Thursday, 23 September 2021

Razoreater - Purgatory


Labels: FHED

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Sep 2021


Tracklist:


1. I Despise Us

2. Cursed Are The Merciful

3. One Last Nail

4. End This Hell

5. Vittu Saatana Perkele

6. Set Fire To The Preacher

7. There Is No More Hope


In an age where countless bands come and go, there will always be a a few that really leave their mark on you. Razoreater is one of those bands and one that I never thought I'd be writing about again. Ever since their Necropolitan tape was released via CoF Records in 2012, they committed their incendiary grind to vinyl/tape every year up until 2016, when they fell silent following the release of Vacuum Of Nihil. That work ethic and their excellent live presence meant that they were highly regarded in the UK and further afield. Now, just over five years on, they're back with new music in the form of Purgatory, which will be available from tomorrow on vinyl, tape and digital formats with the help of FHED. 


Razoreater formed back in 2011, which was shortly after I started this blog. I was so enthused about the UK heavy music community at that time and it was partly due to this band, and their then label mates on CoF Records. To be sitting here ten years on and getting the opportunity to listen to new music from them again is mind-blowing to me. They haven’t lost any of their intensity, in fact the break may have only made their sound even nastier. If the striking artwork of Purgatory isn’t a clue, EP opener ‘I Despise Us’ goes straight for the face with the barrage of riffing that Razoreater have had in their arsenal since day one. The no nonsense percussion and vocals show that nothing is being left out.


They’ve performed alongside some of grind and hardcore’s most well-known bands in years gone by, and when you hear ‘Cursed Are The Merciful’, you’ll know that what’s been recorded here is what you’ll get live. No pretence or trickery is needed. The transition they make between grind and sludgy hardcore on ‘One Last Nail’ is what really sets them apart for me. It was always something that has kept me coming back to their music, in the same way as bands like Knifecrimes, Esoteric Youth and Trudger do, to name a few. 


I’ve spent a lot of this review looking back, but sitting in a present there’s a realisation that this EP is drawing a line under a period of time and the aptness of ‘End This Hell’ is only too real, set to the backdrop of raging grind and punk. Razoreater can groove too though and the opening riffs on ‘Vittu Saatana Perkele’ are amongst the catchiest on the EP. Their use later on only makes the song sound more menacing, when buried within the full soundstage. 


There’s no rest as penultimate song ’Set Fire To The Preacher’ flies by in less than sixty seconds. It’s constant percussive blasts reign supreme, with the guitars and vocals keeping up…just. From the EP’s shortest song to it’s longest; ‘There Is No More Hope’, like those before it is better played at high volume though the extended passage of feedback that makes up it’s second half might damage more than just your hearing.


I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that this is what’s been missing from the UK heavy music scene. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of another productive period for Razoreater, because if Purgatory is anything to go by, it’ll be pretty special. 


You can stream the EP's opening track via Bandcamp below:-



The initial tape run from FHED has sold out, but Razoreater will have copies with them at their shows in Lincoln (Sep 25) and London (Sep 26). More details about the shows can be found on their Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/razoreatergrind.


Vinyl/digital copies can be purchased from FHED here - https://fhed.bandcamp.com/merch.


FHED - https://www.facebook.com/FxHxExD/.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Coma Regalia - Ours Is The Cause Most Noble 2x7"


Labels: I.Corrupt Records/Middle-Man Records/Skin & Bones Records/Time As A Color/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 03 July 2015


Tracklist:


1. The Sleeping Dragon

2. The Knight In The Squire's Imagination

3. The Architect Of The Castle Keep

4. The Artist Lacking Vision

5. The Stone Golem

6. The Leper Within The Walls

7. The Magician's Clumsy Apprentice

8. The Lich With A Heart Of Gold

9. The Undead Swordsman

10. The Thief Who Craves Capture

11. The False Healer

12. The Many Who Became One


I'm back on the ZBR trail today after another less than productive week. I'm sorry about the irregular nature of things at the moment. Ours Is The Cause Most Noble was released in mid-2015 and is the second of six (so far) full-lengths from US emoviolence/hardcore mainstay Coma Regalia. It wasn't released as a conventional full-length on a conventional 12" LP though. Instead Shawn went for a double 7" release with handmade screen-printed gatefold covers, limited to 500 covers. I'm not sure if this is a concept album of sorts, as there is a medieval/castle theme throughout and Shawn did perform on and help to release a tape for a project called Knights Of Ganymede in 2018, so who knows!


If you’re at all familiar with Coma Regalia (and if you’ve visited this blog at all over the last few years, you should be!), then you’ll know that the band essentially plays fast yet musical hardcore/screamo. That formula though has alway been tweaked by Shawn and the end results sometimes come as a surprise. The album’s opener ‘The Sleeping Dragon’ acts as a short intro yet there’s a full-band approach that leads into ‘The Knight In The Squire’s Imagination’. The thing that strikes with me with Coma Regalia whenever I listen to them is the guitar melodies. They’re always really epic and here, they take centre stage while clean singing can be heard deeper in the mix. There’s a build-up in the middle before a dramatic latter-half, where the harsher vocals and drums kick in again.


The other thing I love is Coma’s ability to create intense and instantly enjoyable songs, like the more punk influenced duo ‘The Architect Of The Castle Keep’ and ‘The Artist Lacking Vision’. Both have really driving rhythms and catchy riffs, with the latter of the two containing some chaotic emoviolence for good measure. ‘The Stone Golem’ highlights how good the band’s longer songs are. The song-writing that goes into them shows a level of care and thought, that carries on through the rest of the album.


I can’t put my finger on what other bands this reminds me of, so I’m not going to try and pluck names out fo the air. That distracts from the music and is lazy filler sometimes (something I’ve been guilty of in the past). ‘The Leper Within The Walls’ seems to have slight undertones within it’s riffs, being darker somehow. The feedback at the start of ‘The Magician’s Clumsy Apprentice’ is an audible reminder of the band’s DIY ethos, though that doesn’t mean it’s a lo-fi song. It isn’t, as the recording seems to be so full. Off-kilter rhythms take the lead on ‘The Lich With A Heart Of Gold’, which help to give it a proper old-school emo sound alongside the melodic guitar and the harsh/clean dual vocals. It’s fantastic! 


There’s a move to longer songs during the album’s second half and though that might not be by design, it’s certainly no hardship listening-wise. ‘The Undead Swordsman’ is much more instrumental, with the vocals taking more of a sensitive position in the song. It’s atmosphere is amplified because of that as well. ‘The Thief Who Craves Capture’ is more traditional in it’s nature (in screamo terms I guess). It still has plenty of punk in and tempo changes aplenty. Penultimate song ‘The False Healer’ is a beautiful piece of music, complete with calming violin from Ari Quinn Decker. It’s short but it leads neatly into album closer ‘The Many Who Became One’, which provides a passionate and emotive ending. 


Coma Regalia is a band with such a broad and extensive discography. Like the rest of that discography, Ours Is The Cause Most Noble should be explored and enjoyed in it’s full glory.


You can stream and purchase Ours Is The Cause Most Noble digitally below:-



Shawn and his family are facing a tough time right now, as they've been told they have to vacate the property they've lived in for the last 22 years. You can help them by picking up releases from the Middle-Man Records bandcamp page above or from the online store below:-

https://middlemanrecords.storenvy.com


Also, a Gofundme page has been set up here - https://www.gofundme.com/f/decker-family-moving-fund.


Coma Regalia - https://www.facebook.com/comaregalia


Copies are also available from the labels below:-


Time As A Color - https://timeasacolor.com/

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/


I.Corrupt Records - https://www.facebook.com/icorruptrecs

Middle-Man Records - https://www.facebook.com/middlemanrecords

Time As A Color Records - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor

Zegema Beach Records -  https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Portal To The God Damn Blood Dimension: Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard


Labels: Ripcord Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 26 Mar 2021


Tracklist:


1. Want

2. Ashes


I sit here this evening lamenting my current state of lethargy. I know I'm wrong in doing so, as it's Monday evening but what are you going to do! The other thing I'm lamenting is being so far behind with my reviewing (which, is my fault entirely). I always have a list of releases to hand and this two-song EP (or album?) from US band Portal To The God Damn Blood Dimension was the next one on it. It was originally digitally self-released by the band back in September 2020, before Scottish label Ripcord Records released on tape in March of this year (now sold out).


Two songs stretching over thirty-five minutes from a post-rock/experimental band with a cast of eight plus ten (providing additional vocals). Sounds intriguing. This isn’t your straight up progressive metal/noise though, as opener ‘Want’ begins with soothing strings. It’s more folk inspired to start with (at least to these ears anyway). Horns and woodwind instruments join in as emotive spoken-word turns to shouts. It reaches screamo/post-hardcore intensity shortly afterwards, in the vein of We Came Out Like Tigers of old. 


The orchestral elements of PTTGDBD are where the experimentation truly takes hold, as what sound like free jazz and semi-improv make themselves heard as you get further into the song. ‘Want’ is one of those songs that you can just get truly lost in, yet when the harsh vocals and full band approach kicks in with heavy percussion and guitar riffs, it’s still true on both a musical and on a human level.


There’s no pause as ‘Want’ flows into ‘Ashes’ and the vocals, and lyrics have such a poetic sense to them. The subtle instrumentation helps to make them stand out even more. It’s a song that builds up very slowly and as such, it’s volume builds as well. It seems as though they’re talking/shouting about their own experiences of being in a band and it’s a truly stark impression if so. Sometimes it’s good just to let songs play, to let them wash over you and take you somewhere else. PTTGDBD are exceptionally good at doing that and Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard is a journey that you need to take. Heart wrenching yet fantastic! As I said above, the tape pressing is sold out. Who knows if it'll be repressed.


You can stream and purchase Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard digitally (name-your-price) straight from PTTGDBD below:-



Portal To The God Damn Blood Dimension - https://www.facebook.com/PortalToTheGodDamnBloodDimension


It's also available as a name-your-price download from Ripcord Records here - 

https://ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/music


Ripcord Records - https://www.facebook.com/weareripcord

Saturday, 11 September 2021

You Could Be A Cop/Amid The Old Wounds - Split LP


Labels: Adagio830/Friend Club Records/Motorpool Records/Slow Down Records/Strictly No Capital Letters/Time As A Color Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 27 Aug 2021


Tracklist:


1. You Could Be A Cop - Against The Bleeding Skyline

2. You Could Be A Cop - Untitled

3. You Could Be A Cop - The Cakes Are Burnt

4. You Could Be A Cop - Still The Same?

5. Amid The Old Wounds - A Friend In Need

6. Amid The Old Wounds - You've Reached The End

7. Amid The Old Wounds - Anywhere

8. Amid The Old Wounds - Let It Slide (No Use For A Name cover)


Another working week has flown by and all I want to do is relax. Thankfully, this loverly split featuring Norwegian/English band You Could Be A Cop and German acoustic solo-project Amid The Old Wounds is around to help. Sent to me by my longtime friend Daniel Becker, this record is housed in a glorious gatefold sleeve with black and white collage artwork, while the vinyl itself comes in either sky blue or black (this one), limited to 300 copies in total. Expect soothing indie/emo tones throughout and even a punk cover song too.


I said there’d be soothing tones and I wasn’t lying. You Could Be A Cop start things off on this split with four songs. Opener ‘Against The Bleeding Skyline’ sees guest Tonje Tafjord adding glorious vocal melodies amongst a backdrop of melodic guitars and subtle percussion. There are moments that venture beyond their light emo/punk sound, but they’re only fleeting, ‘Untitled’ sees the band going on their own in a calm and measured manner. It’s hard to think of comparisons but bands like maybe Annabel and Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) might spring to mind.


The unassuming male/female vocals of on ‘The Cakes Are Burnt’ match the instrumentation perfectly, with  Natalie, Marius and Mortem creating something that’s brimming with genuine emotion even when delivered in near spoken-worn fashion at times. The mixing/mastering takes nothing away from that emotion either, allowing You Could Be A Cop to be themselves. The band’s final song ‘Still The Same’ captures their intricate yet easy-listening approach perfectly. The additional vocals by Anders Kojen add extra body to the song, alongside some harsher vocals that sit deeper in the recording.


The second half of the split belongs to Amid The Old Wounds. I don’t know if any of you feel the same way but I prefer these splits where bands have their own dedicated sides, compared to those where bands play one song after the other band’s played one, if that makes sense. ‘A Friend In Need’ picks up where the project’s Vignette 7” left off last year. Both Daniel’s voice and acoustic guitar work are so calming, while the recording is such that the music seems to project itself out of the speakers, even at low volume.


‘You’ve Reached The End’ is a sombre piece of indie pop. It’s slow tempo and pensive vocals act as prompts for reflection, and they work really well. There’s less of an emo influence to Daniel’s music here, but genre lines are still blurred much like elsewhere. ‘Anywhere’ (originally a Wishes On A Plane song) goes on by very quickly, but in a focused way. I think the song-writing throughout this split is very strong, though especially that of Amid The Old Wounds.


The split’s closing song is a cover of ‘Let It Slide’ by No Use For A Name. It’s a great version of the song, which is played in the same singer-songwriter vein and in doing so, it stays recognisable. This split is the perfect accompaniment to these late summer days, as the light begins to fade earlier and earlier each night. Warm, reassuring and peaceful. Love it!


The full split can be streamed digitally below:-



You Could Be A Cop - https://www.facebook.com/youcouldbeacop

Amid The Old Wounds - https://www.facebook.com/amidtheoldwounds


Physical copies can be purchased from the below labels (you can also buy digital downloads from them too):-


Adagio830 - https://adagio830-records.bandcamp.com/

Friend Club Records - https://www.friendclubrecords.com/

Slow Down Records - https://slowdownrecords.bandcamp.com/

Strictly No Capital Letters - https://sncl.collective-zine.co.uk/

Time As A Color Records - https://timeasacolor.com/


Adagio830 - https://www.facebook.com/ADAGIO830

Friend Club Records - https://www.facebook.com/FriendClubRecords

Motorpool Records - https://twitter.com/rufenpub

Slow Down Records - https://twitter.com/recordsslow

Strictly No Capital Letters - https://www.facebook.com/strictlynocapitalletters

Time As A Color Records - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tentacles - Ambivalence


Labels: Deadwood Records/Dead Tank Records/IFB Records/React With Protest/Scaglie Di Rumore/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 21 May 2015


Tracklist:


1. A Warm Body

2. My Mortal Cord

3. Pillars Of Salt

4. No Commiseration

5. Enantiodromia

6. Ambivalence

7. Uproot


Apologies, I had to hit reset again over the last week. Now I'm back with another Zegema Beach Records Roster review, this time featuring the 2015 album (also their last) from Texan screamo/grindcore band Tentacles, which alongside ZBR was released on vinyl and tape by the many labels above. It was the fourth release following their formation in 2006. From what I've heard/read about Tentacles, their music was always heavy, fast and super energetic. I need all of those things right now because I'm lamenting stuff. Here's Tentacles Ambivalence.


This album is made up of seven songs, of which the first and the last bookend the rest with more grandiose noise. Album opener ‘A Warm Body’ hugs you with it’s slow sludgy/powerviolence-esque riffs, coupled with crashing cymbals and drums. The bass is subtle and melodic, while the screams that greet you ninety seconds in are anything but. All encompassing crazy noise that’s rooted in many heavy camps. Mind-blowing already!


That opener is a bit of a misnomer though as ‘My Mortal Cord’ is a raging, blackened screamo masterpiece that goes as quickly as it barged in and stole your wife! It’s very much the same story with the grinding intensity of ‘Pillars Of Salt’. Despite how fast both songs are though, there’s still a loverly element of down-tempo sludge and technicality flowing through the music performed by Tentacles.


It seems as though they use multiple vocalists on ‘No Commiseration’ (correct me if I’m wrong here). Either way, it’s a proper ripper where the band ploughs an even deeper furrow with utterly heavy riffs and atmospherics. Kinda like if Cursed/Trap Them were even darker, if that makes any sense. Metalcore/hardcore makes a play during ‘Enantiodromia’, which in an instrumental song that grows and grows as if it’s going to explode, before holding you at the point of climax and in the end teasing you with the thought.


Penultimate title track ‘Ambivalence’ is another angular, shredding song that sounds evil but isn’t. Maybe it’s just me that’s hearing the black metal influence here but whatever, Tentacles play some of the best harshest screamo of recent times. I absolutely can’t get enough of that bass tone! To end it all, there’s nothing other than an eight-plus minute slug-a-thon called ‘Uproot’ that promises to be barbaric and it’s just that! If ever there was an epitaph to end all epitaphs, this would be it. Heck, I might even request for this song to be played at my funeral! Not that I’m dumbing this release down at all.


The use of melody to counteract the dissonant driving heaviness on show here is perfect. There’s something sensitive and soothing about Ambivalence that’s really hard to describe. It’s what I needed this evening and even if Tentacles have been silent for a long while now, it doesn’t matter because they left behind music like this. Last night I was ironing to the sounds of Papa Roach, tonight I’m sitting and head-banging in awe of this. It’s funny how music grabs us!


Stream and purchase Ambivalence as a name-your-price download below:-



You can buy physical copies from the below labels:-


Deadwood Records - https://www.deadwoodrecords.de/

Dead Tank Records - https://deadtankrecords.com/

React With Protest - http://www.reactwithprotest.org/

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/ / USA - https://zbrusa.com/


Deadwood Records - https://www.facebook.com/deadwoodrecords

Dead Tank Records - https://www.facebook.com/deadtankrecords

IFB Records - http://ifbrecords.blogspot.com

React With Protest - https://www.facebook.com/reactwithprotestdiy

Scaglie Di Rumore - https://www.facebook.com/scagliedirumorepage

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Phantom Fire - Return Of The Goat EP


Labels: Edged Circle Productions

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 23 Apr 2021


Tracklist:


1. Return Of The Goat

2. Mara


I've put together a new list of releases to talk about over the coming weeks, though it's always an evolving exercise. Also, with summer about to firmly close the door in favour of the inevitable march towards the cold darkness of winter, there will hopefully be more productive times ahead. Mentioning the bleakest of seasons is quite apt tonight as I'm delving into the debut EP by Norwegian speed/black metal duo Phantom Fire. Return Of The Goat is a two song teaser that precedes their debut full-length, The Bust Of Beelzebub, which is due out in October. This EP was released in late-April/early-May via compatriot label Edged Circle Productions.


Between them, the duo that makes up Phantom Fire contains plenty of experience, as well as more than their fair share of hooks. The title track ‘Return Of The Goat’ is pure Motorhead worship with clear and classy speed metal, sitting alongside the sinister black metal sound that Norway is known for. It’s a short intro but it’s one that’s catchy.


Second song ‘Mara’ is no different, though Phantom Fire make use of more vocals and a heavier leaning towards black metal this time. Crashing cymbals, dark melody from the guitar and bass alongside that now trademarked tortured vocal approach for good measure. 


As a debut EP, this does exactly what it needs to do. It provides listeners with a glimpse of what they can expect from Phantom Fire’s up-coming full length and is infectious enough in it’s own right to guarantee it stays spinning on your deck.


You can stream and purchase 'Return Of The Goat' on all formats below:-



Phantom Fire - https://www.facebook.com/PhantomFireOfficial

Edged Circle Productions - https://www.facebook.com/edgedcircleproductions

Sunday, 29 August 2021

All I Live For - We Are The Angels


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 27 Aug 2021


Tracklist:


1. Intro

2. See My Soul

3. Godspeed

4. We Are The Angels

5. Set Me Free

6. Awaken

7. Breathe Me In

8. Rise Again

9. Brand New Day

10. Here We Belong

11. Spirit

12. Save Our Hearts


I read a mind-blowing statistic the other day that said there are 62,000 new songs uploaded to Spotify every day! That means there are 62,000 songs and countless bands competing for listeners each day. It's tough out there in the age where anyone can upload their music to the Internet and be heard instantly. The same can be said for online music sites/blogs (ironically, like this one!), where people can publish their opinions on music at the push of a button. Some are good and some are bad, but for bands any publicity can turn out to be good publicity. That's just my very general assessment of the state of things currently.


Moving on from that thought to a band that I recently featured in an introductory piece last weekend. Leeds-based alternative rock/metal band All I Live For released their debut album We Are The Angels yesterday on all digital platforms. They've been quite brave in releasing a full-length as their debut recording, as the majority of new bands tend to test the waters with shorter EPs in my experience. That's just an observation though. Another one is the fact that Bandcamp recommends that you listen to the likes of Baroness, Boris, Torche and Red Fang if you enjoy All I Live For, which is pretty encouraging in comparison terms this early on. Let's see if the album backs that up...


Beginning with a clear and melodic Intro, We Are The Angels kicks off properly with 'See My Soul', which is the album’s lead single. It features a mix of harsh vocals and clean singing, as well as similarly heavy guitar and percussion. There’s something quite progressive about it, which helps it to escape the trap of just being another modern-day rock album. All I Live For have their own influences, which are spread throughout their sound. On ‘Godspeed’ there are glimpses of those influences including well-trodden approaches borrowed from the likes of Metallica, Trivium and Alter Bridge. That’s a guide for new listeners and not hyperbole. There’s a lot more going on here and instrumentally the band are a lot stronger than I was expecting initially. 


They also achieved a major coup prior to the album’s release by working with Grammy award winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen. That experience shows through here and helps give the record an edge in terms of final delivery. The title track ‘We Are The Angels’ takes on the hard rock genre without sounding generic. It’s soaring chorus standing out in a really well-written song. More of that classic/hard rock vibe flows into ‘Set Me Free’, which is slightly minimalistic compared to the songs it follows, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. All I Live For maintain a chuggy metal sound too that serves them well, while not being too aggressive, meaning that they remain approachable to new listeners who might not have ventured to the heavier side of the genre just yet.


They’re never too far away from a proper rock ballad and it comes at the album’s mid point, in the form of ‘Awaken’. It sounds like All I Live For are playing it somewhat safe here musically, but then again they’re not trying to sound showy either. The addition of choir/group vocals towards the song’s conclusion, joining a more than solid guitar solo show good awareness of variation. As you reach the second half of the album, there’s much more assurance about the band’s sound. ‘Breathe Me In’ is mature and again not over-complicated. Some people would call it inoffensive and they’re right, but that doesn’t have to be a criticism. It’s certainly radio-friendly and that could prove to be important for such a new band.


One thing that I have noticed about the album’s latter half is that the songs become shorter and punchier as a result. ‘Rise Again’ is a case in point, with a more urgent tempo from the drums, more excellent guitar/bass work and vocals to match. The upbeat tempos also match the positive lyrics. ‘Brand New Day’ is a song that twists and turns it’s way through four minutes of melodic metal and even some punk-like guitars too. It’s actually really well put together. ‘Here We Belong’ is one of the more off-kilter songs on We Are The Angels, mixing time-signatures with a dramatic vocal presence. At first I was a little bit unsure about the guitars being so far back in the mix, but it adds a layer of subtlety that’s quite pleasing. They’re loud and up front when they need to be but don’t overpower the recording. 


By the time penultimate song ‘Spirit’ begins, you’ll know what to expect from All I Live For. I know the album’s not over yet but the musical familiarity that builds throughout it is very consistent. To complete the record, final song ‘Save Our Hearts’ comes full circle with the chorus that was used briefly during the Intro track, leading into one final highly charged yet controlled rock song. Mike Pearson, Anthony Frith and Dave Williams have pulled off a really strong debut album. Stronger than I was expecting given it’s twelve songs. So the Bandcamp recommendation algorithm was a little out, but don’t let that put you off. All I Live For are only beginning their musical journey but they deserve their chance. I’ll be watching their progression with real interest.


You can stream and purchase We Are The Angels digitally via Bandcamp below, as well as on all other major digital platforms:-



Visit their website and social media profiles below:-


Website - https://allilivefor.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AllILiveFor

Twitter - https://twitter.com/AllILiveFor / @ALLILIVEFOR

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/ALLILIVEFORBAND

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/allilivefor / @allilivefor

Friday, 27 August 2021

Nullingroots - Malady's Black Maw


Labels: Beverina Productions/Casus Belli Musica

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 12 Oct 2019


Tracklist:


1. Heaven Bending

2. Ember

3. To Die In A Memory

4. Erase Your Map

5. Mendacious

6. Inculcate

7. Tellurian


One thing I've been planning to do for a while has been to begin going through my digital archive and to start writing about releases from within it. The first release I've pulled out is the 2019 album Malady's Black Maw by US blackgaze/post-metal band Nullingroots, which was released by Beverina Productions and Casus Belli Musica. They began as Solus in 2012 before their name changed to Nullingroots. Since 2014, they've released two singles and four full-lengths. Their Metal Archives page says that they're still part of the Prosthetic Records roster, but I'm not sure that's accurate anymore and they haven't been active for a while so may be on hiatus.


This review forms part of my attempt to get back into writing on a more regular basis (not that I should need any encouragement). Despite being a part of my digital archive for some time now, Nullingroots and their 2019 album Malady’s Black Maw are somewhat new to me. I’ve heard of the band before but sadly and embarrassingly, that’s as far as it’s got. I always regret sleeping on bands and on hearing album opener ‘Heaven Bending’, it’s no different. Though they’re described as a post-black/shoegaze band, Nullingroots are both a lot heavier and a lot more technical than that here. 


You just have to consider that ‘Heaven Bending’ clocks in at well over eleven minutes and you’ll realise that they’re more progressive than they are pensive. Movements go from hellish to atmospheric and then to musically upbeat. There’s way more to this record than just black metal and we’re only coming to the end of the first song! There’s certainly no escaping just how metallic the band’s sound is on ‘Ember’. At times it’s utterly barbaric and even somewhat (unintentionally) symphonic, yet at others it’s so melodic and mind-bending. I guess there’s no simple way to approach this album other than to suck it and see. Hell, it works for me!.


There are genuine moments of shoegaze and truly atmospheric post-metal woven into this album and it’s way more obvious on ‘To Die In A Memory’, which is delivered brilliantly. I think that Nullingroots would easily sit amongst some of best modern-day black metal bands, even if they don’t have the hell, fire and brimstone approach of old. Sometimes they’re considered and melodic, but as they march on into the second half of ‘To Die In A Memory’, they turn on a dime and deliver some truly icy vocals, and blasting instrumentation. They switch between both approaches for the rest of the song.


Their take on epic musicianship is carried on through ‘Erase Your Map’, which signals the mid-point in Malady’s Black Maw. Comparisons are escaping me at this point, but then again I’m not being lazy and settling for the usual thing. You’ll just have to listen to this record and make up your own minds. However you perceive the band, you can’t argue with the quality that’s on show. Curiously, as you get further into the album, the songs get a little shorter. Eight minutes (roughly average) isn’t that short in truth and the time still allows Nullingroots to make their point. ‘Mendacious’ leans further towards the traditions of black metal once again, though introspection still presides over some passages here.


This album goes through so many different twists and turns within it’s individual songs, yet as one cohesive body of work it’s such an enjoyable listen. Penultimate song ‘Inculcate’ simply rages, exemplifying everything that’s good about extreme metal. It’s layers of sound wash over you and even when things settle a touch, there’s still an uneasy sense that they’re just building back up to something grander. Closing song ‘Tellurian’ is a real chip off the old block, with some added (albeit subtle) symphonic/orchestral instrumentation thrown on for good measure… to these ears anyway! Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s one final top quality slab of post-black metal from a band that deserves so much more exposure than they get. Considering Malady’s Black Maw consists of just seven tracks, it’s well worth immersing yourself in for it’s entirety. Fingers crossed there will be more from Nullingroots in the future!


You can stream and buy Malady's Black Maw both on digital and more importantly, physical formats below:-



Nullingroots - https://www.facebook.com/nullingroots


Beverina Productions - https://www.facebook.com/BeverinaProductions

Casus Belli Musica - https://www.facebook.com/casusbellimusica

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Sky Pig - Hell Is Inside You (by Mikey Ortega)


Label: Transylvanian Recordings

Format: CD/Cassette/Digital

Release Date: August 16, 2020

 

Tracklist: 

1.  Gimp

2.  The Scag

3.  Save Yourself

4.  The Strain

 

It’s pretty safe to say that the presence of Neurosis can be heard in the heavy underground. For more than 10 years, I’ve been hearing many bands, bring that apocalyptic sound and crush eardrums across every music venue and every year, it seems that someone in the sludge and post-metal scene, always comes and changes the game. In comes Sky Pig – a sludge band from Sacramento, that takes the genre to a deeper, darker, and psychedelic experience.  Last year, the band put out their 2nd EP, Hell Is Inside You (which is celebrating its anniversary, this month), and these four tracks sure pack a punch.

 

The EP opens with “Gimp” – which sets everything up and lets you know what in for. The track begins with a spacey-psychedelic sound, before that riff kicks in and you can’t help but bang along. We are then followed with a sick guitar chug to start “The Scag”. This track has a killer death rock influence, that gives Sky Pig more of a darker and brooding edge.  Especially with lyrics like “You Sold Your Soul/ Your Reward Is This Affliction/ Broken Mind, Writhing Soul/ Lost Inside Your Dead Reflection”. “Save Yourself” is the track that gets me going. If there is one Sky Pig song that I suggest people to check out, it would be this.  To me – this song is a perfect mix of sludge/doom and death rock. From the opening bass line to the guitar effects and tone, the gloomy vocals and Scott Kelly-esque screams, this is the sound that defines Sky Pig. And finally, we end it with the epic, “The Strain”. A perfect closer for such a crushing EP. When you hear a phaser on that guitar, you know you’re in for a trip. This may be the “last ride”, but I’m hoping for more Sky Pig in the future.

 

For an EP, Hell Is Inside You, really feels like a full-length. Every track pack a punch, that it will make the Earth shake. It’s a psychedelic trip to an apocalyptic Hell, you would think you’re in a Ken Russell film. Or a more fucked up version of Dante’s Inferno. The production really brings out that hell world to life. As if you can feel Armageddon being upon us.  Really excited to see what Sky Pig cooks up next.  They are a band that has a sound, that will leave a mark in doom and sludge. If anything, Hell Is Inside You is proof that you shouldn’t sleep on Sky Pig.

 

The Hand Of God/ Been Snuffed In The Cradle/ Your Hope And Resistance/ Is Bigger Than His World

 

Follow Sky Pig on all social media platforms and check out Hell Is Inside You on Bandcamp 



Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/skypigdoom

Instagram - @skypigsludge

Bandcamp - https://skypigband.bandcamp.com/

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Introducing: All I Live For (hard rock/alternative metal from Leeds)


Back when I started this blog, I focused heavily on bands from around Yorkshire. I started with local bands that existed in Harrogate and then moved further afield. As the blog has grown it's reach over the years, I've neglected this side of it so I thought I'd re-start it by talking about a brand new band, who're only six days away from releasing their debut album We Are The Angels.


All I Live For are a quartet from Leeds and to date they have released three singles that will appear on their forthcoming album. They have plenty of common influences, including the likes of Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage and Muse. They've channelled those influences into music that's both heavy yet accessible, with very positive and thought provoking lyrics. They have also been lucky enough to enlist multi-grammy award winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen (who has mastered albums for some of rock/pop music's biggest names, including Metallica, Foo Fighters and DMX to name a few).


You can stream and purchase all three singles via Bandcamp below:-





Their music is also available on all major streaming site, with links available via their website here:-

https://allilivefor.com/.


Please spare a moment to check out All I Live For and help spread their music in preparation for the album release - https://www.facebook.com/AllILiveFor.