Friday 27 January 2023

Achachak - Planet Hashish

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 12 Mar 2022


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 -

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


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 -

Physical copies are sold out.

Dog Knights Productions -

Saltamarges -

Walking Is Still Honest -

Zegema Beach Records -

Monday 23 January 2023

Lurking - Self-Induced Hysteria Demo

Labels: Everlasting Spew Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 15 Apr 2022


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:-

Lurking -

Everlasting Spew Records -

Thursday 19 January 2023

Dust Prophet - One Last Look Upon The Sky

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 27 Jan 2023


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 -

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


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 -

Thisismenotthinkingofyou -

Yo Sbraito -

Ef'il -

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

Adorno Records -

Pundonor Records -

Blessed Hands Records -

Dead Tank Records -

Dingleberry Records -

Pundonor Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Sunday 15 January 2023

Flash Forward - Endings = Beginnings

Labels: Uncle M Music

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 09 Dec 2022


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 -

Flash Forward -

Uncle M Music -

Friday 13 January 2023

Rancid Cadaver - Flesh Monstrosity

Labels: Dry Cough Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 13 May 2022


1. Flesh Monstrosity

2. Bog Rot

3. Malignant Affliction

4. Dragged Beneath

5. Genetic Enhancement

Scotland strikes again! As if BrainBath, Coffin Mulch and Penny Coffin weren't enough, Rancid Cadaver crawled out of Glasgow's sewers last year with their debut EP Flesh Monstrosity. Featuring ex-members of now defunct death metal bands Bhas and Castigated, as well as a current member of thrashers Fatal Collision, they're flying the flag for old school death metal. Dry Cough Records released their debut EP on tape in May of last year and it subsequently sold out, which has got to be a good sign!

Obligatory screeching feedback opens the EP’s title track ‘Flesh Monstrosity’, which is a doom-laden, lead-drenched song that’s as dirty as it’s name suggests. The vocals plough the lowest of furrows, even when bathed in reverb and the rawness of the instrumentation adds to the murky atmosphere. The pace of ‘Bog Rot’ means that it flies by pretty fast. There’s a greater reliance on instrumental prowess, especially during it’s second half with less use of vocals. It’s a technique that bands like Cryptic Shift and Slimelord have been employing more of late, and it works especially well here.

For proper death metal feels though, it’s left to ‘Malignant’ Affliction’ to bring the old school slams and general dankness to the recording. It’s a song that doesn’t hang around to exchange pleasantries, making the perfect midway crossing point on the EP and exhibiting some of Rancid Cadaver’s thrash influence to boot. Thundering yet fluid bass guitar kicks off ‘Dragged Beneath’ and it’s rumbling tones are heard throughout. They’ve always been present on the EP so far but seem to hit differently here for some reason. Maybe it’s because the low-end comes to the front a bit more, I don’t know!

EP closer ‘Genetic Enhancement’ manages to drown out the near gale-force winds outside my window with sheer blasting intensity. The growls are almost as low in tone and competing with the crashing cymbals, rusty chain-like riffs and galloping bass is no mean feat. Another top UK death metal release then. If they keep on coming at this rate, we’ll be exporting more extremity than we import. It’s great to see new death metal coming from different corners of the UK. Hopefully there’s more to come from Rancid Cadaver in the not too distant future.

You can stream and purchase Flesh Monstrosity digitally below:-

Rancid Cadaver -

Dry Cough Records -

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Massa Nera - Los Pensamientos De Una Cara Palida

Labels: Adorno RecordsAncient Injury Records/Dingleberry Records/Le Blast Records/Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 03 Oct 2017


1. iWaltz! (La Guerra)

2. Badminton With A Neo-Nazi

3. One.Two.Zero,

4. A History In Rust

5. An Interview With Lester Young

6. Provisional Euphoria (J'ai Une Ame Solitaire)

7 Carrying A Coffin

Not so long ago I reviewed Massa Nera's most recent album Derramar | Querer | Borrar. Then I realised that I hadn't dug deeper into their back catalogue before. Thankfully, their 2017 LP Los Pensamientos De Una Cara Palida was the next release scheduled as part of my ZBR roster review series, so here we are. Before I move on though, I just want to note that I'm not a hundred percent sure if all of the labels mentioned above were involved in both the vinyl, and tape pressing of the album. If they weren't, please let me know and I'll amend accordingly.

I’ve been feeling a little aggravated this evening (due to some non-blog stuff), so I’m hoping this will cheer me up and maybe chill me out. Opener ‘iWaltz! (La Guerra)’ is certainly what the doctor ordered with it’s sensitive instrumentation and controlled heaviness. Massa Nera’s emo/post-hardcore on this album is much more old-school in approach. There must be a meaning behind the song title ‘Badminton With A Neo-Nazi’ and I’d love to know what it is, if anybody knows. It’s a more technical song this time, with different time-signatures and slightly more introspection in the music, which make the louder sections much more dramatic.

I’ve made a resolution that I’m going to listen to more music outside of my blog reviewing schedule this year, as it’s been really easy to settle into a routine of late, but with that being said; ‘One. Two. Zero.’ hits in exactly the right way and makes me feel less pressured about my consumption habits. This album was definitely the right choice for this evening. In fact 2017-era Massa Nera makes me want to break out the metalcore/hardcore albums that I favoured so much in the early 00’s, especially during the first half of ‘A History in Rust’. I’m not saying that their sound resembles metalcore/hardcore in the true sense, but it’s not all that far off here, especially in atmosphere (albeit towards the end, when you’re left with the jangly guitars and ambience).

‘An Interview With Lester Young’ is an interlude that may be an excerpt from an actual interview with the US jazz musician. Then again, it may not be and I could be way off the mark. Either way, it’s suitably dark and leads into ‘Provisional Euphoria (J’ai Une Ame Solitaire)’, which contains more percussive blasts than on previous songs in it’s verses. When Massa Nera aren’t blasting though, they’re filling the song with off-kilter, jazz-like instrumentation that’s pretty apt. The lengthiest song on the album is kept back till the end in the form of ’Carrying A Coffin’. It’s no big departure from the songs that came before it on Los Pensamientos De Una Cara Palida but it does create the best crescendo an album could hope for.

History has shown that’s it’s never too late to discover great records and bands. I really dig this record and have a much greater fondness for Massa Nera. Now, I’m going to order some UK metalcore LPs (yes, there’s a new label over here unearthing some modern bands that appreciate what came before).

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

Massa Nera -

Physical copies are sold out from all labels.

Ancient Injury Records -

Dingleberry Records -

Le Blast Records -

Middle-Man Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Thursday 5 January 2023

Chaoseum - The Third Eye

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 04 Nov 2022


1. I Sexy Zombie

2. Unreal

3. Dance On my Grave

4. The Third Eye

5. Fly Away

6. My Wonderland

7. Welcome Home

8. Until The End

9. Sanctum Cinerem

10. What If

Switzerland, a country lauded for it's most well known extreme metal exports Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, isn't one that spawns a lot of bands nowadays (though I'm probably not the most clued up on their modern day scene). Chaoseum are one of the most recent bands I've come across and late last year they released their most recent album The Third Eye. Citing their sound as being somewhere between nu-metal, metalcore and industrial metal, I was especially intrigued as I'm trying to write about a broader range of metal this year. This is their third album, following 2018's First Step To Hell and 202's Second Life.

The nu-metal term is dying one minute and then alive the next. The US is leading the way with bands that carry it’s influences into their music, yet Europe also has it’s share too, including Chaoseum. Their sound on opener ‘I Sexy Zombie’ sits somewhere between Korn, Fear Factory and Threat Signal for me. It’s certainly not offensive on the ear, with crunching industrial guitars, groove-laden percussion, orchestral melodies and vocals that flip between both clean, and harsh.

There’s an impact to Chaoseum’s music that does grab you even though ‘Unreal’ invokes the aforementioned Korn a bit too closely at times. I’m not being critical of the band here as it’s fine to wear your influences on your sleeve, and I may be off the mark with the comparison but that’s what I hear. With that being said though, the guitar work really stands out especially during the solo towards the end. The glitchy electronic intro of ‘Dance On My Grave’ is exhilarating and highlights the industrial side to Chaoseum’s music, though it doesn’t hide their penchant of Americanisms. It is a bit hard to tell that they’re from Europe at times, especially thanks to some questionable lyrics here and there.

Eastern musical tones break things up on instrumental interlude ‘The Third Eye’, which is also curiously the album’s title-track, leading straight into ‘Fly Away’. There’s an obvious comparison I could make at this point but instead I want to appreciate what I’m listening too, as despite all I’ve said so far, it’s very listenable and I’m sure many of you will grow to appreciate it for what it is too. This song in particular is more mature musically. In no time at all you’re being thrust into the album’s second half with the stirring vocal harmonies of ‘My Wonderland’. More grooves and some pleasing off-kilter rhythms seem to drag The Third Eye away from it’s nu-metal leanings and down a darker path. It’s excellent to be honest.

This half is definitely more enjoyable than the first half to me (but then again music and opinions are subjective). ‘Welcome Home’ contains angsty atmosphere and melodies that give way to a great up-tempo verse/chorus-like passage. The rest of the song follows in the same vein pleasingly (despite my neighbour upstairs trying their best to drown it out with overly noisy movements!). ‘Until The End’ comes across as a very personal song lyric-wise and because of that it tugs at your emotions more so than others on The Third Eye. It’s more like a ballad and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s isn’t much longer though before Chaoseum whips out their Korn impression again on penultimate song ’Sanctum Cinerem’ and despite my cynicism, there’s nothing really to dislike about it at this point. 

Closing song ‘What If’ starts with what sounds like a sample that’s a bit weird but not out of place. It leads into a song that shows Chaoseum at their melodic best. It leads me to think that they’re still finding their true sound. Musically they’re pretty spot on and when they’re not trying too hard to sound like their American influences, on ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Welcome Home’ for example, they’re excellent. Ultimately, there’s much more to love about them than to dismiss. Let me know what you think!

You can stream and purchase The Third Eye digitally below:-

Physical CD and vinyl copies can be purchased via Chaoseum's online store here -

Chaoseum -

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Morrow - The Quiet Earth

Labels: Alerta Antifascista Records/The Plague Of Man Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Mar 2023


1. Rejoice This Quiet Earth

2. Totemic

3. To The Fold

4. Fugue Plague

5. Our Right In Rest

6. Of Sermons And Omens To Mend

Four days into the new year and it's high-time I wrote about a 2023 release. While The Quiet Earth was self-released by Morrow back in March 2022, it's due for a double LP release via Alerta Antifascista Records and The Plague Of Man Records this coming March. This album is the third release from the London, UK emo-crust/sludge band following 2016's Covenant Of Teeth and 2017's Fallow, and features guest appearances by vocalists from a whole host of bands including; Archivist, Drei Affen, His Hero Is Gone, Dimlaia, The Makai, Autach and so many more.

Morrow’s name may be known to a lot of you already, but if not then don’t worry because they will no doubt make waves this year thanks to quality of this release. Musically, their combination of emo, crust, d-beat and sludge, coupled with the addition of strings and different vocalists, hits you straight away on ‘Rejoice This Quiet Earth’. After that blistering opener, ‘Totemic’ builds at a slower rate with a bigger post-metal/sludge feel. That’s no surprise given that it’s the first of two songs to reach past the ten minute mark. The multi-vocal approach employed by Morrow and their guests is one that breeds depth into the album and is way more dramatic than it might first seem. Another element that makes this song so immersive is the melody that’s woven into it. At times it’s folk-like, providing an organic layer to the music even when it’s surrounded by dissonance and heaviness. 

Morrow’s sound becomes even more haunting and grandiose on ‘To The Fold’, as the percussive tempo slows snd the riffs become more metallic before hardcore takes over, presenting an old-school side to the band. This album is utterly brilliant so far and I can see why it took them almost five years to finely craft it. ’Fugue Plague’ is filled with so many different vocalists that it’s hard to keep up but it’s such a rewarding song because of them. Again, the tempo doesn’t let up throughout and there’s such a great togetherness between all contributors. People who don’t understand the underground metal/punk communities don’t see just that, the community and friendship between people who share a bond through the music. A bond that’s exhibited on this album more than anywhere.

Penultimate song ‘Our Right In Rest’ is filled with ambience and calming instrumentation that leads you into album closer ‘Of Sermons And Omens To Mend’, which provides one more opportunity to lose yourself in Morrow’s beautifully crafted music. Irrespective of what camp you sit in, whether you’re a metal/punk purist or somebody who appreciates experimentation and the blurred lines it creates, it’s hard to ignore how good The Quiet Earth is. Here’s to an outstanding year for Morrow and for music in general!

You can stream and purchase The Quiet Earth directly from Morrow digitally below:-

Morrow -

Tape copies from last year are long sold out; however, pre-orders from the LP pressing are now live from the below stores:-

Alerta Antifascista Records -

The Plague Of Man Records -

Alerta Antifascista Records -

The Plague Of Man Records -