Monday, 17 June 2019

Shizune/Lytic - Split 7"


Labels: Zegema Beach Records/Moment Of Collapse Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 08 Jan 2019

Tracklist: 

1. Shizune - Greg è a Roppongi Con John MacAfee
2. Shizune - Occhiaie Metafisiche
3. Lytic - Greener Grass
4. Lytic - All Bleeding Stops Eventually
Lytic - Lugenpresse

Receiving a promo e-mail about this release the other day was a nice surprise. I've been a fan of Italian screamo band Shizune for a long time. I first heard their music on their 2013 split with Minus Tree and love em. New York's Lytic is a fairly (though not entirely) new name to me; however, their links to Off Minor and Saetia are exciting ones indeed. This split has been released by Zegema Beach Records (USA/Canada/International) and Moment Of Collapse Records (Europe).

Shizune’s side of this split features two songs. The first, Greg è a Roppongi Con John MacAfee is instantly attention grabbing, as their take on hardcore is joined by melodic guitars and energetic percussion, which matches their whole approach. The lyrics are in their native tongue and sound great delivered in their shouted way. Second song Occhiaie Metafisiche follows immediately afterwards, with no gap and continues to power on breathlessly. The closing bars may be atmospheric and calming to a degree but you’ll still yearn for them at their fullest.

Lytic’s sound on Greener Grass is as engaging as Shizune’s was, though it’s also rawer in a sense. Shorter songs means it’s harder for them to make an instant impression musically but they manage to pull it off with a mix of high intensity screamo and introspective passages. There’s an off-kilter/math-like technicality to their music, especially within the guitars on All Bleeding Stops Eventually, which also has some great emotive semi-clean singing going on. Final song Lugenpresse is their long-player and the jazz/blues influence looms large within the music. The subtle spoken word vocals lead you into an explosion of noise that starts and stops at various points throughout. 

Many people reading this will say that the golden era of screamo/post-hardcore is long gone but judging by what’s already been released and what’s due to be released, 2019 is proving to be right up there. Just to hammer that point home, I have the following coming over the next week or so:- Paper Hats - Might song premiere, a full stream of the new Albatros album (hopefully), a review of the newly released split between Yarostan & Aleska and more to follow no doubt. Keep screaming…

You can stream and purchase the full split digitally from Zegema Beach Records below:-




Grab 7" copies from Zegema Beach Records here - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/ (Canada/International) and here - http://zegemabeachrecords.storenvy.com (USA).

I can't seem to find copies over at Moment Of Collapse right now but keep checking their store here - https://momentofcollapserecords.bandcamp.com/merch.

Moment Of Collapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/momentofcollapse/

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Final Coil - The World We Left Behind For Others


Label: WormHoleDeath
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 12 April 2019

Tracklist:

1. Ash's
2. The Last Battle
3. Scattered Dust
4. Take Me For A Walk
5. Empty Handed
6. Keeping Going
7. Convicted Of The Right
8. Ashes Ashes
9. One More Drink...
10. ...And I'll Leave
11. Imaginary Trip
12. The World We Left Behind For Others

Looking forwards, the next few weeks should be better content wise for me. The last couple of weeks have been a bit hit and miss but that's going to end starting now. East Midlands progressive/post-rock trio Final Coil wrote to me a little while ago about their latest album that's been released with the help of WormHoleDeath. Final Coil's favourite artists range from the likes of Deftones and OHHMS to Pink Floyd and Tool, so let's see (and hear) how "The World We Left Behind For Others" holds up.

Opener Ash’s is an ambient and laid-back instrumental intro that hints at what’s to come. The drums sound programmed during Ash’s but once The Last Battle rolls around, they’re definitely not. What you’re greeted with here is melodic but gritty rock with a hard edge, One that’s definitely in the vain of Tool and bands like Adema and Spineshank initially. I apologies for the nu-metal comparisons here, but those are more relatable thanks to their own progressive elements as opposed to the genre they were lumped into. This a great song nonetheless with plenty of quality guitar and percussion work, as well as the vocals, which are delivered in many different layers and harmonies. 

Musically Final Coil is pretty top notch. The moody opening bars of Scattered Dust are testament to how they can weave different elements into their music without sounding disjointed. They have heavier moments too but their sound is one that is better when it’s subtle. After those two previous longer-players, Final Coil slips into Take Me For A Walk, which is a breathtaking piece of post-rock that lasts little over three minutes and is just filed with so many life-affirming layers of instrumentation. So much so that you’d wish they just went on forever. 

Things get a whole lot more rock on Empty Handed, though don’t worry your little head, it’s not turning “glam” on you. Final Coil are much classier than that. Just listen to those dual guitars! Following that things go in a grungier direction on Keeping Going. I guess it was always threatened given the band’s appreciation for Alice In Chain and to give them credit, it sounds really good. For those of you who only think of Nirvana when grunge is mentioned, you need to expand your minds and check this out. 

The strings create a haunting atmosphere on Convicted Of The Right. The song itself is a more laid back number, with a lot of acoustic elements during the verses especially. Another semi-interlude/short song in the form of Ashes Ashes breaks up proceedings a little. It’s rude to of me to call it an interlude though, I guess I’m just used to longer songs now. There’s a lot to like about it though so don’t worry. Electronics and subtle noise make themselves heard on One More Drink…., which is an instrumental interlude. It leads you into the final trio that get longer and longer in length and therefore more immersive.

The companion song to One More Drink… is …And I’ll Leave and it’s another gritty piece of metal-tinged rock that’s a bit of a throwback. It’s really well written, as are all of their songs and its got a great maturity. As a penultimate song, Imaginary Trip feels so melancholic. Its actually pretty emotional. They leave the big one till last in the form of the title-track. Ten+ minutes of progressive majesty. The instrumental build-up is huge and suggests it’s more than just a build-up. The vocals kick in towards the four-minute mark and their audible and clean delivery is without question throughout.

I’m extremely proud that bands like this exist in the UK, because Final Coil proves the sheer diversity that we have on our tiny island. This album is great and even if you don’t like the more extreme edges of metal and rock, this is a record that you should dedicate your time to. Great work!

You can stream the full record and buy it on CD and also digitally below:-



Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Full of Hell - Weeping Choir


Labels: Relapse Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 17 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Burning Myrrh
2. Haunted Arches
3. Thundering Hammers
4. Rainbow Coil
5. Aria Of Jeweled Tears
6. Downward
7. Armory Of Obsidian Glass
8. Silmaril
9. Angels Gather Here
10. Ygramul The Many
11. Cellar Of Doors

I appreciate that this release has probably been dissected by enough people already, given it's release nearly a month ago but having picked up a vinyl copy over the weekend just gone I was yearning to throw my hat into the ring. There's probably not a lot I can say about Full of Hell in an introduction that hasn't already been said and if by any chance you're still living under a rock, you need to sort that out. "Weeping Choir" was released in mid-May via Relapse Records across all formats. They're currently playing various shows across Europe with The Body, so get to one if you can. 

I’m at the point right now where I just want my music to be fast, grinding and super angry. I need intensity to help me iron out some kinks and Full of Hell was the first band I wanted to turn to. You can’t get anymore grinding and intense than their new record and as opener Burning Myrrh kicks off, there’s no room for hiding. A mix of many elements of heavy music make this the epitome of everything I’ve mentioned above. Full of Hell has taken the music back into the territory that was held by “Rudiments Of Mutilation” albeit with a more focused and clear sound. It’s less powerviolence and more straight-up grind on Haunted Arches, with a more obvious metal influence playing a greater role. It’s still super fast and contains their now trademark noise and samples but the progression they’ve made so far really shows. 

The riffs are huge on Thundering Hammers, which is a great song title. They’re akin to death metal blows to the head that are brimming with technicality and match the dual high/low growls really well. The drums are stupidly quick while the bass tops it all off with an ominous rumble. FoH’s noise influences come to the fore during the frankly disturbing Rainbow Coil, which is a jarring piece filled with white noise and drumming that’s inhuman,. The guitars aren’t as prevalent here except for some ringing feedback and the vocals also take a bit of a back seat too. I guess breaking up the aural barrage isn’t a bad thing. This song will still appeal to your menacing side.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a machine gun was going off during the opening bars of Aria Of Jeweled Tears, but alas it’s just the drums (or maybe samples) again. Without even breaching ninety seconds, FoH manages to prove that good songs don’t need to be long. The way they switch from powerviolence/grind to death metal in the space of seconds is impressive and Downward contains the groove of the latter while still reaching an insane tempo. From there you’re greeted with Armory Of Obsidian Glass, which is a sludge-laden beast (possibly influenced by recent touring buddies Primitive Man) but still made all their own. It’s tempo, as expected, is toned down a lot and the vocals take on a horror-themed persona. Maddening is used a lot when describing heavy music (and has indeed been used a lot by me in the past) but this truly is. It’s ending passage though is beautiful and life-affirming.

The feelings you experienced during Armory Of Obsidian Glass are soon flung to one side by the anguish and hyperactivity of Silmaril. I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it. Noise and stomping sludge make Angels Gather Here something of an anomaly. It’s not the calming piece you might think it is and instead it’s a mid-tempo beast filled with glitchy electronics and bass-heavy riffs. The final duo beginning with Ygramul The Many and ending with Cellar Of Doors will make you pray you were undergoing rendition, such is their crazed black jazz and possessed screams (during the former) and mix of death and black-grind (during the latter). 2019 is turning into a stellar year musically and you probably won’t find a better record than this one. Full of Hell’s musical maturity is shining through and long may it continue.

Stream "Weeping Choir" and purchase it on all formats below:-



Monday, 10 June 2019

Hexenbrett - Erste Beschwörung EP


Labels: Self-Released/Caligari Records
Formats: Digital/Tape
Release Date: 01 Jan 2019/31 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Hexen (Bis Aufs Blut Gequält)
2. Toter Schrei
3. Farben Der Nacht
4. Sie Fliegen!

Being ill sucks but thankfully I'm pretty much over it now and I have more energy, which I want to put to good use. It's being channelled this evening into writing about a brand new German black/heavy metal band, whose self-released 2018 EP has just been reissued via Caligari Records. "Erste Beschwörung" was originally released digitally on tape via Hexenbrett last December, before being picked up by Caligari and re-released on tape at the end of May. Little is known about the band beyond the above.

Into the rabbit hole I go again. Mysterious, lesser heard black metal seems to be everywhere at the moment but solely calling this a black metal release would be doing it a huge disservice. Hexenbrett’s sound is heavily rooted in classic heavy metal, with German language growls adding harshness. The melodic riffs and choral singing stop proceedings from turning too extreme on opening song Hexen (Bis Aufs Blut Gequält). So far this is great!

Hexenbrett may still be a little bit wet-behind-the-ears to some,  but their traditional sound is one to behold and instrumentally, they’re really impressive. Toter Schrei shows off their musical creativity again with horror film-like soundscapes and effects. The lead work is solid too! They’re not just pushing the same old musical envelope here. 

The tempo on “Erste Beschwörung” seems to increase as the EP continues and with Farben Der Nacht, you’re treated to a black/thrash frenzy with a quintessential German twist. Elements of twisted post-punk, goth and rock make themselves heard here. I told you this wasn’t just another black metal release!

Closing song Sie Fliegen! is off-kilter and very much avant-garde in it’s delivery (sorry for sounding pretentious!). Slow/fast tempos and added urgency help to create a proper rousing finish. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while you could never describe Hexenbrett’s music as beautiful, you can’t ignore it either. Hopefully, this won’t be the only music we hear from the band. Their progression will be something to truly behold.

You can stream the full EP and purchase it as a name-your-price download from Hexenbrett below:-



It's available to buy on tape from Caligari Records here -
https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/erste-beschw-rung

Caligari Records - https://www.facebook.com/CaligariRecords/

Saturday, 8 June 2019

erai - Lights Out (Curtain Close) Video Share/Youtube Channel Update

For a long time now the blog has had a companion YouTube channel that's been underused. I've decided to change that by trying to increase the content that's shared on that platform. I put a post out on social media recently explaining more about what I wanted to do and I've had a lot of interest. I wasn't able to post a great deal last week due to illness, so I'm beginning today.

The plan is to start off with sharing/premiering videos, songs, EPs and albums to help increase promotion for bands and their music. Beyond that (and if I finally pluck up the courage/get drunk enough), I'm planning to record and upload my own videos talking about my personal record collection and then eventually do some reviews of releases, if that's what people want. Either way, if you're reading this and have comments and opinions on these ideas then let me know.

As you'll see from the title of this post, I've already uploaded a video with the kind permission of post-hardcore band erai from Berlin, Germany. They have a new record due for release at the beginning of July and they've created a video for album track Lights Out (Curtain Close). I'm lucky enough to be able to help the band share the video, which you can find embedded below:-


Pre-orders for the new album "Before We Were Wise And Unhappy" can be found via Bandcamp here - https://eraibln.bandcamp.com/album/before-we-were-wise-and-unhappy.


Keep up to date with release news and further possible song premieres here - https://www.facebook.com/eraibln/.

Stay tuned for a full review in advance of the record release as well.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

TDOAFS/Albatros - Split



Labels: Larry Records/No Funeral Records (Tape)/ L'Oeil Du Tigre/Don't Live Like Me Records/Black Lake Records/Dingleberry Records/Le Mort Records (Vinyl)
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 21 Nov 2016 (Vinyl Digital)/01 Apr 2019 (Tape)

Tracklist:

1. TDOAFS - Blank Paper
2. TDOAFS - The Whole World In My Hand
3. TDOAFS - Peaceful
4. TDOAFS - Face The Sun
5. Albatros - Vucules
6. Albatros - La Happy
7. Albatros - Clotaire Rapaille
8. Albatros - Le Split Rancid-NOFX

I wanna start this review with some advice for people reading that want to start a blog or site (because let's face it, nobody reads by opening ramblings!). Apart from the fact that you totally should do it, just remember that if you get enough people visiting it and people start sending you stuff, it's gonna become ALL CONSUMING!. This isn't a negative ramble, far from it. When I started down this rabbit hole over eight years ago, I didn't ever foresee my blog becoming anything that people would pay attention too, let alone write to asking for review etc. I couldn't be without it now, which is why posts like this mean so much to me. The fact that Mr Jablon cared enough to ask me to write some words about some of his release (let alone send me some!) make me happy.

Anyway, pointless rambles aside, this is the 2019 tape release of the split 10" that was released back in 2016 via all of the above labels (minus Larry Records). Larry released an extremely limited run of tape copies, that are now sold out, alongside No Funeral Records who made their own small run too. It features Canadian trio The Discord Of A Forgotten Sketch (TDOAFS) and their countrymen Albatros. This is a mix of screamo/post-hardcore and punk. 

This split contains four songs from both bands, beginning with TDOAFS.This is incredibly tuneful post-hardcore with vocals that sit buried within the music. Opener Blank Paper is a mix of upbeat melodic instrumentation and heavier passages, that are mainly guitar driven. It’s really creative and provides a different take on a sub-genre that’s growing exponentially within the underground at the moment. The Whole World In My Hand is more punk-influenced in parts, but TDOAFS retain their subtle aggressiveness too. 

Their songs are focused and the volume this trio produces is greater than expected. It all sounds very organic (it sounds like it was recorded live in it’s entirety). Carrying on the upbeat nature of their songs, Peaceful is anything but. It’s more angular this time and also there’s extra experimentation thrown in to the mix. It ends abruptly but that’s alright, as it keeps the momentum high going into last song Face The Sun. It’s another big song with a cathartic and almost euphoric feel to it, even when things take an introspective turn mid-way through.

I favour the “live reviewing” approach when writing, which means I like to let the music play as I write (usually on first listen too), which sometimes can be difficult if songs go by to quickly. Albatros’s Vucules is one such song, which flies by with a mix of fast hardcore and brass. It’s a strange mix but one that works superbly well. I’ve not heard a band like this ever I don’t think. I’ve heard bands that use clean singing and brass, but not harsh vocals. It gives La Happy a strange contrasting emotion that switches between darkness and light. They are French Canadian though, so it makes sense. 

Clotaire Rapaille carries on in the same vein and in no less entertaining because of it. It’s such a listenable formula that its hard to turn it off. The final song is called Le Split Rancid-NOFX and I’m not really sure what to expect. Albatros could be doing a medley of songs by both bands here, but doubt it. Either way, it’s a great way to end their side and indeed this split. This is such a unique and truly enjoyable split. If you’re a fan of post-hardcore then you’ll likely already be aware of TDOAFS obvious quality, but when you add in the originality of Albatros, you’ll be doubly impressed. If this was the first release of this split, it would be my favourite so far this year hands down. As it is, it’s still up there.

You can stream the full split via the TDOAFS bandcamp page below:-



Albatros have their side streaming below too, where you can also buy it digitally and on vinyl directly from them:-




Tape copies are sold out from Larry Records but you still find copies via No Funeral Records here - https://nofuneral.storenvy.com/

10" vinyl copies are still available via the below stores:-


L'Oeil Du Tigre (now ODT Records) - https://www.facebook.com/loeildutigre/
Don't Live Like Me Records - https://www.facebook.com/dontlivelikeme/

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Written In Torment - Maledictus Dies Illa


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 28 Jun 2019

Tracklist:

1. Old Gods Of The North
2. Benevolence Defied
3. Magna Mortalitas
4. Unchain Your Mind
5. Maledictus Dies Illa
6. Descent
7. Despair

I've been planning this review all day but then I got writer's block, so did a whole load of other things to help take my mind of it so when I eventually returned to it, my mind would be clear. Who knows whether it's worked but we'll find out. Two years after last full-length "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" was released, UK black metal band Written In Torment is due to return with new record "Maledictus Dies Illa" at the end of June. Once the preserve of sole member Leviathan, the recording line-up has grown to incorporate Prometheus on lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, with Storm also providing backing vocals and drums. In fact this is the first Written In Torment record to use real drums. It's also the first record to see a vinyl release, which is being funded in it's entirety by Leviathan himself. Talk about suffering for your art!

It’s always been amazing to hear what Written in Torment has been able to write and produce over the years, especially given the band remaining as a solo project for a lot of it. “Maledictus Dies Illa” shows a new side to the band and opener Old Gods Of The North instantly hits a blasting stride. Vocals and instrumentation come together amidst subtle ambience and seem ready to pick up where long-time influencers Bal-Sagoth left off. Benevolence Defied shows off the greater technicality that is present on “Maledictus…”. The addition of both Prometheus and Storm to the line-up has definitely made a positive impact and the production allows all of the instrumentation to be heard clearly, giving it a great soundstage. Written In Torment was never a lo-fi band by any means but there’s a new life that’s been captured here.

The keyboards sound great on Magna Mortalitas, giving it a sinister feel while not overpowering the rest of the music. The lengthier composition is more of a journey and it’s mid-paced tempo affords you a small break from the extremity of those quicker songs. What was unexpected was the almost tech-death intro passage to Unchain Your Mind, which seems to carry on throughout the song. It’s utterly mad and proves just how much music can be shoehorned into a song of less that five-minutes. The clean chants/singing are also a first for a Written In Torment album (I think?).

You’re escorted back into more familiar territory with the title-track, although it’s still not what you might be expecting. Occult themes and choral chants flow through it effortlessly and when it’s the turn of the lead guitar to take over, it does so with a lengthy solo that goes even further to outline the quality of this release. Following that title-track was always going to be hard and penultimate song Descent does sound raw in comparison. It’s the longest song on “Maledictus…” and while that rawness does stick around it is appeased by more stellar guitar playing later on. There’s little or no time for breath before closing song Despair takes over and its a return to the band’s more engaging sound with melodic riffs amongst the elements used to make it an impressive listen indeed.

With this release, Written In Torment is progressing as a band in a really positive way. It takes balls to self-release your own vinyl run but this record should translate well onto wax, so there’s no need for you to hang about once it’s officially released. 

You can stream both Descent and Despair trio to the official release below:-



The album is also up for pre-order via Bandcamp above.