Monday, 6 February 2023

Coma Regalia/Drei Affen - Split 7"


Labels: Adorno Records/Dasein Records/Dingleberry Records/Discos Finu/Krimskramz/Middle-Man Records/Muerte Matar Records/Pifia Records/Producciones Tudancas/TimTam Records/(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 13 Feb 2018


Tracklist:


1. Coma Regalia - The End Result

2. Coma Regalia - Ever More Over

3. Coma Regalia - Cease Seeking Closure

4. Drei Affen - Dejadme Sonar Despierto

5. Drei Affen - Lluvia


I can't promise a lot this week in writing terms (there's a lot going on and not much time) but it's much better to focus on the time I do have. I think this is my tenth review to feature US screamo band Coma Regalia, which is pretty mad and testament to their productivity. It's the second time I've featured Spain's Drei Affen, whose discography is somewhat smaller than their split-mates, but of the best quality. This 7" was released five years ago next week though a collaboration of twelve DIY labels.


Coma Regalia’s music is known for (more often than not) being on the faster, more violent side of screamo, while still being melodic and their opener ‘The End Result’ exhibits that description perfectly with all of the right elements. Piercingly energetic screams, riffs full of urgency and percussion that’s often on the ragged edge. ’Ever More Over’ begins with a more pensive approach of clean-ish singing and mid-paced instrumentation, before launching back into more familiar territory thanks to the harsher vocals. The instrumentation remains more restrained through to the end, where it pauses and draws you into their final song ‘Cease Seeking Closure’, which is very much a mix of the previous songs. The thing that strikes you here is the preciseness of the guitar melodies and the impact they bestow on Coma Regalia’s music.


Drei Affen contribute two songs to this split and their opener ‘Dejadme Sonar Despierto’ is a powerfully seething hardcore song filled with higher-pitched screams and all-encompassing instrumental work that doesn’t let up, even when they slow the pace down. Split closer ‘Lluvia’ goes even harder, pushing Drei Affen’s intensity deeper into your synapse. The short playing time afforded to this format is actually beneficial here, as the split’s impact is much greater due to the immediacy of both bands. 100% would recommend!


You can stream and purchase the split digitally below (as well as from Drei Affen via their bandcamp page):-



Coma Regalia - https://www.facebook.com/comaregalia

Drei Affen - https://www.facebook.com/dreiaffenband


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


Adorno Records - https://adornorecords.bandcamp.com/album/split-2

Dingleberry Records - https://www.discogs.com/seller/dingleberryrecords

Discos Finu - https://discosfinu.bandcamp.com/album/drei-affen-i-coma-regalia-split

Krimskramz - https://krimskramz.com/produkt/025-drei-affen-coma-regalia-split-7/


Dasein Records - https://www.facebook.com/SadReactRecords

Dingleberry Records - https://www.facebook.com/DingleberryRecords

Discos Finu - https://www.facebook.com/discosfinu

Krimskramz - https://www.facebook.com/krimskramzstuff

Middle-Man Records - https://www.facebook.com/middlemanrecords

Muerte Matar Records - https://www.facebook.com/MuerteMatarRecords

Pifia Records - https://www.facebook.com/pifiarecords

Producciones Tudancas - https://www.facebook.com/ProduccionesTudancas

(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsrecords

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

Sunday, 5 February 2023

This Noise Is Ours: January 2023 Spotify Playlist

I thought I'd do something new this year as I've finally got a Spotify account. I don't use it often but the playlist option is something I've been keen to make use of, as an extra promotional tool to help share the bands and music I've featured.


I wrote about 13 bands and 11 releases in January, so I've put together a playlist featuring a song from each of them (well, those that are on Spotify anyway!). You can give it a listen below:-


For those bands that are not on Spotify, I've included bandcamp streams below:-


 

 

 


Let me know what you think of this idea. I will be putting more playlists together as the year progresses, including some special ones that I'm currently planning.


Terrible As The Dawn - https://www.facebook.com/terribleasthedawn

Morrow - https://www.facebook.com/morrowpunx

Chaoseum - https://www.facebook.com/chaoseum

Massa Nera - https://www.facebook.com/MASSANERANJ

Rancid Cadaver - https://www.facebook.com/rancidcadaver

Flash Forward - https://www.facebook.com/flashforwardband

Thisismenotthinkingofyou - https://www.facebook.com/timntoy

Yo Sbraito - https://www.facebook.com/yosbraito

Ef’Il - https://www.facebook.com/efil.mys

Dust Prophet - https://www.facebook.com/dustprophet

Lurking - https://www.facebook.com/lurkingmetalofdeath

Descubriendo A Mr. Mime - https://www.facebook.com/descubriendoamrmime

Achachak - https://www.facebook.com/achachakband

Friday, 3 February 2023

New UK Melodic Death Metal: Tragedy Struck First - That Which Leaves Us Hollow Single Premiere


This evening I'm really excited to be able to bring you the debut single from new melodic death metal band Tragedy Struck First. The band is a duo featuring Grymm Neve (the vocalist of Vesicarum) and Dave Austin (guitarist of Wicked Stone). The band hails from Kent in the South of England. 


You can listen to the 'That Which Leaves Us Hollow' in the video below:-



The song 'That Which Leaves Us Hollow' is about Grymm's cousin, who struggled with cancer as a child and sadly passing away. 


Tragedy Struck First is a proper joint effort with multi-instrumentalist Dave focusing on guitar, both Dave and Grymm composing the drums and Grymm adding vocals on top. The duo counts modern tech/brutal death metal bands such as Archspire, Shadow Of Intent and Ingested amongst their influences and when you listen to the track, you'll understand why. It's a very mature and accomplished death metal song with a modern sound.


All that's left is for me to drop a promo shot of the band below:-



You can keep up-to-date and in touch with Tragedy Struck First via Facebook below:-


https://www.facebook.com/TragedyStruckFirst


You can also find them on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Astarium/Fire Messiah - Split + Astarium - Furies Single


Labels: More Hate Productions/Snow Wolf Records

Formats: CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 May 2022


Tracklist:


1. Astarium - Her Winter Majesty

2. Astarium - Echo Of Niflheim

3. Astarium - The Wind Walker

4. Fire Messiah - Cerebral Warfare.

5. Fire Messiah - Flirting With The End

6. Fire Messiah - Misadventures In Creation


2022 was a quiet year for Russian ambient black metal band Astarium, in which only three physical releases saw the light of day. The first was this split with US black metal band Fire Messiah, which was released via Russia's More Hate Productions on CD and digital formats, as well as US label Snow Wolf Records on tape. Fire Messiah is a new name to me and from reading Metal Archives, the band has been releasing music since 2021, starting with a demo and being followed by a split (this one), two singles, three EPs and three full-lengths as of this review.


Astarium has always been about big, bombastic ambient/symphonic black metal and that approach is none more obvious than on this split, starting with ‘Her Winter Majesty’. It’s very melodic thanks to the synths/keys employed; but the percussion, guitars and vocals add an iciness to the song. There appear to be a couple of skips in the recording during the first track, but that could either be down to duplication/manufacturing or because I ripped the cd to MP3 before reviewing it. 


Part of me would love to hear Astarium’s music performed by a full band, just to hear what it would sound like. With that being said, it would take away the individuality of the project. Individuality that’s brought to life on the catchy, bouncing ‘Echo Of Niflheim’. The orchestral melodies are great here and there’s a backing element that could be gang-vocals or the wind gusting (on further listening it’s definitely the wind!).


The breakneck delivery of Astarium’s side concludes with ‘The Wind Walker’, which is both the split’s shortest song and the band’s most blackened. The effects nestled within it make you think that there’s some ungodly being in your vicinity as the vocals swirl around you, amongst the blasting percussion and hypnotic synth performance.


The second half of the split is reserved for Fire Messiah and there’s a much more mechanised, industrial sound on their opener ‘Cerebral Warfare’, though you’re not too far away from organs and hellish black metal. As with Astarium before them, Fire Messiah’s creativity is obvious straight away, as is the urgency that’s been the bedrock of this release so far.


There’s an unnerving yet touching romanticism about Fire Messiah’s music, that reminds me a bit of Blooming Carrions for some reason (totally different facet of extreme metal, but whatever). There’s more rawness here though, governed by the punk-influence flowing through the song, even if the strings try their best to banish that sentiment.


Split closer ‘Misadventures In Creation’ greets you with full-on electronica vibes. The opposing sounds make it a very odd listen, when held up alongside Fire Messiah’s more extreme tones, yet it doesn’t take long to become engrossed in it. That electronic soundscape works brilliantly well and injects some proper adrenaline into the release as a whole.


As splits go, this provides a bit of a surprise. On the one hand, I’m used to Astarium’s music being slightly slower in tempo but here it’s bright and punchy in it’s delivery. Fire Messiah stands out as a band that is finally making me appreciate the use of electronica in extreme metal. Call me a dinosaur, a purist or whatever you want but I’m starting to really get it. Maybe I’ll broaden my horizons! In conclusion, this is a really well put together split.


You can stream both sides of the split on bandcamp below:-




Physical/Digital copies can be purchased from the labels below (as well as via the bands above):-


More Hate Productions - https://morehate.bandcamp.com/album/split-4

Snow Wolf Records - https://snowwolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fire-messiah-astarium-split



Labels: Masters Of Kaos Productions

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 15 August 2022


Tracklist:


1. Furies


Now it's onto another release from Astarium and one that's on a medium that seems to have died out, the  cd single. Calling Furies a single may be a bit misleading, given that it's over sixteen minutes long, but it is merely one song after all. It was released on cd via Colombian label Masters of Kaos Productions last August, with a limitation of 100 copies.


‘Furies’ is a different proposition to the music contained on Astarium’s split with Fire Messiah. It has a greater ambient approach, with SiN’s black metal providing a darker atmosphere, especially with the added orchestration and symphonic elements. It’s very bombastic during the mid-section, bringing to mind earlier Dimmu Borgir. 


SiN manages to make it sound very cohesive despite it’s lengthy playing time, where other songs often sound like shorter songs stitched together. That’s a skill in itself when it comes to song-writing. ‘Furies’ is a song you can get lost in. Another stellar release from a prolific artist.


You can stream 'Furies' below, where it's also available to purchase on cd:-



Astarium - https://www.facebook.com/astariumofficial

Fire Messiah - https://www.instagram.com/firemessiah666/

More Hate Productions - http://www.morehate.com/

Snow Wolf Records - https://www.facebook.com/SnowWolfRecords

Masters of Kaos Productions - https://www.facebook.com/MastersOfKaos

Friday, 27 January 2023

Achachak - Planet Hashish


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 12 Mar 2022


Tracklist:


1. Planet Hashish

2. Breathe

3. Celebration For The Desert

4. Orange Moon

5. Weed Wagon

6. Shamans Horse

7. Desert Eye

8. The Hasheesh Eater

9. Fishermans F(r)iend


I'm relieved to have survived another week at the coalface and to celebrate, I'm slinging on some stoner rock. Stoner rock from Croatia no less, with the third and latest album from Achachak. Planet Hashish was released early last year (yes, I know I should be covering more 2023 releases here but please bear with me) and it follows three EPs and two other full-lengths that have hit the internet since Achachak's formation in 2020. Pretty damn productive then!


Since I wrote about the split tape box set from Robustfellow Productions last year, I’ve been really intrigued by the stoner/doom that’s come out of Central/Eastern Europe. Hearing Achachak’s approach on their third album Planet Hashish, I can tell that the groove is well and truly universal. The album’s opening title track is way cleaner sounding than expected, which is no bad thing. The tempo is slow to mid-paced, driven by the percussion and low-end, which also encompasses downturned guitar riffs and mournful yet melodic vocals.


‘Breathe’ contains a bit more treble amongst it’s steady dirge-like flow (I use the term ‘dirge’ in the nicest possible way to describe the pace of the music). That slower pace is hidden somewhat by the fact that Achachak refrain from allowing their songs to run too long. Desert rock as a sub-genre was ushered in by the likes of Kyuss, before it was passed onto bands like Queens Of The Stone Age, Mondo Generator and others. Achachak seem to have been able to tap into that same vibe on the glorious instrumental ‘Celebration For The Desert’, with it’s middle-eastern influences and laid-back demeanour. It shows off the band’s instrumentation at it’s best.


After the calm of the previous song, you’re brought crashing back to life with ‘Orange Moon’. It’s a song filled with cosmic mysticism and catchy textures. It’s the quintet’s heaviest song and there’s not been much competition on that front so far. Don’t be fooled though; it doesn’t mean there’s been any drop in instrumental prowess. The very aptly titled ‘Weed Wagon’ marks the mid-point in the album and it’s got a furious sense of urgent groove about it, which is no surprise given it’s shorter sub-three minute length. Concentrated and condensed stoner rock is fine with me!


Variation is key on albums of this ilk and it’s pleasing that Achachak stray from the path throughout. ‘Shamans Horse’ contains more crunching riffs, but couples them with occult/chant-like vocals. The pace picks up towards the end but you can’t escape the otherworldly tones. There’s a promise of some proper heavy metal (and even thrash) on ‘Desert Eye’ but it doesn’t completely materialise and instead, you’re left with a ripping rock song complete with excellent lead-work towards the end.


That leaves just two more songs on what has so far been an awesome record. ‘The Hasheesh Eater’ brings to mind the gothic tones of Type O Negative and the bluesy approach of the already mentioned Kyuss. The constant references to weed and hashish don’t leave anything to this imagination throughout, but then Achachak aren’t trying to hide anything either. The album’s longest song is left till the end and ‘Fishermans F(r)iend’ is the most atmospheric number too, with the sound of waves lapping underneath the music. It slowly grows from it’s simple guitar/vocal approach thanks to sporadic use of percussion, threatening to break out into something much heavier. It finally breaks loose of it’s chains during the final minute and it’s a great way to end.


There’s an appeal to Achachak’s music that goes beyond mere stoner worship. It crosses over into something that could create commercial success for the band. I dislike bands that are created purely for commercial gain but I long for underground/independent bands to find such success themselves, which is why I hold Achachak in very high regard. They’ve made brilliant progress on their own but I can definitely see them amongst the rosters of Heavy Psych Sounds or Ripple Music in the future. Whichever direction they choose, they have my support.


You can stream and purchase Planet Hashish both digitally, and on glorious 10" vinyl below:-



Achachak - https://www.facebook.com/achachakband

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Descubriendo A Mr. Mime - F


Labels: Dog Knights Productions/Saltamarges/Walking Is Still Honest Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 15 Jan 2018


Tracklist:


1. /1.4

2. /2

3. /2.8

4. /4

5. /5.6

6. /8

7. /16


Spanish screamo band Descubriendo A Mr. Mime called it a day in late 2018, yet they left their own legacy behind. I first came across them after I purchased their split 7" with ¡Silencio, Ahora, Silencio! from Dog Knights Productions. Following their single-sided (and gloriously screen-printed) LP ...Y Ya No Me Queden Dientes For Arrancarme and their second split 7" with Hurricade, they released their final LP called F (they also released a demo and some singles early on too). It was released in January of 2018 via Dog Knights Productions (UK/EUR), as well as Saltamarges (ESP), Walking Is Still Honest Records (GER/ESP) and Zegema Beach Records (CAN/USA). 


It’s amazing how a band’s body of work, no matter how big or small, can have an impact on your listening habits. Discovering Descubriendo A Mr. Mime via a split 7” opened my ears up to so much European screamo and led me to pick up all of their physical releases (that I know of anyway). Knowing that this one was their last was bittersweet. Sweet because it contains such great music and bitter because it meant the end of the band. With punctuation and numbers, DMM departed but not without leaving us with some of the most melodic, emotional screamo of the time.


LP opener ‘/1.4’ greets you and draws you into the record with mid-paced, bright arms wide open. The brightness coming from the melody of the guitars, before the spoken-word sample provides a sinister intro to the band’s screamo. Ending with the full band playing in unison and vocalists screamo so crisply, flowing straight into ‘/2’, where things get more intense. The screams grow harsher here, even if the instrumentation doesn’t necessarily do the same. The song still retains the melodic tones that make DMM’s music so dramatic, while hardcore builds a stronger presence.


The way all songs flow into one another is perfect, and while they are on the longer side, there’s no meandering going on. ‘/2.8’ shows a greater caustic approach from DMM, albeit one that’s short-lived and replaced by layered, dreamy musicianship and sensitive percussion. Being a good songwriter (or in this case, songwriters) is one thing but being able to deliver said song with the composure needed is hard. Delivery is everything here and it’s spot on.


I mentioned the caustic elements of the music on F above and in some ways it reminds of some of the Asian bands that are making waves right now, including Blue Friend, Piri Reis and Asunojokei (amongst many others). The reason I draw reference to that scene is because ‘/4’ reminds me of it due to the sheer intensity of the vocals. ‘/5.6’ is such a cathartic song, with a more introspective delivery alongside the dual-high/low pitched screams. There’s also more technicality going on in terms of time signatures and guitar work. It’s really embracing and almost empowering to listen to.


Penultimate song ‘/8’ sounds like the ultimate crescendo with it’s heart-on-your-sleeve screaming. Even though this is not the end of the album, it leaves an indelible mark of you both emotionally and musically. Never throughout the record has it ever felt like DMM were phoning it in or resting on their laurels. As a stand alone release, this album hits so hard and feels so perfect.


Closing with their longest song on F, ‘/16’ doesn’t go off on any weird tangents or deviate from what DMM set out to do. Instead it builds on their already impressive sound and reputation. It’s the best way to end the album as it follows the theme with which it opened. Majestically and affectionately portraying a band reaching maturity before fading too soon. Descubriendo A Mr. Mime reminds us that music is life affirming, transformational and most importantly, what we make of it.


You can stream and purchase the album as a name-your-price download from DMM below:-



Descubriendo A Mr. Mime - https://www.facebook.com/descubriendoamrmime


Physical copies are sold out.


Dog Knights Productions - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Saltamarges - https://www.facebook.com/saltamarges

Walking Is Still Honest - https://www.facebook.com/walkingisstillhonestrecords

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

Monday, 23 January 2023

Lurking - Self-Induced Hysteria Demo


Labels: Everlasting Spew Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 15 Apr 2022


Tracklist:


1. Visions Of Certain Death

2. Self-Induced Hysteria


January's been a bit of a strange one and it's felt more like I've been winding back up to a more consistent pace, blog post-wise anyway. If I can post more than last year I'll happy. That's where this evening's review comes in, as it moves me past last January's number of reviews. It may be a short release, but Self-Induced Hysteria by International death metal act Lurking is perfectly formed. Having been the trio's first demo, it was released via Everlasting Spew Records last April on both tape and digital formats, promising to be a strong nod to old-school death metal. The retro cover art certainly does that claim no harm at all!.


Lurking is a simple power-trio but one that smashes it both technically and sensitively, in old-school death metal terms at least. Demo opener ‘Visions Of Certain Death’ is a rip-roaring song filled with blasts, deep growls, razor sharp riffs and stirring dual-guitar melodies. Laden with hints of thrash, there’s a lot to enjoy.


The demo’s title song ‘Self-Induced Hysteria’ sounds massive right from the off. It’s hard to believe that this is indeed Lurking’s first release, as it’s grandiosity and assured delivery takes hold. Plenty of low-end heft is on show here due to the bass and percussion, while the addition of menacing melodies from the guitars provide something up top that competes with the vocals; bringing the whole release up a notch or ten.


As demos go, two songs simply aren’t enough here. Lurking sound so mature musically. All three members have spent time in a number of bands, including Ars Veneficium, Ulvdalir, Drama and more besides. Let this be the start of something special.


You can stream and purchase the demo digitally below:-



Physical tape copies (of which only four remain) can be purchased from Everlasting Spew below:-

https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/self-induced-hysteria


Lurking - https://www.facebook.com/lurkingmetalofdeath

Everlasting Spew Records - https://www.facebook.com/everlastingspew

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Dust Prophet - One Last Look Upon The Sky


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 27 Jan 2023


Tracklist:


1. A Storm Of Time & Space Part 1

2. When The Axe Falls

3. Dear Mrs. Budd

4. Put To The Question

5. Song 4

6. The High Capital

7. A Storm Of Time & Space Part 2

8. Hourglass

9. Bury Me Before Noon


This is my first proper 2023 release review, it's almost the end of the working week for me and doom seems like the only way to usher in Friday. One Last Look Upon The Sky is US doom/stoner band Dust Prophet's debut album, which will officially be released on 27 January. Reading the press release that accompanied this record, it cites the likes of Kyuss, Electric Wizard and Clutch amongst the band's influences, so it should be a good listen. 


Beginning with the gentle intro of ‘A Storm Of Time & Space Part 1’, you kind of wonder what’s in store on Dust Prophet’s debut full-length and after a brief pause you’re greeted with the low-end heft of ‘When The Axe Falls’. The vocals immediately come to the fore in almost theatrical style, while the percussion, bass and guitars plow a furrow underneath, in a groovy yet subtly mournful way.


If you like your stoner/doom with a bit more driving grit, then ‘Dear Mrs. Budd is for you. The instrumentation hits right from the off and the mix of clean, and harsh vocals works really well here. Getting lost in the music and forgetting to move (or in my case write coherent words) is entirely possible. It sounds like there are some organ/moog-type tones on ‘Put To The Question’, which makes complete sense. They’ve been adding cosy and soothing tones to stoner/doom albums ever since Black Sabbath et al started the sub-genres, if not before. The song itself of another punchy, urgent number as well.


It leads to ‘Song 4’, which begins in completely the opposite fashion and moves in gnarly psychedelic circles, mainly due to the lead-guitar work used early on. This is the point where I wish I had more red wine! It’s an instrumental song that guides you to the album’s second half and it’s brilliant. Another good thing about Dust Prophet is their ability to make longer songs, like ‘Song 4’ and ‘The High Capital’ that follows, sound truly engrossing. The latter sees Otto Kinzel IV’s vocals reappear in bullish fashion.


‘A Storm Of Time & Space Part 2’ is another beautifully delivered instrumental that leads you into the album’s final two songs, beginning with ‘Hourglass’, which is somewhat subdued. It’s still got a lot of groove but following on from some of the album’s heavier songs, it doesn’t bite quite as much. Closer ‘Bury Me Before Noon’  is one final blistering stoner/doom hymn with a nod to the occult. It’s the heaviest song here in terms of harsh vox and it’s loud/long duration makes it the perfect reminder that Dust Prophet aren’t here to mess around. 


All round this album is really good. It’s still raw in places given that it’s Dust Prophet’s debut but there’s plenty of reasons to enjoy and immerse yourself in it. There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of personality and theatre into your music, especially if the latter’s done in the right way. Dust Prophet have done and it works. 


As mentioned above, One Last Look Upon The Sky won't be officially released until 27 January; however, you can stream four of the album's songs below and pre-order the album/merch too:-



Dust Prophet - https://www.facebook.com/dustprophet

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Massa Nera/Thisismenotthinkingofyou/Yo Sbraito/Ef'il - Split


Labels: Adorno Records/Blessed Hands Records/Dead Tank Records/Dingleberry Records/Pundonor Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jul 2018


Tracklist:


1. Massa Nera - Un Mal Cola De Hadas

2. Massa Nera - Doing Nothing For Other Is The Undoing Of Ourselves

3. Thisismenotthinkingofyou - Sonambulance I

4. Thisismenotthinkingofyou - Sonambulance II

5. Yo Sbraito - Cosa Nostra

6. Yo Sbraito - Condanna

7. Yo Sbraito - Rapina

8. Ef'il - Everyone I Know Is A Broken Heart

9. Ef'il - Stockades


Back in July/August of 2018, this 4-way split featuring Massa Nera (USA), Thisismenotthinkingofyou (UK), Yo Sbraito (Italy) and Ef'il (Malaysia) was released. I was lucky enough to be able to premiere both tracks from Thisismenotthinkingofyou here but when I was sorting out my review schedule the other week, I realised that I hadn't written about it in full (at least to me knowledge anyway). It was a joint release by Adorno Records, Blessed Hands Records, Dead Tank Records, Dingleberry Records, Pundonor Records and Zegema Beach Records.


I’ve been sharing the Massa Nera love a little bit on here recently, so it won’t hurt to throw out some more thanks to their opening tracks on this split. ‘Un Mal Cola De Hadas’ is their first and it was the first newly recorded material to hit wax following Los Pensamientos Do Una Cara Palida was released (I think?). It’s an exhilarating mix of both instrumental emo and intense screamo with their signature Spanish vibe. Their second song ‘Doing Nothing For Others Is The Undoing Of Ourselves’ is one that builds anticipation, once again due to the instrumental build-ups that Massa Nera do so well. This time though, the heaviness that follows is a little more off-kilter, accentuated by the organic rawness of the recording. I hope that I’ve got the track order right here, as it differs online in places.


Next up on the split comes two songs from a band that are now sadly departed from the UK scene. Thisismenotthinkingofyou delivered cathartic screamo during their existence and ‘Sonambulance I’ represents them at their darkest. Drenched in near-black metal atmosphere, the screams deeper in the mix and the instrumentation awash with metallic echoes. ‘Sonambulance II’ follows on as if both songs should have never been separated. More visceral and beautiful than I remember. Gone but not forgotten.


Following Timntoy’s otherworldly calmness, Italy’s Yo Sbraito deliver three songs that are over as quickly as the time taken to write this sentence. ‘Cosa Nostra’ sub one-minute barrage of intense post-hardcore hits a different part of you brain before ‘Cordanna’s mix of fast and slow dynamics keep you guessing as to where they’re going next. Their final song ‘Rapina’ doesn’t keep you guessing for very long as Yo Sbraito’s feedback-drenched hardcore darts from fast to slow, before silence. I’m not sure if these guys are still making music together but it would be criminal if they weren’t.


Closing with Malaysia’s Ef’il, you’re treated to the most violent yet mesmeric music that the country has to offer. ‘Everyone I Know Is A Broken Heart’ is without doubt the heaviest song on this split initially but Ef’il take great care in weaving endearing guitar melody into their music, which is prevalent during the introspective mid-section before things slowly descend into noisier territory. Their second and final song ’Stockades’ is no easy listen either, focusing on more of a noise-rock approach with some shoegaze-like elements too. It’s a real heart-wrenching song musically as so much attention is paid to the quieter sections, which sit perfectly against the band’s chaotic half. I hope Ef’il release new music again, but that hope may be futile.


As I’ve said many times before, split records like this are utterly essential. The four bands showcased here really compliment each other while also being totally unique in their own right. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t let time nor music pass you by. Enjoy what you listen to and embrace those you love.


You can stream and purchase it digitally below:-



Massa Nera - https://www.facebook.com/MASSANERANJ

Thisismenotthinkingofyou - https://www.facebook.com/timntoy

Yo Sbraito - https://www.facebook.com/yosbraito

Ef'il - https://www.facebook.com/efil.mys


You can pick up physical/digital copies from the labels below too:-


Adorno Records - https://adornorecords.bandcamp.com/album/4-way-split

Pundonor Records - https://pundonorrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pun18-massa-nera-timntoy-yo-sbraito-efil-4way-split


Blessed Hands Records - https://www.facebook.com/BlessedhandsRecords

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

Dingleberry Records - https://www.facebook.com/DingleberryRecords

Pundonor Records - https://www.facebook.com/pundonorecords

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

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Flash Forward - Endings = Beginnings


Labels: Uncle M Music

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 09 Dec 2022


Tracklist:


1. Paradise

2. Young Blood (feat: Between You & Me)

3. Bloodshot Eyes

4. Endings

5. Drowning Underwater (feat: We Were Sharks & Breathe Atlantis)

6. Over You (feat: As December Falls)

7. Out Of Love

8. Cotton Candy Clouds

9. Criminals

10. Saviour

11. Beginnings

12. Heartclash

13. No Use


Germany isn't a country you think of when pop-punk springs to mind. This was the most recent Haulix+ promo to drop into my inbox and the first time I'd heard of Flash Forward. Endings = Beginnings was released via German label Uncle M Music in December of last year. I don't know a lot about the band but this is the latest release to follow their 2018 Uncle M Live Session and their 2017 full-length Revolt before that.


Flash Forward combine synths with pop-punk according to the promo write-up. I think this may be a bit outside of my wheelhouse but we’ll see. On hitting play on album opener ‘Paradise’, I stand by my earlier comment as this sounds a lot cleaner than I’m used to. ‘Young Blood’ features Australian pop-punk band Between You & Me, another new name to me. Normally bands feature an individual but not here. Again, it’s a lot more pop than pop-punk but it’s a little more hard-hitting this time, thanks to the punchier guitars and percussion. 


I can see the appeal with Flash Forward, especially If you’re not quite ready to make the jump to something heavier and ‘Bloodshot Eyes’ has that Franz Ferdinand/recent-era Fall Out Boy vibe going on, which isn’t bad at all. It’s just a little safe if I’m being honest. ‘Endings’ is the first (half) title track and it’s an instrumental one, including programmed beats. ’Drowning Underwater’ feature contributions from Canadian pop-punk band We Were Sharks and German metalcore band Breathe Atlantis, and I think I’m slowly starting to understand what Flash Forward are trying to achieve.


The hooks that make up ‘Over You’ are pretty infectious, albeit subtle and the addition of UK alternative band As December Falls is a nice touch, though they could be a bit more prominent in the mix maybe. From here on out, it’s all about Flash Forward. ‘Out Of Love’ is another sing-along anthem that conjures up bands like You Me At Six and Biffy Clyro (maybe?). It’s certainly a feel-good song. When their sound is punchier, like in the opening bars of ‘Cotton Candy Clouds’, there’s a lot to admire. The rest of the song is catchy and very enjoyable too, but it misses that crunch that comes from a grittier approach. Again, I’m being a bit overly critical as this album may end up being a grower when ‘Criminals’ kicks in, with it’s soothing melodic tones. 


’Saviour’ is another song filled with electronic textures that actually overule Flash Forward’s attempts at post-hardcore/punk. I guess that’s the crux of this release for me. It’s very listenable and I can see it’s appeal for sure, but as the second (half) title track ‘Beginnings’ come and goes, it reminds me that I’m starting to feel my age a bit now. Just as I say that though ‘Heartclash’ does it’s bit to prove that there is some pop-punk residing in Flash Forward’s repertoire. It’s subtle but it’s there in parts. Thirteenth and final song ‘No Use’ owes itself once again to You Me At Six. As comparisons go, that may be a lazy one but I stand by it as a guide for those who haven’t heard Flash Forward before.


The tags used to describe Flash Forward’s sound on Uncle M’s Bandcamp page include post-hardcore and skate punk, but there’s not really a great deal of either coming through on the record. I think I need to give it more time and space to sink in. As I said at the top of this review, it’s not really my wheelhouse, but I feel that it’s due wider praise elsewhere. 


You can stream and purchase the album digitally via Uncle M's Bandcamp page below:-



Vinyl copies and other merch can be ordered here - https://shop.uncle-m.com/en/artists/flash-forward/


Flash Forward - https://www.facebook.com/flashforwardband

Uncle M Music - https://www.facebook.com/uncle.m.music