Defence's music via their bandcamp page, including their latest release "Snowflake Powerviolence Vol 1", which has been give a physical tape release by Skin & Bones Records:-



Gay Panic Defence - https://www.facebook.com/GayPanicDefence/

Skin & Bones Records Store - http://skinandbonesrecs.bigcartel.com
Skin & Bones Records - https://www.facebook.com/SkinAndBonesRecords/