Friday, 17 August 2018

Finis - Visions Of Doom


Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 28 May 2018

Tracklist:

1. 11 Temple Stones
2. Visions Of Doom
3. Fosforos

Iron Bonehead has found a band from their native land and they've released a three-track LP with them. Finis is from Germany (though I'm not sure exactly where) and they released a demo called "At One With Nothing" in 2016. It was enough for Iron Bonehead to take note and fast-forward a couple of years and here we are. The trio dabbles in both death and black metal, with swirling doom adding atmosphere. Note: I started writing this review a couple of days ago, so contrary to what it's opening sentence says below, I've not had a couple of beers this morning. It's way too early for that!

I really shouldn’t write reviews when I’ve had a couple of beers. I tend to type really incoherent sentences as a result. Thankfully the doom-death & black metal of Finis is able to focus the mind pretty well. LP opener 11 Temple Stones is a collage of both extreme and oddly catchy death metal. Okay, so it’s not easy to grasp if you’re not an extreme metal fan already but there’s definitely a lot to be enjoyed as the melodic guitars fight for space with the ethereal growls. 

The title-track leans more towards the black metal end of the spectrum with melodic buzzsaw guitar work and percussion to match. It’s relentless pace of the song is offset by the clever song-writing that helps Finis to keep hold of the listener. They’re experimental leanings are present too, with a mid-section  that contains bell tolls and a lot of fuzzy guitar noise. 

LP closer Fosforos is an incredibly atmospheric instrumental piece, which is a welcome change of direction after the bands heavier and more barbaric numbers earlier on. This song once again shows how good Finis is in song-writing terms and there’s still a lot to get lost in, musically. Finis is about more than just black/death/doom metal. There’s a lot creativity and sensitivity hidden within the heaviness. It’s going to be a fun journey watching how the band develops but for now, “Visions Of Doom” is a fantastic starting point for new listeners.

You can stream "Visions Of Doom" below:-



It's available now on vinyl, cd and digital formats from Iron Bonehead Productions above.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ERICBANA/Scum - From The Ground


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 03 Mar 2018

Tracklist:

1. ERICBANA - Maniac
2. ERICBANA - Colour Of Death
3. Scum - Blood Of The Machine
4. Scum - Witness

Off work this week so catching up on some reviews that I've been meaning to write for a while now. This is one and having interviewed Scum and ERICBANA, as well as seeing both play a joint EP launch gig in Harrogate, I finally got something written up. I've talked before about feeling more pressure when it comes to covering bands whose members I know personally, so here goes...

It’s good to hear ERICBANA releasing music and playing shows again. They’re one of those local bands that always seem to be there even when you think they’re off the radar. Their opener Maniac starts off loud and heavy as it builds. When the first verse kicks in it’s backed up by fast pogo-punk drumming and guitar-work to match. The vocals are shouted though the lyrics are audible, while the gang vocals show the DIY spirit and togetherness that Harrogate small music community has. Coops does his best “Transplants” impression at the start of Colour Of Death, but unlike that band, ERICBANA don’t make use of gimmicks and instead mix hardcore-punk with thrash. High tempos and more raucous shouting adds to the song’s urgency and it’s over before you know it.

Scum are a slightly different proposition musically, as they’re more crusty and technical in places. Blood Of The Machine has a metallic edge and plenty of off-kilter hardcore blended into it. Being from London, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up on a Chimpy Fest line-up in the near future. They just straight-up grind on Witness, which takes no prisoners. Instantly it’s stupid fast and when they do slow it down, it’s to the kind of heavy stomp that makes powerviolence so moreish. Chaos reigns supreme and what seems incoherent is in fact perfectly structured grinding punk. 

This split has been a labour of love between two bands that are doing what they enjoy. The Homefire Studios recording job allows their music to breathe while taking away none of the heaviness. Both ERICBANA and Scum are brilliant live and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. Give this a listen and show both bands some support. 

Stream the full split below, where it's available from both bands as a name-your-price-download:-





You can also watch Scum's EP release video below:-


CD copies can be found at gigs or you can contact both band's via the usual methods.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Secret - Lux Tenebris EP


Labels: Southern Lord
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 31 Aug 2018

Tracklist:

1. Vertigo
2. The Sorrowful Void
3. Cupio Dissolvi


Seemingly out of nowhere, Italy's The Secret are returning to the fray with their newest EP "Lux Tenebris". Following the long six-year period of silence from the band, they're playing selected shows across Europe again in support of the EP, which comes out at the end of August via Southern Lord on a single-sided 12" with a silkscreened b-side. Their black and heavy sound has brought with it a mass of followers since the release of their debut "Luce" back in 2004 and this new EP has extra poignancy as it marks fifteen years since their initial formation.


The aim of opening song Vertigo is to induce similar symptoms to that of the condition it shares it’s name with. Dizziness inducing bass and noise create an atmosphere that makes you nervous. The Secret are clearly heading in a darker and more experimental direction with their sound and this proves it as they build the intensity together. It never quite explodes into the raging beast that you might be expecting but it does leave you on the edge of your seat with a sense of anticipation, that is almost overwhelming. Black metal meets grind and ambient noise. 

The Sorrowful Void is no less terrifying with it’s undercurrent of hissing feedback and repeating riffs that burst into life providing the explosiveness that you know The Secret are capable of. This is them at their grinding best and where Wake (Canada) are showing North America how it’s done, The Secret are doing the same for Europe. I know that drawing comparisons are often pointless and subjective, but I think that this particular one is accurate. 

After the dramatic ending to The Sorrowful Void, it’s left to EP closer Cupio Dissolvi to carry the momentum on and it does so effortlessly. It’s a longer song and is woven together with The Secret’s driving heaviness and passages of quieter introspect. The song’s second half is dominated by black metal instrumentation, which turns into a mid-paced march filled with anger and hostility. If this EP is a barometer of the future of The Secret, it looks like it’s going to be bleak (in a good way). After it’s release, we’ll start to wave the summer goodbye and this will no doubt be the solace we need during the dark winter months.

You can stream The Sorrowful Void below via The Secret's Southern Lord bandcamp page below:-



Lux Tenebris can be pre-ordered on both vinyl and digital formats above too.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Stuntman/Art Of Burning Water - Split 7"


Labels: Bigout Records/Ecstatic Shock/Emergence/Dingleberry Records/ Jungle Khol/Superfi Records/Wooaaargh Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Tracklist:

1. Stuntman - Easy Prey
2. Art Of Burning Water - The Death Of Unconditional Love In The Age Of I-Me-Me
3. Art Of Burning Water - Don't Need (Deep Wound Cover)

The march continues unabated in 2018, with countless releases still to see the light of day. This split 7" featuring French noisy hardcore mob Stuntman and fellow Brits Art Of Burning Water is very new indeed and will hopefully help to kick you full-force into the second half of your week. It was forged out of a long friendship between both bands and is being released by a group of labels that share an equal friendship. Two heavy, fast originals and a Deep Wound cover. What's not to like?

If you want chaotic and brutally noisy hardcore, then Stuntman is most definitely your band. Metallic guitars, up-tempo blasting percussion and vocals delivered with ferocious intent should be enough for you on their song Easy Prey. However; if they’re not, then Stuntman’s combination of fast and slow heaviness will seal the deal. There’s the best of both worlds here including a heap of powerviolence-esque sludginess. 

Art Of Burning Water are known for not taking any prisoners. The Death Of Unconditional Love In The Age Of I-Me-Me is filled with huge riffs that sound more like proper hardcore stompers before the pace is upped and they fly headlong into some grinding hardcore madness. They add a cover of Deep Wound’s Don’t Need onto the end of this split and it’s ever shifting time-signatures suit them down to the ground. 

AOBW are masters at what they do and Stuntman’s added ferocity makes this split a must for fans of heavy and noisy hardcore. So many bands play this form of hardcore but both bands here deliver it in a unique way, which is exhilarating to listen to.

You can stream and grab a download of the full split below:-



Art Of Burning Water - https://www.facebook.com/aobwmusic/

Physical copies can be ordered from the links below:-

Wooaaargh Records - http://www.wooaaargh.com/


I've been unable to find store/page links for Ecstatic Shock Records or Emergence Records, so please help me out if know of any! Thanks.

Monday, 6 August 2018

10 Questions: ERICBANA


I've often said despite not calling myself a "serious music journo", that the most pressure comes from writing about bands whose members I do know as opposed to the ones I don't know. That's true of London-based punks Scum, who I interviewed a couple of months back and that statement also applies to fellow Harrogate punks ERICBANA. They were one of the very first bands I wrote about on this blog, way back when I really had no idea what I was doing. Fast-forward five or so years and I felt it the right time to not only try and do some more interviews but also to contact the band again, in a bid to coincide some coverage with the release of their split cd with Scum. Here's what they had to say...

Who is in the band and where are you from?

Drums - James Astin
Vocals - Chris Cooper
Guitar - Toby Matthews
Guitar - Jamie Bramhall
Bass -  Mike Gowland ( at the time of recording the split with Scum )

All pretty much from around Harrogate.

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

We started up maybe 8-9 years ago but its been that long we can’t remember. I think it came about from 3 of us ( Cooper, Mike and Jamie ) wanting to play in a heavier band as we all started out in a punk band called Old Youth. We then somehow convinced Toby ( from Fuck with Fire fame ) to join, then Astin joined and subsequently quit after two practises then came crawling back 6-7 years later after our old drummer Tom quit.

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

Chris played in two previous bands called General Waste and then Old Youth
Toby is currently in Fuck with Fire and Croakditch
Jamie is also in Croakditch and The Chris Bramhall Experience
Astin used to play in Toy Shelf, Shark Bait, the 7ups and probably 20 other bands like a
typical drummer!

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

It’s always a collective usually its music first then lyrics written over or existing lyrics made to fit.
Someone will usually come in with a riff or beat and we take it from there. Everyone brings their own style and piece of fun

What subjects do you cover in your lyrics?

Mainly horror influence lyrics but few are about ex girlfriends or mental health. Its can be tough writing angry lyrics when you haven’t had any bad shit happen to you!

Are there any bands that have influenced you?

Black Flag, Cancer Bats, The Bronx, Crowbar, Pantera, Sick of it All, Mastodon, Misfits,
Fucked Up, Ghost. Basically anything that has good riffs, beats or lyrics!

What are your favourite albums/EPs at the moment?

Scum - Null
Spelljammer - Ancient of Days
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Blood Lust
Charlie Parr - Dog
Neil Young - Tonight's the Night
Bob Dylan -  The Rolling Thunder
Martha - Courting Strong
Bridge Burner - Mantras of Self Loathing
PCP Eagles - I Hate the Mall
Beastwars - The Death of All things
The Bronx - V
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes - Modern Ruin
Basement  - Promise Everything
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Johnny Flynn - Sillion
Ghost -Prequelle

What is your favourite gig/tour story?

Never really had anything to crazy happen on tour although we did manage to sleep 12 people in the back of a Ford Transit with all the equipment which was interesting. Oh and our old drummer ended up snogging the male singer of another band for a bet ( The other bands bet ).

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

There used to be a really good Punk/Hardcore scene in harrogate where we’d have lots of touring bands from all the world play like Fucked Up and Trash Talk which isn't too bad for a small posh town like Harrogate!

Nowadays it's a lot quieter, there are still bands going like Fuck with Fire, Croackditch, 7ups etc but the gigs are few and far between. There's a music night once a month called Regency Live at The Regency pub in Harrogate which is great, it’s a good mix of all genres of rock really.
Also every so often Mike ( the old bassist ) puts on gigs but again they're few and far between.

What is your favourite beer (if you drink)?

Jamie - Coors Light
Chris - Double Brown
Toby - Aldi Saint Etienne lager ( 2.79 for 4 cans )
Astin - Just had a kid so he’s not allowed to drink!

I will have a review up of their split cd with Scum in the near future, but for now you can stream and download it here:-



Sunday, 5 August 2018

Gay Panic Defence - Snowflake Powerviolence Vol 1


Labels: Skin & Bones Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 07 Dec 2017

Tracklist:

1. Child Abuse (Ft Nick Waller)
2. Typical Man
3. Your Sash Looks So Fetch
4. CNTRL-ALT. RIGHT-DELETE
5. Respect Existence (Ft Graham Caldwell)
6. Let Down
7. Please Stop
8. You Just Look Silly (Ft Fernie)
9. All Wrong
10. It's Not For Me

Scottish powerviolence band Gay Panic Defence were one of the first bands that I interviewed in 2018, so no idea why it's taken me so long to get round to reviewing their album. They released their first self-titled EP in September 2016, which was swiftly by their second EP "II" and then a split with Colombian PV band Terco in May of last year. "Snowflake Powerviolence Vol 1" was released in December 2017 by the band and on tape by Skin & Bones Records too. It features guest vocals by Nick Waller (Insufferable), Graham Caldwell (Endless Swarm) and Fernie, who mixed and mastered the album. Their political message and all-welcoming persona has seen them play London Pride and Dreadfest in Leeds this year, amongst a whole heap of other shows. There's more coming from them soon too!

Album opener Child Abuse is more punk than powerviolence but ends with a blast of screams from both Mathew and Nick. The anti-religious message is clear and while it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make out the lyrics, the samples at the beginning and end tell you all you need to know. Child Abuse could be considered long, as Typical Man goes from mid-paced to bass-laden fast in just over thirty-seconds. They take a swipe at The Orange Order on Your Sash Looks So Fetch. The second-half of the song is where they truly take aim with a crazed delivery and higher-pitched screams. CNTRL-ALT.RIGHT-DELETE is self-explanatory and it’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it aesthetic is GPD’s attempt at giving the alt-right as little air time as possible. 

The technical and off-kilter grind of Respect Existence is awesome with the dual screams of Mathew and Graham making it all sound even more violent. GPD fits a lot into Let Down, which is a more straight-forward PV song with plenty of punk attitude for good measure. There’s a slight hint of humour to Please Stop, though it’s message is serious and music even more so. There’s some great time changes in You Just Look Silly, where it gets a bit funky at times. POTUS isn’t safe from their fast attacks either, as you’ll hear on penultimate song All Wrong. Closing song It’s Not For Me blasts with one last barrage of intensity before stopping on a dime. This socially conscious fastcore is becoming even more relevant in the current climate that we have to endure. Gay Panic Defence is doing it right and you should listen to them!

You can stream and download "Snowflake Powerviolence Vol 1" for free below:-



You can buy physical tape copies from Skin & Bones Records here - https://skinandbonesrecs.bigcartel.com/


The interview I did with Mathew can be found here.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

4-Way Split PremieRing - Thisismenotthinkingofyou



On August 2nd a new 4-way split 12" featuring Massa Nera, Thisismenotthinkingofyou, Yo Sbraito and Ef'il will be released (with vinyl copies coming later in the month. It's being released collaboratively by Dead Tank Records & Distribution, Dingleberry Records, Adorno Records, Zegema Beach Records, Blessed Hands Records & Pundonor Records.

As a one-off, I am lucky enough to be hosting the premiere of the two songs by UK emoviolence band Thisismenotthinkingofyou that will appear on the split. You can stream them via Youtube below:-


Somnambulance I


  Somnambulance II 


Three other blogs will be streaming the songs by Massa Nera, Yo Sbraito and Ef'il, with each blog premiering one band. See below for details:-

3. Yo Sbraito - https://idioteq.com/

Make sure you check out all three!

Pre-orders for the vinyl will be available via the links below:-


Thisismenotthinkingofyou - https://www.facebook.com/timntoy/