Tuesday 30 November 2021

Fate's Hand - Fate's Hand EP

Labels: Dying Victims Productions

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 30 Jul 2021


1. Fate's Hand

2. Fascination

3. What's Been Will Be Again

4. When The Wolf Comes

Second week into two weeks of leave and I feel like I've been treading water a bit. I've got a small build up of content so let's get to it. First up, I wanted to write about something that's a bit more heavy metal leaning and I came across a promo for the debut EP from Australia's Fate's Hand in my inbox. It was released back in July via German label Dying Victims Productions on vinyl, cd and digitally. The quartet features members from the likes of Cauldron Black Ram, Mongrel's Cross and StarGazer to name a few. They play epic heavy metal crossed with a bit a speed as well.

I do have a yearning for some good old heavy metal now and then. Fate’s Hand straddle that line between hard rock and heavy metal, with obvious comparisons. The title track ‘Fate’s Hand’ is mid-paced for the most part, melodic and definitely epic. There are darker moments though, which point to the other projects the band members are in, adding to the quality of the song-writing and instrumentation for sure. The guitars are the main point of interest here, adding loads of heft and melody.

‘Fascination’ is more up-tempo in the percussion department at first, before Fate’s Hand settles back into a consistent and oddly hypnotic mid-tempo passage. That’s the formula used throughout the rest of the song, which doesn’t do it any harm whatsoever. The guitar soloing is clean and very impressive without being too showy, the bass bounces underneath while the vocals are full of the usual falsettos.

The EP’s latter half is filled with more urgency and a slight change in tone. ‘What’s Been Will Be Again’ eschews those higher pitched vocals from earlier, with lower ones taking over. The song seems more focused in part due to it’s shorter length. I may be guilty of over-analysing as usual, but that’s just me I guess. This is very solid heavy metal indeed.

Final song ‘When The Wolf Comes’ is another fine slab of old school heavy metal worship from Fate’s Hand. I went through a phase early on in my metal listening days, when I discovered power/fantasy metal and actually enjoyed it a lot. As I went down the more extreme rabbit hole, that enjoyment waned. I’m not saying that Fate’s Hand could be considered a power/fantasy metal band, but sometimes the lines blur. This is a strong debut release though from a band that’s very talented and true to their roots.

You can stream and purchase Fate's Hand on all formats below:-

You can also buy physical copies from Dying Victims Productions below:-


Fate's Hand - https://www.instagram.com/fates.hand/

Dying Victims Productions - https://www.facebook.com/dyingvictimsproductions


Wednesday 24 November 2021

Kiken - Rising

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 22 Mar 2016


1. Blood Moon

2. Killer Instincts

3. SHI Hounds From The Darkest Star

4. Nest

5. The Rising/The Hunt

6. Red Rooms

7. Aphillion

8. Oracle No End

I'm back on the ZBR trail again, this time with Canadian duo Kiken and their album Rising that was released in 2016 via Dingleberry Records and the aforementioned Zegema Beach Records. This album followed the band's two-song EP Instructions, which was released about a year earlier. The duo behind Kiken are most notably linked with bands such as Life In Vacuum and Congratulations, though compared to the screamo approach of those two bands, Kiken is considered to be a cross between post-punk/hardcore and maybe mathcore. I'm also sorry for delaying this post slightly. I've been waiting for a package from the US and it's arrived in my locality, but the local delivery company is having trouble finding me.

Rising is made up fo eight songs that don’t last all that long. In fact the album opener ‘Blood Moon’ is the longest by far, at just over six minutes. What’s presented here is a strange, cosmic-like beast filled with grind, screamo and bizarre noise sampled in between. It pulsates and disrupts your brain right from the off. I really don’t know what else to say at this point. It’s like the aural equivalent of watching an old episode of Dr. Who. The choral singing at the mid-point does nothing to shake that notion either. I guess it could be considered false grind before false grind was a thing (but then again that would be doing Kiken a disservice).

Don’t let that opening track fool you, as from here on in it’s a lot faster and crazier. ‘Killer Instincts’ comes and goes in a little over thirty seconds of drum/bass/screamy madness. ’SHI Hounds From The Darkest Star’ is equally as bass-heavy and it hammers home just how hard it is to truly appreciate this release in one sitting. There’s a lot more technicality going on than you might give Kiken credit for, but it works really well all the same.

Kiken’s penchant for short and weirdly noisy interludes like ’Nest’ break up the album, yet there’s a pause in momentum that’s obvious as well. Thankfully ‘The Rising/The Hunt’ comes thick and fast afterwards, with it’s raw vocals and odd song structure. It’s bass-heavy tone gives off a psych-ish tone that’s pretty easy on the ear, if you like that type of sound. The closing sixty seconds are equally as mind-expanding too, except this time Kiken fills the bars with tropical bird song and (maybe) indigenous instrumentation.

‘Red Rooms’ is as disturbing as the suggestion that such rooms exist in the uncharted chasms of the Internet, though thankfully it’s only a short glimpse into that bleak chasm. It does however bleed into penultimate song ‘Aphillion’, which is much more sludgy and doom-like than anything else on Rising so far. The added use of children’s vocals (at least I hope they’re not adult vocals with extra helium!), make things a little bit more sinister to say the least.

Album closer ‘Oracle No End’ features some downright scary choral vocals, maybe, before some equally strange electronic effects that build and then fade in quick succession. This album is not what you’d ordinarily expect from ZBR, yet it’s also a strange breath of fresh air too. It was probably seen as a record way before it’s time when it saw the light of day, but it seems to make more sense now for sure. If you’re after something out of left field, this will be for you.

You can stream and download Rising directly from Kiken below:-

Kiken - https://www.facebook.com/KIKENband

Physical copies can still be purchased from the labels below:-

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

Zegema Beach Records USA - https://zbrusa.com/

Dingleberry Records - https://www.facebook.com/Dingleberry-records-and-distribution

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

Sunday 21 November 2021

Devastating Light - I Have Already Failed You

Labels: Self-released/Depressive Illusions Records/Herrecords/Planet K Records

Formats: Digital/Tape/CD

Release Date: 09 Jan 2021


1. Part One

2. Part Two

3. Part Three

Tonight's review is a randomly picked one and it just so happens to be Finnish. Devastating Light is a post-metal/doom solo-band from Tampere (Finland) and I Have Already Failed You is the band's debut. It was seal-released digitally back in January alongside a tape version that came from Depressive Illusions Records (Ukraine). Following that initial release came two CD pressings from Herrecords (Argentina) and Planet K Records (Italy) respectively, if Metal Archives is correct. An expanded version of this EP has since been release with an extra song, but for clarity I am reviewing the original three-track EP.

November has been quiet on the blog front though I am working on some things in the background and am plucking up the courage to do some interviews again (because the last few I’ve sent out remain unanswered, frustratingly). Moving on to the task in hand though and Devastating Light’s post-metal/doom sound on I Have Already Filled You is decidedly gloomy, yet musically very good, with solid production. ‘Part One’ is instrumental for much of it’s playing time and with that, you can expect all of the usual guitar and percussive elements, as well as some really nice piano. The vocals are harsh but not overused.

‘Part Two’ begins in a more pensive way than the EP’s opener. It’s tempo is on the slower side yet it’s quite hypnotic at the same time. Devastating Light utilises a lot of repetition within the songs here, but in terms of song-writing that approach works well. Nothing is overdone and the use of melody throughout is good. It’s the melodic parts that clinch it for me in fact, showing that there’s more to Devastating Light than just crushing, downtrodden heaviness. It’s creative but in a subtle way.

All three of the tracks on I Have Already Failed You are on the lengthier side, but EP closer ‘Part Three’ stretches out to over eleven minutes. It draws you in just as it’s predecessors have, but this time there is a sense of foreboding and dread looming over it. That sense looms throughout the song, weighing heavily on you. The melody is dialled down too, adding to that notion, while the latter half sees lonely guitar tones joined by an ambient background for a good two minutes, before the band lumbers back into life once more. 

I’ve heard a few debut release of late and this one is another surprisingly good one. I definitely think there’s a bit of a shift going on within the underground community, whereby bands and projects are seeking out better production and presentation. It’s definitely the case with Devastating Light. Great first release!

You can stream the EP and buy it on all formats below:-

Devastating Light - https://www.facebook.com/devastatinglightband

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

Depressive Illusions Records - https://depressiveillusions.com/

Planet K Records - https://www.planetkrecords.com/

Depressive Illusions Records - https://www.facebook.com/depressiveillusions

Herrecords - https://www.facebook.com/hherrecords

Planet K Records - https://www.facebook.com/planetkrecords

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Wednesday 17 November 2021

The Owl & Dan Clarke - Improv Collab Pt.1

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 02 Nov 2021


1. The First Euphoric Mammoth

2. From Silence Into A Stupendous Trek

3. Mentally Conjoined Peacefully Warped

4. This Twisted Terrain To Trounce

5. Marching To The Castle

6. If Mountains Had Legs

7. Checking The Guidelines

8. Ecstatic Vision Enablers

9. Crumbling Planets

I apologise for the inactivity over the last week. Things have been a bit weird and those around me have been struggling a bit, especially in work life. it kind of feels like as the seasons have changed and the clocks have gone back, people I know and work with have got sick and in one case, worse. It also meant that I had to miss the farewell gig of my good (but sadly distant) friend Paul, before he jets off to Czechia.

About a week or so ago he sent this collaborative release that he'd recorded with drummer Dan Clarke, one of his longtime friends and musical collaborators. It was recorded at Eiger Studios, Leeds (I have some great memories of noisy shows there!) back in June and it's been tweaked and twisted to form this nine-song release. 

It feels like very much the right time to be listening to this release, albeit a little later than planned. Completely improvisational and recorded on one mic, you can’t get more organic in musical terms. Even with The Owl’s post-recording manipulations, it still sounds and feels eerily like it was meant to be. Album opener ‘The First Euphoric Mammoth’ is a swirling collage of bass and drums that fade in and out amongst layers of organ, and other ambient touches. Dan Clarke is a member of Sloth Hammer and if you’ve witnessed one of their shows before, you’ll know that they’re anything but normal. He brings a part of that band along with him here. Add to that the use of some bizarre electronic effects and you have something totally unclassifiable.

One thing’s for sure with The Owl, the song titles always seem to be spot on with the music as ‘From Silence Into A Stupendous Trek’ illustrates. The song that bears that moniker stretches out for over fifteen minutes, which in musical terms is a stupendous trek! Very doom-laden and sludgy, it’s not gonna get your pulse racing a mile a minute, yet it will reach you in different ways. Ways that will see you painting pictures with your mind. 

From here the songs become shorter but no less enthralling. The brilliantly named ‘Mentally Conjoined Peacefully Warped’ aptly describes the minds at play here. Despite it’s short running time, there’s still something truly harrowing about it and I’ll never get used to the interjections of weird electronic mayhem. Talking of weird electronic mayhem, you might want to replay the intro to ‘This Twisted Terrain To Trounce’ over and over again. It’s followed by noise that’s a lot simpler for the most part, but you’re never too far from strange internet (maybe cosmic) sounds.

Improv Collab Pt.1 is definitely a release that you can listen to all the way through. I’m not sure if that was fully intended but it works out that way. Even if you’re not a fan of instrumental noise, this isn’t harsh and is way more musical. The winding, knuckle-dragging tempos of ‘Marching To The Castle’ plough a somewhat depressing furrow yet you’ll struggle to stop listening.

Things are no brighter on ‘If Mountains Had Legs’, which veers towards The Owl’s sludgier side again, kind of sounding like a weirder version of Meth Drinker (at least in my head anyway). The drumming once again works a treat and the randomly placed electronics stop you from drifting off to another plane. ‘Checking The Guidelines’ is the shortest but also probably the most intense song on the album, at least percussion-wise anyway. The beats and additional effects give it a weird drum n bass feel, with plenty of glitches too.

It’s left to penultimate song ‘Ecstatic Vision Enablers’ to truly scare you with menacing noises that seem to come from all directions. It reminds me of the ‘Kin Hell Fest gig at Temple Works in Leeds back in 2013 where I witnessed Sloth Hammer and their ace live show for the first time. I specifically remember the random piano they found and the noise/electronic oddities they perched on it. Oh and the member in the pig mask walking through the crowd hitting a drum. Good times. 

The album’s closer ‘Crumbling Planets’ seems to follow on directly from ‘Ecstatic Vision Enablers’ musically, albeit with a significantly slower tempo from the bass. It’s a really cool way to end what has been a real journey. I’m not embarrassed to say that it took me two sittings to be able to right this review, which isn’t normal for me. That said, it’s the kind of improv/experimental noise that I like the most. Even with the electronic manipulation, it’s still got a warm organic feel that you only get from instrumentation and human interaction.

Clearly this has been a labour of love and one that lives long in the memory. Perfect for these darker nights and colder outlooks. It’s made me forget that I was feeling down when I started writing. I’m now more reflective and upbeat. Music does strange things to a person. 

I implore you to give this release your full attention, as it demands it. You can listen below via The Owl's bandcamp page, where it's available as a name-your-price download:-

The Owl - https://www.facebook.com/theowlsounds

Wednesday 10 November 2021

EP Premiere: Chime Hours - Black Dog In The Sky (Full Stream)


1. Clarity

2. Between Reflections And Self

3. Lemniscate

4. Moving But Only So Far

Today is the release day for the debut four-track EP from new UK screamo/post-hardcore band Chime Hours. It's being released on tape via UK label Witch Elm Records and Canadian label Tomb Tree Tapes. I'm honoured to be able to bring you a special stream of the full EP to help celebrate it's release.

Chime Hours are described as being for fans of: Massa Nera, Voyage In Coma and Shizune. If that's whetted your appetite, listen to the EP stream below right away:-

It's great to see a new UK band coming through with this kind of sound, as well as the cooperation between both labels, making this release happen. The Tomb Tree Tapes pressing is limited to 50 tapes with 18 on blue swirl, 15 on mint swirl, 12 on orange swirl (all pictured below) and 5 test dips. 

The Witch Elm Records pressing will be limited to 40 apricot tapes in special handmade card boxes. Here's a couple of promo shots of them:-

You can follow Chime Hours via social media here - https://www.facebook.com/chimehoursband

You can also buy the EP digitally from Chime Hours via Bandcamp below:-

Physical copies can be purchased from both Tomb Tree Tapes and Witch Elm Records below:-

Tomb Tree Tapes US Store - https://zbrusa.com/

Tomb Tree Tapes CAN/INTL Store - https://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/

Witch Elm Records Europe - https://witchelmrecords.bandcamp.com/

Tomb Tree Tapes - https://www.facebook.com/tombtreetapes

Witch Elm Records - https://www.facebook.com/WITCH-ELM-records

Thursday 4 November 2021

Plague Patrol - Demo 2021

Labels: Dry Cough Records/Psychocontrol Records/Gutless Productions

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 26 Nov 2021


1. Taxidermia

2. Bennings Bonfire

3. Oort Cloud

4. Xenogenesis

After head-banging a bit too hard last night to Lentic Waters, I realised what my evenings have been missing, so I've been perusing my inbox and I came across this demo from new Czech death/doom band Plague Patrol. Their 2021 demo is due for release towards the end of November via fellow Czech label Psychocontrol Records, Indonesian label Gutless Productions and the ever awesome UK label Dry Cough Records. I've been a follower and purchaser of Dry Cough releases since the label's first breaths (I think the only release I need to complete my collection is the War Wolf 'Crushing The Ways Of The Old' tape). In terms of Plague Patrol, I don't know that much about them other than that their sound is a mix of US/Finnish death metal with doom elements too. I think I might have to reintroduce the 10 Questions interview series in order to learn more about them (what do you think?).

After a longer than usual intro paragraph, I’m getting down to it with Plague Patrol’s demo. It’s the trio’s debut release and it’s everything you’d expect from a death/doom band. Opening song ‘Taxidermia’ is a sea of gloomy, slow riffs and raging death metal percussion, with vocals that sound like they were made for the underworld. For a trio, they’re immense and sound way louder volume/production-wise than expected. 

Plague Patrol also does atmospheric though, as demonstrated by the opening bars of ‘Bennings Bonfire’, which descends into a much more doom orientated death metal song a few moments later. Much more old school in delivery but with the modern edge we’ve come to expect from the likes of Mortiferum, Void Rot and Wharflurch. I’m not sure there are too many Czech bands that I can compare them to, but if there are please let me know!

‘Oort Cloud’ contains those thick riffs that just rip the flesh from your bones, while the vocals sound completely otherworldly. In fact the entire band sounds unbelievably tight and fiendish, which is a good thing! If doom is too slow for you and death metal is too fast, there’s always a middle ground and taking cues from scene legends like Incantation can do no harm.

Demo closer ‘Xenogenesis’ is Plague Patrol’s longest song, but don’t think it’s going to be a lumbering doom number because it’s not. Not by a long shot! It has it’s slower, murkier moments but in essence it’s just a slightly lengthier version of what’s come before on this tape. It’s a fantastically dirty take on death/doom with thrashing elements and awesome production qualities. 

Another great find from the consistently brilliant Dry Cough Records and a reason to checkout both Psychocontrol Records, and Gutless Productions, as underground and upcoming labels need more support now than ever. Plague Patrol have just laid down the soundtrack to the grim, dark months ahead. Truly amazing and harrowing at the same time. 

This demo isn't out till November 26th (meaning there's no sneak peak up yet), so you'll have to keep an eye on the below label pages for news and song premieres (I'd love to do one if those involved are interested!):-

Dry Cough Records - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords/

Gutless Productions - https://www.facebook.com/gutlessasia/

Psychocontrol Records - https://www.facebook.com/PSYCHOCONTROL-records

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Lentic Waters - The Path

Labels: Deadwood Records/IFB Records/Maniyax Records/React With Protest/Suspended Soul Tapes And Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 18 Jul 2015


1. Absent

2. A Temporary Quest

3. Another Sleepless Night Of Despair

4. Exile

5. Glasshouse

6. The Hour

7. Between The Spheres

8. The Grid

9. Abyss

Those early dark November nights are beginning to kick in already. I've never suffered from S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) before but at times like these, I can understand and sympathise with those who do. My escapism, if you can call it that, is the cathartic release brought on by heavy music and this evening I'm focusing on the second full-length by Lentic Waters. The Path was released in 2015 by all of the labels mentioned above.

Intense German hardcore/screamo is the exact remedy after an underwhelming day and Lentic Waters provide a cacophony of sound on album opener ‘Absent’, with it’s sludgy, dark hardcore mixing with earthy post-rock and even song black metal elements. The riffs, like with a lot of screamo-leaning bands lead the way but the whole band pulls together seamlessly to create an atmosphere and a sound that isn’t necessarily what you think of when you think of Bands from Germany. By that I mean they’re not cold or industrial (at this point I want to apologise for generalising).

They get heavier on ‘A Temporary Quest’, which plays more to their screamo influences, while also giving a nod to crust punk too. I’m sure I’ve said that about Lentic Waters before, but If I haven’t then let it stand. It’s all in the blasts I think, though it’s also so much more than that. There’s real heart here. There’s no pause for breath before ‘Another Sleepless Night Of Despair’ drags you through nearly three minutes of emotional anguish and furious instrumentation that leaves no time for peace or solace. It’s a musical tapestry woven in the best way possible.

‘Exile’ is the shortest song that Lentic Waters deliver on The Path and it’s off-kilter rhythms make this instrumental a joy to listen to. It threatens time and time again to explode into a melee of emoviolence-esque proportions, but alas it does not. What it does do, after a brief pause, is guide you on to the corresponding song ‘Glasshouse’, which takes the raw energy of Lentic Waters and stretches it out a little further. In doing so it reminds me of bands like Anopheli, Light Bearer and Alpinist. All bands that, to these ears anyway, straddle a similar path musically. 

The album becomes denser as it progresses to the second half, but before that, Lentic Waters propel themselves headfirst into the grindiest (if thats even a word) song on it in the form of ‘The Hour’. It’s tempo is the fastest you’ll hear on The Path and it introduces you to the band’s more unrelenting, unforgiving side. Brilliant from start to end. From that exhilaration you’re brought back down to earth with the more toned-down post-rock of ‘Between The Spheres’. It’s where the melodies woven by the band truly stand out and it’s the point where I forget where I am, letting the music take me, my head aggressively moving back and forth in abandon. It’s so bloody euphoric. I prefer being in my own world as opposed to the outside world at times like this!

The ringing feedback is both welcomed and revered as it bleeds into penultimate song ‘The Grid’, where the post-rock just gets better and better. The vocals are even more emotive, the riffs flit between downbeat and upbeat melodies, while the bass rumbles and the percussion brays. Yet I fear the best is still yet to come from this album. Never has there been a better closing song-title than ‘Abyss’ and, maybe unknowingly, that’s exactly where this album drags you back from (figuratively speaking). It’s near six-minute playing time wrenches whatever darkness there is left inside of you and replaces it with light. Sometime, music like this does that to you and when it catches you at the right time, it’s utterly amazing.

Saying much more now would be a waste of energy. The Path is truly special and Lentic Waters, while currently silent, are just perfect on their recordings. 

You can stream and purchase the album digitally from the band below:-

Lentic Waters - https://www.facebook.com/LenticWaters

Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-

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

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

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

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

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

Maniyax Records - https://www.facebook.com/ManiyaxRecords

Suspended Soul Tapes And Records - https://www.facebook.com/SuspendedSoulTapesRecords

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