Thursday, 21 November 2019

Earthbound - Desolate EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 11 Oct 2019

Tracklist:

1. Of Suffering
2. Solitude
3. Worlds Apart
4. Remnants

I've been looking forward to doing this all day. The day job is hard, especially mentally, so it's nice to be able to let go. Earthbound only recently came onto my radar and "Desolate" is the Southern  England quintet's second EP in two years. They're more experienced than you might think for a band with just two EPs to their name, having played at Bloodstock Festival last year, as well as supporting Doyle (of Misfits fame) that same too. Live shows are a big part of any band's life and Earthbound have certainly done their fair share so far. 

Proper riffs and a full-on metal attack is what you get from Earthbound. They have influences that cover the likes of Soilwork and Trivium and actually they’re not too far off when you hear opener Of Suffering. The melodic choruses are great and it all manages to sound British, as opposed to overly American. Earthbound weaves really heartfelt and beautiful tones into Solitude, especially thanks to the orchestral elements and clean singing, It will be a departure from their opener for some but that’s okay. They do inject it with some heaviness during the latter half but it fits the overall song really well and doesn’t take away from what they’re trying to convey. 

Their use of other musical elements within these songs adds an extra edge to the EP and Worlds Apart sees them going in a direction that’s akin to the likes of Amon Amarth and Dark Tranquillity, albeit subtly. There’s a Norse tone to the music and the melody once again adds to that. The twin-guitars are so lush on here, it’s hard not to be moved by them. EP closer Remnants rages with full-throttle death and thrash. Old school in a good way and something that’s been missing from the UK underground metal scene for a while I think. This one and Worlds Apart are lengthier tracks and the momentum they create is exactly what is needed on a short EP like this.

Earthbound are brilliant. They’re more deeply rooted in heavy metal as opposed to hardcore or progressive metal, so their sound is simpler and more direct. They perform really strongly on “Desolate”, so much so that a full-length album can’t be far off for them. They certainly sound assured enough to make the next step and you better be there when they do. 

You could stream "Desolate" via Spotify though correct if I'm wrong, but the band will get more money if you purchase a digital copy from their Bandcamp page, which you can do below:-



Sunday, 17 November 2019

The World Without Us - Incarnate EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 25 Oct 2019

Tracklist:

1. Listen In Obsidian
2. Man-Sized Hail
3. Things To Tell The Press
4. I Am The Mist

As I wearily looked through my e-mails earlier this morning, I wondered if I was even going to be able to focus long enough to write a review and then I saw the cover art for "Incarnate"by The World Without Us and they opened widely. The colours and the design immediately caught my attention. This is the debut EP from the US quintet (based in West Chester, Pennsylvania), who play modern progressive metal. 

The opening bars of this EP are certainly dramatic. Listen To Obsidian starts with melodic guitar and singing, with percussion that slowly builds with the song. At the mid-point the full-band comes to life but instead of an all-out attack on the senses, The World Without Us hold back slightly longer. Their true heaviness comes out towards the end. After the mid-paced opener, Man-Sized Hail gets the blood pumping with it’s Southern rock n roll swagger and stop/start approach. From their it descends into proper technical death metal territory. Musically impressive, The World Without Us keep you guessing.

They get more upbeat still on Things To Tell The Press, which incorporates hardcore into the mix. The technical metal isn’t far away though and the extensive soloing reminds you that they’re musicians first and foremost. That might seem like a bit of an obvious thing to say, but in modern music you’ve either got musicians or entertainers (musicians can entertain, but entertainers aren’t necessarily good musicians). EP closer I Am The Mist is straight-up heavy from the get go. It’s a proper metal song with soaring clean vocals and harsh growls. The music that sits behind is drowned out slightly but that’s a small thing and not worth worrying about.

The World Without Us are very talented and this is a great debut. It’ll be good to keep an eye on their progression (sorry!). Settling on a sound takes time but they’ve hit the ground running and will grow and grow for sure.

You can stream "Incarnate" and buy it digitally below:-



Friday, 15 November 2019

The Heartland - The Stars Outnumber The Dead (Repress)


Labels: Creep Records/Wax Vessel
Formats: CD/Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 29 May 07/21 June 2019

Tracklist:

1. The Goddess Did Not Produce A Shadow
2. The Blue Period
3. I'm Not Wearing A Belt To NY
4. Ms. Elanious
5. You And Me, Were Monsters
6. Tackle The Monster
7. $150 Worth Of Tarantulas
8. It's Your Haunted Chair...You Drag It
9. If We Take This Any Slower, We'll Have To Speed Up To Stop
10. The Coliseum

I write this knowing that I've still got to begin writing my full-length feature on the resurgence of Myspace Grind etc. In between writing my review of Wax Vessel's first repress, "The Dead Sleep Like Us For A Reason" by Destroyer Destroyer and this, I've received both LPs in the post and I couldn't be happier. The Heartland repress that I ordered came on clear vinyl with a red centreburst and black splatter, foil stamped (I got number 47). It also came on a red/black swirl as well. Limited to 200 copies, with 15 test presses and 4 special band-only copies. It all started in 2006 for The Heartland with "Two American Kids Growing Up" before "The Stars Outnumber The Dead"  in 2007 and they followed it with "Frontier" in 2009. That's all I know, so if there was any other music, please let me know.

This is exactly what the doctor ordered! Intense and technical grind/metal with all kinds of everything going on. The Goddess Did Not Produce A Shadow kicks things off in fast and loose styles with crazy riffs, ever-changing percussion and a hazy mix of low and high-pitched vocal growls. Things don’t get any more sensible on The Blue Period, which has a disturbing hint of deathcore to it, before The Heartland’s experimentation puts pay to that. 

There’s a subtle simplicity to I’m Not Wearing A Belt To NY given the madness of the opening duo, but what it’s lack in full-throttle heaviness it makes up for in creativity and clever song-writing. Heck, there’s even an indie-like passage with clean singing and danceable melody. The Heartland certainly wasn’t a one-trick pony, that’s for sure. The off-kilter jazz-like riffs are back on Ms. Elanious, which includes some of the best musical phrasing I’ve heard since I realised Myspace grind was a thing. I like traditional grind but this has something more (feel free to call me a heathen if you want to!). 

If you think that grind is all about thirty-second songs as well, you’d be wrong as The Heartland demonstrates. You And Me, Were Monsters breaches the five-minute mark (like Ms. Elanious before it) and it starts with melodic guitar that Fleetwood Mac would be proud of. It’s instrumental and it splits up the album well, even if people may be yearning for the momentum to carry on. Tackle The Monster gives a huge dose of Southern flair, as if they’d got into bed with Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster or something. They don’t go redneck on you though and still manage to create a song that’s both emotive and fun. 

$150 Worth Of Tarantulas isn’t quite as terrifying as it’s name would suggest, though it is pretty insane for all the right reasons. I had never heard of The Heartland before this repress, but I love discovering obscure bands whether they’re old or new, so this is right up my alley. Hopefully you’ll agree too. For some reason It’s Your Haunted Chair…You Drag It reminds me of my office. Don’t know why, but it might be due to the unpredictability of the song. It’s only short but it’s more than enough.

If that previous number was short, then If We Take This Any Slower, We’ll Have To Speed Up To Stop goes by in the blink of an eye (almost). Album closer The Coliseum starts with the laid-back approach you’d expect. You get another instrumental that’s moody and emotive, just as You And Me, Were Monsters was. It rounds out a record that’s a really varied listen, certainly more-so than I was expecting. It’s awesome that people and labels want to unearth bands like The Heartland. Bringing them to the attention of people who might’ve never of heard them is a great thing, for both the band and the music as a whole. 

You can stream "The Stars Outnumber The Dead" and purchase a super cheap digital download from Pattern Recognition Records (which helped to distribute this repress) below:-



The LP versions are completely sold out.


Sunday, 10 November 2019

Harrowed - Chaotic Nonentity


Labels: Feast Of Tentacles/SuperFi Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 18 Oct 2019

Tracklist:-

1. Stark Terrors
2. Postmodern Prison
3. One Hundred Years
4. Disconnexion
5. Inauthenticide
6. Derelict
7. Living Unknown
8. Interlude I
9. Coward
10. Interlude II
11. Disused Limbs
12. Chaotic Nonentity

The burden weighs heavy. Not that listening to the new release from Harrowed is a burden, It's just been a long week. This is the first new music to come from the Kent heavy hardcore band since their 2013 debut full-length "Into Inferno" and it couldn't be more apt for the current social climate. It was release last month by two of the UK's longest running DIY labels, Feast Of Tentacles and SuperFi Records.

I’m hungover. A weekend of excess after another long week has left me feeling a little peaky today. Not sure if this will help or hinder my recovery but I’m willing to take the chance. Harrowed have always been super heavy and on album opener Stark Terrors, they throw all sorts into the mix, from blackened riffs, sludge-like refrains and straight-up dirty hardcore. Great start so far. There’s an assured feel to this record. The riffs that kick off Postmodern Prison are downtempo and negative before the band lurches into a grinding and noisy sub two-minute blast.

One Hundred Years follows quickly after and it’s thrashing backbone is joined by a lovely solo and clever time-changes, alongside those scathing vocals that seem to pierce your very being. I’m struggling with words and typing today, so apologies if this review reads weird at times. Harrowed delivers one of their longest songs in Disconnexion and it’s one where the percussion really shines. The drumming is authoritative, as it is throughout the album, but alongside the stripped back structure, it comes to the fore. It carries their sludge influence too, which adds to that feeling of dread and claustrophobia that the record presents.

When listening to Inauthenticide, it’s easy to understand why it took Harrowed six years to follow “Into Inferno”. There’s a swagger to the music, but not in a cocky sense and the instrumentation seems to be on another level. The songs are short but seem long and contain a lot of music, if you get what I mean. The quiet build-up to Derelict is a misnomer because no sooner have you sunk into it’s warming tones, that it jumps into life again with dissonant misery. At this point and despite the genre influences I’ve already mentioned above, I think this could well be the evolution of what was metalcore, before that particular sub-genre went south. It’s about time good metalcore (like Shai Hulud and Blood Has Been Shed etc, made a comeback). 

The misery mentioned earlier continues during Living Unknown, which drags you into the second half of “Chaotic Nonentity”.  At this point Harrowed decides to throw in an interlude, but calling Interlude I such a thing is a bit unfair. It’s an extremely solid instrumental hardcore song and it’s the perfect bookend for Coward, which comes and goes in a whirlwind of grinding ferocity and thick breakdowns. Interlude II is haunting with it’s spoken-word sample and uneasy instrumentation. The blackened screams on penultimate song Disused Limbs are disconcerting but this is Harrowed back at their heavy best and as the title-track concludes “Chaotic Nonentity” with up-tempo chaos and pummelling drumming, it’s like they’ve rolled everything from the album into one song. 

This record is concise, really well-written and performed. It’s gritty but also enjoyable. Listen to it in it’s entirety and you’ll be hooked, as it’s not one that you should dip in and out of. 2019 is still giving birth to awesome records.

You can stream "Chaotic Nonentity" and purchase it digitally below:-




You can buy LP copies from the labels below:-


Sunday, 3 November 2019

Foxmoulder/Coma Regalia - Split 5"


Labels: Boslevan Records/Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 22 Mar 2014 (roughly)

Tracklist: 

1. Foxmoulder - Pine
2. Coma Regalia - Suffering/Anger/Peace

I'm trying to keep the content coming, so here's another dive into the discography of awesomness that Zegema Beach Records has either released or helped to release. This split 5" goes all the way back to 2014 and features Foxmoulder and Coma Regalia, two bands that don't really need an introduction. This was Foxmoulder's penultimate release, while for Coma Regalia it's one in a long line of vinyl releases of varying sizes. It was released with the help of Boslevan Records, Middle-Man Records and Zegema Beach Records, and was limited to 500 copies altogether with 50 featuring fluorescent ink on the covers and 450 with normal ink. I've said the R word way too many times in this paragraph.

This split is small in size but musically it’s more than big enough. Foxmoulder’s Pine is a fine slab of screamo in their usual vein, with melodic riffs, furious drums and vocals that feed off the emotion in the song. It’s over all to quickly but the melodies will stay with you. Foxmoulder’s sound is quite expansive and even on this format, it shows.

Coma Regalia manages to fit three songs into the same running-time. Suffering begins without any such intro and is filled with angry hardcore and emo-violence, but with a big cinematic side as well. After a brief rest, Anger comes and goes within seconds and leads to the aptly titled Peace, which is an instrumental outro that brings just that.

Good things come in small packages and it’s true here. Sometimes, it’s difficult for such releases to leave an impact but both Foxmoulder and Coma Regalia do just that. It may be over five years since it’s release, but unbelievably there are still copies available, which I’ll link to below. If you’re a fan of hardcore, screamo, emo or anything then a copy up.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally and physically from Middle-Man Records below:-



You can also still get copies from Zegema Beach Records below:-


Friday, 1 November 2019

Black Fucking Cancer/Gloam - Boundless Arcane Invokations


Labels: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Formats: Vinyl Digital
Release Date: 13 Sep 2019

Tracklist:

1. Black Fucking Cancer - Boundless Arcane Invokation
2. Gloam - Boundless Arcane Invokation

I have no will to be sociable this evening, mainly due to the dank gloomy night outside and the constant, spontaneous fireworks that are being set off (I'm one of those people who thinks that they should only be used on Bonfire night and New Year's Eve). Instead, I'm delving into this collaborative US black metal split featuring Californian bands Black Fucking Cancer and Gloam. Both offer forth contributions of the same name, both are near or passed the twenty-minute mark and both were recorded in the same studio following the same concept. It was released in September via Sentient Ruin Laboratories on black vinyl (limited to 200 copies) and also digitally.

Straight away, Black Fucking Cancer’s Boundless Arcane Invokation sounds disturbing and chaotic. The instrumentation is shrouded in feedback and noise during the initial build-up, while the vocals are held within the mix, sounding like they’re trying to escape. Of course, that’s only the intro and when the commotion dissipates, you’re greeted with a much clearer form of black metal. What you also get is music that encompasses the best elements of the genre, with an upbeat tempo and swathes of technicality alongside the ever-changing growls and shrieks. The further you get into BFC’s contribution, the more musical and impressive it becomes. Sumptuous solos and constantly changing movements are delivered with ease. Their’s is a blueprint born of black metal that’s more sinister and evil, like those from Scandinavia and Europe in general.

Following on from the engrossing sound of BFC, Gloam’s immediacy is obvious. Their own interpretation of Boundless Arcane Invokation is filled with metallic barbarity and black-thrash undertones. When they strip things back slightly, there’s a mesmerising quality to their music. It’s also technical as well, with off-kilter tempos and progression in the right places. As mentioned earlier on in this paragraph, the metallic guitar work really compliments the song and indeed Gloam's overall sound. There’a certainly a sense that Gloam is coming from the same angle to that of the more orthodox US black metal bands, as opposed to the likes of Wolves In The Throne Room etc, but that’s not unappealing and again, alongside BFC, they provide you with plenty to enjoy. It’s great and rounds out a split that offers up something outside of the norm.

Both Black Fucking Cancer and Gloam are fantastic here. Their kinship is obvious and the music they’ve crafted only makes the bond grow stronger. Black metal may be anti-humanistic and solitary at times but it’s also positive and mind altering. Both bands invoke emotions from both ends of that spectrum and that just goes to show how talented they are.

Stream and purchase "Boundless Arcane Invokations" digitally and on vinyl below:-



Sentient Ruin Laboratories - https://www.facebook.com/SentientRuin/

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Meth Fetish - Meth Fetish EP


Labels: Dry Cough Records/Piss Gargler Records
Formats: CD/Tape/Digital (maybe, though it's not available yet)
Release Date: 01 Nov 2019

Tracklist:

1. Blinded To The Suffering
2. Wasted
3. 200 Ton Self Destruction
4. Incurable
5. Repeated

This is the 40th release from a label whose 1st release was a discography tape by US sludge/doom band Plague Survivors. That piece of detail is important because Meth Fetish is a similarly gnarly sludge band of that ilk. This international duo hasn't been around for very long and this is the band's first utterance, having been self-released in 2018. 

Here goes, a leap into the unknown (sort-of). Far from the drawn-out, festering riffs of the sub-genres current fave’s, Meth Fetish presents a filthy and sometimes death metal-laden take on sludge/doom. Blinded To The Suffering is a bass-heavy opener with crashing percussion and vocal shrieks that sound like they’re made of razors. Screeching feedback is also a fixture as you’d expect and it leads you into Wasted with barely a moment for your ears to rest from the ringing. Wasted feels and sounds a lot more claustrophobic this time, as the duo slows things down. It’s awesome.

The longest song on the EP is very aptly titled 200 Ton Self Destruction and destruction is exactly what Meth Fetish set’s out to achieve…mentally anyway. After it’s lengthy instrumental build-up it becomes more of a groovy beast, albeit one with undertones of menace and misery at it’s core.
Penultimate song Incurable has a minimalist feel to it early on, but with a tempo that seems to have slowed ever since the EP’s first song, it’s not gonna be all bells and whistles is it! Post-metal melodies seem to ring out amongst the feedback and the drumming keeps you guessing as to when it’s going to explode. It’s much more improvisational than you might expect and it never truly does explode, with the vocals coming in at mid-point and an off-kilter vibe flowing though it all.

Without releasing it you’re thrust straight into EP closer Repeated and this is where the gloom really takes hold. The spoken-word sample sets the tone somewhat and what’s left is aural torture of the best kind. It’s getting to that time of year where dusting off those sludge records makes sense. You can add this to the list of releases that will not only keep you warm during the winter months, but will also make others realise trying to socialise with you is futile. A belter of an EP from a band that will certainly become more than just a fetish to many extreme metal fans. 

You can currently stream the full EP via CVLT Nation here:-




Tape copies are officially released via Dry Cough Records this Friday, but you can pre-order your copy here - https://www.drycoughrecords.com.

There's no official word on the CD pressing yet but keep your eyes on Piss Gargler Records here - https://pissgarglerrecords.bandcamp.com/music.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Mental Health In Music: A Musician's Perspective #4 - Reece Thomas (Vocalist, Guitarist & Solo-noise musician)


Here's the latest instalment in my ongoing Mental Health In Music interview series, focusing on musicians within the metal and punk scenes, talking about their own experiences with mental health and what can be done to help people who're struggling. I have a few more on the way and in the planning stages, but for now please take some time to read Reece's perspective. Note: as with the previous interviews, these are not meant to be about the bands but rather the people and their own feelings.

1. The idea of this feature is to talk about the problems that musicians face, especially those in DIY or up-and-coming bands. Would you mind talking about your own experiences with mental health?

A. I’ve struggled with my mental health my entire life. My depression and anxiety has been a constant. Never really feeling like I’ve quite fit, even in music. In my early teens I turned to self destructive methods, trying to gain some sort of control. Severe Anorexia, drugs, cutting etc. My weight has always played a part in it. I used to have to cancel shows because I didn’t even have the energy to stand up without passing out. Music has been a saviour and destroyer. It’s carried me through my lowest possible lows, and sometimes kicked me down there. I got my first Walkman when I was about 6 and have been obsessed with music since. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 12 or 13 only really finding comfort in screamo. 

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2. Being in a band can be an outlet for people to express their feelings and to help them get over certain things in life but do you feel that it can also have a negative effect? If so, what do think these effects can be and are these linked to writing, recording, touring etc?

It definitely can have a negative effect. I found it slightly easier in bands just because you can dissociate yourself from it a bit. When you’re screaming to a room about how you want to die in a band of friends, it’s easier to bare. 

I’ve had a love hate relationship with music. I've been writing as Alocasia Garden for almost 6 years now, that’s a big chunk of “important years”. Everything I’ve gone through has been put into this project. I can look back at releases and think “wow, if I didn’t make that at that time, I would of ended my life”. But that catches up with you and it feels like a dark cloud hangs over my desk. Every time I try to write something, I'm taken back to that mindset that I don’t want to be here. Currently I’m at a point where I need to stay away from it for a while, let that cloud clear a little. With that, there’s always a pressure to keep consistent, in your releasing and performing. Music moves quick. 

I find performing a really big challenge. I’m completely consumed with anxiety and guilt. “I’m no where near as good as the lineup, I don’t deserve this, someone else should be playing, I should just stay at home and never leave”. When that’s running through your head at 1000mph, it gets hard to hear what your playing. 



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3. How do you deal with things now? Have you got any advice for those who are struggling themselves, musician or otherwise?

I'm guilty of putting so much pressure on myself. To stay focused, keep creating. But sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Don’t force it. If you want to stop, stop. Don’t feel guilty. Your productivity doesn’t determine your worth. I’m getting better with that now. I think it’s common for musicians (especially solo artists) to hold on so much with a fear of letting go, even for a minute. A fear of loosing your place. There’s new music and labels every day, some people just instantly click. But it’s totally fine to take a break, or even just stop entirely. If you make sure you’re doing what you want to be doing on your terms, everything will be fine. Make time for yourself. 

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4. What more do you think can be done in the underground scene or even the wider music scene to support people who may be struggling?

Just listen. Make it known you’re there for your friends, for strangers. Keep being honest with yourself. What am I doing to help? How can I do more? What am I doing to make a difference? What do I need? It’s amazing how much of an impact those questions can have when you start acting on them. When times are tough, know it will pass. 


Thanks go out to Reece for taking the time to answer these questions and for speaking so honestly about his experiences. I'm not posting a charity link up this time, as I realise that donating to charities are a matter of personal preference. 

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Corroder - Instinct 7"


Labels: Ramekuukkeli-Levyt/Several Casualties Productions/Tuhkaa & Paskaa Esittaa Records
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 01 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Join Us
2. Ecumence
3. Scum
4. Deathwish
5. A Long Day
6. Valid Argument

Back in August I wrote about Corroder's 7" "Doctrine" that forms one half of the double 7" release that also includes "Instinct". Released in May of this year, it's been the first music I've heard by this Finnish hardcore/sludge band and given their lack of Internet presence, that music does the talking. Unlike a lot of Finnish bands that I've featured here, their lyrics are in English. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my earlier review or not.

As with “Doctrine”, “Instinct” is another short but heavy affair, with EP opener Join Us kicking off with no warning. Corroder’s crusty hardcore sound is overwhelming. Ecumence is even faster and there are subtle signs of sludge floating around the band’s feet, amid the blasting and noisy riffs. Scum follows up as the last song on the a-side in a more claustrophobic manner at first, before Corroder unleashes their frightening hardcore again. While slightly raw, it’s technically strong and enjoyable without being overcomplicated.

The b-side is exactly the same with raging, bass-heavy riffs and a bleak atmosphere on Deathwish. The mix once again of high and low pitched growls adding an edge of excitement. A Long Day brings the pace down with sludge again showing itself. It’s more of a minimalist effort this time, but no less teeth-rattling. It’s the longest song on this EP and it has a strange air of calmness towards the end. EP closer Valid Argument breaks that calm feeling with one final blast of Corroder at their wildest. 

As much as I still love the 7” format, it would be nice sometimes to be able to hear songs without the need to flip them over, which is definitely the case with both Corroder EPs, though I can understand them wanting to stick to the physical format. There’s only one song from “Instinct” available to stream and download via their bandcamp page, so go for it and support the band by picking up this double 7” as it’s certainly worth it.

As mentioned above, Ecumence is available to stream and grab as a name-your-price download via Corroder's bandcamp page below:-



You can buy physical copies by getting in touch with the labels below:-

Several Casualties Productions - https://www.facebook.com/severalcasualties/

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Glassing - Spotted Horse


Labels: Brutal Panda Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 17 May 19

Tracklist:

1. When You Stare
2. Sleeper
3 Lobe
4. Coven
5. A Good Death
6 Bronze
7. Follow Through
8. Fatigue
9. Way Out
10. The Wound Is Where The Light Enters

The drain is real! This week isn't fun mentally but I guess I should take the rough with the smooth and enjoy those moments where I can be content. After all, things could be a lot worse and we all need some perspective. That's something that is often found when your deep in musical thought and so I'm hoping that Austin, Texas (USA) metal band Glassing can help. Their second full-length "Spotted Horse" was release back in May via Brutal Panda Records both digitally and on vinyl. They're playing alongside High On Fire, Power Trip and more at Levitation 2019 in Austin on November 7th, so if you happen to be there, go and see them.

This is another one of those albums that has flown under the radar a bit this year. Cinematic soundscapes greet you on opener When You Stare, as riffs and percussion create music that’s as much a haven for post-rock as it is for black metal and ambient noise. I feel like trying to describe their sound in genre terms isn’t fair really and the mid-point of the song demonstrates why, as Glassing’s creativity grows alongside their ability to temper extreme volumes and instrumentation into glorious layers and textures.

From the lengthy opener comes Sleeper, which starts with intense blasting before slowing right back down and presenting a stripped-back sound filled with gorgeous treble-laden guitar work, drums that echo like they’re in the room with you and passionately screamed vocals that are nestled within it all. The impact felt even at this early stage in proceedings is mighty.

Off-kilter metal and post-hardcore are both present on Lobe, with Glassing once again showing that they’re not content with rehashing the same musical shapes on every song. Coven’s ambience transports you to a hazy summer’s morning (the sort where you spare a moment to rub your eyes and take in the world around you, instead of rushing to where you have to be). It stirs up genuine emotion that carries on into A Good Death.

A Good Death takes things a step further as it builds from that hazy summer’s morning feel, into something more alive and serious, with the aid of occasional heaviness punctuating the heavenly clean singing. Dissonance is never far away and when Glassing re-ignites their heavier side, the feeling isn’t ruined. While the longer songs are very compelling to listen to, it’s not often that you can say that a band can pull off those and shorter, more urgent numbers but both seem to suit Glassing, as Bronze shows. Possessing song-writing skill like this is rare these days and is more awe inspiring as a result.

By the time Follow Through comes round, it seems effortless musically and appreciating what is being played becomes easier. There’s no settling for simple song-structures or formulaic phrasing. You’ll be kept guessing as your ears are pulled from passage to passage. Fatigue goes by without you realising it was a separate song, once again making use of calming guitar work and chilled-out percussion.

Penultimate song Way Out hits the spot with almost a nod of punk flowing through it. It’s over all too quickly but that’s fine because The Wound Is Where The Light Enters makes up for that. The profound effect that music has on you sometimes isn’t felt instantly and it’s hard to stay stoney faced at this point. Despite my attempts at superlatives above, there’s no more emotive point on “Spotted Horse” than it’s final act. This album is amazing. Nothing more needs to be said.

You can stream and purchase "Spotted Horse" via Glassing's bandcamp page below:-



Vinyl copies are available above and also via Brutal Panda Records here - https://www.brutalpandarecords.com/

Monday, 21 October 2019

Kurokuma/Under - Kurokunder Split 7"


Labels: Astral Noize Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 Nov 2019

Tracklist:

1. Kurokuma - The Tides Of Time
2. Under - Abyssal Gigantism

Here's something that's not even out yet! I'm covering something before it's release for the first time in ages, as a I combat the usual humdrum of real life. This little split 7" features Kurokuma and Under, who once led you to believe they had actual band beef. As it turns out they don't and here's the proof. It's going to be released by Astral Noize Records in November and features an Ecco The Dolphin cover (originally a 1992 Sega Genesis video game) from Kurokuma and an original song from Under. 

A band covering a 16-bit soundtrack is at odds with the whole 16-bit/modular synth scene that exists outside of this sphere, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s Kurokuma and they’re ace. Their take on The Tides Of Time (from the video game Ecco The Dolphin) is a re-imagining that to some might be unthinkable but to others will make complete sense. Their bass-heavy doom lends itself perfectly to the cinematic soundtrack and is a breath of fresh air in creative terms. Who’d have though it eh!

Haling from the other side of the Pennines to Kurokuma, Under don’t let county boundaries get in the way of their noise-making and Abyssal Gigantism is certainly noisy. It encompasses elements from a whole heap of musical tangents, from the experimental off-kilter vibes of Mastodon and TDEP to the grunge-like vocals and atmospherics of Deftones and Tool. There’s loads going on and it shows a hint of Under’s progression towards a UK prog/sludge/noise mainstay.

This split is fun but it’s also creative. Music needs people to be creative or it’ll fade into mediocrity like many a current pop act (sorry, I’m biased). Kurokuma’s groove has always been a big part of their appeal for me, while Under’s unapologetic noise is born out of true UK grit. Throw your support behind both the bands and Astral Noize Records now and when this 7” is released.

Here's a little video teaser for you:-



You can pre-order this release both digitally and physically via Astral Noize Records here:-


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https://www.patreon.com/thisnoiseisours. This has been set up to help me go beyond the blog, with projects to include a tape/cd release series and also charitable donations that will account for 50% of all pledges. Thank you.