Thursday 24 February 2022

Apostles Of Eris/Encarsia - Split Premiere/Review

Today (or tonight, if you're reading this in the UK) sees the release of the brand new split tape featuring US bands Apostles Of Eris and Encarsia. If you're familiar with this blog, you'll know about the post-hardcore/screamo sounds of Apostles Of Eris already. Encarsia is a new name to me and plays proggy/djent-like screamo. Despite giving myself nowhere near enough time to do it, I'm proud to be able to bring you a special release premiere and a review!

The split is being released on tape via Zegema Beach Records and it's available as a run of 110 copies. 75 will be on swirl, 25 on brick and 10 on mystery swirl, along with 5 test-dipped tapes with matching swirl cases. Check out all the variants below (apologies for the upside down photo three too, I can't rotate it!):-

Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Feb 2022


1. Apostles Of Eris - A Battle To The Death In The Ring Of Stupidity

2. Apostles Of Eris - Accursed Nature

3. Apostles Of Eris - Shiy-za Manelli

4. Encarsia - All These Bodies

5. Encarsia - Prog Is For The Children

6. Encarsia - The Wiseman Who Knows Nothing

I promised I’d write a few words about the split so here goes. Both bands have contributed three songs to it with Apostles Of Eris on the a-side and Encarsia on the b-side (fun fact: on ZBR’s bandcamp page, Encarsia’s songs are first!). Also, Sammy from Warren Of Ohms provides extra vocals for AOE too. So, after a heart-stopping moment where no sound whatsoever was coming out of my speakers, AOE opener ‘A Battle To The Death In The Ring Of Stupidity’ sparks into life with the melody-filled post-hardcore that’s synonymous with the band. Vocals are harsh and emotive, while the percussion and guitars are off-kilter but also authoritative, if that makes sense?.

‘Accursed Nature’ is a lot heavier with the semi-spoken-word vox and screams of Dave Norman (and Sammy) nestling within, and towering over the instrumentation in equal measure. The instrumentation is more aggressive here and it matches the overall feel of the song. It’s definitely closer to hardcore for sure. The humorously titled ‘Shiy-za Manelli’ rounds out the AOE side with a bit more introspection, albeit only briefly. The musical ability that Jesse has keeps on growing with every release and it’s no exception here. It’d be so great to be able to sit back and read Dave’s lyrics along to the music, which is certainly something I’m going to do when I have more time! One final thing to mention is the volume of the recording, which is pretty damn loud here. It shows AOE in it’s best light.

Encarsia is a new name to me, but if they’re working with ZBR then they must be worth checking out. Their opener ‘All These Bodies’ on the b-side is very much a song of two halves. The first being made up of slower-tempo drums and guitars, while the second half is full-volume screamo with plenty of intensity. Their proggy side is encapsulated on the aptly titled ‘Prog Is For The Children’, which has some great djent-alligned time signatures without any of the tried and tested-to-death breakdowns. If their opener was a short taster, then this is a proper eye-opener to what they’re capable of. I’m loving it so far and you will too, I’m sure.

Split closer ‘The Wiseman Who Knows Nothing’ follows immediately on and that continuation is great because it means that Encarsia lose no momentum. Again it’s off-kilter and proggy in all the right places, with truly caustic vocals reigning over the top. Angular and meaty at times, there are some nice melodic touches that make you forget that you’re listening to a dissonant, heavy band. What a great find these human beings are. Both AOE and Encarsia are perfect together. The music jolts and swirls very much like the split’s cover art. What a time to be alive!

Now, I can't let you go without giving you the bandcamp link to this split. You can stream and digitally download it below via Zegema Beach Records:-

Apostles Of Eris -

Encarsia -

Zegema Beach Records -

Physical tape copies are available via ZBR below too:-

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL Store -

Zegema Beach Records USA Store -

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Sewer Fiend - Echoes From The Cistern

Labels: Black Legion Records/Dry Cough Records/Sewer Rot Records/Obliteration Records

Formats: Tape/Digital/CD

Release Date: 30 Jun 2021


1. Writhing In Stagnant Water

2. Pulsating Mass Of Worms

3. Echoes From The Cistern

I'm getting back round to reviewing another tape I've had for a while. Echoes From The Cistern, the debut EP from Manchester, UK death/doom band Sewer Fiend, was released in mid-2021. It saw the light day via UK label Dry Cough Records and US label Sewer Rot Records, who both released their own tape versions. It proved very popular and was given the repress treatment after the original run sold out, before later being picked up for a run of tapes in South America via Peruvian label Black Legion Records. The band features members from Cryptic Shift, Slimelord and previously of UK thrash band Exiled, to name a few.

The duo of John Riley (bass) and Sam Robinson (vocals and guitar) make up Sewer Fiend and they’re joined on Echoes From The Cistern by drummer David Lanas. What they deliver as a unit is murky death/doom with thrash and melody thrown in too. EP opener ‘Writhing In Stagnant Water’ shows off the bizarre and original sound of Sewer Fiend in a way that I wan’t expecting. The vocals are made up of typically gnarly old-school growls and the low-end/percussion both read from the doom/death blueprint, but it’s the melodic guitar work that sets a different tone. More akin to Voivod (maybe) and more experimental/cosmic death metal bands like Skelethal or Blood Incantation.

Though I’ve tried with the above comparisons, they don’t do Sewer Fiend justice. ‘Pulsating Mass Of Worms’ is more urgent in tempo yet is equally as progressive too, but not in a noodling way. I guess using the term avant-garde would be a bit too much. Either way, it’s not the gutter-crawling death metal that you might have expected, if you were completely new to the band.

It’s left to the sprawling title-track ‘Echoes From The Cistern’ to provide a suffocating end to the EP. Suffocation was probably a slightly misleading term to use though, as Sewer Fiend’s groove is put to full effect on a song that at times is the slowest of the three here. The vocals are used more sparingly, with the instrumentation taking the reins for the majority, making it a much more mesmeric listen.

It’s amazing to see and hear the amount of variation that currently exists within the death metal genre at the moment. Each country seems to have it’s own take on the sound and the UK is starting to truly excite those who enjoy the murmurings coming from the underground. Sewer Fiend are only just beginning, but what a Start!

You can stream and purchase Echoes From The Cistern via bandcamp below:-

Sewer Fiend -

Tape copies have long since sold out from both Dry Cough Records and Sewer Rot Records, but you can still buy copies from Black Legion Records via the link below:-

There will also be a CD release coming in late-March 2022 via Japanese label Obliteration Records.

Black Legion Records -

Dry Cough Records -

Sewer Rot Records -

Obliteration Records -

Sunday 20 February 2022

Old Soul - Blue Heron

Labels: Dingleberry Records/IFB Records/Maniyax Records/Mosh Potatoes/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 01 Jun 2016


1. Typha

2. To Have Loved And Lost

3. Herons' Dance

4. Transcendence And Happenstance

Over the last few years, I've been (not so) secretly trying to complete or at least build-up a collection of discographies of certain bands, with Old Soul being one. Their 2016 four-track LP Blue Heron has so far eluded me, but I've also taken my eye off the ball a bit. I was reminded of this fact because it was the next ZBR release on my list to write about, as part of my ongoing ZBR roster review series. 

It was released via a collaboration that included a bunch of incredibly active labels; Dingleberry Records, IFB Records, Maniyax Records, Mosh Potatoes and Zegema Bech Records. I don't know exactly how many copies of this LP were pressed but I know it came on black vinyl and to this day it is Old Soul's last recorded material to date.

Old Soul have always been a viciously engaging band, mixing black metal with screamo/post-hardcore and on Blue Heron that sound was taken to it’s most emotive peak. Opener ‘Typha’ very much spreads Old Soul’s music out towards post-metal territory, certainly more so than before. That being said though, introspective dreamo provides respite too. As openers go, this is so cinematic and sets you up for the rest of the LP.

The use of sampled spoken-word on ‘To Have Loved And Lost’ is perfect, as it accompanies the long instrumental passage that opens the song. At nearly nine minutes, it’s definitely one to get lost in. When the full band opens up about three minutes in, their percussive black metal blasts sit comfortably alongside the melodic riffs and the harsh screams, before feedback-laden noise takes things down a notch or two later on. There’s still a cinematic quality to it but it’s also more menacing.

It’s easy to overlook just how progressive Old Soul were at times and ‘Herons’ Dance’ shows why, as it’s a deceptively off-kilter song with maybe even some psych-elements in the riffs (a la Japanese screamo/post  metal maybe?), albeit subtly. 2016 was a golden year for screamo and screamo-adjacent music I feel. Old Soul helped make it so with this release for sure.

LP closer ’Transcendence And Happenstance’ washes over you in such a gentle fashion at first, while slowly building with percussive layers and increasing volume. Even when it get’s heavier, it’s tempered back in such a way that it stays gentle, which is very clever musically. It ends with a calming orchestral outro. A very fitting way to end a record that still stands as the last release by Old Soul. 

As bands in the screamopshere go, Old Soul were one of the more prolific. They were around for about 7 years and members now play in other bands, including Niboowin. 

You can stream and purchase Blue Heron digitally from Old Soul below:-

Old Soul -

Physical copies can still be purchased via the links below:-

Mosh Potatoes -

Dingleberry Records -

IFB Records -

Maniyax Records -

Mosh Potatoes -

Zegema Beach Records -

Also, head back here on the evening of Thursday 24th Feb, as I'll have a special post up featuring a brand new ZBR release!

Friday 18 February 2022

Atra Haeresis - Pretium

Labels: Death Portal Studio/Kryrart Records/Satanath Records/Void Wanderer Productions

Formats: CD/TapeDigital

Release Date: 26 Aug 2021


1. Hatechrist

2. Man Through Epochs

3. Vaunted Dyer

4. The Sacred Games

5. Pretium?

6. Aendor Witch

2021 was the year in which Russian/Belarussian melodic black/death metal quartet Atra Haeresis released their debut album Pretium. It saw the light of day last August on CD, tape and digital formats via Death Portal Studio (USA), Kryrart Records (Germany), Satanath Records (Russia) and Void Wanderer Productions (Netherlands). I've read some really positive things about Atra Haeresis recently, so this should be a lot of fun!

It’s blowing an absolute gale outside this evening, as a storm’s hit us. As much I like the sound of the wind outside, I also like to drown it out on occasion with metal and this evening I have the company of death/black metal band Atra Haeresis and their 2021 album Pretium. The sound on opener ‘Hatechrist’ is a great mix of brutal and melodic death metal, with blackened tones thrown Into the mix too. The drumming stands out instantly. The bass weaves a nice low-end groove while the guitars move between riffs of up-tempo destruction and simple, catchy treble. The vocals are growled with intensity and precision, very much in a modern way. ‘Man Through Epochs’ comes at you in a much more bombastic, black metal fashion. Not symphonic but rhythmic and colder somehow. As before, the tempos are ridiculous and the lead riffs are proper earworms. There’s an atmospheric, anticipation building pause near the mid-point, where the song drops down a notch. It builds back up again though with the help of a classy guitar solo later on, ending how it began with no nonsense. 

The band’s clinical touches are more obvious on ‘Vaunted Dyer’, with it’s precise instrumentation early on with a mix of harsh vocals and almost esoteric clean chanting joining them. Sometimes, Atra Haeresis remind me of Melechesh in their delivery and that’s a plus point for sure. Obviously the black metal influence is greater here, yet it doesn’t overpower the album and Atra Haeresis still sound approachable, even for those who are yet to venture down the extreme path. Things are different on ‘The Sacred Games’ though as straight from the off there’s much more immediacy from the quartet. That immediacy is replaced by a more stripped back mid-section, with quieter dynamics and almost whispered vocals, which sound very haunting before the dial is turned up again for a rousing finish.

Penultimate song ‘Pretium?’ (Is there supposed to a question mark there?) is a modern metal classic in the making with more memorable riffs and clever melodic vocals jostling for space alongside the band’s pummelling drums and rhythmic low-end. Despite it’s shorter length, ‘Pretium?’ Is teeming with plenty of pleasing layers that make it sound much longer than it is. I’m hearing some Germanic influences here too. Album closer ‘Aendor Witch’ is the metallic, angular hymn that was always destined to conclude this release. It’s once again filled with precise hooks and fantastically solid metal. There’s a huge amount to love about this record. It’s the perfect example of why you should give unfamiliar bands a chance. Atra Haeresis have a very bright future (musically) and I for one can’t wait to hear more.

You can stream and download Pretium below:-

Atra Haeresis -

Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-

Satanath Records -

Void Wanderer Productions -

Death Portal Studio -

Kryrart Records -

Satanath Records -

Void Wanderer Productions -

Monday 14 February 2022

Virhe - S/T EP

Labels: Starving Light Collective

Formats: Digital/Tape

Release Date: 01 Nov 2021


1. Parasiitti

2. Diktaattori

3. Hapea

4. Myrkky

5. Pehmeys

6. Keuhkot

7. Bambi

8. Pilkka

9. Affluenza

10. Valvepainajainen

11. Sisyfos

Some of you reading tonight's review will recognise Starving Light Collective from Finland, as I reviewed the Cold Hell Corrosion - Exposure/Three Step Program 7" they helped to release, back in November 2020 (has it been that long already!). The label is back with a slew of new releases, including a tape version of the self-titled EP from Finnish powerviolence band Virhe, following it's digital release by the band in November 2021. This is eleven songs in nowhere near that time!

I’m going to have to go some to keep up with this. Virhe is a new band to me and the quartet starts off with a blast-drenched slab of rawness in the form of ‘Parasiitti’. It’s barrage of percussion is matched by screeching feedback, buzzing guitar/bass riffs and scathing high-pitched vocals. That’s the blueprint for the whole release, as ‘Diktaattori’ shows, albeit with a nice change of pace later in the song.

‘Hapea’ is awash with the crash of cymbals, which loom large on the recording alongside the vox, not giving the guitars much of a look in sonically. ‘Myrkky’ does show how powerful Virhe’s riffs can be though, when they’re allowed to breath.

As with a great number of powerviolence bands, Virhe makes use of samples between songs, like the one that closes ‘Myrkky’ and opens ‘Pehmeys’. If you want truly caustic grind then you’ve come to the right place for sure, as very few songs make it anywhere near a minute and before you know it you’ve reach the mid-point of the EP with ‘Keuhkot’. Again the riffs here are slightly more meaty, but you’re never to far away from sheer chaos. 

‘Bambi is one of those songs that nears the sixty-second mark and it’s much more orientated towards Virhe’s instrumentation. It’s still no easy listen though and the face-ripping ‘Pilkka’ proves that further. ‘Affluenza’ has a much greater metallic tone, which is nice to hear even if it doesn’t last that long. 

Penultimate number ‘Valvepainajainen’ is pure auditory terror that acts as a precursor to ‘Sisyfos’, the single longest song on the EP at just over a minute. Song lengths really don’t mean much anymore I know, but in powerviolence terms an extra thirty seconds can mean a lot. Here, Virhe uses the extra time to batter you some more.

This is a ferocious EP from start to end and certainly won’t be for everyone. If you like extremes, both in speed and frequency terms, then you’ll find everything you need right here. Finland’s fast community is growing rapidly and Virhe will no doubt be amongst it’s noisiest. Play loud all the time!

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

Tape copies have sold out via Virhe but you can get in touch with Starving Light Collective, in case any copies remain, via social media/e-mail here -

Sunday 13 February 2022

Drei Affen - Drei Affen

Labels: Adorno Records/Arkan Records/Blessed Hands Records/Cactus Tapes/Dingleberry Records/Discos Finu/Don't Care Records/Hydrogen Man Records/Krimskramz/Lifeisafunnything/Middle-Man Records/Monte Calvario/Pifia Records/Pure Heart Records/Rakkerpak Records/Rubaiyat Records/Screamore/Unlock Yourself Records/Voice Of The Unheard/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 15 Jun 2016


1. El Sonido De Tu Llanto

2. El Yugo

3. Miedo

4. Caen Los Suenos

5. Fuego Y Llanto

6. El Comianzo Del Cambio

I hit a major milestone with the blog last week by reaching 900,000 readers. It's a massive achievement and I'm going to push to hit 1,000,000 by the end of 2022, which would be epic! Thank you to everyone for the interest and support so far.

Today I'm on the ZBR trail again and focusing the 2016 self-titled EP by from Spanish post-hardcore/emoviolence band Drei Affen. It was released on vinyl and tape via many labels (see above) and digitally too. In fact, it was Drei Affen's debut. According to social media, Drei Affen are back after a break too, having played live in November just gone.

Drei Affen’s sound has always been explosive and their self-titled EP is where it all started. Melodic post-hardcore, frenzied emo-violence and abrasive neocrust converge on opener ‘El Sonido De Tu Llanto’ to create a massively enjoyably first impression. It’s what could be described as carefully orchestrated chaos.’ El Yugo’ follows on with a symphony of guitar riffs, backed up very tight percussion and vocals that sound like they’re coming from totally shredded vocal chords. There are plenty of off-kilter moments and even time for an atmospheric mid-section.

The slightly slower tempo of ‘Miedo’ is a bit of an illusion, as the guitars make it seem less intense while everything else goes off just as hard. Drei Affen’s music is immediate, leaving no room for any fluffiness and it’s all the better for it. They remind me a lot of Ojne, who also fly the flag for European screamo. This EP ascends to a gloriously crazed peak on ‘Caen Los Suenos’. It’s really hard to adequately describe how much it comes alive in words but there’s just something about the beauty portrayed amongst it’s sub-three minute form. I guess you’re just going to have to listen to it (if you’re not already familiar).

Penultimate song ‘Fuego Y Llanto’ feels like it stretches way beyond it’s playing time thanks to the sheer amount of instrumental layers it has. Harnessing energy that Drei Affen barely keep a lid on, there are both breathless and breathable moments within. The intro bars to EP closer ‘El Comienzo Del Cambio’ feature a spoken-word sample alongside an ace drum-fill, which signals what’s to come as things conclude. With the majority of lyrics in Spanish, the song and indeed the entire record seem to convey such a rawness that leaps out at you. Slow post-metal vibes pull you towards the final passages of emoviolence and then all goes quiet.

At this point I’m a little stuck for words. This record comes and goes pretty quickly, but that’s what makes it so memorable too. I’m not sure how many copies of this still exist for sale, but if you can find one in the wild don’t hesitate to pick it up.

You can stream and purchase the EP digitally below:-

Drei Affen -

You can still buy vinyl and tape copies from the below labels:-

Hydrogen Man Records -

Middle-Man Records -  

The labels that were involved in the release are linked below:-

Arkan Records -

Blessed Hands Records -

Cactus Tapes -

Dingleberry Records -

Discos Finu -

Don't Care Records -

Hydrogen Man Records -

Krimskramz -

Lifeisafunnything -

Middle-Man Records -

Monte Calvario -

Pifia Records -

Pure Heart Records -

Rakkerpak Records -

Rubaiyat Records -

Screamore -

Unlock Yourself Records -

Voice Of The Unheard -

Zegema Beach Records -

Thursday 10 February 2022

Engraved - Mourning In Funereal Miasma (Rehearsal MMXXI)

Labels: Self-Released/Dry Cough Records

Formats: Digital/Tape

Release Date: 31 Mar 2021/07 May 2021

1. Mourning In Funereal Miasma

Costa Rica has been making a bit of name for itself in extreme metal circles over the few years. One band that's reached the ears of UK fans and those further afield is funeral doom trio Engraved. 'Mourning In Funereal Miasma' was the band's debut release, gathering a live rehearsal recording that was released digitally in March 2021 before being pressed on tape via UK label Dry Cough Records two months later. I've said before that Dry Cough is a label I've been purchasing releases from almost religiously over the years, but sadly I've not kept up with writing about them. I'm going to try and catch up on that front this year.

I think this release takes Dry Cough back to their early days of putting out disgustingly great doom like On Pain Of Death, Open Tomb, Ommadon and Meth Drinker etc. Slow, gnarly yet engrossing doom that’s true to itself. Engraved is certainly that and more with lumbering percussion, lower than low rhythm guitar, melodic/feedback-ridden lead guitar and dread-filled vocals. While effectively a rehearsal demo, ‘Mourning In Funereal Miasma’ captures exactly what Engraved are about, with the trio mixing rhythmic doom with improvisation. 

They really tap into what makes funeral doom so captivating (to an extreme metal fan anyway). It’s a sound that can’t be rushed. One that demands time and attention, instead of being an instant hit of adrenaline. Engraved manage to conjure up dark and dreadful emotional responses in doing so, manifesting themselves into deep psychological torture of the aural kind. That might sound extreme but if you’re open to different musical experiences, it really isn’t. Music can take any form (no matter how subjective) and it’ll still leave it’’s mark on you. In this case that mark is delivered via twenty five minutes of utterly slow depravity. More please!

You can stream and purchase 'Mourning In Funereal Miasma' digitally from Engraved below:-

Physical tape copies can still be purchased from Dry Cough Records below too:-

Dry Cough Records -

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Jenny - Trajinero b/w Kids Of Today 7"

Labels: Dirt Cult Records/Wanda Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 22 Jan 2022


1. Trajinero

2. Kids Of Today

It's safe to say that the beginning of February has been a little frustrating for me. I've not been able to post as much as I would have liked due to other commitments. It looks like the next couple of evenings will be clear thankfully but Friday and Saturday won't be. I just have to appreciate the time I do have to listen/write and that's what I'm doing this evening. 

This two-song 7" is the second release to come from the band Jenny, which is Justin Maurer (of Suspect Parts, Clorox Girls, L.A. Drugs, etc) and friends Jacobo Fernandez (of Las Bruscas, Les Tragiques and Desobedientes), Garbriel Lopez (of Espectroplasma and Sonido Gallo Negro) and Justin's former bandmates in L.A. Drugz for good measure. This single was released via Dirt Cult Records (USA) and Wanda Records (EU). It's A-side is in Spanish while it's B-side is in English. It also reminds me that I haven't covered too many 2022 releases yet this year.

Punk sung is Spanish always sounds so upbeat and happy, a bit like Mexican Mariachi music does too. Jenny’s EP opener ‘Trajinero’ is perfect with it’s clean melody, danceable percussion and lovely vocal harmonies. I’m not a linguist so please don’t expect me to translate; however, music doesn’t really need translating when it’s as easy-going and fun as this is.

The single’s b-side ‘Kids Of Today’ takes it cues from British garage-punk rather than from Hispanic music. It’s slightly more snotty, with a 70s vibe and it’s just as catchy as the a-side is. It’s cool to hear a single with two songs that sound so different. The similarity between the two is their punk bedrock and Jenny pulls off a short release that’s really moreish. I wonder if there’s an album coming at some point? I sure hope so!

You can stream and purchase the EP digitally below:-

It's also available on vinyl from the stores below:-

Dirt Cult Records -

Wanda Records -

Friday 4 February 2022

Truman - Ma Doi

Labels: Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records

Format: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 05 Apr 2017


1. These Struggles Only Result In Sharper Misery

2. An Erroneous Display, A Reflection Contrived

3. Augmentation Through Removal

I've literally been sitting here for twenty minutes trying to process something that I received in the post today. Not that it was particularly exciting or anything but because to be honest, it annoyed me. I won't go into details because I'll end up ranting this whole review, but I wish a certain non-denominational religious group would stop sending me unsolicited letters.

Anyway, semi-rant over and welcome back to another ZBR roster review. I'm slowly making my way through these but I do have a schedule laid out now, so they should become more frequent over the next few weeks. This review features what turned out to be the last release from US screamo band Truman. What's mind-blowing is that even now (four+ years after it's release) copies still exist for sale. Only 175 copies were released of this three song goodbye.

I’m going to my first post-pandemic gig tomorrow. It’s a big step but one I’m looking forward to. I guess the last two years have made us a little bit more insular, so breaking out of that cycle will take time. Thankfully time is on my side this evening and being able to appreciate and enjoy simple pleasures like music helps. ‘These Struggles Only Result In Sharper Misery’ resonates with me as a song-title and Truman’s mix of melody and tortured vocals are no different. Just the way everything gets heavier and more intense as the song progresses is magnificent, while the emotion and catharsis flows out of it, creating something properly cleansing. 

‘An Erroneous Display, A Reflection Contrived’ bares an approach of similar intensity, focusing on Truman’s ability to write music that twists and turns violently, while still being cohesive and together. It’s that perfect mix of emo, screamo and black metal. Dissonant at times, it sounds a lot more complex than it is. The wall of sound propelled at you is infectious.

Closing song ‘Augmentation Through Removal’ accentuates Truman’s multi-vocal approach and is the heaviest of the three on Ma Doi. It’s a lot more off-kilter yet when things settle down and stringed tones take over, it becomes a lot calmer. Bands that experiment and step outside of genre confines are heralded now more than ever, yet it’s been going on throughout history. Hearing Truman do this with the help of fellow Richmond, Virginia artist Yaya is an example of that. The strings add a new element to the music, one that’s warming and comforting.

In a time when it only takes one song to make or break a band, people’s attention spans are waning. Here are three songs that will have you transfixed even if the souls that created them are silent (for now). Beautifully addictive.

You can stream and Ma Doi as a name-your-price download from Truman's bandcamp below (after all, it is bandcamp Friday):-

Truman -

Tape copies are still available via the below links:-

Middle-Man Records -

Zegema Beach Records USA -

Middle-Man Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Robust Split Series - Season 1: #1 Kasu Weri/Taser

Labels: Robustfellow Productions

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Dec 2021


1. Kasu Weri - Greenblood

2. Kasu Weri - Faster

3. Kasu Weri - Deathetamine

4. Taser - Bitter Bound And Gagged

5. Taser - Pancreatitis Acuta Alcoholica

6. Taser - Sicknote

Late on in December 2021 (Christmas Eve in fact), Ukrainian label Robustfellow Productions released a split series comprising of five tapes, each featuring a band from the Ukraine and a band from elsewhere in the world. It's the first split series to come from the label and focuses on sludge and doom bands, with each limited to seventy five copies, also comprising forty two hand-numbered boxed sets of all five tapes. Earlier this month, I ordered one of the boxed sets and around the same time, a promo e-mail dropped into my inbox, so I figured that alongside my current schedule, I'd take the time to review these splits over the next few weeks.

This first tape features Ukrainian band Kasu Weri and Finnish band Taser, whom you may remember from my review of their split with Frogskin back in 2020. Kasu Weri come from Robustfellow's hometown of Kyiv and despite being active since 2008 (according to Metal Archives), they've released just one EP called From Soil To Ashes prior to this split. Lahti, Finland's Taser formed eight years after Kasu Weri in 2016 (again taken from Metal Archives) and have released as EP, said split with Frogskin, a single and a fill-length called Filthcrawl. All of the songs on here are new, or at least previously unreleased.

I was expectantly awaiting the arrival of this boxed set and I think the only way to truly do it justice is to write about it (though listening to is probably an even better way!). Kyiv’s Kasu Weri is a new name to me and they make an immediate impression on split opener ‘Greenblood’, with it’s groovy mix of stoner and sludge. If you like either sub-genre, you know what you’re gonna get here but you shouldn’t pass it up. The main components here are the riffs and accompanying bass. The percussion drives an authoritative pace while the vocals are as harsh as they come. Imagine having a sore throat and then swallowing a cheese grater. Hopefully you get the picture.

Now despite iTunes trying to shuffle songs randomly, ‘Faster’ comes next, showing Kasu Weri’s sound isn’t just ploughing the usual furrow. It’s a shorter song in sludge terms but that’s no bad thing as it steamrolls through nearly three minutes of infectious heaviness before ending on a dime. The band’s closer ‘Deathetamine’ is every bit as harrowing as it’s title would suggest. It’s hard to think of this music as being catchy but the riffs definitely make it so. The hypnotising effect of the song’s latter half is the icing on the cake for me. Sludge dripping with stoner/psych weirdness helps to make an instant impression. Great stuff!

Taser kicks off their side with the bass-heavy tones of ‘Bitter Bound And Gagged’. Their sound is a lot more menacing with piercing screams and a slower, lower tempo, yet the groove is still very much alive. Brooding and atmospheric are words that could be used to describe this song, and those that revel in the more brutalist side of sludge will find it a safe haven. By now, you should know about my appreciation for Finnish bands and I’m not hiding that here. 

The starkly titled ‘Pancreatitis Acuta Alcoholica’ is a glimpse into the dark psyche of Taser, which is more than matched by the instrumentation and the sobering samples that play on repeat throughout. Sometimes, instrumental songs can be more thought-provoking and that’s certainly true here, even with the lighter, melodic final third, which slides into closing song ‘Sicknote’ without even as much as a pause. It’s Taser at their heaviest with yet more caustic screams and gut-churning riffs. As sub-genres go, sludge will always be special to me. Taser proves once again why that is.

This split is a perfect way to start what is an excellently conceived idea. Both Kasu Weri and Taser have lots to offer musically and Robustfellow has pulled a blinder by bringing them both together here. I can’t wait to write about the other tapes in this series over the coming weeks and I can’t help but feel inspired by it. I’m sure you will be too. 

The songs from the entire series can be streamed below, where you can also purchase it digitally and pick up the tapes (I'd recommend grabbing the complete boxed set while you still can):-

Kasu Weri -

Taser -

Robustfellow Productions -