Monday, 16 July 2018

10 Questions: Campaign Committee + Bill Of Rights EP Review


(Photo Credit: Smoke & Honey Photography via Campaign Committee)

It's been over a month since I last published one of these interviews (because I didn't have any others to publish) and I'm kind of feeling as though I should change things up a bit in terms of my "interviews". I use that term very loosely as you might have guessed. Anyway, this one features Campaign Committee, who're a hardcore punk band from Boston (Mass, US). They also sent me a link to their most recent EP, so I've tagged a review onto the bottom of this peice.

Who is in the band and where are you from?

C. Kobialka - drums, G. Garogosian - vocals, A. Simpson - bass, B. Strout - guitar/vocals.  We’re from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

What is the history of Campaign Committee? When and how did you form?

Four years ago Strout and Kobialka’s band were invited to play a basement show. Their third member couldn’t make it work, so they decided to whip up a couple of tracks for fun and ended up enlisting Strout’s longtime friend Garogosian on vocals and found someone to play bass for the show. Like most good things, we decided to try and run with it longer. A couple shows, bass players, and a year later, our EP "Let’s Die" finally materialised.

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

Strout and Kobialka played together in a band called Heel and Arrow up until last year. Simpson has played in a band called Das Muerte.

Who writes the lyrics/music? Is it collective?

Less of a collective and more like one person having an idea and 3 other people ruining it for them with their own. Go Team.

What subjects do you cover in your lyrics?

We were recently asked for a lyric book… probably won’t happen.

Are there any bands that have influenced you?

Many, however, not all of our influences are mutually appreciated, nor are they all worn on our sleeves.  Blood Brothers, Today is the Day, Refused, Starkweather, Small Brown Bike, and Cave In are a few significant ones.

What are your favourite albums/EPs at the moment?

Well, this might be a bit fleeting and totally off genre, so instead we’d rather have you focus on checking out our answer to #9.

What is your favourite gig/tour story?

You always remember your first.  We have yet to tour.

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

Psychic Weight, I Am Become Death, Martyrs, and Aneurysm are nice humans and we enjoy playing shows with them.

What are your favourite tipples/foods?

Strout really likes Palomas, and Garogosian likes calling Simpson “Clam Chowder”. This is as about as useful of an answer you’re going to get from us on this one.


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 22 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Let's All Say We're Nihilists Then Cry When No One Likes Us
2. Three Haikus And A Tangent Thought
3. Desperate Places
4. Souvenir
5. Fledgling

Here goes with five sharp hardcore-punk songs. Initially Campaign Committee strikes you as a another garage punk band and their music does feature elements of that, but the vocals on Let’s All Say We’re Nihilists Then Cry When No One Likes Us tell another story. They’re screechy and extreme (but not in the same way as The Body, for example). There’s also the more straightforward hardcore punk shouting going on and Campaign Committee does have a good sense of humour. The music is great and Three Haikus And A Tangent Thought is a mix of all kinds of elements from punk and even emo-violence/post-hardcore in parts. It may seem like I’m over-analysing this all slightly, but I can’t change who I am or how I perceive things. It’s good, which is all that should matter.

Desperate Places sees the band experimenting with more off-kilter tempos and slow/fast parts. There’s a sense of rousing creativity flowing through it and some nostalgia too. The bringing together of chaos and cinematic melody goes further on Souvenir and might remind you of the likes of Glassjaw, Cave In and Time In Malta, which aren’t bad comparisons. EP closer Fledgling highlights a band that are clearly very talented musically and  in the song-writing department and while it might have been easy to write them off at first listen, you’d be an idiot to have done so. Coming into this review I was feeling quite a large sense of ambivalence but that’s gone and it’s been replaced with a feeling of excitement and a rush of energy. That's about as positive as it gets!

Stream and purchase "Bill Of Rights" here:-



Sunday, 15 July 2018

Noise From The Northern Powerhouse #1: Grimmness - End Times


Labels: The Dropa Collective
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 25 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Joy
2. War
3. Collapse
4. End Times

We're being told by the nation's political parties to celebrate and help build a "Northern Powerhouse”, so I thought (in a non-political way) it would be coot to start shedding light on the many different bands that call Northern England home. Encompassing bands from Merseyside, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, the North East and of course Yorkshire, I intend to cover bands on a weekly basis that represent the rich and creative scenes from across the North. 

Today I'm starting with experimental noise/black metal/power electronics act Grimmness from Lancashire. The project was formed over four years ago now with all of it's releases coming via DIY label The Dropa Collective. Grimmness exists thanks to hand built instruments and a DIY approach to writing and recording. 

It seems bizarre to call a song Joy when it’s obvious that the creator behind Grimmness feels anything but; however, it’s that dark humour and sarcasm that’s the bedrock of Northern England. The song itself features looping, swirling feedback that opens the first half. The second half of Joy is made up of minimal, droning black metal with whispered vocals and a hypnotic tempo. The rawness of second track War is obvious and its collage of uneasy noise and more traditional black metal is not an easy listen and comes complete with a lot of anti-melody. 

There’s a good mix here between stack electronic noise and melancholy, where the music ventures ever so slightly into black/shoegaze territory, especially during Collapse. Feedback reigns over it all and rests alongside the sample at the song’s conclusion before flowing into the closing title-track. If you have the volume turned up you’ll hear a lot of subtle layers within the music. The recording captures a real feeling of claustrophobia and with the cigar-box guitar that’s used, not just in this song but also throughout the EP, there are hints of bands like Oede (Norway) and Vermapyre (Belgium) as well as the icy black metal reserved by bands like Darkthrone and Immortal, albeit stripped down. It’s certainly grim up North!

You can stream "End Times" and purchase on both tape and digital formats below:-



Thursday, 12 July 2018

Ward - Downfalls


Labels: Ramekuukkeli-Levyt
Formats: Tape
Release Date - 19 Apr 2018

Tracklist:

1. Waves
2. Singularity
3. Dominion
4. Every Day The Hard Way
5. The Valued Things
6. New Problems

The sun may have nearly disappeared from our skies over Britain but the heat is no less oppressive, which makes it the perfect atmosphere for this recently released slab of heavy Finnish doom metal. It was released earlier this year via Ramekuukkeli-Levyt on limited tape. Ward is a quartet and they formed in 2005, before releasing two splits with Havitys and True Lords Of Vatican, in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Their full-length arrived just over a year later. There's not much else I can say about Ward, apart from that one of their members used to play in Sink and plays in Abbot.

Ward’s doom is thick and heavy. It sounds so at home on tape, with a warm fuzz to the recording. The tempo on Waves is slow and the vocals are delivered as a deep rasping growl with English lyrics. The further you get into this opening song’s 10+ minutes the easier it is to get lost within it’s strangely addictive melodies and humming, throbbing bass tones. It ends with alarming levels of droning feedback before Ward take a very short breather. Singularity comes into view soon after and it immediately picks up the tone from the tape’s opener. There are long passages without vocals and crushing riffs that have to be heard. Sometimes it’s more like funeral doom but other times there are post-metal textures and calmer doom elements flowing through it. It’s certainly not a straightforward listen though.

The b-side begins with Dominion, which straight away reveals more of the lovely analogue warmth that can only come from tapes. It’s raw in nature and the vocals here remind me of the heavier aspects of bands like Dark Tranquility and Hamferd in some ways (and yes, I appreciate that neither of those bands are from Finland). The song is more than just about those comparisons though, as it’s melody peers through the riffs to create something that’s extremely listenable. Ward takes on a thrashier form with Every Day The Hard Way, which could be mistaken for a youth crew hardcore song-title. It’s tempo and energy is surprising and adds a lot to the album. 

The previous song seems to break up the misery that is intertwined within the record and it’s not long before The Valued Things is dragging you back down again. It’s one of those songs that hammers itself into your head and leaves you paralysed to the spot. Closing song New Problems isn’t any better (in a good way) but it does contain some nice technical drumming. There’s also more in the way of technicality in the guitar work, which heads more into experimental stoner territory for brief moments in time. This record is perfect for the tape format and Ward plays doom music that’s sympathetic to the genre’s early days while still being heavy. Great stuff.

You can stream both Waves and Singularity via bandcamp below. Both songs are also available to purchase digitally too:-




Physical tapes can be purchased from Ramekuukkeli-Levyt here - http://ramekuukkeli.nettisivu.org/

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

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Aparthiva Raktadhara - Agyat Ishvar 7"


Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jul 2018

Tracklist:

1. Blood Oblation to Ista-devata
2. Dismal Anahata Transmissions
3. Proclamations Of The Empty

2018 will see the release of Indian death/black trio Aparthiva Raktadhara's debut demo "Agyat Ishvar" via Iron Bonehead Productions. The Indian extreme metal scene is really flourishing currently with this trio set to join the likes of Demonic Resurrection, Heathen Beast and Tetragrammacide at it's forefront. 

The opener to “Agyat Ishvar” is the sampled menace of Blood Oblation To Ista-Devata. The Indian spoken word sample that features at it’s heart is surrounded by swirls of noise and it prepares you for Dismal Anahata Transmissions, which is a raw, blasting mix of death and black metal. Crashing cymbals and muddied yet still audible guitar work is joined by hellish shrieks. This is far from a primitive demo but it’s still very much for the die-hards.

Third and final song Proclamations Of The Empty carries furious layers of guitar noise alongside the band’s percussive backbone, creating something that’s chaotic but also entrancing in equal measure. There’s very little let-up as Aparthiva Raktadhara prefer to march forth and level your auditory senses. This demo is steeped in the creativity that’s present within the Indian scene and this trio, while being more martial in approach, are certainly ones to watch.

You can stream Proclamations Of The Empty below:-




Thursday, 5 July 2018

Masiro - Geodesics


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: TBC
Release Date: 07 Sep 2018

Tracklist

1. Andromeda Handshake
2. K-Ursa
3. 21:15
4. Intermission: Graveyard Orbit
5. End Permain
6. Grand Trine

Here's a break from all of the chaotic, noisy hardcore and death metal I've been featuring this week so far. Masiro is an instrumental trio from Oxford. I don't think I've ever featured a band on here from Oxford. Don't worry though, they're not a middle-class high-brow instrumental band, but they enjoy bands as diverse as 65 Days Of Static and Psyopus (to name a few). They formed in 2011 as a duo and released their debut EP in 2013. They then expanded and released the "Technocologist Unknown" EP in 2016. "Geodesics" is their latest iteration of instrumental progression and mathcore. 

Progression definitely flows through the veins of Masiro. Opening track Andromeda Handshake is a clever mix of spacey melody and crunching off-kilter riffs. It’s both accessible and thought provoking with percussion and bass that seems to dictate the music’s direction, while the guitar work sounds semi-improvisational at times. K-Ursa sees the band taking things in a blues/jazz direction that’s very akin to Norwegian blackjazz band Shining, thanks to the saxophone playing of guest Charlie Cruickshank. It adds a great new element to their already engaging music and is clear and vibrant. This is an awesome release so far.

21:15 Is a hefty slab of mind altering music. It’s pretty restrained all in all but that’s fine because Masirso doesn’t need to push things to ridiculous levels of technicality to sound good. The comparisons they’ve received to Primus are more than justified too, albeit they aren’t quite as bonkers. This is so dreamy towards the end as well. Every song on “Geodesics” has it’s own personality and feeling. Intermission: Graveyard Orbit is a shorter piece and features drone soundscapes created by Lee Riley. It’s a nice little diversion but it leads straight into End Permain, which is the most progressive and most lengthy song on the record. The bass is the most striking instrument here and it weaves a crunching sound that fits the song perfectly.

Final song Grand Trine is groovy as hell throughout and while Masiro never quite breaks into heavier mathcore territory on this release, they still write fantastic music. The latter half of Grand Trine is a lot more laid back and cinematic. It ends the record on a high. Chris Pethers, Mike Bannard and Chris Hutchinson have outdone themselves here and when “Geodesics” is released later this year, it should be making a lot of end-of-year lists.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for release news and musical teasers here - https://www.facebook.com/masiromusic/

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Isdal - Demo


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

Tracklist:

1. Reduced // Returns
2. Weight In My Spine

In this digital age it's odd to see a band promoting their music without it even being present online to stream in some form or another. Seattle (WA) heavy hardcore band Isdal are doing just that though and after letting their music do the talking in a live setting, they're about to release their debut demo later this month. I managed to get a sneaky advance listen so that I could give you my first impressions on this new band. Isdal formed in 2017 and features members of Into The Storm, Prison and NUMB. They also recently played their first hometown show, Top Knot Fest (in March) alongside the likes of Heiress and American Standards (as well as others). 

Isdal’s demo clocks in at nearly six minutes and it’s a noisy, abrasive affair. Reduced // Returns is a quickfire blast of chaotic noise with grinding instrumentation and caustic screams. It’s metallic in places but also blackened with plenty of metal influence. They mix it up with slower, sludgy parts as well.  

Weight In My Spine uses more of the sludgy atmosphere that the demo opener hinted at. The lowly bass rumbles shake you at first before Isdal launches into a crawling, down tempo verse that kind of reminds me of 90s metalcore. They experiment with different time-signatures and the sound on the demo is raw but still very warm in tone. 

I know it’s early days for this band but I already want to hear more by them. There’s something oddly comforting about chaotic hardcore/metal and Isdal seems to know exactly how to do it well while not ageing what’s come before. A really solid start.

You'll have to wait to hear this demo for yourselves but Isdal have posted a very short teaser video on their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Isdalband/.

Here's hoping that artwork finds it's way onto a physical release in their near future.


Monday, 2 July 2018

Wowod - Nutro


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 19 Jan 2018

Tracklist:

1. V Nas Net Lvbvi
2. Cerbervs
3. Chvzhoe Nutro
4. Sozdatel'
5. Slepaya Vera
6. Death

When I started doing interviews again at the turn of the year, Russian blackened hardcore/post-metal band Wowod was one of the first bands I contacted and the first to be featured. You can read that interview here. It felt great to be able to feature a band like Wowod, whom were completely new to me. I promised myself for ages that I'd sit down and give their 2018 debut record "Nutro" a proper write-up and after a little bit of time, here I am. Wowod formed in 2017 and they've already notched up a lot of shows in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine (including a show alongside Wiegedood in St. Petersburg).

Angular, heavy hardcore and sludge tempos are the order of the day on “Nutro” as opener V Nas Net Lvbvi sets a nasty tone. The vocals are spewed out in Russian with both deep growls and high-pitched screams, while the instrumentation underneath is both technical but also raging in the same way that bands like Gaza are (or were). Cerbervs is more aligned to hardcore early on but Wowod’s black metal textures shine through and provide both melody and layers of sound that are completely engaging in their entirety. All forms of extreme hardcore and metal can be emotive and eye-opening in their own way and this is no different. 

Wowod leaves the murkiness of the previous song behind with a big climb in tempo on Chvzhoe Nutro. The bouncing punk rhythms laid down by the drums during the opening sixty-seconds are impossible to ignore, while their ability to temper that speed with a latter half that’s on the other end of the spectrum in terms of speed, seems effortless. Despite the seemingly expansive nature of Wowod’s music, “Nutro” passes by extremely quickly and Sozdatel’ guides you into it’s second half with another haunting black/post metal number. It’s the longest song on the record and while it has plenty of progression, it’s not overly experimental or head scratching. It stays very much true to Wowod’s sound and their approach to heavy music. 

The intensity of the record is most aptly displayed in penultimate song Slepaya Vera. It distills everything that is great about Wowod and puts all of that emotion and catharsis into one song. Music doesn’t have to be fast 100% of the time to be intense. That descriptor means different things to different people, but to me it’s about how it makes me feel and how engaged I get with it. This album makes me feel so happy that I get the chance to do this, to listen too and write about bands like Wowod. Who would’ve thought that through music with such negativity at it’s base, it would invoke that kind of reaction. Talking of negativity as a catalyst, Death is a very apt closing song. It’s urgency is apparent and it’s the band’s last opportunity to rage and rage they do. Revisiting “Nutro” has been brilliant, it’s great. Wowod is great. 

You can stream "Nutro" and purchase it digitally below:-



Sunday, 1 July 2018

Dischordia - Binge/Purge EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 15 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Binge
2. Purge

I'm going for a bit of a Sunday afternoon booze session later on, so thought I'd get some writing done early. This is the latest EP from Oklahoma City (Oklahoma, US) technical death metal band Dischordia. It was self-released in the middle of June by the band and it follows their 2016 full-length "Thanatopsis". The trio formed in 2010 and to date they've released two EPs and two full-lengths prior to  "Binge/Purge", which features just two tracks but clocks in at nearly fifteen minutes, so there's plenty of music to get stuck into here. 

Dischordia lists bands such as Gorguts and Ulcerate in their FFO section on bandcamp and they’re very accurate with that one. Binge is full of technicality thanks to the riffs that are all over the place, the bass which is jazzy underneath, the powerful drumming and of course the obligatory harsh, deep vocal bellows. It’s slow at times, thrashy at others but also heavy without being too “br00tal”. This is awesome and it reminds me a so many of the incredible death metal bands that I’ve come across over the years, like Pyrrhon and Okazaki Fragments to name a couple. Dischordia certainly knows how to right music that’s for the thinking man while still raging. They fit in a gloriously techy/mathy instrumental passage later on just to add to the boatloads of progression that already call the song home. 

Second song Purge starts off with a slower and more menacing tempo, with strange noise accompanying the drums and vocals. It’s a doom-like affair with the heaviness dialled-up a notch. A more straightforward approach might be what you think of initially and I guess you’d be right, but whereas Binge was mental from the off, Dischordia builds the technicality up slower here. It’s a really clever nuance to use as you don’t quite know what to expect as the song progresses. The flute-lead passage towards the end of the song is a welcome change of pace and again it highlight’s Dischordia’s willingness to experiment without relying on the same old genre trappings. This EP is great and Dischordia is certainly a band that assert themselves. More researching and listening is required with this band for sure. 

You can stream and purchase "Binge/Purge" on CD or digitally below:-