Friday 29 April 2022

Thirteen Bled Promises - Foundation

Labels: Lacerated Enemy Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 22 Oct 2021


1. I Stole Alien Technology From A Dead Fucking Alien And Now I Am Fucking Immortal

2. Hell Froze

3. Intergorelactic

4. A Humanless War

Spain isn't a country I visit much on this blog. That's where tech-death/deathcore band Thirteen Bled Promises come in though. From the Spanish capital Madrid, the quintet formed in 2006 (then called Thirteen Bleed Promises). Under that name they released one demo before changing it in 2010. Since then, they've gone on to release a second demo, two full-lengths, some singles and most recently, their newest EP Foundation. It was released last October via Czechian label Lacerated Enemy Records.

Here we go then, a voyage into the semi-unknown. ‘I Stole Alien Technology From A Dead Fucking Alien And Now I Am Fucking Immortal’ is as blistering as openers get. The drumming is warp-speed, while the guitar work is pure death metal with a technical edge. The vocals are slightly blackened but definitely routed in the modern era. There are slams too, but they’re kept at bay by the melody and atmosphere that is created by the guitars. I’m not afraid to say that this song surprises me and surpasses my expectations so far.

The thing with tech-death for me is that it can go by in a blur of blastbeats and squeals, but that isn’t the case with Thirteen Bled Promises. ‘Hell Froze’ still has that element of brutality but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye (or ear). The amount of music that’s shoehorned into it as a song is pretty impressive. That goes for the rest of the release too.

Thirteen Bled Promises are not a gore-death band, preferring instead to focus on cosmic/space imagery and themes. ‘Intergorelactic’ is a genius song title though and it opens with a great barrage of riffs that point towards the early-mid 00’s era of metalcore, without affecting the momentum of the death metal on show. I love instrumental tech-death (which isn’t practiced anywhere near enough now). These guys pull it off brilliantly here for almost half of the song’s length. The other half is made up of their epic extremity in it’s full glory.

EP closer ‘A Humanless War’ is probably the most brutal song on Foundation, pace-wise anyway. It’s also where the band’s blackened elements are more obviously heard. As verbose and pretentious as my writing is here, I can honestly say that these four songs have made me truly appreciate brutal/tech death again. There aren’t many bands now that can make me feel that way and there won’t be many in the future either. Thirteen Bled Promises are definitely one of the good ones.

FFO: Vulvodynia, Brand Of Sacrifice, Cerebric Turmoil, A Wanted Awakening

You can stream and purchase Foundation digitally below:-

Physical copies and merch can be purchased from Lacerated Enemy Records below:-

Thirteen Bled Promises -

Lacerated Enemy Records -

Tuesday 26 April 2022

They Sleep We Live - Escaping The Measures Of Time

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Framecode Records/Kopefen Rec/Pike Records/Samegrey Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 15 Dec 2016


1. Empty Shells Broken Heart

2. Equilibrium

3. Asunder

4. What Remains

It's nearly May and I haven't written anywhere near as many reviews as last year, but quantity doesn't mean quality so I'm feeling no pressure. I'm kicking off this week with another ZBR roster review, featuring the 2016 single-sided LP from German screamo band They Sleep We Live. Escaping The Measures Of Time was released in December of 2016 by the labels listed above, it was pressed onto 300 copies on coke bottle coloured vinyl and was only the second ever release by the band (according to their bandcamp page). It was sandwiched between splits with Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket and Piri Ries, spanning less than twelve months. I call that pretty darn productive for such a short time period.

When writing over the last few years, I’ve had a greater affection for shorter releases. I don’t know why, other than because they’ve always slotted nicely into my weekday routine. I guess you could call me lazy or accuse me of having a short attention span at times, but having a day job that’s somewhat challenging mentally does have that effect on me. Short bursts of screamo/emo really help though and They Sleep We Live’s own take on the sub-genre seems perfect for this sunny evening as the melodic tones of ‘Empty Shells Broken Hearts’ build in volume, threatening to burst forth. The build up is often greater than the explosion though and here it retreats to give way for emo-laden post-hardcore that’s off-kilter and full of impact.

‘Equilibrium’ is pure unadulterated screamo with so much energy and body to it. The mix of harsher screams and emotive clean vocals give it balance, while still allowing They Sleep We Live to spread their message about society and it’s struggle, That message is further brought to life by the instrumentation, in the same way that it is through modern-day crust influenced bands like Morrow and Terra Mater. 

There’s a heavier atmospheric/black metal vibe going on during ‘Asunder’, instrumentally. It’s a vibe that’s fleeting and it gives way to a song that switches between heart wrenching emo and melodic hardcore. It has so much yet it’s totally cohesive and enthralling, showing just how thoughtful and endearing this record, and it’s songwriting is. 

The closing song ‘What Remains’ sounds a little unnerving at first with the musical toy-like sample at it’s beginning. Fear not though, there’s nothing remotely horror-like here, only one final skittish screamo hymn filled with orchestrated movements and European flair. They Sleep We Live will keep you guessing about the direction they’re going to take with each song on this record but that’s no bad thing at all. They all belong together though, creating a short story through music. Absolutely essential. Beautifully packaged.

FFO: La Dispute, Ostraca, Respire, Morrow, Terra Mater

You can stream and purchase Escaping The Measures Of Time via bandcamp below:-

They Sleep We Live -

Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-

Pike Records -

Zegema Beach Records - USA Store:

Dingleberry Records -

Framecode Records -

Kopefen Rec -

Pike Records -

Samegrey Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Sunday 24 April 2022

PremieRing #2: Letterbombs - Mansuit (from the up-coming Demersal/Piet Onthel/Letterbombs/Vientre Split Tape)

About four years ago I was asked to participate in a four blog premiere, where each blog shared a song from a four-way split LP that featured Massa Nera, Thisismenotthinkingofyou, Yo Sbraito and Ef'il (released via ZBR amongst other labels). It was called the PremieRing. Now I'm super happy to be involved in PremieRing #2, alongside Miss The Stars, Idioteq and Open Mind Saturated Brain.

Once again, we're promoting a four-way split (this time on tape) that's being released by ZBR's sister label Tomb Tree, alongside UK label Witch Elm Records. As with previous splits, it contains bands from different corners of the globe in the form of Demersal (Denmark), Piet Onthel (Malaysia), Letterbombs (Finland) and Vientre (Colombia). It is my great pleasure to be able to share the song 'Mansuit' by Letterbombs. Here's a quick snippet of what they had to say about this one:-

'Lyrically the track is mostly quotes from Donnie Darko (2001). Musically we wanted to try something a bit different. Something more straight forward with some twist and turns here and there.'

(Photo Credit: Ville Luosa)

All four of the bands involved in this split have been super active recently, but if you've missed any of their previous releases for any reason then this one is the perfect place to start! If you love screamo and emo-violence, you'll love this.

Demersal -

Piet Onthel -

Letterbombs -

Vientre -

The tapes are with Tomb Tree already so it won't be long before they're available from them and Witch Elm Records. Here's a peak at the variants, including pictures (minus the test dips though):-

46x clear/blue/purple swirl

20x multi-color swirl

5x red/black swirl

5x test dip w/matching swirl case

Links to their stores and social media pages are below:-

Tomb Tree - /

Witch Elm Record - /

To hear Demersal's track 'No Need For Stories Where We Never Come Alive', make sure you head over to Idioteq's PremieRing article here -

Also, to hear tracks from Piet Onthel and Vientre, head over to and respectively.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Slimelord - Moss Contamination

Labels: Dry Cough Records/Seed Of Doom/Sewer Rot Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 03 Sep 2021


1. Noitanimatnoc Ssom Gnittor

2. Day Of The Triffids

3. Puddle Dweller

4. Epithelial Contaminant (Amphibious Dirge)

5. Loretta's Bane

The death/doom of Slimelord's first release The Delta Death Sirens was pretty captivating. I reviewed the album around the same time that I ordered the LP from Dry Cough Records. As soon as I knew orders were live for the follow-up Moss Contamination, I jumped on it straight away. Knowing that Slimelord were from Leeds, which is still thriving with extreme metal bands, it was a no brainer. Tape and cd copies had already been released by Dry Cough, Seed Of Doom and Sewer Rot Records, but due to pressing plant delays the vinyl didn't see the light of day until earlier this year. It was worth the wait though.

I’ll start by saying that Moss Contamination is a very different beast to that of The Delta Death Sirens. Album opener ‘Noitanimatnoc Ssom Gnittor’, which reads as ‘Rotting Moss Contamination’ is an intro of ghoulish ambience and deep deathly vocals. When I first played this record on my turntable I wasn’t sure if it was even on the right speed. It took a couple of moments for me to realise what was going on and then it all made sense. Slimelord have gone farther down the creeping death metal route on ‘Day Of The Triffids’, which takes their doom-filled death metal in a more obscure direction.

When I’ve thought of death metal bands from Leeds in recent years, I’ve always gravitated towards Cryptic Shift, but I definitely love the more old-school death/doom, dank sound that Slimelord has made their own. ‘Puddle Dweller’ sums up that death/doom sound to perfection, with grippingly slow tempos and soaring leads plunging you in to all kinds of atmosphere. I will say that listening to this record on my turntable at gone-midnight not long after first receiving it was fantastic, but then revisiting it via digital (and physical) means over and over again since has bolstered my appreciation of it much further.

Penultimate song ‘Epithelial Contaminant (Amphibious Dirge)’ is a somewhat gentle yet haunting instrumental piece, which leads you into ‘Loretta’s Bane’. It’s a song that thrashes harder, albeit without losing any of Slimelord’s murkiness. The Americans may think they have the monopoly on old-school death metal worship at the moment, but the UK’s own history and indeed it’s present is exhibited in this creation. Slimelord are hopefully here to stay for a while and the thought of that is very pleasing. 

For Fans Of: Solothus, Mortiferum, Mortuous and Incantation (IMO)

Stream and purchase Moss Contamination digitally from Slimelord below:-

You can buy physical copies from them too here -

Slimelord -

Physical copies are also still available from the labels below:-

Dry Cough Records -

Seed Of Doom -

Sewer Rot Records -

Dry Cough Records -

Seed Of Doom -

Sewer Rot Records -

Monday 18 April 2022

Song Premiere: Greed Worm - Baptized By Arsonists + Hell Is Real EP Review

On April 20th Tomb Tree will be releasing the EP Hell Is Real by Chicago's Greed Worm on 12" lathe format. Some are even rumoured to be swirl dipped. If you've been checking in with ZBR/Tomb Tree of late, you'll have seen some dipped LPs already. They're a work of art! 

Greed Worm is a sludgy hardcore band from Chicago and this is their debut release. It's my pleasure to be able to share track 2 'Baptized By Arsonists' with you prior to the full EP release on Wednesday:-

Make sure you head over to tomorrow, to get a peak at the physical records.

Lathes go live on the Tomb Tree store at 11am CST on April 20th - 

The EP will be available digitally via bandcamp too -


1. Trash Kingdom

2. Baptized By Arsonists

3. Cold Dead Hands

4. Hell Is Real

5. Sermons Of Vermin

6. Dumbocracy

Greed Worm is a proper heavy prospect. EP opener ‘Trash Kingdom’ starts out as mid-paced, stomping sludgy hardcore before hitting a higher tempo later on. Bass-heavy, it takes it’s lead from the drumming, which dictates the intense riffs and throaty roars. The blasting that closed out the opening song, carries on through to ‘Baptized By Arsonists’. There’s a slightly distressed rawness to it but that’s how it should be. Just balls-out heavy hardcore in a nutshell. 

Greed Worm’s use of samples throughout paints a picture of the EP’s theme, which is pretty apocalyptic. ‘Cold Dead Hands’ employs a lengthy sampled passage at it’s beginning and when the full band hits the loud pedal, it reminds me of the slower, sludgier end of powerviolence. I’m pretty convinced that this is one of the heaviest releases that Tomb Tree has been involved in. The title-track ‘Hell Is Real’ definitely backs up that notion with some added technicality and metallic might.

It feels like Greed Worm is heralding a new age of metallic hardcore. ’Sermons Of Vermin’ is a battering ram that decries the state of the US at the moment and in doing so, it brings the political message back into the music too. EP closer ‘Dumbocracy’ takes on more of an industrial form, which I guess has been present throughout but it’s more obvious here, especially in the percussion. It’s ends very abruptly and then there’s about ninety-seconds of silence before some bizarre, electronic music and vocals appear, as if they were a secret track. A great EP overall

FFO: Integrity, Cursed, Trap Them, Water Torture, Full of Hell (IMO)

Greed Worm -

Sunday 10 April 2022

Robust Split Series - Season 1: #3 - One Magic Megawatt/Silver Gallery

Labels: Robustfellow Prods

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Dec 2021


1. One Magic Megawatt - Psychoblues

2. One Magic Megawatt - End Of Season

3. One Magic Megawatt - Fuckdub

4. Silver Gallery - Sagawa Lunch

5. Silver Gallery - Head Will Roll

6. Silver Gallery - On My Way

7. Silver Gallery - My Life

8. Silver Gallery - Burning Soul

The Sunday afternoon lull is over. It's time for the third instalment of my mini review series focusing on the five tape split box set from Ukrainian label Robustfellow Prods. The idea of this set was to put five Ukrainian sludge/doom bands on tape alongside five bands from other countries. The first two I reviewed featured Kasu Weri (with Taser from Finland) and Celophys (with Radian from the USA). This one features One Magic Megawatt and Silver Gallery (of France). Each of the tapes have been limited to 75 copies and there was also a special run of 42 box sets featuring all five. There are still copies of each for sale via Robustfellow's bandcamp page, but they're going down all the time so if you like what you read/hear, grab them while you can!

As with three of the four bands I’ve already written about during this series, it’s the first time I’ve heard both One Magic Megawatt and Silver Gallery. OMM, as I’m going to refer to them from now, provide three tracks on their side of this split and they’re long, especially opener ‘Psychoblues’. This quartet definitely has their own identity because alongside the stoner riffs, percussion and clean/harsh vocals, there’s a harmonica and trombone adding some extra blues flavour. As if those riffs weren’t bluesy enough!

OOM are a lot more progressive than I was initially expecting. I know the term is used a lot nowadays (especially by me) but it’s still relevant as the psych sounds of ‘End Of Season’ swirl out from the speakers. Initially, it’s a very easy-listening song but the further in you get during the first two+ minutes, the more bass-heavy it gets. Ritualistic at times, it’s one for appreciating without distraction or interruption. It’s latter half is more anthemic and musical, but don’t be fooled, it’s also stark and dense as well. The vocals employed here are more akin to those used in depressive black metal for a time too.

As if the two songs above weren’t enough to tempt you in, OMM’s last song ‘Fuckdub” is basically a cross between improv blues rock and some crazy drugged up hoedown in the Deep South (to be honest both of those examples are interchangeable). There is a bit of Eyehategod influence coming through here for sure, though it’s more their groove than their caustic sludge that permeates the song. This has been some of the most out-there stoner I’ve heard.

Next up, Silver Gallery with five songs. As their opener ’Sagawa Lunch’ begins, there’s a much more straightforward sound going on, with thicker riffs and plenty of rumbling bass. More mesmeric and repetitive, the spoken word vocals seem more menacing and even slightly sleazy to these ears. I’m fine with sleazy though when it comes to heavy rock and so far Silver Gallery have me glued to the speakers. There’s more urgency in their sound (if not in their tempo, which is still slow), especially on ‘Head Will Roll’. They tell a story with the lyrics and it’s the first time you catch a glimpse of their disgustingly harsh, screechy growls. They turn this release on it’s head in the finest way. 

‘On My Way’ is such a flowing song that you can easily lose yourself in it. The groove is real here and the drums add to it immensely, while the vocals are slightly more distant yet still harsh. The feedback that rings out at the end never stops ringing in your ears as you’re led into Silver Gallery’s penultimate beast ‘My Life’. Once again, if repetition in doom/sludge is your thing, then there’s plenty of it here but there’s also some really killer lead work as well. Fully gone by this point are the sleazy spoken vocals, as they give way to those roared/growled ones I mentioned above. They’re used sparingly though in favour of letting the instrumentation breath. 

It’s left to ‘Burning Soul’ to close out both Silver Gallery’s side and also the split as a whole, and it does it brilliantly. Just crushing heavy doom extremity with very adept musicianship. Somehow it’s super catchy as well, mainly due to the melody hiding within the riffs. Getting faster in tempo and denser in musical layers, the ending comes far too soon. Again, another great musical find by Robustfellow. Silver Gallery have certainly left their mark on me.

Overall, this split is a pretty unique one. One Magic Megawatt might be a head-scratcher for some but their avant-garde, bluesy stoner is an experience that’s well worth the effort. Silver Gallery on the flip side are much more gung-ho, with heavier everything. Enjoy!

You can stream all of the tracks from this split, as well as from the set via Robustfellow's bandcamp page below:-

All five splits are available digitally and on tape while stocks last there too,

One Magic Megawatt -

Silver Gallery -

Robustfellow Prods -

Thursday 7 April 2022

Respire - Gravity And Grace

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Middle-Man Records/Narshardaa Records/Ozona Records/Parking Lot Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 30 Mar 2016


1. Pitter Patter

2. Ascent

3. Eternal Light

4. Waltz

5. Gravity And Grace

6. Eternal Nothing

7. Evening. Melancholy I

8. Evening. Melancholy II

9. Evening. Melancholy III

Canadian post-rock/screamo band Respire was a band I came to know about through Left Hand Label. I own tape copies of both Denouement and Memorial (An Accompaniment) yet I'm a bit out of touch with their earlier material. Gravity And Grace was their first full-length, which came out two years after their demo. It was released on both vinyl and tape via the labels mentioned above and this evening, it forms the next part of my ZBR roster review series.

The day job is strangely calm at the moment. Calmness is good and it’s magnified on Gravity And Grace opener ‘Pitter Patter’, which gives an early glimpse into the full orchestral beauty that Respire possesses to this day. Musically clear and captivating. ‘Ascent’ follows on with immediate continuation. This time, Respire’s post-metal takes a fuller form with blackened blasts, vocals and riffs that appear buried during the verses before coming alive in the instrumental sections. Off-kilter, at times Avantgarde maybe but so emotive too.

I really like how Respire’s approach isn’t to go for the jugular. While they may be screamo-adjacent, they’re not the type of band to hit top emoviolence-gear and instead they’re more progressive, perhaps? Even if I was way off there, ‘Eternal Light’ makes for the perfect song that definitely does it’s title justice. The combination of strings and brass is not what you might expect, but it works so well. The patient build-up of the guitars and percussion is sensitive to what Respire creates here, allowing time for thought and genuine appreciation. The multi vocal chorus towards the end makes it all the more worthwhile as well.

If ‘Eternal Light’ left you in a state of serenity then ‘Waltz’ will snap you out of that state very quickly. It’s more immediate in harshness yet it retains a great balance between that and melody. If you’re familiar with the anarchist black metal of Dawn Ray’d then you’ll find a similar bedfellow in Respire here for sure. The album’s title track ‘Gravity And Grace’ could be seen as an instrumental interlude when held up against the rest of the songs that surround it, but it’s so much more. It demonstrates both the beauty and honesty that makes up the band’s sound.

You’re led into the album’s second half proper by ‘Eternal Nothing’, with stirring trumpet tones taking centre stage. You get a fuller appreciation of the many layers that go into making these songs throughout it’s near ten-minute playing time. It carries much more black metal influence in between the introspective sections. Definitely a stand out track for me. The final three songs on Gravity And Grace are a trilogy, beginning with ‘Evening. Melancholy I’, which unlike those before it features clean vocals. They’re very effective at changing the mood of the record and give it a new dimension amongst the backdrop created by the rest of the band. 

‘Evening. Melancholy II’ goes by all too quickly. It’s shorter than it’s predecessor and while it feels like Respire are winding down somewhat, it’s still a beautiful song complete with more clean singing. ‘Evening. Melancholy III’ closes everything out with luscious guitar melodies, choral vocals and subtle feedback. It’s a gentile way to part. Gravity And Grace is never too far away if you need something to lean on, to cleanse and to inspire you. An early impression of the band Respire has become but in it’s own right, a masterpiece.

You can stream the album via bandcamp below, where it's available to buy on vinyl (only 5 copies remain) and on digital formats directly from Respire:-

Respire -

Copies can still be purchased from the labels below:-

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL -

Dingleberry Records -

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Ozona Records -

Parking Lot Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Monday 4 April 2022

Lycia - Simpler Times 7"

Labels: Avantgarde Music

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 04 Mar 2022


1. Simpler Times

2. A Far Away Place

This weekend was a weekend of excess and today's been about recovery. In my last review, I talked about a US synthwave/shoegaze band and how it wasn't the time for me to write about them. This evening is the right time and the band in question is Lycia. Remarkably, Lycia have releases dating back as far as 1989 and their newest Simpler Times was released via Avantgarde Music in March. I don't venture into this genre of music often but that label is one I respect greatly, which is reason enough to give this release a chance.

Simpler Times is definitely far removed from my usual sphere of listening but I can understand how both it and Lycia found a home on Avantgarde Music. The upbeat synths and relaxed vocals on the single’s title track are pleasing but there is a sense of darkness within it too, which seems to take influence from goth, bringing Depeche Mode and dare I say it Pet Shop Boys to mind (I know they’re not goth!).

‘A Far Away Place’ continues down the darkened path with sinisterly whispered vocals, though the programmed synths and percussion don’t allow it to go too far in that direction. Electronic music can be hit and miss for me but I can appreciate it if done right. I think Lycia are special because they belong to a tranche of artists that create beautiful music but are also seemingly under the radar of many. They have integrity and that matters if you’re an artist.

You can stream and purchase Simpler Times directly from Lycia below:-

Physical copies can still be purchased from Avantgarde Music here -

Lycia -

Avantgarde Music -