Wednesday 28 November 2018

Haiduk - Exomancer

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 17 Oct 2018


1. Death Portent
2. Unsummon
3. Evil Art
4. Subverse
5. Icevoid Nemesis
6. Doom Seer
7. Pulsar
8. Blood Ripple
9. Once Flesh
10. Crypternity

I've been looking forward to sitting down to this all week and I fear that this is the only time I'll be able write anything until the weekend. This is the latest album from one-man Canadian death/black metal band Haiduk. Prior to the release of "Exomancer", Haiduk released a demo and two full-lengths; "Spellbook" and "Demonicon" respectively since forming in 2009. One thing that separates Haiduk from many of the other solo-projects is that he plays live.

Haiduk’s death metal is certainly brooding on album opener Death Portent and the programmed drums do nothing to change that. It’s also technical and grinding, which is fine with me. The vocals are delivered with a low rasping growl while the music contains a space-age feel. Aside from that, Haiduk adds layers of black metal into the mix and Unsummon provides a glimpse of that, especially in the instrumentation. It’s not “kvlt” but that’s no problem because it’s there to add atmosphere and it does that well. 

The guitar-work on “Exomancer” especially stands out due to it’s proficiency and technicality, as demonstrated on Evil Art, where both the lead and rhythm guitar layers amongst this mostly instrumental song make it sound like Haiduk is more than a solo-project. In fact, Haiduk rarely uses vocals for any great length of time, allowing the instrumentation to do all of the work, as demonstrated on Subverse. The songs are not overly long either, which means the momentum is kept strong throughout. 

The grinding percussive passages and introspective, off-kilter tempos make Icevoid Nemesis an exciting listen. With the whispered growls nestling within the mix, there’s plenty of room for the full gamut to be enjoyed. On Doom Seer you get a proper slab of chunky death metal. Its trance inducing at times, as the riffs repeat. There are elements of some of death metal’s biggest bands nestling within the music and Pulsar reminds me of the likes of Deicide and even Fear Factory (I know they’re not technically a death metal band but…). It again shows the skill that Haiduk possesses musically and writing-wise. 

The urgency is very real on Blood Ripple, where the pulsating rhythms sound more like they belong in a gabba song than a death metal one. That’s not a criticism by the way, rather a nod to how pumped-up it’ll make you feel. Once Flesh is just as fun, though definitely more of a straight-forward death metal song this time. That being said, you cannot call this traditional so purists may find it hard to swallow. Album closer Crypternity contains a jarring intro riff that’s atonal. It carries on throughout the song in a sporadic fashion contributing to quite an unnerving end.

Haiduk has written, recording and produced an epic album in “Exomancer”. The sound quality is great and it has character, which is difficult to find. The sole creator Luka is really talented and the strength he has to forge his own path in the death metal-verse is obvious to see. Good work!

You can stream "Exomancer" and purchase is both digitally or on cd below:-

The cd version and Haiduk's previous releases are also available here -

Sunday 25 November 2018

Calvaire - Je Me Souviens

Labels: Purity Through Fire Records/Worship Tapes
Formats: Tape/Digital/CD(TBC)
Release Date: 25 Nov 2018


1. Nous Ne Descenderont Plus La Riviere
2. La Dernière Bataille
3. 15 Fevrier 1839

There's a been a lot said this year about the Quebecois black metal movement, which has been led by the rise in popularity (if that's the right word) in Forteresse. Montreal's Calvaire is a new addition to that wave of bands, with the duo only recently releasing their debut digitally and tape via Purity Through Fire Records and Worship Tapes. "Je Me Souviens" consists of three songs on the tape version, while the soon-to-be-released CD version and indeed the digital version feature four songs. I'm reviewing the tape version here. Calvaire is a band that's proud of their ancestry, heritage and country, which form the influence for their songs and music.

“Je Me Souviens” begins with the welcoming sound of traditional and upbeat folk-music at the start of Nous Ne Descenderont Plus La Riviere. It’s only a short intro and it gives way to French language black metal that’s cold but also melodic. You know what you’e getting now with black metal of this nature and Calvaire definitely takes things in an icier direction compared to that of their US cousins. The song ends with the same sampled folk that seems to temper the extremity that came before it.

La Dernière Bataille is straight-forward and blasting from the off. The vocal shrieks are backed up by metallic guitar tones and pounding percussion. The guitar work does add a slight orchestral layer to the music, but there’s no escaping it’s heaviness. Like the opener, there is some clean singing but it’s closer to chanting than anything else. It does add an extra sinister edge to the music though.

Calvaire’s music is deeply rooted in the history of their province and 15 Fevrier 1839 is the epitome of that as it winds itself through over six-and-a-half minutes of atmospheric and metallic black metal. It relates to the French Canadians who were executed by British colonisers in 1839 and it was also the name of a 2001 film by French Canadian filmmaker Pierre Falardeau (fact for film buffs there!). This piece is more together than the previous two in my opinion. It’s slightly slower in tempo giving an oddly martial feel.

As black metal goes, Calvaire has produced a very decent first demo. Black metal fans will find enjoyment here, though crossover appeal may be minimal but that’s not what this duo are after. 

You can stream this full demo along with the extra title-track that will appear on the cd below:-

You can purchase "Je Me Souviens" on tape and digitally from Calvaire above too.

You can also purchase tape copies from Purity Through Fire Records here - and via Worship Tapes here -

Purity Through Fire Records -

Saturday 24 November 2018

Where's My Naivety: Under Interview + Stop Being Naive Review

It feels good to be posting up my second interview/review piece in a week. This time I'm featuring a band that calls Lancashire, UK home and who's influence are as far reaching as King Crimson to Cattle Decapitation and Electric Wizard to Meshuggah. That band is Under and they've recently released their 2nd album "Stop Being Naive" via APF Records. Bassist/Vocalist Matt Franklin took some time to answer some questions for me, which you can read below.

Tell us about the history of Under. How did you form? Who’s in the band?

Matt Franklin - Bass and Vocals Under consists of myself, Simon Mayo on Guitar and Andy Preece on Drums - we all provide vocals for harmonies and our varied heavy styles. We formed about 4 years ago, after our old band broke up we decided to make some really dark, uncomfortable music.

Under’s music harnesses lots of different sounds, from doom to sludge to prog and even avant-garde. How did you all get into heavy music and what bands had the biggest effect on the music you play?

MF: We draw influences from all over the place, I personally got into heavy music through hardcore punk. These days we're into a lot of noise rock and avant garde electronic music. It would be hard to pin down any one particular band but Swans taught us to slow down!

You are part of the wider doom/sludge scene that exists over the Pennines. What is about Greater Manchester and Lancashire that’s made the genre so fertile?

MF: I honestly couldn't tell you. It makes for some good gigs though.

Across 2017 and 2018 so far, you’ve played with a lot bands. This is probably going to be a hard question to answer but who has been your favourite to play alongside and why?

MF: you're right, that is hard. We've played with Whores a couple of times now and Part Chimp who both blew me away. A favourite of mine would have to be Kurokuma though, we're good friends with those guys and have played with them a lot. At their worse they still slay pretty much any other band live.

Your new album “Stop Being Naive” is being released in October via APF Records. Can you shed any light on the album’s themes?

MF: There's nothing overtly political but there is a focus in some tracks on the negative ways that people interact with each other in attempt to further themselves. There are also tracks about depression and the feeling of being fundamentally damned as a species. There's also one about hallucinating ghosts due to sleep deprivation.

What gig/touring plans do you have in place following the album’s release?

MF: we're pretty quiet for gigs until the new year when we have a couple of tour plans to announce...

What albums/EPs are you currently listening too?

MF: Gold by Whores is getting a lot of play from me at the moment, I'm also enjoying Tuskar's record and Melted on the Inch by the lovely Boss Keloid.

Aside from music, what are your favourite horror movies?

MF: Brain Dead, the original Evil Dead Trilogy, The Exorcist, Antichrist... if you haven't already seen it then watch A Quiet Place. It's just spectacular

Labels: APF Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 26 Oct 2018


1. Malcontents
2. The Climb
3. Traitor's Gate
4. Big Joke
5. P. Irving
6. Grave Diggers
7. Happy
8. An Inch Of Sun
9. Circadian Driftwood

If you paid close attention to Under’s influences mentioned in the opening paragraph of this piece, you’ll notice that they’re both heavy and experimental. Heavy is definitely the right term to use for album opener Malcontents, with its doom-laden bass-heavy riffs and crawling vocals delivered by all three members of the band. This is a down-tempo song filled with misery. That being said, Under injects some psychedelic riffs into it later on, which means it goes from heavy to weird in the best possible way.

The Climb turns things on its head with vocal melodies that could easily be from a Queen or Fleetwood Mac album, were it not for the thunderous riffs that follow. There’s more experimental instrumentation and off-kilter rhythms present, while the vocals remain on the right side of truly unhinged. Traitor’s Gate sees Under getting more expansive again. Their slow doom/stoner is present alongside the harsher vocals; however, short introspective passages deliver small amounts of respite.

The stirring instrumental build-up on Big Joke gets louder and louder as more and more layers of percussion and guitars join the fray. You expect the vocals to kick in but they keep you waiting and the result is a glorious instrumental slab of Primus-like stoner, at least for its first half anyway. Things return to normal for its second half but the instrumentation remains. 

At this point, if you have the LP then you’ll be listening to Soup, which for some reason doesn’t appear on either the cd or digital versions on the record. I don’t know why bands do this, but I’m not going to criticise. Instead you get P. Irving as your fifth track. P. Irving is a great listen, as it mixes odd clean guitar work with vocals that flit between laid back singing and their characteristic multi-shouted attack. 

There’s an obvious rock n roll swagger about Grave Diggers with it’s groovy riffs and assured delivery. At this point it’s probably right to say that “Stop Being Naive” is an album that will demand multiple listens before it truly hits you, but it’s great to invest the time in. Talking of investing the time, Happy that follows is a great fast-paced number that fits the record well. I’m glad that Under took the time to add this to the record because it shows more of their versatility and a love for the faster forms of metal. 

Penultimate song An Inch Of Sun is kind of like a really creepy nursery rhyme to begin with, before Under ratchets up the heaviness once more and keeps it in low and slow territory. They remain weird for closer Circadian Driftwood, which seems to be slightly on the restrained side and that’s not really a word your could use to describe Under at all. It’s very cinematic and it tops things off perfectly. “Stop Being Naive” is a journey and one that’s well worth taking.

You can stream "Stop Being Naive" and buy it on all formats below:-

Thanks to Matt for taking part in this interview. Check out Under.

Thursday 22 November 2018

New Junk City - Same Places

Labels: Real Ghost Records
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 12 Oct 2018


1. Useless Friends
2. High In The Morning
3. Half Life
4. Stay Asleep
5. Losing Side
6. Come Tomorrow
7. Coffee Mug
8. In Our Blood
9. Nothing Waiting

Finally, a free evening. It's grey, wet and cold outside and I'm beyond tired, so I thought some good old US punk might cheer me up. Punk in the form of Atlanta, Georgia (US) band New Junk City. New Junk City released their debut self-titled album in October 2014 and later released two splits including one for the All In Vinyl series earlier this year. Roughly four years on from their debut, they've released "Same Places" via UK label Real Ghost Records.

Rock n roll swagger and garage punk honesty make “Same Places” a really fun album to stick on when you need a boost. Album opener Useless Friends is filled with distorted guitar work and uptempo percussion that brings the energy while the vocals are clean but not sugary-sweet. There’s a typical US country vibe to High In The Morning, which isn’t surprising. It’s a vibe that’s worked so well for a lot of big US punk bands, but New Junk City doesn’t overdo it and weaves it into their sing-along anthems well. The restrained instrumentation of Half Life with its vocals that verge of semi-shouted at times shows a different dynamic and brings to mind earlier Rise Against/The Killing Tree. 

Stay Asleep reminds me that I actually need/want sleep so badly! Jokes aside, it’s slower tempo is anything but sleep inducing, as New Junk City manages to write a song with pop-hooks aplenty and a chorus that screams live sing-along, The bass line that kicks off Losing Side could be seen as ominous but there’s no chance of the band breaking into any kind of hardcore stomp. In fact it’s longer than the other songs on “Same Places” meaning that there’s more room for them to flex their instrumental muscles. They do that by adding in longer musical passages and layers of feedback. Come Tomorrow features a more off-kilter tempo, while telling a story and conjuring up images of Americana and long road trips.

The band’s driving punk is back with Coffee Mug. It’s hard at this point not to get misty-eyed or lost in the moment, which is what good music does. The laidback feel that you get from this record is what makes it so listenable. Penultimate song In Our Blood is New Junk City’s ballad. Every melodic band seems to have one and they always seem to get buried in your head. Its emotion is palpable and it’s sensitivity come straight from the real life experiences on the band. Closing with Nothing Waiting, New Junk City end with a higher intensity and with one final lung-busting performance. Nine songs that seem to fly by. This album is a fantastic example of punk that’s not pretentious and that doesn’t strive to sound like something else. It’s original and honest, making New Junk City a band that you’ll return to over and over again. 

You can stream "Same Places" and grab it via digital download here:-

Vinyl copies can be ordered from Real Ghost Records here -

Saturday 17 November 2018

Crystal Math: Euclid C Finder - Interview + Review

I haven't posted too many interviews up over the last couple of months. This is mainly to do with bands/promoters saying "will you interview my band" and then not bothering to respond when I've taking time to send them questions. That's not a moan (even though it might look like it is) but it's taught me a valuable lesson about picking and choosing who to interview from now on.

Thankfully, Baltimore math/grind project Euclid C Finder not only agreed to answer my questions but also sent them back to me, and quickly! A shining example of a band giving a shit about what they do. This interview was set up to coincide with the release of the band's new "Self-Titled" EP, which has been co-released with David Norman's Zegema Beach Records. Thanks to David for suggesting this and ECF for the time and for being awesome. Read on...

Where did the name Euclid C Finder come from?

Euclid C Finder is named after a gun from the video game Fallout: New Vegas, called “Euclid’s C-Finder.” I chose the name for it’s reference to the founder of geometry. I’m currently finishing up an undergraduate degree in mathematics and I wanted to pay tribute to a great mathematician. I modified it slightly to sound more like a person’s name since I knew this would be a solo project.  

Euclid is a solo project. Do you prefer the artistic control of being a solo project and do you think you’ll play live in your current form, as opposed to with a full band?

Being in a solo project of this kind has its ups and downs. The biggest upside is the rate at which I’ve been able to write, record, and release music. I’ve put out more music this year than most other bands I’ve been in have in their entire careers, and that was while being a full time student and working part time. The downside is having to juggle all of the different roles present in a band. There’s no team to divide up tasks among, or to split costs with.

As far as playing live, I hope to be up and running sometime this winter. I plan on keeping it a two or three piece for live shows, but I’m still trying to iron out what those roles will be and how extensively they’ll be involved in the creative process.

I’ve seen your music described as “false grind”. While I hate getting too deep into genre specifics, what does that term mean?

This is a difficult one to pin down. False grind is one of my favorite genres of music. I think the origin of the term is metalcore kids in the mid 2000s not knowing what to call some of the crazier heavier metalcore, so they just called it grindcore. Then, old grind fogies got mad at metalcore kids and started calling it false grind or scene grind. My favorite term for the genre is white belt. To me, it’s a mix of mathcore, screamo, and metalcore that emphasizes dissonance, blast beats, and breakdowns, but could also be more eclectic and contain pop rock passages, jazzy parts, and lots of other seemingly out of place elements. It’s actually pretty broad as a subgenre. When I hear the term false grind, my first thought is The Sawtooth Grin’s Cuddlemonster EP, a very formative album for me. That to me is the definitive “false grind” album. 

Your latest Self-Titled EP has been co-released on tape with Zegema Beach Records. What is your favourite physical medium for releasing music and why?

Definitely vinyl. I’ve only been a part of a single vinyl release before, and it was substantially more expensive than other options, but the end product is so amazing. I love the large surface for artwork and the different coloring possibilities for the record itself, but the best part is the fact that your music is literally carved into the record. It’s such a physical tangible thing, and it forces you to sit down and enjoy a whole album from front to back (or at least a side at a time), and I absolutely love that. Like, you can give an LP a straight up hug. In the future, I hope to be a part of more vinyl releases. That said, cassettes are great too for many of the same reasons. I avoid buying CDs unless that’s the only medium available.

You have a social media presence and your music has been championed on Mathcore Index’s Mathcast, as well as on other sites. Do you find that you’re reaching more people because of this or do you find you’re having to work harder yourself to promote your music?

I owe so much to all of the different sites that have promoted my music. I'm a fairly quiet and private person, and it can be difficult for me to communicate, especially online, so they have definitely helped me reach a lot more people than I could on my own. A lot of the sites that have promoted me are also mediums I use to find new music, and it’s very rewarding to see my music featured on them. 

Baltimore, Maryland has quite a rich musical heritage when it comes to heavy music, especially with festivals like Maryland Death Fest and the like. What’s it like in terms of screamo and grind?

There’s definitely a large scene here for traditional grindcore, but I’m not really a part of it. My favorite Baltimore grind band is Triac. They’ve been around for years, and I have a lot of fond memories of seeing them live and listening to their records. I caught them in DC this past January playing a reunion show for Enemy Soil and they still sound great. As for screamo, I think that scene moves in waves more. A lot of well established DIY venues either closed or got shut down over the past few years, but thankfully some new alternatives are starting to pop up. Overall though I think it’s a pretty solid scene. The past few shows I’ve been too have been excellent and had a great energy. There’s a few releases I’m excited to hear coming soon.

How did you first get into heavy fast music? Most people I know started out listening to chart music and then found bands through friends, etc. What it the same for you?

I definitely started out listening to chart music. When I was growing up, my mom listened to a lot of 90s alternative rock radio, but she would also play older stuff like Black Sabbath, so I was into a lot of that kind of music from a very young age. The first band I was huge into was KoRn, which I think has a lot to do with the kind of music I play today, just from the amount of dissonance in some of their songs. I later got into thrash metal for a while, and eventually got into my first metalcore band when I saw an Eighteen Visions music video. Around the same time, a friend recommended The Dillinger Escape Plan to me. He basically just said that it had the craziest guitar playing he ever heard. I picked up Miss Machine the day it came out without hearing a single song first, and it absolutely blew me away. After that I was obsessed with finding the nastiest craziest stuff I could, and discovered so many adjacent genres through that search, including traditional grindcore and screamo. At that point I started to find most music through the internet. It was a really great time.

I get writer’s block quite often, especially when trying to write interview questions (hence the random nature of the ones above). As a musician and song-writer how do you cope with it?

Usually if I feel really stuck on a song, I'll try to finish it the best I can and let it be what it is. It sounds counter intuitive, but I try not to worry about writing a “good" song when I'm writing and try to just let it be whatever it's going to be. If I end up not enjoying it as much, it won't get used, and I’ll just cannibalize the good parts for new songs. I’m a terrible riff farmer like that. With lyrics though I take a different approach. Lyrics are so hard for me, and I get stuck a lot on them. I think I said it earlier but I have a very hard time vocalizing my thoughts and feelings. To cope, I end up spending more time editing what I’ve already written than writing new lines. Usually I spend a few weeks writing lyrics for a song, with lots of down time. I think the down time helps. Sometimes you need to walk away and forget about something, and when you come back, you might have a new approach you never would have considered before.

Read on for the the review...

Labels:Self-Released/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 08 Oct 2018


1. If You Pray You Get Your Way
2. If You Hope The Answer's Nope
3. A Rumination Of Empty Years
4. Dr. Cloudshouter's Secret Weapon
5. Aesthetic Distance
6. Dead Soundboy

I’d just like to say that I don’t condone illegal drug use, so apologies if you think the title of this piece has connotations. I chose it because I ‘thought’ it was clever and besides, who needs illegal drugs when you’ve got music like this. Fast, grinding, dissonant music should release enough serotonin on its own. Opener If You Pray You Get Your Way is exactly as described above. Ridiculous riffs fight for space with fast blasting percussion and incoherent screams. The breakdown/slower section (delete as applicable) towards the end shows Euclid’s hardcore influence in powerful fashion.

The chaotic feeling is exacerbated during If You Hope The Answer’s Nope, as the rhythms and layers of guitar get crazier. That being said, there is a lot of traditional musical structure if you listen intently. For people who tag this stuff as just noise, you’re sadly wrong and feel sorry for you. Euclid doesn’t play traditional grind, instead focusing on something more modern and with more taken from metal and hardcore’s many other genres, as well as the likes of jazz and rock. A Rumination On Empty Years illustrates that with grind passages interjected with alternative sections with spoken-word, off-kilter riffs and breakdowns. It’s all going on.

Repeat listens are most definitely recommended here, as there’s so much to take in amongst these six tracks. Dr. Cloudshouter’s Secret Weapon is brimming with urgency. It’s no wonder that Euclid only works in short blasts, as if these songs were any longer they’d probably burn out. The instant smack to the face of Aesthetic Distance is no relief at all but it does exhibit more of the band’s musical intelligence and song-writing ability, with Euclid going to the effort to place brief interludes and time changes in between the mathgrind, so it doesn’t just descend into something too enduring (not that this is in anyway an endurance test).

Rounding out with Dead Soundboy, the discordant/dissonant guitars finally bury themselves in your head and the infectious release you get from the music is almost overpowering. There’s so many reasons to throw away your prejudices to the modern math/grind scene (of you have any) and Euclid C Finder could open so many doors if you do. Forget all of the genre posturing and have fun. That’s what this is all about. 

Stream the EP and grab it on either tape or as a name-your-price download below:-

The tape version that's been co-released with Zegema Beach Records includes Euclid's first album "A Standard Basis For The Set Of All Discontent" on the b-side.

It's available from Zegema Beach Records via the links below:-

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 -

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:-