Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Hierophant - Spawned Abortions EP

Labels: Unholy Anarchy Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 07 Sep 2018


1. Spawned Abortions
2. Realm Of Chaos (Bolt Thrower Cover)

Death metal is truly gathering pace as the year draws to a close and while there are many full-length's out there at the moment, I've chosen to give this new EP from Italian's Hierophant a go. It's their first release following the 2016 album "Mass Grave" and it feature the original title-track as well as a Bolt Thrower Cover. Since their first album n 2010, Hierophant have been tearing through Europe and further afield, spreading the foul stench of the black death. 

Hierophant presents a unique take on death metal, which is fast and bludgeoning. Spawned Abortions is a wall of thrash/death-laden noise with intense guitars, percussive blasts and deadly growls. It’s not a slow-builder as Hierophant goes straight for your jugular and leaves no time for breath. 

They decision to cover Bolt Thrower’s Realm Of Chaos is a clever one as it suits their approach and sound perfectly. They present their version in a way that’s sympathetic to the original and it’s as dirty as it gets. Thrashing like maniacs the trio sets about making more noise than they really should. It’s glorious. 

Hierophant’s delivery on “Spawned Abortions” is nothing short of breathtaking. Two songs are nowhere near enough but for those who’re already initiated into their death squad, both act as a teaser to their upcoming material. Awesome stuff and utterly infectious. 

Stream "Spawned Abortions" and grab it digitally below:-

Physical records are available here - https://unholyanarchy.aisamerch.com

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Troll Mother - Forest Child

Labels: Self-Released/Skeleton Eyes
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 14 May 2018


1. Prologue
2. Battle For Troll Mountain
3. Forest Child

Damn I feel so tired. As if spending the day in front of a computer at work wasn't enough, I had to choose a hobby where I sit in front of one in the evening's too! It's as good job I have plenty of music to keep me going I guess. As I've mentioned before, I try to work to a rough schedule in terms of what I'm reviewing and it just happens that Troll Mother were next on my list (sorry for the delay guys). Troll Mother is a duo from West Sussex (UK) and they play a mix of sludge, black metal and thrash, as well as a strange fixation with trolls. "Forest Child" is the duo's first full release.

I’ve always considered trolls to be the subject matter of weird folk/power metal bands and album opener Prologue does nothing to change that; however, there’s something slightly tongue-in-cheek about the spoken word piece. Troll Mother launches into some heavy sounds midway through, which is a lot more promising. The narration does tell a story during Battle For Troll Mountain, as black metal fills the speakers. The instrumentation is loud and off-kilter at times and the vocals flit between deeps bellows and sludgy semi-clean singing. The cartoon-ish vocal interludes break up the momentum a bit but when Troll Mother hit their stride, they’re a lot of fun. 

The title-track is probably the most complete song on “Forest Child”. It’s angular, off-kilter sludge is very welcome and the instrumentation/song-writing shows what Troll Mother is capable of. I’m never one to give bad reviews for the sake of it and I’m not about to give one here, I don’t begrudge Troll Mother at all, as the duo is brave enough to do something different and there is definitely a call for that right now. I just feel that they need to focus more on writing songs like the title-track and reducing the narration in order to make things a bit more cohesive. They’ll certainly find their sound as they mature as a band, while continuing to pick up new fans I’m sure.

Stream and download "Forest Child" below:-

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Night Surf - Enemies EP

Labels: Wiretap Records
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 7 Sep 2018


1. Reanimate
2. Sleight Of Hand
3. Watersnake
4. Enemies

There's something about staring out to the trees with their bronze/brown leaves on an autumnal day like today that just makes me want to spin some punk and kick up the roots. I'm not sure why but that's the way I'm feeling and Brooklyn, NYC's Night Surf seem to be the perfect fit. Their latest EP "Enemies" was released digitally via Wiretap Record in September and it follows their first EP "Blasted!" from November last year. Night Surf is just a bunch of guys playing local shows in NYC and the surrounding area who're famous in Serbia!

The first thing (or band) that springs to mind when EP opener Reanimate starts is Strike Anywhere. It’s more from the vocal melodies than anything else and there’s less of a political edge to Night Surf. Their punk is equally as driving though and catchy as hell. Sleight Of Hand rages like an old-school hardcore song. It’s fast and shouty from start to finish, with pure emotion yet it doesn’t come across as anything close to tough-guy hardcore, which wouldn’t have worked anyway on this EP.

I know that a writer using comparisons can be seen as lazy but with Watersnake I get some Alkaline Trio influences in there, sort of reminding me of Dan Adriano in the vocals while the music also delivers a slightly menacing and darker tone. The title-track is anthemic and it typifies punk at it’s most recognisable to me. The fast and rhythmic percussion and bass, the simple chords and riffs that add body and the vocals/melodies that tie everything up in a nostalgically clever way. 

This is a great EP and Night Surf as a band are exactly what I’ve been looking for, because while they could be considered a pop-punk band in some ways, they’re playing the sort of punk that sounds gritty and true as opposed to many of the big modern bands that could be classified as such. Here’s hoping this gets a physical release soon.

You can stream and purchase "Enemies" digitally via bandcamp below, as well as via all the major outlets:-

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Berthold City - Moment Of Truth EP

Labels: War Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 30 Mar 2018


1. Moment Of Truth
2. Left For Dead
3. Enough
4. This World On Fire
5. Like Knives
6. Walls Of Hate

Hardcore is still alive and well in 2018. Whether it's people discovering the bands that made the genre what it is for the first time or new bands coming to the fore and writing their own piece of history, the genre is still a massive part of heavy music. L.A. band Berthold City are one band that is spreading the true meaning of hardcore. The line-up includes members of Strife, Internal Affairs (to name a few) and "Moment Of Truth" is the first full EP to come from the band. It was released through US hardcore label War Records earlier this year.

Now the fireworks have died down here, I can finally get to listen to this EP from Berthold City. Starting with the title-track, it’s obvious that Andrew and the crew are pissed off. It’s a rallying cry that’s to the point. None of the songs on this EP outstay their welcome and Left For Dead is as pure as it gets. The US hardcore that courses through the band’s veins shouldn’t be a surprise but here they take it to a new level in terms of ethics and skill. Groove is also a big part of it and with Enough, Berthold City fills the first sixty-seconds with plenty. The mood gets angry again after that opening salvo but it’s that attitude that keeps it both true and enjoyable.

I’ve always found this genre to be uplifting and this EP does nothing to change my mind about that. This World On Fire rages for just over a-minute-and-a-half and it’s amazing how much music the band can fit into that time. The shout-along vocals rule as well. The off-kilter instrumentation adds a new element to Like Knives. The lyrics spread a message about people who talk when they shouldn’t and about how you should ignore them and be your own person (at least that’s how I interpret them anyway). It’s certainly a message to take to heart. The EP ends with Walls Of Hate and it’s clear by now that Berthold City isn’t just another fly-by-night hardcore band. They’re here to stay and to mobilise the genre and it’s followers again. Take notice or get left behind. 

Stream and grab "Moment Of Truth" either digitally or on vinyl below:-