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