Wednesday 27 June 2018

Live Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor/Marisa Anderson - Visual Arts Collective, Garden City, ID 02/06/2018

Here's the second live review to come from Mikey Ortega. He headed to Idaho in early June to catch some shows and he caught Godspeed You! Black Emperor along with Marisa Anderson. No flyer again, as I couldn't find one but there are photos and videos of the gig below. Hope you enjoy!

During my stay in Idaho, I’ve been going to lots of show and all of them have been awesome, but out of all the shows, I don’t think anything has topped Godspeed You!Black Emperor in Garden City. When I planned my trip to Boise, I had no idea they were gonna be in the area. I was bummed out that I missed them in Santa Ana and LA, due to other obligations. But as soon as I found out there were still tickets, I got on Eventbrite, and snagged one. I knew this was gonna be the greatest live experience since watching Neurosis or SunnO))) live. Seeing that I got a second change to catch Godspeed live, I made sure that I wasn’t gonna miss this.

The Visual Arts Collective building was in what looks like an industrial area. It was about a good 5-10 minute drive from Downtown Boise and it was in back of other buildings in the area. Luckily I was with friends, or else I might have missed it if I went by myself but inside the venue, it looked so nice. The bar area looked cool. The stage was pretty big and so was the floor. Also out front of the venue, they got a really nice patio where everyone can hang and have a smoke. I was also told that Blake from Wolvserpent works the sound. Which is pretty awesome. A lot of people from Radio Boise and local bands were at this event. Pretty much if you wanted to meet everyone who is part of the Boise music scene, this was the place to be.

When I got there, Marisa Anderson was already playing. Of course she’s the only direct support for Godspeed during this whole tour. This was the first time I heard Marisa Anderson and it was a fun set. She really had this nice bluesy-folk sound. It’s definitely something I would listen in front of my porch, chilling and having a smoke. Just enjoying the view in the countryside. Marisa Anderson is quite the character. In between songs, she tells a story behind each song. She really has a dark sense of humour. For me, that is always welcome. Her guitar work sounded amazing. I tried to get a look at the pedals she was using, but there was a crowd up front. Maybe if Marisa Anderson comes to LA, I’ll try to catch her show again.

After Marisa’s set, I was gonna chill outside, until Godspeed! You Black Emperor finished setting up. But I saw some of the crowd moving closer to the stage, so instead of hanging out, I stayed and tried to get a good spot. I stood there for a good hour. I made sure not to use my phone that much, because I wanted to get plenty of pics, and didn’t want my phone to die out. Of course Godspeed”s gear was out. They just needed to dial in their tone and make sure everything is mic’d. Just seeing them get their sound set up was pretty cool. It was like I got to know the band even more. By the time the visuals came on, the venue started to get packed. It felt like the whole town was there to experience this killer set. I believe they opened up with “Moya”, from the Slow Riot for New Zero Kannada EP. That song pretty much set the tone for that night’s set. After that, they played some stuff from their recent stuff and right there, it’s when it felt like Godspeed’s music just sucked my soul into a sonic portal. As if their riffs were guiding me through an outer-body experience. The visuals were stunning. Of course it being 16mm film, you know you’re gonna get some beautiful quality. The visuals and the music just flow together really nice. In some ways, the visuals felt like part of the music.  It wasn’t like the visuals were there for the sake of it. It just felt very natural. Which made the live experience even much better. Then during the end of the set, they performed “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III” and HOLY SHIT!, hearing it live was really a sonic experience. Especially towards the end, when they really get intense. I was ready to loose my shit. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted Godspeed to keep playing forever. Or at least play “East Hastings”.  That would have really made my night.

It was definitely a night I will never forget. For many years, people have been telling me I need to watch Godspeed! You Black Emperor live. Whenever they’re in town, I always get caught up with something else. There have been times where I felt like I was never gonna see them live but I got really lucky to catch them in Idaho. If anything, I would have thought they already sold out when tickets went on sale but I was so happy to catch them live. Their live set is like nothing on this Earth. It really captures you and leaves a mark inside your head, that you’ll never forget. When Godspeed hits the stage, there is definitely a presence. You can just feel it across the whole venue. It really grabs you and takes you to a sonic journey. They take live shows to another level. It was also like looking at art. They evoke an emotion that I have not felt for a long time. It reminded me why I love going to a live show. It made me appreciate being alive and cherish every moment. I would like to say I can die now, but fuck that. I really want to catch them again.

Marisa Anderson

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Thanks again Mikey for this awesome review!

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Deus Vermin - Monument To Decay

Labels: Self-Released/FHED Records
Formats: Digital/Tape
Release Date: 14 June 2018


1. -
2. Swarms
3. Iniquity
4. Worms
5. Shrine
6. Planetary Illness

Less than a year after their "MMXVII" Demo, Leeds black/death band Deus Vermin have returned with a new EP. It was self-released digitally by the band on limited tape by FHED Records earlier this month. They've recently played Edinburgh, Newcastle and Hull with one of Edinburgh's newest black metal hordes Ulr, in support of their EP and have been getting a lot of praise from many corners of the Interweb.

It’s sweltering here and I’m not sure listening to black/death metal will cool me down much. The opening song on “Monument To Decay”, simply called - is a noisy instrumental, which is as jarring and an unbearable as the heat of the day. It make complete sense though given the intensity that Deus Vermin creates as they blast into Swarms. The metallic edge of the guitars, the barrage of percussive abuse, the thunderous bass and those possessed growls stoke the fire that was started with their demo and helps in burn with even more vigour. The music is surprisingly fast, especially given the bands that these guys previously called home. Iniquity is definitely more on the death metal side of things with passages containing a ridiculous amount of double bass. Even when they slow the tempo and turn up the atmospherics, the music is still a menacing and unwieldy beast (in the best possible way). “Monument To Decay” is more than a step forward for Deus Vermin, as the recording, mixing and mastering of Tom Dring (Vagrant Recordings) demonstrates. 

Worms is a finely crafted signal of intent. It sounds huge and again shows off the band’s death metal chops. There are so many facets and twists to it that only multiple listens will reveal them fully, which is the same for the entire EP. The grinding intensity of penultimate song Shrine is mystifying, as it’s off-kilter structure tears into your synapse and your soul. It’s worth it for the heavy breakdown-like riffs at the 02:50 mark alone. They leave it till the end to unleash the expansive Planetary Illness, which given its title shouldn’t be anything less. The mighty instrumental build-up leads into a raging beast of a song that encompasses the musical skill and creativity of the band in their entirety. The freedom of expression and the passion that seems to be so prevalent amongst Northern band and especially those from Leeds is exhibited here in spades. This EP is a throwing down of the metaphorical gauntlet to those more established, as Deus Vermin has written something that could crush almost all of them. 

You can stream and download "Monument To Decay" directly via Deus Vermin's bandcamp page below:-

You can buy tape copies (while stocks last) from FHED Records below:-

Sunday 24 June 2018

YELT - Conquer The Rot EP

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 21 Jun 2018


1. Halloween Finger
2. Pile Drive
3. Squirt Don't Hurt
4. Crotch Rot
5. Fuck Community

I've been catching up on some much needed blog admin this morning (yawn) and I've also been trawling the web for obscure punk because I'm that way out. What I've found is that there's a glut of it on bandcamp so I thought I write about one such band this morning (and maybe another later if I have time). YELT is a band from Glasgow for which I know very little. "Conquer The Rot" is the band's second EP, following their 2017 tape "Wrong Hole". YELT plays a sludge/noise/punk kind of hybrid.

This is way heavier than expected. Halloween Finger kicks off with a wall of riffs and noise. It kind of reminds me or early AFI but with less melody and more feedback. The vocals are shouty, the tempo is mid-paced and the bass is heavy. The recording is cool because it’s got dirty, snotty UK edge to it. Pile Drive is spot on. From the buzzing bass to the guitar that pretty much lords over the rest of the music, it’s awesome. YELT fills Squirt Don’t Hurt with all kinds of strange guitar-based noise, turning it into a weird mix of heady psychedelic sludge and bruising rock n roll. It’s instrumental first half is replaced by snotty punk again in the second half. 

The sludgiest number on “Conquer The Rot” comes in the form of Crotch Rot (awesome title by the way!). I guess by now the punk descriptor may be considered redundant, but it’s still there. The song’s urgency is great and it leads you into EP closer Fuck Community perfectly, which is equally as horrid sounding (in a good way). The mix of up-tempo kicks and slow down tempo percussion with the dual-vocals make for a stark mash-up of styles but it all works. Call this what you will but punk comes in many forms and while this particulate form is slower and heavier than you might have expected, it’s still great and YELT deserves your attention for.

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

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Soul Attrition - Vashon Rain

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 13 Jul 2018


1. Sinking
2. Thirteen
3. Remission
4. Fatal Flaw
5. Vashon Rain
6. Unexpected Affront
7. Euclid

This is the first time I've managed to write reviews on successive nights (I think) for a little while now and it feels good. This one feature an early listen to another record that's due out in July. Chicago's Soul Attrition is the solo-project of Escape Is Not Freedom bassist Josh Parlette, who kindly got in touch with me following my earlier review of the Escape Is Not Freedom/Dusk Village split from January. Soul Attrition is described as a post-metal/sludge/experimental band with Josh's influences ranging from Nirvana to Type O Negative and Thou to Godflesh (amongst others).

Solo-projects are usually the preserve of black metal (at least in my experience), so Soul Attrition is a welcome surprise. Album opener Sinking is gloomy and the Type O Negative influence is definitely there in the vocals. The music is heavier, but also melodic in a similar way to grunge. There’s also an industrial side to the instrumentation that pokes through when it’s at it’s fullest. So far so good then. Thirteen is equally as heavy thanks to the continuous driving riffs. They create a lot of atmosphere though and Josh’s singing is akin to the clean vocals of Chino Moreno. 

Remission sees Soul Attrition moving in a different direction, following the two previous songs and slowing things down a tad. The music isn’t layered with as much guitar noise initially and what guitar there is, sounds really calming. The vocals remind me a little of Brian Molko at times too. It’s not long before the music takes a heavier turn again, though you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to go too extreme. It’s a glorious song that’s easy to get lost in, which is what I did during it’s second half. The audible shouted vocals that are present throughout the album are a nice touch and won’t frighten non-metal lovers away. They’re used well on Fatal Flaw when the volume increases in what I guess is the chorus (of sorts?). Soul Attrition also ends the song with a ridiculously good passage of post-black metal guitar work that kills it.

It’s difficult to underestimate the old-school influence on “Vashon Rain” and the title-track’s instrumental refrain adds an element of that. The album is also pretty expansive and it deserves the progressive tag it’s been given. The songs are lengthy at times but no too long that your attention wanes. Penultimate song Unexpected Affront is one that builds on the dynamic of anticipation followed by explosion. Everything sill leans heavily towards grunge/alternative soundscapes but they’re done brilliantly and don’t just sound like rehashed. Euclid closes it all out in suitably moody fashion, matching the atmosphere of the album opener while seemingly being more depressive (if that’s the right descriptor) thanks to it’s tempo.

You can stream Fatal Flaw prior to the album's release date here:-

Soul Attrition -

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Carnal Decay - When Push Comes To Shove 7"

Labels: Rising Nemesis Records/UKEM Records/Nice To Eat You Records/Sevared Records/Fat Tub Of Lard Records/Brutal Mind/Pathologically Explicit Recordings 
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jul 2018


1. When Push Comes To Shove
2. Food For Thought (feat. Igor Fil of Katalepsy)
3. We All Bleed Red

2018 is throwing up some awesomely digusting extreme metal and there's none more extreme than this new 7" from Swiss brutal/slam death metallers Carnal Decay. Carnal Decay has been going since 2002 and since their self-titled demo, they've released a split, four full-lengths, another demo and an EP prior to this one. They've recently toured over in Japan. If it's good enough for them it's got to be good enough for the rest of us!

After the day I’ve just has, slam/death seems like the only proper medicine. Carnal Decay’s soon-to-be-released 7” will definitely help with any frustrations that might still be festering. It’s title-track is exactly the kind of brutal and stomping death metal that will appeal to both hardcore and metal fans alike. The pummelling drums, rumbling bass, technical riffs and deeply growled vocals make are perfect. 

While the opener seems slightly slower in tempo, Food For Thought is set to warp speed thanks to the superhuman kick-drumming. It’s also lengthier with solid breakdowns throughout. Igor Fil’s additional vocals are ace as well, which they should be given Katalepsy’s pedigree.There’s no let up as closing song We All Bleed Red attacks you from all angles and hammers home just how brutal Carnal Decay really is. This is catchy and infectious slamming death and the 7” format seems ideal, as the song-writing seems to have way more impact because of it.

This is another release that shows how strong the collaboration is between DIY record labels globally and it’s exciting to see UK label UKEM Records involved in it’s first overseas release, given the demise of it’s short-lived imprint Hells Hammer Music. Get this when it hits online stores.

Here's a little teaser of what you can expect from this release sonically:-

Pre-order info will be available from both the band above and the labels below:-

Rising Nemesis Records -
Nice To Eat You Records -
Fat Tub Of Lard Records -

Sunday 17 June 2018

Live Review: Ufomammut/White Hills/Mariana - Neurolux - Boise, ID 01/06/2018

I've tried to write the odd live review in the past on here, but because I was always too fond of getting into the bands (and the beer), I never took live reviewing that seriously. Thankfully, my friend Mikey over in the US does take it more seriously than me, so without further a do, here's a write-up of the Boise, ID leg of the Ufomammut/White Hills tour. I tried to find a flyer to add to this post but came up blank (if anybody knows of one, please let me know and I'll update the review).

When I came down to Boise, the NEUROLUX was a venue I wanted to visit. I’ve heard some cool things about that venue. So I was stoked to hear that UFOMAMMUT was coming to Boise during my visit. Along with White Hills and locals Mariana. I knew my first visit to the NEUROLUX was gonna be a awesome night.

Local band, Mariana, got things set up for this killer night. These blokes are a instrumental post-metal band, that can really create a atmosphere. I found myself getting lost into their music, and being in a totally new World. White Hills came up next. This is a 2-piece band from the New York area that plays post-punk, with some elements of industrial and swirl of noise. Their set was amazing and brooding. The singer/guitarist looked a bit like Alice Cooper, and has that commanding presence, that it just demands your attention. And the drummer (who also does vocals and synth) sounded amazing.  The way she pounded on the skins, it took control of you. And when her vocals comes in, it brings a new element. Then finally, Ufomammut takes the stage. This Italian band has been making a huge buzz in the underground scene. Their latest album, 8, has been a album that fans have been really high on. So with that being said, it was such a pleasure to see them live. Their set was a great combination of both new and early stuff. For anyone that is a long time fan, will certainly be satisfied.  The visuals were amazing. They really fit with the music. It had a bit of a apocalyptic acid trip.  It was something that you can really appreciate it, and wonder why they are signed to Neurot.  Hearing the music live was also crushing. Ufomammut just got on stage and just owned it.  The crowd was into it. Some were head banging. Others were just standing there, letting everything sink in. And right when we thought it was over, they come back out to play a couple of songs, and sent the crowd happy.

It was a really fun night with three amazing bands.  Each one had a role and they did it very well. To finally see Ufomammut was really great. Hearing people talk about their live set, made me want to catch them live. But I was really excited to see the visual, as I’m a dude who is really big on that.  Everything I heard about them, they lived up to it. And they really appreciate the people who made the trip to see them perform. White Hills was a huge surprise to me. Didn’t know a band like take would go on tour with Ufomammut. But they were a awesome addition. Their stage presence was very mesmerising. They had their own thing, and to me that’s what kept the show going fun and diverse. And it was great to catch a local band in Mariana. For a while I’ve been having my ears on the ground, when it come to the Boise scene. Every band that I’ve heard come from their has not yet disappoint. The NEUROLUX was at a awesome spot. Just across from the Alaska Center, where Radio Boise is at. And next store is The Record Exchange. One of the best record shop in town. The crowd was great. The staff was awesome. And the music was loud. It was a amazing night in Downtown Boise.

Mikey also documented the show in both still and moving forms. You can check out some of his photos and videos of each band below:-


White Hills


If you liked this live review, there will be another coming from Mikey very soon. Cheers man!

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Cruentator - Ain't War Hell?

Labels: Xtreem Music
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 10 Jan 2018


1. Merciless Extermination
2. Tyrants Of The Wasteland
3. Barbaric Violence
4. Evil Is Prowling Around
5. The Nightstalker
6. Marching Into A Minefield
7. The Shining Hate
8. Cluster Terror

The sudden urge to check out new thrash metal has been calling me all day, so what better way to scratch that itch than with Italian quintet Cruentator and their debut album "Ain't War Hell?". It was released in January via Xtreem Music and is the band's debut record. Cruentator formed out of brutal death metal band Bowel Stew in 2015 and their influences include the likes of Demolition Hammer, Kreator & Sodom to name a few. It sounds like this is going to be a lot of fun!

Cruentator’s thrash is definitely as furious as their bio suggests. Opening song Merciless Extermination is fast, with a volume to match, though the guitars are slightly buried underneath the drums and the vocals initially. They do have chops though and an eye for a solid thrash solo. They absolutely pummel on Tyrants Of The Wasteland. There’s no bowing down to outside influences, as their Italian musical flair shines through via a barrage of intensity and musicality. Probably the most aptly titled song on “Ain’t War Hell? is it’s third track Barbaric Violence. It describes the band’s sound perfectly and while it will never be as heavy or as bestial as black-thrash, it isn’t trying to be. Cruentator is happy to lay waste with something more teutonic and at times, melodic. They also manage to pump a lot of music into their songs, in spite of them only averaging about four-and-a-half minutes a piece (roughly, as my maths is crap). Evil Is Prowling Around drags you towards the album’s midway point in ridiculous fashion. 

It’s latter half isn’t any more laid back as The Nightstalker flings itself at you with guitar work that sounds like a Howitzer gun with Mille Petrozza at the helm. It’s ace is what I’m trying to say! Keeping up the war theme, Marching Into A Minefield takes their teutonic thrash influences even further with a song that’s inspired by war itself. The riff that opens penultimate track The Shining Hate is simple yet gloriously catchy and it sums up the pleasure you get from listening to Cruentator. They’ve clearly been devoted disciples to thrash metal over the years and while they may not be reinventing the wheel with their debut album, that doesn’t matter one jot. It’s a proper thrash metal album done extremely well, especially considering it’s their first. Closing number Cluster Terror is a great way to end the album, as it’s filled with the urgency to match it’s shorter playing time. It’s with that punchiness that Cruentator finish etching their way into your brain. As I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, this is a really well put together album from a band that are enjoying their music. Thrash is fun and Cruentator don’t need to be anything else. 

You can stream "Ain't War Hell?" and purchase it digitally below:-

CD copies can be purchased from Xtreem Music here -

Sunday 10 June 2018

Fistula/Hemdale - Split 7"

Labels: Patac Records
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 08 Jun 2018


1. Fistula - Whore Cancer
2. Hemdale - Miley

Here's the latest split 7" to make up Fistula's 20th anniversary series, that's already featured splits with Come To Grief and 16. This time Ohio's death/grind institution Hemdale join them. Hemdale's song is an ode to Miley Cyrus, which gives you a clue about their sense of humour, while Fistula's is about a previous acquaintance who bit off more than they could chew. Fistula will be coming over to the UK in October/November with Grime and to continue the celebrations, there will be a few more releases before the year is out.

Fistula’s Whore Cancer features a sample from the video that inspired the song and it gives it a palpable sense of anger and pity. The song is filled with groove-laden riffs, bile-filled vocal rasps and a deep and dirty low-end/rhythm section. The guitars are mighty here and as far as sludge goes, this is top quality. 20 years in the game has obviously treated Fistula very well indeed.

Hemdale’s side is filled with murky, intense grind. Everything about this song screams old-school grinding madness and there’s no pretence or electronic wizardry going on. Hemdale switches tempos and rages in both fast and slower modes, while the vocals are delivered in such a vicious way that you forget your actually listening to a human being. The samples used throughout just make it all the more bizarre.

You’ll find it difficult to keep the crazed grin off your face as this split comes to an end. If you thought that having a sludge band and a grind band on the same split wouldn’t work, you’d be wrong. Both Fistula and Hemdale have been bands for a similar amount of time, so this feels like a milestone in a way. Great stuff.

Fistula is currently out touring so Patac Records is closed; however, you can still order this split via the label's webstore and all orders will be posted once everything is open again -

Friday 8 June 2018

Sense Offender - I

Labels: Self-released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 16 May 2018


1. The Sound Of Braille
2. Prophet-Less
3. Starving Pigs
4. Anointed With Seizures
5. Weigh My Pieces

Northern England's ability to produce ridiculously heavy and caustic bands over the years, has provided us with plenty of filth-ridden metallic noise. Sense Offender is another name to add to the ever growing list. This new band features members who were affiliated with the likes of Crossburner, Cholera etc. "I" is Sense Offender's debut EP and it's currently available digitally, with a label release in the works and they're due to play some UK shows with the mighty Hexis in August.

Sense Offender could not have chosen a more apt moniker, as EP opener The Sound Of Braille begins with some piercing noise that will rattle your bones and turn them to dust. What follows is just as crazy with roared vocals surrounded by glitchy electronics and guitar feedback. Their grinding, heavy hardcore makes a proper impact on Prophet-Less. It’s technical and extreme in every sense of the word, with an unrelenting pace that's later replaced by off-kilter, down-tempo riffing. Starving Pigs plays on the band’s sense of urgency with some of the meatiest riffs this side of the likes of Trap Them and Cult Leader. 

There are also hints of Skinsuit when listening to Anointed With Seizures thanks to the experimentation and song-writing that are present, while the melody that’s on offer is foreboding and creates an atmosphere that would sit well on an (early) Dark Tranquility album. EP closer Weigh My Pieces is an example in controlled chaos with an emphasis once again on progressive hardcore with black metal and sludge-like overtones. “I” features five unrelenting songs that come and go in a blur. The less is more approach definitely works in this corner of hardcore and Sense Offender nails it. 

You can both stream and purchase "I" digitally below:-

You can keep up to date with physical release and future recording news below:-