Sunday, 27 November 2022

Confess - Revenge At All Costs


Labels: Rexius Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 21 Jan 2022


Tracklist:


1. Based On A True Story...

2. EVIN

3. Phoenix Rises

4. Ransom Note

5. You Can't Tame The Beast!

6. Unfilial Son

7. Megalodon

8. Under Surveillance

9. Hegemony

10. Army Of Pigs!

11. I Speak Hate


With the backlash to the current football world cup taking place in Qatar and the human rights atrocities being left unpunished in various countries around the world, it takes brave people to speak out. Nikan Khosravi and Arash Ilkhani are two such people, having fled their native Iran following persecution and unjust prison sentences. They were offered asylum in Norway in 2018, where they have resided ever since and earlier this year they released Confess's third full-length Revenge At All Costs, with the help of drummer Roger Tunheim Jakobsen.


The message behind this album is all too real, as opener ‘Based On A True Story…’ shows with news/media samples spliced together alongside snippets of Confess’s groove/thrash metal. It’s already a very harrowing listen and it focuses on the band’s experiences of the Iranian legal/prison system, which is something many of us won’t even be able to comprehend. ‘EVIN’ is the first time you hear their music in true anger. EVIN is known as one of Iran’s harshest prisons and it’s picture is painted by Confess here. There’s a nod to bands like Fear Factory, Sepultura and Slipknot in a sound that’s also littered with Arabic influences (although subtle). 


Unsurprisingly though, there is also plenty of Norwegian melo-death influence that’s prominent during ‘Phoenix Rises’, especially thanks to the excellent drumming of Roger Tunheim Jakobsen. It has so much groove and impact, with the addition of Arash’s DJ’ing and Nikan’s hard-hitting guitar work. There’s a massive slab of thrash metal injected into ‘Ransom Note’ and it continues the up-tempo nature of the album.


The pace I mentioned above is only one part of this album’s draw, as Confess really hit their musical stride on ‘You Can’t Tame The Beast!’. The song makes use of different time-signatures and riff patterns, making it appear doomier with a hint of traditional heavy metal peeking through in the mix. The midpoint of Revenge At All Costs comes courtesy of ‘Unfilial Son’, where things get a bit more off-kilter and the bass guitar adds much more heft.


The aptly named ‘Megalodon’ is a shining example of well-written and performed groove metal. The sub-genre is sometimes maligned but Confess show that when it’s done right, it’s really enjoyable. ‘Under Surveillance’ follows on immediately after in very similar and urgent fashion. There’s a more technical edge to the band during this second-half and it’s great to hear, with the final sixty seconds of ’Under Surveillance’ being especially so. 


On ‘Hegemony’, things go back in a more traditional direction again and even though it’s one of the album’s longer songs, it still contains plenty of bite and atmosphere, without hampering momentum. There’s no doubt who ‘Army Of Pigs!’ is aimed at and the anger within it is palpable. Closing with ‘I Speak Hate’, Confess makes one final statement of intent and shows their resilience, which has been born out of their past experiences at the hands of an oppressive regime.


Revenge At All Costs hits the spot with it’s no nonsense approach and Confess have really harnessed their rage perfectly. It’s musically strong too, making it a great listen throughout.


You can stream and purchase the album both digitally, and on CD below:-



Confess - https://www.facebook.com/confessbandIR

Rexius Records - https://www.facebook.com/RexiusRecords

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

This Noise Is Ours is now on Substack

This is just a quick update to say that TNIO is now on Substack. This is a work in progress but the first post is up and it would be great if you could check it out and share it around. 

https://thisnoiseisours.substack.com/p/an-introduction-to-iron-corpse

I'm going to run it alongside the blog for the time being. The blog will still be my priority and will be where most of my content is posted; however, with social media going down the pan fast I wanted another option. Thanks

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Liquid Shit - Untold Horrors


Labels: Dry Cough Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 06 May 2022


Tracklist:


1. Beyond Reproach

2. Riddled With Lesions

3. Empty Gesture

4. Death Absolute


My latest Dry Cough Records purchase, Crypt Rot's An Ancient Summoning tape, arrived yesterday; however, I want to talk about the Liquid Shit tape Untold Horrors this evening. Liquid Shit is a death/doom/hardcore band from London that features former members of Dead Sea Fucking Scrolls, Cutting Pink With Knives, Navajo Code and many more from the UK's grind/hardcore community. Untold Horrors follows their 2020 EP Pillars Of Shit, which was released via Hominid Sounds.


In keeping with the current influx of death metal-leaning hardcore bands, Liquid Shit add themselves notably to the list with Untold Horrors. EP opener ‘Beyond Reproach’ has a sound unlike any other so far, where low growls are coupled with equally low and hypnotic hardcore riffs, drenched in noise and nerve-racking percussion. The one thing that I didn’t mention in the opener salvo was the dirty bass guitar sound. It’s prominent during ‘Riddled With Lesions’ and leads you into a slow, groovy song filled with sludge influences and psychedelic lead work. There’s also a saxophone present but it’s not overly audible amongst the noise.


‘Empty Gesture’ contains some epically piercing feedback that throws you into another song filled with claustrophobic, lumbering hardcore. The repeating riffs are utterly brilliant throughout and the noise levels on the recording remind me of the dread filled tones of the likes of November Coming Fire, Cholera and Sea Bastard. I read a tweet from the US heavy noise-rock band Whores earlier today extolling the talent in the UK scene. Hearing this EP adds to the excitement (if I’m allowed to say that!). EP closer ‘Death Absolute’ induces the same feeling as a psychological horror movie. It’s mostly instrumental with heaps of groove and noise. The vocals are used sparingly but enough to make their own final impact. 


Four songs that seem to zip by, with an infectious sound. Dry Cough’s output keeps getting better and Liquid Shit hit the spot in a way that’s unexpected yet really engrossing. Cracking stuff!


You can stream Untold Horrors and purchase the band's last remaining tape copies, or a digital download below:-



You can also buy tape copies from Dry Cough Records here:-

https://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/liquid-shit-untold-horrors-dc57


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

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Mrtex/Samarra - Split


Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 12 Aug 2017


Tracklist:


1. Samarra - Drama In The Walmart Restroom

2. Samarra - It Is Fine, Everything Is Fine

3. Samarra - Impulsive Semantics

4. Mrtex - That Ain't The Friggin' Xmas Star

5. Mrtex - Dolla Bills Dipped In Ice Nine

6. Mrtex - You Are Garbage Made Flesh (not reviewed here)


I'm back with another ZBR roster review tonight, featuring the 2017 split with newly crowned This Noise Is Ours house band Mrtex (please excuse my poor attempt at humour!) and US emoviolence band Samarra. It was limited to 100 tapes and was solely available via Zegema Beach Records. The split featured three songs from each band; however, the third song from Mrtex 'You Are Garbage Made Flesh' isn't available to steam online, so I can't write about it unfortunately. 


I’m starting with the Samarra side here, as that’s the order of things on bandcamp. ‘Drama In The Walmart Restroom’ is an abrasive and chaotic song complete with dual-vocals, and moments of utter beauty too. Anxious feedback sits alongside introspective melodic passages, creating something that stretches beyond it’s actual playing time. ‘It Is Fine, Everything Is Fine’ starts off by lulling you into a false sense of security before Samarra once again lets off an air-raid siren of piercing energy (especially thanks to the higher-pitched screams). There are hardcore riffs present too, but they’re subtle and the whole band seems to cohesively weave them into their sound.


Samarra’s final song could be considered long by comparison to their others. ‘Impulsive Semantics’ is their most brutal addition to the split. Raw intensity pours from the speakers as it goes and the embrace you receive when things slow down is really warming. Mrtex come out of the traps straight away on ‘That Ain’t The Friggin’ Xmas Star’ with machine gun drumming and grinding ferocity. Heck, I only realised today that the band features/featured (delete as applicable) members of Yaphet Kotto and Jenny Piccolo. The more you know!. Anyway, this opener flies by before you know it.


‘Dolla Bills Dipped In Ice Nine’ is equally as unrelenting. It shows Mrtex in a much heavier mood than maybe they have been on earlier releases, but maybe that’s just my ears. The use of melody stands out here and is helped by the slightly longer running time. Here’s where this review ends for me. I don’t know why ‘You Are Garbage Made Flesh’ isn’t online, but there must be a good reason why. That still doesn’t stop this from being a super enjoyably split to listen too. Samarra are really great. I’m not sure if anything else was released by them after this. Mrtex will always be a go to and their material here is top notch once again. 


You can stream all available songs below, where the split's also available to purchase digitally:-



Mrtex - https://www.facebook.com/mrtexrebellion

Samarra - https://samarrava.bandcamp.com


Physical tapes are available from Zegema Beach Records below:-


CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/mrtex-samarra

USA - https://zbrusa.com/collections/zbr-releases/products/мятеж-samarra-split-cassette


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

Monday, 14 November 2022

Nionde Plagan - Transformation


Labels: Moment Of Collapse

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 28 Oct 2022


Tracklist:


1. Jag vill det här för oss

2. Resenär

3. Äta sova dö (deluxe edition)

4. Vanligt folk

5. Oro

6. Affirmation


One of the coolest things about writing the Zegema Beach Records roster series of reviews is finding out about all of the bands that are releasing new music. One such band is Sweden's Nionde Plagan, who recently released their newest record Transformation in October via Moment Of Collapse Records. I wrote about their 2015 album Frustration in May of last year and followed it up with a review of their 2017 split 10" with The World That Summer in May of this year. Nionde Plagan must have appreciated those write-ups because they contacted me directly about a month ago, which means a huge amount to me.


Nionde Plagan has always been pigeonholed amongst the screamo/post-hardcore movement of the 2010’s and onwards, but I feel that with Transformation, they’re moving beyond that. ‘Jag vill det här för oss’ begins in really beautiful fashion with gentle organ (I think) and guitar before clean vocals come in alongside subtle percussion. Just after the two-minute mark, Nionde Plagan banishes the feeling of calm with the help of dramatic, down-tempo heaviness and an off-kilter, yet still very rhythmic post-metal approach. I have to remind myself that this is still just the first song!.


After such a rousing and dramatic opener, ‘Resenär’ follows channeling a low-end that stands up against peers like The Ocean Collective while the brighter melody and screamed vocals are still very much trademark Nionde Plagan. I guess the reason for comparing this to The Ocean is because of it’s grandiosity at over twelve minutes in all. There’s definitely a more progressive side to the band’s music, albeit one that shares time with post-rock/metal influences (I guess they go hand-in-hand). The gang-chorus towards the end is utterly brilliant as well.


‘Äta sova dö (deluxe edition)’ hits top gear right from the off with a faster, louder sound that’s more rooted in hardcore and it’s glorious. I don’t know what makes it a “deluxe edition” of the song but it definitely grabs you with it’s crunching, dissonant form. Even when it retreats to an introspective mid-section, there’s still an abrasive soul in there. A soul with a heap of groove and bouncing energy. 


That bouncing energy is replaced by post-rock anxiousness on ‘Vanligt folk’ and if musical claustrophobia was really a thing, the opening bars of this song would be the definition. It doesn’t stay that way for too long though, as more rhythmic screamo takes over and breathes some life and light into the song for a time. I realise that there are different levels of heaviness in music and that this isn’t gonna rip your face off, but that’s not the point of Transformation. As the title suggests, this album is a transition to heavier and more atmospheric climbs. Time will tell but if you take it as it is this album is epic.


One thing that’s really struck me about this album is the guitar tones that Nionde Plagan employ throughout, as evidenced on penultimate song ‘Oro’, which in this case sounds quite scuzzy and distorted initially before settling down with added melody. The music on show here and throughout isn’t overly technical but is intricate and heartfelt. 


Album closer ‘Affirmation’ is apt not only in title but also because the music it contains is an affirmation of just how majestic this album is. For me, it’s the best song on Transformation. As It all comes to a close, I realise that taking my time over this review was the right thing to do. Letting this album wash over me a few times recently has made me appreciate it even more. The end of the year is fast approaching but there’s more than enough time for this record to be amongst your album-of-the-year lists. 


Transformation has been out a couple of weeks now and you can stream it, and purchase it on vinyl and/or digital formats from Nionde Plagan below:-



Nionde Plagan - https://www.facebook.com/NiondePlagan


You can also buy copies from Moment Of Collapse Records here:-

https://shop.momentofcollapse.com/products/nionde-plagan-transformation-lp / https://momentofcollapserecords.bandcamp.com/album/transformation


Moment Of Collapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/momentofcollapse

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Skipping Stone - Hurricanes & Hand Grenades


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 05 Aug 2022


Tracklist:


1. Quietus

2. Sink Or Swim

3. Hurricane

4. So Far Gone


Kentucky, USA's Skipping Stone will be playing alongside Puddle Of Mudd this Friday. Say want you want about the headline band, but that's a pretty big deal. Add to that the fact that they've also played alongside Escape The Fate, I Set My Friends On Fire and have a recommended band in the form of Cold listed at the bottom of their bandcamp page, and they've clearly got something going for them. Skipping Stone released two EPs this year, starting with Monsters Of Men in March prior to Hurricanes & Hand Grenades in August. They cover a whole musical gamut from 80s Hard Rock to metalcore and are a new name to me.


I’ll be honest, I was secretly hoping that Skipping Stone wouldn’t sound like a poor example of nu-metal and thankfully they don’t. EP opener ‘Quietus’ is clean and very uptempo, with a modern alt-rock influence and catchiness. Heavy and crunching at times, with a nod towards Billy Talent too.’Sink Or Swim’ begins with the well used (WWE entrance inducing) air raid siren intro before launching into a moody metal song that reminds me of System Of Down in places. I’m sorry for all the comparisons here, it’s not me being disrespectful to the band, it’s just what I hear.


One thing’s for sure, Skipping Stone clearly have a lot of talent. ‘Hurricane’ is a proper festival sing-along anthem with just the right amount of angst. The clean vocals throughout the song and the EP in general are brilliant, as are the rest of the band. This makes me nostalgic as a lot of the music that formed my early metal listening habits came thanks to bands like Cold, Sevendust and Soil etc. I’m not for one second saying that Skipping Stone are trying to mimic those bands, but there is that same feel when listening to them.


EP closer ‘So Far Gone’ takes Hurricanes & Hand Grenades on a final mid-paced alt-rock trip and it rounds things out perfectly, showing again the quality of the band’s song-writing. You might not find this EP to be overly original style-wise, but one things for sure, it has a lot of heart and might just be what you need to reignite your passion for those forgotten gems (and for discovering new bands like Skipping Stone too!).


You can stream 'Hurricane' and purchase EP on cd, as well as digitally below:-



Skipping Stone - https://www.facebook.com/SkippingStoneOfficial

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Smile To The Wind - Illusions


Labels: Dead Tank Records/Trace In Maze/Unlock Yourself Records/Upwind Productions/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 21 Mar 2018


Tracklist:


1. Whisper Of The Forests

2. Wormwood Grass

3. Shroud

4. Homecoming

5. Towards The Time

6. Grave Of Kings pt.I

7. Grave Of Kings pt.II

8. Grave Of Kings pt.III

9. Resin

10. Unbearably Cold And Silent

11. Where Do Ships Go To Die?


I'm moving onto the new review schedule today, after finalising it earlier this morning. Being more focused is good. In this review I'm talking about now-defunct Russian screamo band Smile To The Wind and their final release Illusions. It was released both on vinyl and digital formats back in March 2018. I last featured Smile To The Wind here when I wrote about their split with Ojne, which both Unlock Yourself Records and ZBR also helped to release.


Smile To The Wind were always a band that made their point musically without overrunning. Illusions makes that point exactly with short, succinct numbers. Album opener ‘Whisper Of The Forests’ presents their music in a melodic light, with a dramatic build up, as if it was meant to be an intro of sorts. During the closing seconds, they burst into life with fast post-hardcore/screamo that flows into ‘Wormwood Grass’. There’s a slight pause between the songs (which to me is a bit pointless) but it does no harm, as it’s over very quickly anyway, leading to a sing that’s over equally as fast.


‘Shroud’ exhibits the band’s musical abandon and their penchant for emo-violence that’s not quite emo-violence, if you know what I mean?!. The sheer pace of this album might catch you off guard slightly, as you’re flung into ‘Homecoming’ and it’s subtle stop/start passages. Smile To The Wind are more expansive on ‘Towards The Time’, which leans further towards post-metal/rock, albeit briefly.


The second half of the album starts with a trilogy. ‘Grave Of Kings pt.I’ is a technical, harsh screamo song that immediately gives way to ‘Grave Of Kings pt.II’. As with ‘pt’I’ it’s over before you can truly settle into it’s dissonant tones. ‘Grave Of Kings pt.III’ rounds out the trilogy with a retreat into a musical dynamic that’s somewhat calmer. It breaks things up but also shows how instrumentally majestic Smile To The Wind are.


‘Resin’ is a shock to the system afterwards, with it’s fast emo-violence coupled with a heart-on-your-sleeve screamo blueprint that leads instantly into penultimate song ‘Unbearably Cold And Silent’. Who would have thought that a song with a title like that would be so apt for the current climate in which we live. I say that as somebody who lives in the UK, where the government’s energy policy has been flawed for nigh on fifteen plus years and a nation that is facing possible blackouts (though that’s a worst case scenario).


The album’s final song ‘Where Do Ships Go To Die?’ is a poignant one and could quite easily reflect our personal lives in one way or another. It’s the longest song on Illusions and while it can’t be considered grandiose, it’s still rousing right up until it falls silent. Eleven songs lasting less than ten minutes or so have never sounded so good. Dare I say that Smile To The Wind went too soon. There’s still a place for them.


You can still stream and purchase Illusions directly from Smile To The Wind below:-



Smile To The Wind - https://www.facebook.com/smiletothewind


You can still get physical copies from the below labels:-


Dead Tank Records - https://deadtankrecords.com/products/smile-to-the-wind

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


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

Trace In Maze - https://www.facebook.com/traceinmaze

Unlock Yourself Records - https://www.facebook.com/unlockyourselfrecords

Upwind Productions - https://www.facebook.com/upwindisdead

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

Friday, 4 November 2022

The Owl - A Trip Inside The Museum


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 26 Apr 2022


Tracklist:


1. The Repurposing Of A Cerebral Purging

2. The Morning After A Psychedelic Experience

3. The Asylum For Augmenting Thought


It have been far too long since I last featured any musical creations by The Owl here, which is completely my fault. I have dabbled in noise/ambient music before and The Owl has always been one such project that's held my attention, but the ever increasing push/pull of life and my overflowing inbox have meant that I've taken my eye off the ball. That was until I saw the cover of A Trip Inside The Museum. It's psychedelic imagery layer over the top of what look like brain scans had me intrigued.


This three song release pays homage to a fellow noise/experimental project that goes by the name of The Museum Of Viral Memory. The Owl contributed two songs to the project that were reimagined with the help of a symphony orchestra, which both feature in their original form here alongside a remix of a track originally by The Museum Of Viral Memory themselves. I know very little about the latter but I know what The Owl is capable of, so without further ado let's dive in.


First up, ‘The Repurposing Of A Cerebral Purging’ is as weird as The Owl describes it to be in the accompanying bandcamp notes. Looping, oddly rhythmic glitchy noises that become more hypnotising and unnerving as they go. The alterations between the different passages here are what makes it such an interesting listen for me, even though musically it’s harsh. I don’t feel that these words can do full justice to this thirteen minute song; however, I’ve always respected The Owl hugely as a musician and the creativity on show throughout all of the project’s releases (of which there are many now) stands out.


Second song ‘The Morning After A Psychedelic Experience’ is a much more low-key affair, featuring what sounds like field recordings of nature interspersed with more weird noises. A lot gentler in approach with the harsh noise dialled down, it shows a more sensitive/ambient side to The Owl. It’s the perfect backdrop for a nocturnal walk through forests or over moors. The accompanying spoken word sample adds extra mystique to the song as well.


The Owl’s final song here is called ‘The Asylum For Augmenting Thought’ and is a remix of the song ‘Refuge’ by The Museum Of Viral Memory. If any of you have checked out The Owl’s previous remixes, like the Oathbreaker ‘Ease Me’ or Aubzagl ‘Eilifa Kuldinn’ ones, you’ll know that you’re in for a journey. Most people think of remixes as digitally stitched together, beat-matched tracks but The Owl replaces those techniques with images that move from their brain to the recording, in turn creating collages of sound that sit perfectly alongside the orchestral sounds of The Museum Of Viral Memory.


This release is adventurous and enjoyable. If you’re only just finding your feet in the realm of abstract, noisy, experimental music, there’s plenty for you to take in here. It’s a really creative body of work and it must have struck a chord because my neighbours appear to be howling like wolves in appreciation/competitiveness  (delete as applicable), or maybe because they’re drunk.


You can stream and purchase A Trip Inside The Museum as a name-your-price download below:-



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

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Stomach - Demo


Labels: Practiced Hatred Fanzine & Records/Dry Cough Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 14 Jan 2022


Tracklist:-


1. Deserve

2. Loom

3. Oil

4. Delirium Of Negation


The dark, dingy nights of (very) early November have hit me hard. To stave off the long winter days ahead, I'm going to be reaching for heavier and darker music like that which appears on the debut demo from US sludge band Stomach. This demo was originally released on tape back in January via US fanzine/label Practiced Hatred Records before UK label Dry Cough Records did a pressing in March. Stomach has links to some fairly well known US grind/pv bands, but that's all I'm going to say on the matter as I want you to treat them on their own merit if you're hearing them for the first time.


This tape definitely harks back to the earlier releases from Dry Cough Records (whom I purchased a copy from). It’s slow, sludgy but with occasional blasts of pace on opener ‘Deserve’. The instrumentation is very bass-heavy and is laden with feedback. The percussion is much more akin to funeral doom in it’s delivery and the vocals are used sparingly, but when they are they’re scathing. The further you get into the song, the more drone-like it becomes.


‘Loom’ is the antithesis of ‘Deserve’ with it’s noisy, fast stop/start approach that ushers in a new and stark era of powerviolence. It’s an intense auditory experience that seems to come and go very quickly, especially given that the demo’s other three songs combined reach nearly thirty minutes. ’Oil’ is as thick as it’s viscous namesake sound-wise. Again, taking it’s cues from the slower end of doom/sludge, it’s harrowing tones are filled with yet more feedback and gargling bass. Is it too early to say that this demo rules? Whatever, I’ve said it now! 


Demo closer ‘Delirium Of Negation’ takes things to an even deeper level, mixing the aforementioned slow/droning tempos with the noisier more frightening textures that were present on ‘Loom’, thus creating something that’s hard to turn away from. As with the preceding songs, this one is so downtuned that it makes Stomach sound even more miserable than longtime genre torchbearers Primitive Man. This demo is a bit of a game changer for me.


I do like taking plenty of time to listen to releases now before writing about them, which is something I haven’t done very frequently in the past. This demo has been a constant listen over the past few months especially. Just something about it keeps me coming back. There’s a full-length on the way at some point, so get yourselves prepared by spinning this if you haven’t done so already.


You can stream and purchase this demo digitally from Stomach below:-



Stomach - Instagram: @stomachdoom


Physical tape copies are still available from Dry Cough Records below:-


https://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/stomach-demo-cassette-dc56


Practiced Hatred Fanzine & Records - https://www.facebook.com/Practicedhatredfanzine

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