Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Musmahhu - Reign Of The Odious


Labels: Iron Bonehead Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 18 Jan 2019

Tracklist:

1. Apocalyptic Brigade Of Forbidden Realms
2. Musmahhu, Rise
3. Slaughter Of The Seraphim
4. Burning Winds Of Purgatory
5. Reign of The Odious
6. Spectral Congregation Of Anguish
7. Thirsting For Life's Terminus

Swedish death metal duo Musmahhu uttered their first inhuman cries in 2018 with the release of their debut EP "Formulas Of Rotten Death". It was released via Iron Bonehead Productions, who have now also helped to release the band's debut full-length "Reign Of The Odious". Musmahhu is indeed a mysterious entity; however, both of its members share both experience and bands, as well as links to Ancient Records.

With the wind whipping up once again outside, this feels like an apt soundtrack. Musmahhu presents an otherworldly persona and it’s immediately clear that the music is king as opener Apocalyptic Brigade Of Forbidden Realms begins. The drums are totally pummelling, while the guitar work is both frenetic and impressive. The vocals sit in the middle of it all and provide the level of hellish gloom that you’d expect. Following that opening onslaught, their call-to-arms of Musmahhu, Rise is ushered in with a solemn atmosphere before the battery takes hold once again. There’s more tempo changes present here, as Musmahhu flits between fast and sludge-like passages that are filled with subtle melody that has more of an impact than you might think. So far, this is very impressive. 

There’s no death metal I’ve heard in recent years that I could compare to this, and that isn’t a hollow statement either. I’ve been racking my brain and while there are plenty of old-school flourishes and smatterings of black metal present on Slaughter Of The Seraphim, it’s much better to enjoy this release as if it were completely in it’s own genre. The lengthy compositions thus far are compelling to say the least. At the mid-point of the album, there’s a short but equally torturous piece called Burning Winds Of Purgatory, which takes you deeper into the crazed minds of those behind the band. It’s does break things up a little while still allowing the record to sound uncomfortable (in a good way). There’s also some modern metal touches within it too, though these are buried amongst the death and only peer through the soil into the light.

The title-track brings things crashing down around you once again with no moment of rest. It’s this intensity level that makes “Reign Of The Odious” such a great listen. Yes it’s extreme in every sense, but sometimes that extremity is cleansing. If you’ve run out of records that force you to sit and take notice of their entirety then this is definitely for you. Penultimate beast Spectral Congregation Of Anguish is probably the most full-throttle song here with it’s utterly inhumane blasts and kick-drum frenzies. The haunting guitar/keyboard melody adds a further layer of density while the ghoulish deep-bellows and high-pitched shrieks bury themselves deep. Technical, challenging but also moving. 

It’s left to closer Thirsting For Life’s Terminus to provide some old-school Swe-death worship, with a mid-paced song full of riffs and true darkness. Yes there’s still a lot of percussive speed here but it retains the sort of presence that was honed by their Scandinavian forefathers. It rounds out an album that will leave your jaw agape and your saw neck wanting more. Fantastic stuff!

You can stream and buy "Reign Of The Odious" on all formats via Iron Bonehead Productions below:-



Sunday, 10 March 2019

V/A - Hardkore Dokument UK #1 7"


Labels: Kibou Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 05 Dec 2018

Tracklist: 

1. The Domestics - Cherry Blossom Life
2. Pizzatramp - The Only Good Tribute Band Is A Fucking Dead One
3. Grand Collapse - Dock
4. Wolfbeast Destroyer- Carved Into Bone
5. Rash Decision - The Shaman
6. Guilt Police - It's A Dirty Church But We All Love Filth

Technology may be our "friend" now but it can still be notoriously slow. While I wait for things to happen I have some prime listening time, so I'm getting down and dirty with the latest comp 7" from Kibou Records, focusing on 6 of the UK's best hardcore-punk bands. If you've been following the blog for a while you may well be familiar with both Wolfbeast Destroyer and Rash Decision, as they've both featured before. The Domestics, Pizzatramp, Grand Collapse and Guilt Police are familiar names but this is the first time I've listened to them, so again the comp format more than proves it's worth.

Opening band The Domestics have close ties to Kibou Records so it’s only right that they kick things off. Their fast hardcore almost crosses over to madcap PV on Cherry Blossom Life. Angry and rageous but with tight musicianship and a sense of fun too. There’s no tough guy core present on here and Pizzatramp delivers good old-fashioned noisy, driving hardcore on The Only Good Tribute Band Is A Fucking Dead One. In fact no song on here goes beyond two-and-a-half-minutes, so you’re in the right place if you like it fast.

Grand Collapse lull you into thinking they’re a melodic punk band before blazing a trail with powerfully screamed vocals and instrumentation that borrows from garage-punk on Dock. As a band, Grand Collapse really stands out, though there’s not a bad band on here. I featured Carved Into Bone by Wolfbeast Destroyer when I wrote about their split tape with This Ends Here in 2017, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail about it here. What you get with Wolfbeast Destroyer is driving crusty hardcore with a nod to Motorhead. 

Rash Decision is back with a new song in the form of The Shaman and following on from last year’s awesome album “Karoshi”, it’s yet again filled with rage and riffs. They’re fast turning into one of the UK’s best, which is what this comp has set out to showcase so it’s no surprise. Ending with the raw, bass-filled noise of Guilt Police and It’s A Dirty Church But We All Love Filth reminds you of the dirty underbelly of UK hardcore-punk and it couldn’t be better. It shows that less-polished doesn’t always mean sloppy and it rounds out a comp that’s filled with quality over quantity. This review might not be the longest I’ve ever written, but it doesn’t need to be. Let the music do the talking.

You can stream the comp and buy it on vinyl and digitally below:-



Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Violblast - Theater Of Despair


Labels: Hostlie Media
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 11 Jan 2019

Tracklist:

1. Trivialization Of Murder
2. Theater Of Despair
3. New Orphans Elegy
4. Martyrs Without A Cause
5. Secret Reality
6. The Shadow No Longer Rests
7. Prevail
8. Broken Scepter
9. Painless
10. Scopaesthesic

There's some serious thrash metal stirrings going on in Europe right now. From Portugal's Toxik Attack, whom I featured recently, thrash has found it's way across the border into Spain and into the laps of Violblast. Okay, so they've been peddling their wares since 2012 (initially under the name Betrayer) but 2019 could be their year, thanks to their second full-length "Theater Of Depair", which was released by UK label Hostile Media in early January. 

Violblast’s thrash is technical and has a lot in common with that of their Italian comrades. Trivialization Of Murder also borrows from UK bands like Onslaught, especially with it’s mid-paced delivery during the verses and the semi-audible vocals. The lead-guitar work is something all-together more skin shredding though. The title-track is a lot more savage than the album opener, with blasting drums making their presence heard amongst the confidently played thrash. Confidence is one of the obvious plus points here for sure. 

At times their riffing is more akin to war metal; however, they’re certainly more approachable and songs like New Orphans Elegy exhibit both sides of their sound, as well as some great modern touches too. Another European influence that looms large on this release is German teutonic thrash. The kind that Destruction and Kreator are famous for and you can here it during the brutality of Martyrs Without A Curse. There’s no let up during Secret Reality either, though the melody that Violblast injects into it save it from being a pure straight-ahead bang-a-thon (not that it isn’t heavy).

The second half of the album starts with breakdown-like guitar riffs on The Shadow No Longer Rests, which is amongst the most modern sounding songs on “Theater Of Despair”. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, as it serves as a great song on its own terms and proves that Violblast are more than worthy song-writers. There’s still plenty of time to sit back and appreciate their craft and Prevail is an apt song in which to do it, as it’s where they truly prevail (no pun intended, really!). They may only be two albums into their career at this point, but you wouldn’t know it on this showing. 

When Violblast hit the loud pedal, they take no prisoners. Broken Scepter is filled with urgency and quality musicianship that’ll stop you in your tracks. It doesn’t stop there either, as Painless is not only the quickest song on “Theater Of Despair” but it’s also the most vicious and is over before you know it. I guess that’a one way to keep the momentum going! Album closer Scopaesthesic begins with a meaty mid-paced (almost doom-like) intro but morphs back into a thrashing assault shortly afterwards. It’s a great way to end a very strong album. Violblast is definitely another name to add to your essential band list. They’ve certainly won me over!

You can stream and download "Theater Of Despair" via Violblast's Bandcamp page below:-



CD copies are available from their store here - https://violblast.bigcartel.com and from Hostile Media here - https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/merch.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Glorious Rebellion - Scholars Of War


Labels: Sludgelord Records
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 29 Mar 2019

Tracklist:

1. Turn Around, Bright Eyes
2. This Is Fine
3. Burn It Down, Lemon (Burn it Down)

On March 29, Floridian noise rock band The Glorious Rebellion will release their latest EP "Scholars Of War" digitally via Sludgelord Records and their own Bandcamp page. Since their formation in 2014, the trio has been garnering plenty of attention both in the press and on the stage, as they played alongside the likes of Jucifer, Black Tusk and KEN Mode (amongst others). It's been nearly three years since their last release "Euphoric" and TGR are ready to ensure that they've not be forgotten.

TGR’s rock is most definitely noisy and sludgy too. Turn Around, Bright Eyes is like stepping into a bar brawl with no chance of winning. It’s loud and there’s a fair bit of metal attitude coursing through it. It’s off-kilter and brutal thanks to the cacophony of authoritative instrumentation and powerful growls. It doesn’t get any calmer as TGR rips into This Is Fine. Again, it’s filled with off-kilter riffs and the kind of mentality that will make you slightly afraid of them. The atmosphere created by the feedback and those angry vocals won’t comfort you either.

Burn It Down, Lemon (Burn It Down) starts with a scathing blast of feedback before TGR fully launches into what is a nine-minute plus beast. Despite it’s length, the song flies by with choral backing-vocals, constantly driving aggressiveness and towards the end, they dial things back for a brief moment in order to at least take a breathe. This is a heavy release and one that’s bound to make an impact on anyone that hears it. The Glorious Rebellion is the soundtrack to all of 2019’s ills, of which there are plenty. You may as well bang your head and let it all out now.

You can stream This Is Fine via TGR's Bandcamp page below, where you can also pre-order the EP digitally if you're on North America:-



For us Brits and others, you can head to Sludgelord Records here - https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/scholars-of-war

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Ectovoid - Inner Death EP


Labels: Blood Harvest Records/Helter Skelter Productions
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 18 Jan 2019

Tracklist:

1. Internal Inversion
2. Archaic Memories Unearthed
3. Isolation In Mind Continuum

Trying to encourage myself to venture out but not before posting a quick review. Sundays to the sound the raging death metal are always better, so here's the latest 7" from Alabama's Ectovoid. Released on vinyl, tape and digitally with the help of Blood Harvest Records and Helter Skelter Productions, it's the first recorded music to come from the trio since their 2016 "Four Doors To Death" split with Sabbatory, Trenchrot and Cemetery Filth. Just yesterday, they played Vimur's album release show and they've also been included on the line-up for Metal Threat Fest. which takes place in Chicago in July (I'll post the flyer for that below).

Three tracks of awesome USDM are a perfect way to start the day and without further ado, the festering Ectovoid sound envelopes you on EP opener Internal Inversion. It’s old-school approach with powerful drumming, rumbling bass and guitars that switch between chainsaw-like riffs and treble-filled solos more than match the evil vocal growls and shrieks. Like a devilish siren-song, it’ll draw you in and then eat you alive!

It’s remarkable how much volume is created by just three people but thanks to that and the production/mixing/mastering efforts, this EP sounds immense. Archaic Memories Unearthed includes elements of thrash and also modern death metal, making it less of an ode to OSDM and a whole new beast altogether. 

Third and final song Isolation In Mind Continuum constantly blasts and swings between subtle tempo changes that break up the barrage and sometimes drag it into doom/death territory. The musicianship is so precise, as evidenced by the soloing. It ends with ambience that’s drawn from the same dark place as Ectovoid’s raging death metal. This is a killer EP from one of USDM’s best modern day bands. 

You can stream and buy "Inner Death" digitally via Ectovoid's Bandcamp page below:-





Here's the flyer for the Metal Threat Fest as promised. Just look at that line-up!


Friday, 1 March 2019

INTRCPTR - II


Labels: Pax Aeternum Digital
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 01 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. Dusted
2. D.I.W.I.W.Y.L.

It's finally the end of the week and I wanted to reach for something a little off the beaten track. L.A. duo INTRCPTR are that something and "II" is their second offering. The band, featuring members of Pelican and 5ive, released this two-track record digitally via new Dark Operative Records imprint Pax Aeternum at the beginning of February. Without anymore waffling from me, let's get into it...

It’s always exciting to hear what two members of already established heavy bands are able to come with when they jam together. INTRCPTR are a little passed the jamming stage it has to be said, but this is still something to behold. Dusted is an incredibly groovy instrumental filled with doom, noise, riffs and fantastic percussion. Both Ben Carr (guitars) and Larry Herweg (drums) leave no holds barred as they take you through layers of cleansing sound.

Obviously, their musicianship was already held in very high regard given their resumes but as instrumental music goes, this is genuinely compelling. D.I.W.I.W.Y.L. is no less entrancing and its tempo matches that of Dusted, keeping the momentum high. It’s noise levels seem to rise up during the mid-section and then fall away to reveal incredibly technical guitar/drum work. Some may consider instrumental music to be safe and simple, but INTRCPTR prove otherwise and floor you with ease. 

This release may be brief but it’s one that you’ll go back to over and over again. 

Stream and purchase "II" digitally below:-



Thursday, 28 February 2019

Toxik Attack - Assessinos Em Serie


Labels: Hellprod Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 31 Jan 2019

Tracklist: 

1. Thrash Maldicao
2. Seita Do Punhal
3. Loucos Pelo Old School
4. Prazer De Matar
5. Assessinos Em Serie
6. O Sanguinario
7. Morte Toxica
8. Detidos Pelo Metal
9. Pentagrama De Sangue

I'm keeping it heavy tonight with Portuguese thrash metal band Toxik Attack and their debut album "Assessinos Em Serie". This speed metal loving quintet from Braga released their album with the help of Hellprod Records at the end of January, following their previous 2014 demo "Brutal Attack" and their 2016 EP "Thrash On Command". Much like death metallers Ravenous Death last night, Toxik Attack worships at the alter of the old school. So much so in fact, that they're due to support Agent Steel in Lisbon in May. 

That cover art tells you all you need to know about Toxik Attack’s thrash antics and they waste no time in showing off their musical chops. Opener Thrash Maldicao is pure madness with the kind of semi-clean/theatrical growls that Death Angel would be proud of. The instrumentation is solid as well with precise drumming and riffs inspired by the best in the business.

While their music is considered extreme, it’s not super heavy. Seita Do Punhal illustrates that with the help of a madcap vocal delivery that sometimes crosses over into glam territory. When they gallop though they gallop well and with plenty of groove. It’s really cool to hear metal like this presented in Portuguese, not that I can translate it. Loucos Pelo Old School just continues to up the quality stakes on “Assessinos Em Serie” as Toxik Attack rip through just over four-minutes of good old thrash that really does nod to the old school. 

From here they up the urgency levels on Prazer De Matar and with it the energy levels (as if they weren’t energetic enough already!), with the help of belting drums, gang vocals and increased tempos. It’s over all too quickly and it leads immediately into the title-track, which is equally as good. Toxik Attack have a bit more bite when they’re really going for it but this song is their calling card and it’s progressive touch is great.

The high-pitched screams at the start of O Sanguinario do bring to mind Tom Araya and his vocal delivery, but that’s where there similarities to Slayer end for me. Yes their riffs are inspired by the thrash legends in places but I think Toxik Attack do have their own take on the sub-genre and are confident enough to let it show through. Morte Toxica is one of their more melodic songs, especially in the vocal department while the theatrics aren’t forgotten about either. The further you get into “Assesinos Em Serie” the more entertaining it becomes. It’s definitely one for both true speed/thrash fans and for those who want an introduction to the sub-genre’s modern exponents.

Things get silly on penultimate song Detidos Pelo Metal, where piercing high-pitched screams rule the song as it flies by in the blink of an eye. Album closer Pentagrama De Sangue is Toxik Attack’s attempt at a thrash balled, complete with dramatic organ and male-voice choir, but it doesn’t stay that way for too long, as it’s their final chance to rip into some grooving and neck-snapping thrash goodness. This album is great. It’s not too lengthy and Toxik Attack manages to retain both momentum and your attention throughout. It looks like thrash metal is alive and well in Portugal! Obrigado!

You can stream the album and grab it on cd or digitally below via Hellprod Records -



Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Ravenous Death - Chapters Of An Evil Transition


Labels: Memento Mori
Formats: CD
Release Date: 05 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. Prelude To Evilness
2. Doomed To Exist
3. Harvesting Hate
4. Evil Dementia (The Voices Of The Nobodies)
5. Awakening Of The Damned
6. Cursed Origin
7. Initiation Ritual
8. The Sinister Being
9. Massacre Cult
10. Soul Consumes By The Occult

A death metal band from Mexico, with a name taken from a Vomitory song! That's exactly what you get from Ravenous Death. They've been spewing out blasphemic death metal since 2016 and this is their debut full-length, which follows their 2017 EP "Ominous Deathcult". "Chapters Of An Evil Transition" was released digitally and on cd via Memento More earlier this month. Something tells me this is going to be rad!

At this point you’re nearly over the hump, so why not being your descent into the weekend with some ripping death. Ravenous Death promises a lot but if you’re anything like me, you never quite know what you’re going to get with death metal anymore. Thankfully, this is old-school worshipping in the best from as the menacing riffs and growls of Prelude To Evilness pull you in. There’s definitely a nod towards the usual suspects but there’s also some Mexican heat too! Doomed To Exist is the first full assault from the band and it’s fast raw drumming is immersed within sludgy, atmospheric bass/guitar work and low growls. It’s technical but not overpoweringly so, which means it’s a pleasing listen.

The sound here never quite crosses over into death-thrash or black-thrash territory, but it does threaten to on Harvesting Hate. It certainly has that underground nastiness to it. I suppose Incantation might be a good comparison (if I was to pick one) or maybe even Morbosidad possibly. A healthy slab of lead work leads you onto Evil Dementia (The Voices Of The Nobodies), which is equally as horrid, especially thanks to some Slayer-esque riffs and rasping screeches. It’s at this point that it feels like Ravenous Death are really starting to grow in confidence on the recording. 

Things get even gloomier on Awakening Of The Damned, as Ravenous Death settles into their stride and really goes for it instrumentally. This is the best song on the album yet and it shows a new side to them with twin-melodies and greater layers of sonic savagery. Their tempo seems to get faster again at this point too with Cursed Origin continuing that trend. It’s just straight-up raging. There’s a different approach to atmosphere during Initiation Ritual, which is both experimental and oddly festering at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fast but there’s also a whiff of pungent doom/death in the air, though it is subtle. 

That doom/death aura takes more of a hold during The Sinister Being, with it’s opening mix of deep and trebly guitar. Again, the drumming seems to play at double time compered the guitars but that’s what gives it an edge and one that’s sits really well. The vocals are back to their deep glowing beat and there’s no escape. Penultimate song Massacre Cult underlines why this record is so enjoyable by being unpretentious and fun (if death metal could be considered so). It also shows off the variation levels that sit within RD’s music, which is more obvious if you sit and really take it in as a whole. In what seems like the blink of an eye, you’re head-banging to the bars of final song Soul Consumes By The Occult

This is a cracking death metal record by a band that’s really still finding their feet. Ravenous Death rules and are certainly going to be putting Mexican extreme metal on the map this year! Lend them your ears. 

If you're in Mexico you can buy "Chapters Of An Evil Transition" on cd and digitally below:-



If you're anywhere else in the world head to Memento Mori - http://www.memento-mori.es/store.php.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

La Parade - Voces Del Exilio


Labels: Zegema Beach Records/Maniyax Records/Gato Encerrado Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 20 Jan 2014

Tracklist:

1. Nuevos Idolos
2. Descarne
3. Noveno Romance
4. Diez Mil Rostros
5. Lo Que Fui, Lo Que Soy
6. Ruinas De Infancia
7. Bruma En Mi
8. Paris Ha Caido
9. Ascuas
10. Requiem

Instalment number 4 in my ongoing look back at the Zegema Beach Records roster and if you think this series is a big undertaking, you'd be correct but I'm gonna carry on with it because I'm bloody minded. This latest review focuses on the first full-length from Spanish post-hardcore band La Parade. It was release via ZBR, as well as Maniyax Records and Gato Encerrado Records in early 2014. on cd and vinyl. La Parade was founded in 2012 and released two full-lengths before calling it a day in late 2015.

La Parade is a name that I’ve come across a few times and as with a lot of bands, it seems that I only truly catch on when they’re gone. It’s certainly the case with some of bands I’ve featured in the series so far. At least their music is still available in various forms. The opener to “Voces Del Exilio” is Nuevos Idolos and it starts life as clean-sung Spanish language post-hardcore with great instrumental melody and percussive flair.

La Parade’s harsher side comes out on Descarne. It’s a wonderful mix of speaker friendly singing and jarring screams, where the music becomes heavier and more dissonant, albeit briefly. They have a penchant for writing impressive ballads, as exhibited by the dramatic delivery of Noveno Romance. La Parade threatens to explode here but never do, instead reigning in their emotions and channelling them into creating a spectacle of different proportions. The same can definitely be said for Diez Mil Rostros, which incidentally was amongst the first songs they ever released, on the 2013 EP of the same name. 

The introspective mid-section during Lo Que Fui, Lo Que Soy is filled with spoken word and calming riffs, which are slightly at odds with the rest of the song, which is more off-kilter’ however, being at odds is no bad thing at all and La Parade pull off the transitions between styles really well indeed.  Despite the album’s mid-pace tempos it goes by fairly quickly and before you know, Ruinas De Infancia is pulling you deeper into it’s second half with more of the same. It’s a longer and more progressive song that tells a story as it goes (one which I can’t translate). 

The deeper you get into ‘Voces Del Exilio” it becomes apparent that there’s a lot more to La Parade than just post-hardcore. Yes they’re very good musicians but they also have an ear for engaging soundscapes and the song-writing to back it up. Bruma En Mi is a brooding song that features plenty of ambience during it’s quieter verses and more obvious experimentation as well. After Bruma En Mil ends abruptly there’s a pause before Paris Ha Caido follows on, seemingly as if the the two were meant as one. It’s a shorter song but it follows on with no change in dynamic or momentum and musically it’s as breathtaking and the songs before it. There was clearly no loss of imagination when these final few songs were penned.

Ascuas goes by in a blur of yet more dissonant instrumentation and screaming, leading to the aptly named Requiem, which closes things out. It’s here that La Parade’s true quality really hits you and just having the opportunity too appreciate them and their music is obvious. It condenses the essence of their sound into 6+ minutes, which only goes to highlight how good this entire record is. Sometimes after countless searching, you find that one band or album that really feels special. “Voces Del Exilio” is one of those albums.

You can stream and purchase the album digitally via La Parade's Bandcamp page below:-




You can still buy physical copies from the labels below:-

Zegema Beach Records - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/
Maniyax Records - http://maniyax.com/

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Upper Downer - S/T EP


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 05 Nov 2018

Tracklist:

1. Disarm The Police
2. Somebody Died
3. Alone
4. Dog Food
5. Piss Jug
6. Glue

I went to a local gig on Friday night (first gig in Harrogate for a while and first one I've been to for months) and apart from the hangover yesterday, it was really refreshing to enjoy some local punk again. Upper Downer aren't local, they're from Los Angeles (Cal, USA) but like the bands and mates that I met up with, they're doing it themselves. They reached out to me earlier this month to let me know about their debut EP, which was released digitally in November of last year. In their own words; "alas, we are not a mince core band". They play punk-rock with an anarchic edge and some ska as well.

Upper Downer’s punk is melodic and gritty. Disarm The Police reminds me of Rancid and Strike Anywhere, which is a good sign. It’s upbeat and to-the-point, while the vocals are gruff. This is what US punk (and I suppose pop-punk) was like when it was more political and certainly less polished than the bands that claim it as their genre today. The trio’s ska-influence is obvious on Somebody Died and it’s great. There are comparisons to be found here but there’s also plenty of good reasons to ignore them and to focus on the music that Upper Downer delivers. 

Old-school hardcore punk is the order of the day on Alone and it’s fast pace and short playing time is exactly what’s needed. It’s definitely better when it’s sped up like this. There’s no time for slow ponderous songs here! They head into the second half of the EP with Dog Food, which is a great title by the way! The mix of pop-punk riffs and ska chords during the verses are great, though there’s still some feedback and harshness to remind you that the band are from the streets and and real issues. 

Another amusingly titled song, Piss Jug is just good solid punk with a feel good vibe. Like the rest of the EP, it’s brief but catchy and a song that you’ll remember. EP closer Glue rages to the sound of Upper Downer’s furious drumming, riffs and vocal melodies. They say that they’re influence by NOFX and it’s obvious is those melodies at times. Again it’s no bad thing and it finishes things off in style. Overall this is a really good EP and while it doesn’t break any new ground, it’s got substance and the song-writing chops to back it up. Good stuff!

You can stream and purchase the EP digitally below:-



Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Snake Tongue - No Escape No Excuse EP


Labels: The Sign Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 Feb 2019

Tracklist:

1. Corrupted Beat
2. Dystopian Slumber
3. Derailed
4. The Hammer & The Nail

This is more than likely going to be the only review I can write before this coming Saturday, which sucks I know. This is the latest EP from Swedish hardcore band Snake Tongue. "No Escape No Excuse" was officially released last Friday via The Sign Records. I think it's the first hardcore release to come form the label (but please correct me if I'm wrong on that). It's now available digitally and on 7" vinyl.

This is proper driving hardcore and Snake Tongue doesn’t mess about. Corrupted Beat is furious, from the riffs and the drumming through to the hoarse screams. There’s technicality and a lot of metal influence in there as well, with melody showing through during the latter half of the EP opener. They layer their music with atmosphere and at times there’s a definite nod towards metalcore (when it was good) on Dystopian Slumber. The sense of urgency remains and so does the anger. It’s a sound that I’ve not heard from Sweden in a while. 

To clarify that last sentence above, this EP sounds very much European as opposed to just being an American copy-cat job. Derailed is its fastest song and its raging. Nothing else need be said about it. EP closer The Hammer & The Nail is the kind of crossover song that bridges the gap between hardcore and metal without trying. During the opener verse it sounds orchestral/melodic before the band launches into something a lot heavier. It’s 2019 and while the musical landscape is constantly shifting and mutating, Snake Tongue sound oddly fresh, to these ears at least. This EP may be short but it’s damn sweet!

You can stream and purchase "No Escape No Excuse" digitally below:-



7" vinyl copies can be purchased here - https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/snake-tongue/

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Via Fondo - Fast EP


Labels: Zegema Beach Records/Truelove Entertainment (now known as Through Love Records)
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 Jan 2014

Tracklist:

1. Not Yet
2. Rovaniemi
3. Secrets

I want to fit one review in before I head out so here's the third instalment in my Zegema Beach Records series, which I started a few weeks back. This time, I'm featuring the 2014 single-sided 12" EP (with a silk-screened B-side) from Swedish screamo band Via Fondo, that was release in collaboration with Through Love Records. Via Fondo has been releasing music now for eight years (though they've been quite more recently). This is the first time I've featured them on here, which I'm a little surprised about. They're part of Sweden's ever impressive post-hardcore/screamo scene, so if you're not familiar with them now's your chance.

There are so many bands in the post-hardcore/screamo sub-genre that major on quality instrumentation and Via Fondo’s is melodic and on the right side of chaotic on EP opener Not Yet. It’s the vocals that are chaotic though, as they’re delivered in the form of harsh noisy screams, dripping with genuine emotion. While the opener nears the seven-minute mark, Rovaniemi is brief by comparison and as a result is filled with an angst-laden level of urgency and it flits between beautifully controlled layers of sound and noise that increases in tempo before reaching it’s peak. Contrasting yet intelligent.

Via Fondo ends this short EP with Secrets, which once again shows their ability to write scream that’s encompassing and cinematic. It’s the instrumentation that.again creates a dramatic atmosphere as it builds in intensity and volume. Midway through, the song changes and becomes slightly more violent. It’s a journey that take you through various highs and lows, as well as the elation that you feel once you’ve made it out the other side. This is another example of why there is more substance in post-hardcore than people realise. The screamo tag is still overused by people who don’t truly understand the sub-genre, but if bands like Via Fondo are taking on their own merits, then they will surprise and excite in equal measure.

You can stream "Fast" over at Via Fondo's Bandcamp page below:-



You can purchase the EP digitally from ZBR here - https://zegemabeachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fast-12ep 

Through Love Records has long since sold out of their copies of the LP but you can still buy them from ZBR here - https://zegemabeachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fast-12ep


Next up will be La Parade...