Saturday 28 March 2020

Obroa-Skai/Ysidro and Eux/Ysidro Split Premieres

It's safe to say that it's been a bit of tumultuous year so far. There's one thing you can always rely on though and that's that bands keep on releasing great music, especially those who're new and more independent. This brings me to Californian USA) band Ysidro, who're releasing two splits today via digital platforms with friends Obroa-Skai (Canada) and Eux (France) respectively. It gives me great pleasure to be able to share both splits with you this evening.

Ysidro has been a project for about two years now and it's members are great friends, having played in/or currently play in notable screamo/emo/hardcore acts including Beau Navire, Lewd Acts, Nuvolascura and Elle amongst others. Both of these splits contain Ysidro's first recorded output.

Obroa-Skai from Edmonton (Canada) released a self-titled EP at the beginning of last year. They play screamo/harsh noise. Their drummer is/was in Mahria (who did an awesome split with Todos Caeran).

Eux (Paris, France) released their first record Et Les Autres in 2018 and their side of the split with Ysidro is their first music since then. They toured the UK/EU with Crowning/Swallows Nest last year. They play screamo/punk.

Obroa-Skai/Ysidro Split Tracklist:-

1. Obroa-Skai - Solastalgia
2. Obroa-Skai - Holocene Extinction
3. Ysidro - Haight
4. Ysidro - I Actually Woke Up In A Car

The Obroa-Skai side of this split can be streamed below:-

The Ysidro side is also available for streaming here:-

You can purchase the songs digitally from both bands, which will help towards the physical release.

Eux/Ysidro Split Tracklist:-

1. Eux - The Shame
2. Ysidro - Paris

You can stream and buy the tracks below. Any purchases will help towards the physical release later this year:-

Due to the current global situation, both of these splits are being released digitally now and will be available in physical formats at a later date as mentioned above.

Eux -

War Dogs - Die By My Sword

Labels: Fighter Records/Witchcraft Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 09 Jan 2020


1. Die By My Sword
2. Castle Of Pain
3. Wings Of Fire
4. Master Of Revenge
5. Kill The Past
6. Ready To Strike
7. The Shark (feat. Bryan 'Hellroadie' Patrick)
8. The Lights Are On (But Nobody's Home)
9. Gorgon Eyes
10. Wrath Of Theseus

Relief is very much needed this evening. Having said that, it does feel strange talking about a Spanish band given how hard that country has been hit over the last couple of weeks. Valencian heavy/speed metal band War Dogs released their debut album Die By My Sword via Fighter Records back in January on vinyl and cd, while they worked with Witchcraft Records on a tape version. It follows their self-titled debut EP, which came out in 2018. 

If Zorro fronted a band, it’d sound like War Dogs. That’s not being disrespectful, it’s just the image that’s conjured when hearing this album’s title-track ‘Die By My Sword’. It’s melodic, skilfully played speed/traditional heavy metal with cleanly sung vocals that remind you of the character himself. It’s said that War Dogs contain elements of power metal and they may well do, but it’s not that obvious to these ears (maybe I’ve not listened to any power metal in a long time). What is obvious as ‘Castle Of Pain’ plays is that catchy instrumentation is something that this band does very well.

Speed metal is the overriding element throughout this album and ‘Wings Of Fire’ is where it’s at. The exhilarating intro that goes on for over sixty-seconds is perfect and leads to an equally frenetic song as a whole. I do enjoy this form of heavy metal but feel that sometimes albums can become quite staid and boring. So far, that’s not the case here as musically this is top notch. ‘Master Of Revenge’ is so upbeat and enjoyable, it makes you forget about all of the madness going on in the world right now. Even when it’s riffs become more chug-laden mid-way through, they still add to the excellence on show. 

As the metal drowns out the incessant noise made by my neighbours, the galloping tempo of ‘Kill The Past’ takes over. It’s a song that goes by in a flash of razor-sharp riffs and bass-lines, pounding percussion and soaring dual-vocals. Before you know it, you’re in the grips of ‘Ready To Strike’, which is another cleverly titled song as War Dogs really are ready to strike as they truly settle into the record. This is brilliant from start to end. They truly take on another form on ‘The Shark”, which features additional vocals from Bryan ‘Hellroadie’ Patrick of the legendary Manilla Road. It’s much more fantasy based, especially in the lyrical department but it’s also great fun and kind of reminds me of GWAR, maybe!

Things take on an Eastern form thanks to the vocal melodies of ‘the Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home’). They’re very subtle tones but they work and add an extra element to the heavy metal of War Dogs here. Penultimate track ‘Gorgon Eyes’ picks up the pace again, making great use of the momentum gained throughout the album. It’s the shortest song here, which is the reason for the urgency and it works really well too. 

That momentum flows straight into album closer ‘Wrath Of Theseus’ and it’s the last chance you have to enjoy the pleasing heavy metal of War Dogs. There aren’t many opportunities to indulge in such pleasures at the moment but this is one of them and I’ll be damned if anything’s getting in the way. A great modern heavy metal album that deserves more attention. 

You can stream Die By My Sword and purchase it super cheap digitally below:-

You can buy the album on CD and vinyl from Fighter Records here - and on tape via Witchcraft Records here -

Monday 23 March 2020

This Ends Here - The Last Hundred Years

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 21 Dec 2019


1. The Beast Is Dead
2. The Last Hundred Years

Wherever you're reading this, I hope you're safe and that your ensuring the spread of the virus is reduced as much as possible. If I didn't have to go to work, I'd be doing exactly the same. Sadly though I do, which means that while I'll still be posting reviews here, there won't be as many as I'd like. The band and also the music I'm writing about this evening seems very apt though. Bristol (UK) blackened post-metal/hardcore band This Ends Here released a new tape back in December, featuring two new songs. It's been over two years since their last material (the split with Wolfbeast Destroyer), so it couldn't come at a better time.

The Last Hundred Years sees This Ends Here writing and performing more expansive music. Their crust-like sound has been joined by atmospheric post-metal and lengthier instrumental passages. ‘The Beast Is Dead’ is nearly twelve-minutes in length and as such, it’s a slow building collage of heaviness, with vocals sitting deeper within it. It’s best turned up as the volume of the recording is a little quiet, but that doesn’t let it down at all. I can’t really compare it to anything else, as nothing similar springs to mind at this point. What I can say is that for someone that hasn’t listened to a great deal of music over the last couple of weeks due to lack of energy (both physically and mentally) this release is exactly what’s needed.

If first song ‘The Beast Is Dead’ was more on the sludgy side then the title track ‘The Last Hundred Years” takes more from the band’s crust influences that bring added tempo to the music in parts. It’s still cinematic, but the edge that’s afforded by that punk music is obvious to hear. It’s strange to say that despite the heaviness on show, there’s something very relaxing about this release, which must come from it’s atmospheric backbone. There’s plenty of music nestled within these two tracks, meaning there’s enough to get you through even the loneliest of nights. Great stuff!

You can stream The Last Hundred Years below, where you can also purchase it on tape and digitally:-

Saturday 21 March 2020

Misanthropic Aggression - Alcoholic Polyneuropathic Freaks In Hell 7"

Labels: Boris Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 Apr 2020


1. Alcoholic Polyneuropathic Freaks In Hell
2. Retired From Life (Last Day Of Work)
3. Blacklisted

I finally have enough energy to write again. Sorry for the radio silence over the last week. I didn't have the big-C but the effect it's having on society is obvious to see. The Prime Minister announced earlier that all bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and other social spots need to close from midnight tonight, to help reduce the spread of the virus. This is massive for bands, fans and for society as a whole. Of course, it was always going to happen but announcing it as late as they did on a Friday means that everyone's going to party as if it's their last night out ever. 

I've had my fill for the evening and my party involves the brand new 7" from Atlanta (USA) black-death thrashers Misanthropic Aggression. The band was formed in 2015 and released their first demo in 2017. They released the Inability To Cope EP the following year via Boris Records, whom they're working with again for this new release. 

Opening with a spoken-word sample that brings to mind American doom-sayers, Misanthropic Aggression launches into title-track ‘Alcoholic Polyneuropathic Freaks In Hell” with some sludge-like riffs that flow into deathly black-thrash. The riffs and blasting percussion are joined by hellish vocals of both the low and higher-pitched variety, leaving no time for respite. It’s catchy though and awesomely old-school.

‘Retirement From Life (Last Day Of Work)’ is a heady mix of slow death metal and cold black metal. The tempo does increase toward the latter half and it becomes a grooving mess of extreme madness that ends abruptly. Closing song ‘Blacklisted” hits the spot in terms of tempo and upbeat riffs. That’s not to say it’s an easy-listen but M.A. does make it a fun one. In fact this is probably the most fun number on the 7”. 

This EP definitely contains a huge element of that old-school heavy metal vibe, which makes it’s infectious spirit even more enjoyable. Extreme music doesn’t have to be all evil and anti-life. M.A. are great fun and this EP proves why.

You can stream the title-track below via Boris Records on bandcamp:-

The 7" is also available to pre-order in both physical and digital formats via Boris Records above.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Cryptic Shift - Visitations From Enceladus

Labels: Blood Harvest Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 04 May 2020


1. Moonbelt Immolator
2. (Petrified in the) Hypogean Gaol
3. The Arctic Chasm
4. Planetary Hypnosis

With the world heading for what could be inevitable global lockdown, a new beginning on far away planets makes perfect sense. Space dwelling death metallers Cryptic Shift think so, which is why they're about to release their debut full-length via Blood Harvest Records on May 4th. From their humble physical beginnings in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds in 2014, they released several demos, singles, an EP and a split, honing their live sound as they went. They're now ready to spread their cosmic technicality across the galaxy on all formats, including random flying disc!

Visitations From Enceladus begins with real intent in the form of the huge ‘Moonbelt Immolator’, which is spread across twenty-five+ minutes of sprawling technical death metal. The opening bars are made up of guitar passages that come and go amongst electronic interference of sorts. Cryptic Shifts’s full assault soon kicks off though with a mix of death metal akin to bands like Atheist and DBC. Cyborgs seem to take over at times during the song, with vocal effects that fit perfectly amongst the madness. It’s almost impossible to tell whether Master Boot Record had a hand in the creation of this release. Either way, the progressive and lengthy soloing is brilliant and adds to the already imaginative instrumental mid-section, which just seems to get crazier and crazier. From there on, their deathly chorus takes on a more brutal and straight-forward turn, amidst the technicality. One thing that does strike you during this song is just how well the instrumentation fits together, even with so many changes in tempo and so many transitions. The slow build has worked for Cryptic Shift so far and this record proves it.

From the mammoth galactic death metal opera that was ‘Moonbelt Immolator’, ‘(Petrified in the) Hypogean Gaol’ is a more urgent track, albeit still featuring Cryptic Shift’s technical wizardry and metallic wonderment. Again, it’s the guitar work that dominates with screaming solos sitting alongside fretboard mayhem, which remains controlled and melodic. The percussion and vocals match up by being just as crazy. Grinding tempos sit alongside subtle doom/death elements, layering a song that’s still possible to follow.

‘The Arctic Chasm’ is ominously good and it’s at this point that I realise that it’s these shorter songs that I prefer. The opener was fantastic but it struggled to find that extra bit of momentum due to the stop/start nature at times. The shorter songs seem to have no problem and it’s where Cryptic Shift really hit their stride. The riffs are bewildering here. The production/mixing/mastering also needs mentioning at this point, as the volume of the recording and the clear space that each instrument has is spot on. Both help to make the sound more engaging. There’s a lot of different phrasing and indeed movement within ‘The Arctic Chasm’, but it’s a song that just keeps on giving.

No rest is earned between it and album closer ‘Planetary Hypnosis’, which is just gung-ho. Coming in at a relatively short five-and-a-half minutes in length, nothing is slow or ponderous about it. Cryptic Shift has really found a stride at this point and it’s death metal at it’s best. You can completely see why Blood Harvest have put their name to this, as it’s quality and with the maturity that this quartet has, they’ll sit perfectly alongside the label’s ever-growing roster of quality extreme metal bands.

You can stream 'The Arctic Chasm' and pre-order the full album digitally below:-

Physical pre-orders can be placed via Blood Harvest Records here -

Sunday 8 March 2020

Dead Man's Chest - Dear God 7"

Labels: Upstate Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 28 Feb 2020


1. Dear God
2. United States Of Me

It's my last day of holiday before jumping back into the rat race. I've been doing some review planning so over the next couple of weeks you can expect slightly higher output from me. This brand new EP has been sitting in my inbox for a little while (as have a lot of other releases, as I'm behind) and I thought now would be a good time to check it out. It's the latest 7" from international hardcore band Dead Man's Chest, which was released by New York label Upstate Records on 28th February. Dead Man's Chest have been playing hardcore/crossover now for over a decade, since their first demo in 2008.

Here’s goes then. Opening with ‘Dear God’, which is a big slab of thrash-heavy hardcore, Dead Man’s Chest lay it on thick with growled vocals, mosh-heavy drums/bass and up-lifting riffs. The tempos aren’t super in your face but do bounce and you can see why Dead Man’s Chest have been so successful over the years. Their music is well-written and precise, while also having a decent amount of technicality as well.

Second song ‘United States Of Me’ dials up the metal side of the quintets sound, especially in the guitar riffs and melody. If you find current Hatebreed material a bit formulaic then Dead Man’s Chest and Dear God will be good to turn to. It’s proper hardcore and is definitely as step-up from a lot of modern beatdown in my opinion. 

It’s a short EP, which hopefully hints at more to come from the band this year but even as a standalone release it’s great. As mentioned above it’s up-lifting and will got your motivation flowing, which is perfect now that the days are getting longer. We all need more positive hardcore in our lives.

You can stream and purchase Dear God digitally and on vinyl via Upstate's bandcamp below:-

It's also available via other distributors and information can be found on the Dead Man's Chest Facebook page here -

Friday 6 March 2020

Chivala/Suirami - Split (Longrail Records/No Funeral Records/More...)

Labels: Longrail Records/Non Ti Seguo Records/Tifone Crew/Lostdog Records/Equal Rights/Strigide Records/TimTam/Yoyodyne Records/Callous Records/Missed Out Records/Les disques Rabat-joie/Mevzu Records/No Funeral Records
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 15 Oct 2019


1. Chivala - Caduta
2. Chivala - 27 Marzo
3. Suirami - G. Burrasca
4. Suirami - Amaro
5. Suirami - Occhi Chiusi
6. Suirami - Nuovo Inizio

Chivala was the only non-US band on the four-way split I reviewed earlier in the week. Late last year, they joined forces with fellow Italian post-hardcore band Suirami for a split, which was released on 10" vinyl by a whole host of the labels (listed above) and also on tape by No Funeral Records. Chivala has two songs on here while Suirami has four.

I’ve found that over the years, Italian screamo/post-hardcore definitely has it’s own identity when held up against similar music from the US. Aside from the obvious fact that Chivala sings in their native-tongue, there’s something very old-school about their opener ‘Caduta’. There’s less of the emoviolence approach taken by their former split-mates in Lytic, Amitie and Pique. Hardcore riffs shape their music while still providing melody. The percussion is still technical in places and the vocals are still harsh, but it’s all delivered in a simpler fashion (at least to these ears anyway). ’27 Marzo’ is immediately more ambient, building slowly and steadily. The mood is darker and the tempo is more mid-paced this time. This song may give you a better idea of what I was trying to say above. Chivala’s sound is more controlled and thus easier to follow, if you’re not an emoviolence/mathcore nut for example.

This is my first time hearing Suirami and they come from a cleaner punk/emo direction, with vocals that are more audible. Again, lyrics are in Italian. On their opener ‘G. Burrasca’ they remind me of Dutch punks Antillectual. They’re off-kilter at times but also have that pogo-punk rhythm thing going on and a slight atmosphere akin to Deftones too. Suirami’s songs are on the shorter side, coming in at under three-minutes. Despite that obvious urgency, ‘Amaro’ is very up-tempo and enjoyable. They manage to weave a lot of music layers from a relatively simple approach and remain very catchy. It’s exactly the same for ‘Occhi Chiusi’, where their more cinematic/post-hardcore side comes forward, thanks to lengthier instrumental passages and more minimal use of vocals, which seem to be slightly lower in the mix this time. It fades out leaving a sizeable pause before final song ‘Nuovo Inizio’, which is an acoustic instrumental song that’s very calming.

Having both the slight abrasiveness of Chivala and the cleaner punk of Suirami on this split makes it work really well. It showcases two of Italy’s newer bands, while showing the variation that exists even in this small scene. Great job! 

You can stream the full split release below:-

You can buy physical and digital copies from bands above and the labels below:-

Non Ti Seguo Records -
No Funeral Records - /

Thursday 5 March 2020

Amitie/Karloff - Split (Illuminate My Heart Records/No Funeral Records/Zegema Beach Records)

Labels: Illuminate My Heart Records/No Funeral Records/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: 5" Lathe/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 16 Jan 2020


1. Amitie - A Love Letter
2. Karloff - The Dead Will Walk The Earth

Once again, I've got a release featuring Amitie for you. I still have to write about the Chivala/Suirami split, but that'll probably be up tomorrow now. Once that's done I'm moving on. With that said, this little split was released in early January on a very limited number of 5" lathe cut records and a similarly limited amount of tapes. It features one song by Amitie and one song by Canadian screamo band Karloff.

As with the split I reviewed on Tuesday, this one is also short but it makes up for that in musical quality. Amitie’s 'A Love Letter’ starts off gently with a lengthy passage of guitar melody, before the latter half’s off-kilter emoviolence takes the floor. It’s over in a flash but the exhilaration is real.

Karloff is a new name to the blog (at least from what I can remember). Their song ‘The Dead Will Walk The Earth’ is filled with short bursts of violent noise, twinkly guitars and harsh screams. The percussion adds to the chaos and the rawness only makes it sound more heart-wrenching. 

Again, sometimes it’s not quantity but quality that makes a release special. This is high on quality and even though it’s brief in length, both bands provide glimpses into their sound. It works in a very satisfying way as it makes you want to go and seek out the rest of their music on your own. Go for it!

Stream the split and grab it as a free digital download here:-

Physical copies can be purchased (only a few remain) from the links below:-

Monday 2 March 2020

Amitie/Pique - Split 5" Lathe (Dingleberry Records/Illuminate My Heart Records/Larry Records)

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Illuminate My Heart Records/Larry Records
Formats: 5" Lathe/Digital
Release Date: 05 Nov 2019


1. Amitie - Today's Agenda Is...
2. Pique - Only Death Is Real

I had a lot of fun writing last night's review. In case you didn't know, I'm dedicating this week to the bands that featured on the four-way split LP that I wrote about yesterday and it just so happens that this little split includes two of them. Towards the end of 2019, Amitie and Pique recorded one song each, before committing them to a very limited lathe cut 5" record. If you own any 5" vinyl releases, you'll know that they tend be very short and it's no different with this one. Don't worry though because you'll still have plenty of time to stare at that bewilderingly awesome artwork up there.

Two tracks not even passing the two-minute mark when played one after the other. I’m expecting something insane and straight away Amitie doesn’t disappoint with ‘Today’s Agenda Is…’. Emoviolence but with clear and obvious melody, that goes by all too quickly. The feedback/looping riffs at the beginning give it away really and the percussion/vocals don’t give any quarters either.

Pique’s ‘Only Death Is Real” is less violent and more cinematic. It’s tempo slower and while it too is short in length, the image it creates in your mind is strangely one of peace and fragility. The vocals are just as emotive here but the instrumentation seems more sensitive. It almost feels like there are two sides to this split and by that I don’t mean the obvious. It seems there’s a chaotic side and a calm side, with Pique being the latter. 

Both bands here didn’t have a great deal to play with in terms of songs lengths yet they’ve made it work to their advantage. Exhilarating and heartfelt in equal measure. I’m not usually a fan of those discography comps that bands seem to do as stop gaps between proper releases, but if both Amitie and Pique were to do their own, I’d be down. 

You can stream the full split below, where you can also purchase it digitally:-

The physical release is almost sold out but one copy is still available from Dingleberry Records via their Discogs store -

Sunday 1 March 2020

Lytic/Amitie/Chivala/Pique - 4-Way Split (Moment Of Collapse Records/Shove Records/Zegema Beach Records/Larry Records)

Labels: Moment Of Collapse Records/Shove Records/Zegema Beach Records/Larry Records
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 04 Oct 2019


1. Lytic - Insensible Losses
2. Lytic - Bless Your Tourist Heart
3. Amitie - The First 21 Years
4. Amitie - Perpetual Motion
5. Amitie - Overtoun Mink
6. Chivala - Materia E Memoria
7. Chivala - Retaggio
8. Pique - I
9. Pique - II
10. Pique - III
11. Pique - IV
12. Pique - V

I hinted a couple of weeks ago that my next set of reviews would be about four bands, who broadsided my consciousness with a 4-way split release recently. Those in question were US bands Lytic, Amitie, Pique and Italian band Chivala. This was that split. It was released towards the end of last year on vinyl via Moment Of Collapse Records, Shove Records and Zegema Beach Records, as well on tape via Larry Records. All fours bands form part of the ever growing post-hardcore/emo/screamo family that spans the entire globe. I must add at this point that some digital outlets state that this release contains eleven songs, while others state twelve songs. I'm reviewing all twelve songs, because I'd rather not miss one. 

First up it’s Lytic, who contribute two songs. Split opener ‘Insensible Losses’ is a chaotic and violent, but melodic piece of screamo that shows their collective experience (ex-Off Minor and Saetia, amongst others). Noisy percussion, emotive screams and guitar work that flits between dissonant and vulnerable. ‘Bless Your Tourist Heart’ is much more emo (sorry!) in delivery to begin with, before exploding into a stop/start collage of screamo/emoviolence. All the while, keeping you on the edge of your seat with musical twists and turns.

Amitie follow with three songs. The riffs and melody at the beginning of ‘The First 21 Years’ sound familiar, but I can’t remember why (or whom it sounds like) off the top of my head. The vocals and music that follows is super good emo/screamo that’s got an air of nostalgia about it. ‘Perpetual Motion’ is as atmospheric and emotive as Amitie’s opener. It’s a similar tempo as well, albeit slightly more on the moody side. It’s glorious though. Their final song here, ‘Overtoun Mink’ comes across like a mix of At The Drive-In and Incubus (perhaps). It’s not what you might expect but it shows that Amitie’s song-writing and delivery has plenty of maturity and thoughtfulness within it.

As with Amitie, this split was my introduction to Italian band Chivala and they bring two songs to  the party here. ‘Materia E Memoria’ has an unmistakable European flair and rawness to it. The lyrics in their native-tongue are perfect and sit them next to compatriots Ojne in terms of quality. Their sound is so clear on ‘Retaggio’, which strips away all of the chaos and dissonance in favour of instrumental majesty that builds but never overspills.

Closing out this split is Pique with five numerically named additions. ‘I’ is solid emoviolence/ambient post-hardcore at it’s best. It doesn’t last long, but then none of their songs do here. ‘II’ is menacing and sometimes sinister, especially thanks to the spoken-word sample within it. In fact, Pique takes an old-school approach slightly akin to From Autumn To Ashes when is comes to sample usage, which is absolutely fine. ‘III’ feels self-deprecating but sets the mood brilliantly without being over-complicated. On ‘IV’, Pique returns to the quick-fire post-hardcore violence once again, which leads into split closer ‘V’. It’s a fitting finale.

I’ve said it before but there split releases are absolute gems. All four bands here fit alongside each other effortlessly and yet they each have something unique to offer. If you haven’t done so already, pick this up and wear out the needle of your turntable, because you won’t be able to stop playing it.

You can stream the split below:-

You can buy the split on both vinyl and digitally from the labels below:-