Sunday, 9 December 2018

Skelethal/Cadaveric Fumes - Heirs Of Hideous Secrecies Split 7"


Labels: Hells Headbangers
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 30 Nov 2018

Tracklist:

1. Cadaveric Fumes - The Spectral Parade
2. Cadaveric Fumes - Necromancy Sublime
3. Skelethal - Emerging From The Ethereal Threshhold
4. Skelethal - Torrents Of Putrefying Viscosity

I always told myself I wouldn't write if I couldn't think of anything to start my review off with; however, I think conveying a bit of humanity is a good thing as it shows I'm not just a robot when it comes to this. Anyway, this is the latest split 7" from French death metal bands Skelethal and Cadaveric Fumes. It was released at the end of November via Hells Headbangers and despite the sheer amount of strong death metal that's already been unleashed this year, this is a split of pretty mighty proportions. 

First up you have the old-school sounds of Cadaveric Fumes and The Spectral Parade may sound like a feel-good punk song during the intro but it soon twists itself into a dark and gloomy mid-paced death metal piece with the blues/jazz riffs that could only come from France. It’s stellar. Necromancy Sublime is equally as rich in disgusting death, with uptempo verses and lowly doom-like passages in-between. I’d love to know where Cadaveric Fumes get that weird guitar tone from because it reminds me of Voivod at times. If you’re a devout follower of death metal then you’ll no doubt already be familiar with Cadaveric Fumes but if not, give them your time as they’re fantastic.

Skelethal may only be a duo but their sound is thick and noisy, as Emerging From The Ethereal Threshold demonstrates. The menace is strong here but once again it thrashes hard. The screeching guitar solo mid-way through it delivered with precision as well. Epic madness takes over! There’s no time for breath as the instant smash of the brilliantly titled Torrents Of Putrefying Viscosity drags you through Skelethal’s pyre and on to certain death. There is technicality here but it’s tasteful. Nothing about their sound is staid and like Cadaveric Fumes, you’ve got to immerse yourself in it. 

This split is great with both bands presenting themselves in the best possible way. We all know that death metal is alive and well but the sheer variation across the genre is what truly surprises. Old-school death is where that variation seems to be in the rudest of health and both Cadaveric Fumes and Skelethal are writing a new chapter for the French underground. 

You can stream "Heirs Of Hideous Secrecies" below via Hells Headbangers, where you can also grab it on vinyl or as a digital download:-



Friday, 7 December 2018

Young Mountain - Lost Tree


Labels: Dasein Records/Hardcore For The Losers/Miss The Stars Records/Pundonor Records/Through Love Records/Zegema Beach Records/Blade Records/Cactus Tapes/No Funeral Records
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 05 Sep 2018

Tracklist:

1. Asunder, To Eye Each Other
2. The Sun Is Away
3. ////////////////
4. Misery
5. Juni
6. Vacant Eyes
7. Lost Tree
8. I Flew Above Your House Last Night

I love this part of the week and thankfully I only have one more full week of work before a much needed break. To let loose I've decided to blast some good old Swedish hardcore in the form of Young Mountain and their September 2018 full-length "Lost Tree. It was released by a whole host of collaborating record labels and even though it's been out a little while at this point, a bit more column space wont't hurt! 

It’s so nice to sink into the familiar sounds of emotive and atmospheric Swedish hardcore once again. The Swede’s have crafted their own sound over recent years and Young Mountain are faithful practitioners of it. Opening with Asunder, To Eye Each Other you’re greeted with cinematic and slow instrumentation, with jarring but heartfelt screams and subtle melody. Just to prevent any chance of the listener settling into a groove, Young Mountain go in a more grunge/emo direction on The Sun Is Away. It shows a sensitive side that’s removed from the heaviness, even if that heaviness is affirming in it’s own right.

The mysteriously titled //////////////// sees YM going back to their hardcore sound, but this time adding in introspective guitar passages and moments of loving calm. Those moments of calm make the abrasive sections even more epic in my opinion. Misery isn’t necessarily a miserable song, instead it’s stripped down and soothing. This record has many twists and turns but they seem to flow together effortlessly, which is another selling point for both YM and “Lost Tree”. YM’s screamo influence is greater during Juni and the longer playing time allows the band to spread themselves out a bit more musically. The atmosphere within their song-writing and performance is clearer to see and hear for sure. Just when you thought the record couldn’t vary itself anymore, Vacant Eyes is delivered amidst raging black metal-style vocals and off-kilter guitar work with a hint of blues. It’s fucking great.

The title-track is a beautifully crafted song with layers of instrumentation that give you a short time for rest and reflection. It does seems as though there could be a crescendo of dissonant riffs at any time but YM restrains themselves for a few moments at least. More ambient than an assault, with softer vocals before it builds in volume and feedback to something that you could shout along too, involuntarily from the top of your lungs. As if that song wasn’t enough, album closer I Flew Above Your House Last Night does it all over again. This time with one last massive blast of distant hardcore. While my reference point for this sound will always be Totem Skin; since their demise, there’s definitely room for another and Young Mountain may not be as caustic initially, but they’re just as real and just as damn good!

You can stream and purchase "Lost Tree" digitally from Young Mountain below:-




You can grab physical copies from the below labels:-

Hardcore For The Losers - http://hc4lzs.blogspot.com/
Through Love Records - http://throughloverec.tictail.com
No Funeral Records - http://nofuneral.storenvy.com

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Agathocles/Eristetyt - Split


Labels: Here And Now! Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 17 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. Agathocles - Unlock The Door
2. Agathocles - Rabid Dog
3. Agathocles - Doodookai
4. Eristetyt - Kokonaan Pois
5. Eristetyt - Vihapueaparat
6. Eristetyt - Podelliset Raiskaajat
7. Eristetyt - Natsiapara 2016

Everybody knows of Belgian mincecore lifers Agathocles (or a least you should do. They've been spewing out fast, political grind for over 30 years now. Eristetyt is a hardcore punk band from Finland that's been putting out music for just as long, though with less of a stacked discography (though the band has still released four full-lengths). Both bands joined forces on this split, which was released by Italian label Here And Now! Records in October. 

After all the time that I’ve been plugging away at this, I still can’t believe this is the first I’ve featured a release by Agathocles. Besides Nunslaughter, they’re probably the most prolific band still playing and releasing music, at least in extreme metal anyway. Their Metal Archives page lists over 20 releases in 2018 alone! They commit three tracks to this split and they’re just as raw and fast as they’ve always been. Unlock The Door is a raging, metallic blast of grind and riffs. The collage of punk and mincecore of Rabid Dog contains a slight hint of powerviolence but there’s nothing complicated about it. Just good old-fashioned thrashin. Their final song Doodookai has mass headbangabilty (if that’s even a word). Their songs may be short but there’s plenty of time to give yourself whiplash.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Finnish hardcore punks Eristetyt but their sound is a perfect addition to this split. Kokonaan Pois is crusty but also upbeat, which seems to be the calling card of many Finnish fast bands. The dual-vocals set it off nicely, as does the feedback and screeching solo. There’s a brief pause before Vihapueaparat, which is no slouch and thanks to the Finnish lyrics and chaotic delivery, Eristetyt seem to increase in momentum. The music’s obviously rooted in punk and it’s all the better for it, especially on Podelliset Raiskaajat. Eristetyt’s final song Natsiapara 2016 is furious and ends the split on a high. Their metallic sound, emblazoned with crashing cymbals will leave ringing in your ears for days.

This split once again proves how great this format is. In Agathocles, you get seasoned veterans doing what they do best and Eristetyt, while also being vets in their own right, will no doubt use it to win over a while host of new fans with their raw punk.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally via Here And Now! Records below:-



You can also purchase the 7" above.


I'm unable to find any page for Eristetyt. Please drop me a link if you know of one!

Monday, 3 December 2018

Vanilla Poppers - I Like Your Band 7"


Labels: Drunken Sailor Records/Feel It Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 28 Sep 2018

Tracklist:

1. Get Away From Me
2. Stranger
3. I'm An Adult Baby
4. I Like Your Band

I'm starting to get my mojo back (in writing terms anyway) and feeling more inspired by the music that is sent to me, so the aim is to crank out more reviews over the next week or so. With it being a Monday, I figured you all could do with a pick me up (god knows I need one). That's where Cleveland, Ohio's Vanilla Poppers come in. The band recently released a four-track 7" via UK punk label Drunken Sailor Records and US counterparts Feel It Records. I'm afraid I don't know too much else about the band, though vocalist Christina Pap is originally from Australia and they recently toured Europe and the UK.

This is riot-grrrl punk mixed with hardcore-punk anger and pop-hooks. Get Away From Me is a quickfire opening song and it more than sets the tone for both this EP and for Vanilla Poppers themselves. The vocals are shouted but audible, which is where the band’s hardcore influence comes in. Stranger is raucous yet you could also party to it quite easily.

I’m An Adult Baby could well be the sound of somebody having a full-on meltdown, just like a kid might in the aisle of a supermarket. Its great fun! The title-track at the end of the EP captures Vanilla Poppers are their wildest and it’s a belligerent performance that will burst eardrums no problem. This is just great, loud punk with instrumentation and vocals that keep things simple. Just turn it on, turn it up and don’t give in!

You can stream "I Like Your Band" and purchase it digitally below:-



Physical copies of the EP can be picked up from the links below:-

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Master Boot Record - Virus.DOS


Labels: Blood Music
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 02 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. V-Sign
2. Skynet
3. Walker
4. Elvira
5. Virdem
6. Mars
7. Crash

Technology is a divisive subject nowadays. It's been used in recent times to synthesise metal music, which to me seemed weird when I first came across it; however, that was before I discovered Master Boot Record. As much as the purist in me wants to call foul, I've really enjoyed what I've heard by the project and the fact that MBR is now a live two-piece only sweetens the deal, as it makes the music more human (if that's possible). Anyway, the project's newest offering "Virus.DOS" was released digitally via Blood Music in October. This review is written out of appreciation for MBR and with that in mind, I probably won't be featuring any other synthwave/chip-tune music on the blog.

There’s something about MBR that’s caught my imagination lately and alongside the stupid “Deep Web” Youtube videos I’ve found myself watching, I’ve been a bit hooked on the band. It’s a bit of a departure for me but I’m embracing it just this once. The only problem i’ve been facing is how to adequately describe MBR’s music in writing. “Virus.DOS” is no different to the project’s previous work, where synthesisers have taken centre stage with back up from programmed percussion. Album opener V-Sign is a short intro piece, making use of the upbeat nature of the music to get pulses rising. It seems to me that MBR would sit neatly alongside more extreme bands on a festival bill with no problem at all. That thought is evidenced by Skynet, which sounds more extreme in a cyber-grind/industrial kind of way. It’s ambient and atmospheric as well as being fast in tempo, while the 80s sci-fi influence is strong. 

There’s more melody present on Walker, which subtracts the rave-like textures of Skynet and replaces them with neo-classical music and layers of noise that are quite mesmeric. It’s split into movements that are separated by brief moments of silence. The second movement of Walker grows in technicality with a beat that’s akin to dub-step in the background. The music on “Virus.DOS” does take on a more sinister form as MBR progresses through the record. Elvira takes on the horror-film vibe and turns it up with the use of ridiculous amounts of synths and energy. it’s so hard to describe it properly as it’s something you need to listen too to fully grasp. The goth/industrial dance mayhem is back on Virdem and even though describing it as such is doing the song a disservice, there are moments where it would make complete sense for this to be blasting over the dancefloor of a dark and sweaty alternative nightclub. There’s more of an unnerving and twisted plot to the music than  that of earlier release “Interrupt Request” (which has been my main reference point). 

There are still some truly uplifting moments here though and Mars is one of them, with its cinematic melody that sits at the top of the song’s opening bars. It gives way to a verse that again ventures further into the neo-classical/symphonic side of MBR’s being but it’s no less enjoyable because of that. Fun is definitely a word you can use to describe this record, in a genuine way. It’s both heavy and safe for the norms. Ending with Crash, which is similarly as energising as the album’s opener, it’s hard to fully comprehend what’s just happened. Alongside the programmed drums, there is some virtuoso synth work that can be heard. It’s as close to technical, progressive metal as you can get without really being categorised as such and it acts as a great crossover or gateway album. Chances are that if you’re reading this review then you already know and love MBR and I’m just preaching to the converted. If not, then at least give it a chance. 

Stream and purchase "Virus.DOS" as a name-your-price download below:-



Omegavortex - Promo 2018


Labels: Self-Released/Ancient Spirit Terror
Formats: Digital/Tape
Release Date: 13 Jul 2018

Tracklist:

1. Omega Spheres
2. Gateways
3. Black Abomination Spawn
4. Dark Matter

This is the latest promo from German black/death metal band Omegavortex (previously known as Ambevilence). After the formation of their previous incarnation in 2007, a demo and an EP were released in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Then came a name change last year and Omegavortex was born. With the potential for a full-length album in the near the future, this promo acts as a taster for that and for the band's (debut?) live appearance at Unholy Metal Mayhem Festival in Oberhausen (Germany) next March.

Haunting ambience greets you as Omega Spheres begins. It’s soon replace by metallic black/death metal that rages and the blackened shrieks are stomach churning (in a good way). Both the guitar and drum work is technical and fast, with very few moments of peace and introspection. Omegavortex’s MO is clearly to write and perform extreme music that’s as dark as it can get and Gateways proves this, as the band once again launches into a scathingly intense black metal song. It’s tempo is furious and drives their momentum forward with no chance of anybody getting in their way. 

Their lengthy compositions are meant to be challenging and uncomfortable. Black Abomination Spawn adds progression and changing time-signatures to the band’s arsenal with no effect on the barbarity of the music. At near seven-minutes it is long but it’ll keep you hooked till the very end. That progression continues into last song Dark Matter, where the double-bass drumming reaches powerful levels and the gloom created by the wall of guitar riffs is palpable to say the least. It’s the most menacing song on this Promo without a shadow of a doubt. This whole promo is unrelenting and Omegavortex will certainly be a force to be reckoned with when they release their full-length record.

You can stream and purchase Omegavortex's "Promo 2018" digitally below:-



A repress of the tape version has been released by Ancient Spirit Terror and order enquiries can be made via - ancientspiritterror@yahoo.de.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Harmony And Consumption

I was preparing a review earlier, which will be up tomorrow but while I was doing that I was thinking about a conversation I had last week over a meal with family. That conversation was about why I don't have Spotify and instead have a wall of cd's, tapes and vinyl records. I unsuccessfully tried to justify the way I consume music and it's been annoying me ever since, so I felt it was a prime subject for a discussion post.

Annoying is a strong descriptor but while said family member tried to sell me the pros of Spotify as the monthly digital subscription service it is, I felt something stir inside and I realised (rightly or wrongly) that it had something to do with musical tastes. As my own tastes have evolved within the confines of metal and punk music, trying to explain it to somebody whose unfamiliar with the genres and indeed never had a "metal phase" as a teenager, I was fighting a losing battle.

There are DIY movements within most genres of music for sure but none are more tangible to me than in metal and punk. When you pick up a record or a piece of merch from a band you know the money is going straight to them, instead of it taking 1 million streams for them to receive 0.03p in royalties or whatever the rate is. Even going into a bricks and mortar record store still feels special to me. Crate digging is a joy when you have no idea what's nestling in the racks. Being able to hold the record, pour over the artwork and discuss it with shop owners/staff is part of the whole experience.

When I bought the first cd that formed the basis of my collection at 15 years old, I had no idea that it would spark a passion that would still be burning inside me at the age of 32. There will always be those who say that Digital is better and while MP3s make sense (heck, most of my review material comes in digital form), for me you'll never be able to beat a physical copy of that music you love.

Feel you free to share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you.