Saturday 20 July 2024

Onewaymirror - Everything Wants Me To Write In Cursive 7"

Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 08 Jul 2024


Tracklist:


1. Everything Wants Me To Write In Cursive

2. This Is My Way Of Saying Hello

3. Fourth Song

4. First Song

5. The Difference Between Said And Done


Having reviewed their Feb 2024 split CD with fellow Californians Gxllium earlier this year, it's crazy to see that Onewaymirror already have new music recorded and out there. I didn't get time to write about this EP last Sunday as planned, so I'm making up for it now. Everything Wants Me To Write In Cursive was released earlier this month on 500 7"s, across three different variants by Zegema Beach Records. It features five quick-as-you-like screamo/emoviolence songs and it backs up what I mentioned in my last review about the good health of the screamo community right now.


After this write-up I’ll be exploring some different sounds and sub-genres for a little bit. After all, you can’t have too much of a good thing right? Onewaymirror (as with Spoiled the other night) are definitely leading me to overindulge a little. This EP starts with the title track ‘Everything Wants Me To Write In Cursive’, which is a proper emo intro track if I ever heard one! Gentle and melodic guitar joined by an emotive, layered spoken-word sample (though it could be actual vocals).


‘This Is My Way Of Saying Hello’ is the first song that explodes with the full Onewaymirror sound and it’s glorious. The mix of clean and harsh vocals don’t mislead in any way, while the percussion and guitars throw some serious low-end shapes. ZBR described it as an “emo-violence/chug-fest” and that description is spot on. These songs are fast and short, unsurprisingly. ‘Fourth Song’ comes next with an absolute assault on the senses. Raw and gritty heaviness that pulls influence from hardcore as much as it does grind. It’s actually the EP’s longest song, if that means anything.


‘First Song’ follows immediately next with metallic, dissonant metalcore-style riffs coupled with Onewaymirror’s violent blueprint. This is actually the EP’s penultimate song, so please don’t be confused. It’s an absolute blinder in truth. Those metalcore-style riffs are brief in nature and give way to some pretty epic grind towards the end. Closing with ‘The Difference Between Said And Done’, Onewaymirror go all out to demonstrate just how intense they can be musically. It’s definitely extreme, but in the best possible way. 


I know that genre and sub-genre explosions are cyclical. I could reference several over the last ten years but the current influx of post-hardcore/screamo adjacent bands (and people/labels pushing them) is really positive. I appreciate that I am one of those people but I also see no problem with that, apart from one exception; the UK seems to be underrepresented. Maybe it’s because I’m unaware, in which case I need to change that.


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



Physical 7" copies are also available to purchase above, though quantities are extremely limited.


Onewaymirror - https://onewaymirror.bandcamp.com


You can also buy copies from the stores below:-


Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/onewaymirror / USA - https://zbrusa.com/collections/zbr-releases/products/onewaymirror


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

Sunday 14 July 2024

Spoiled - AV_Syndrome_0.1 EP


Labels: Self-Released/Larry Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Digital/Tape/Vinyl

Release Date: 21 Dec 2019/01 Apr 2020/04 July 2024


Tracklist:


1.

2. desolation, joi

3. 11111

4. 胸騒ぎ

5. Skins


July is a pretty stacked month for new releases from Zegema Beach Records. I've picked a couple out to  try and cover today, starting with AV_Syndrome_0.1 by screamo/emo-violence band Spoiled. Originally released by Spoiled back in 2019, it was later released on tape in 2020 by Larry Records who this time have joined with ZBR to press the record on vinyl, limited to 100 12" copies with various coloured covers. It's close to selling out as well, so get in quick if you want a copy. Spoiled originated in Cyprus and I don't think they're active anymore.


It’s such an exciting time for screamo right now, with new bands constantly appearing and longer running ones still producing excellent music too. Spoiled come at you from the more violent end of screamo and after a gentle intro, opener ‘’ flits between intense emoviolence and soothing post-hardcore made up of insane percussion, dissonant/atmospheric guitar work, caustic screams and clean vocals that are a throwback to classic emo. Add a running time of well over six minutes and you won’t find a more epic opening song than this.


‘Desolation, joi’ follows on instantly with much more urgency and almost none of the introspection. Off-kilter and jangly guitar with mathy drums and more frighteningly caustic screams make it unpredictable to say the least. That’s putting it lightly too! In stark contrast, ’11111’ is very serene with piano quietly playing over the top of calming bird song. A great way to allow you to catch a breath or two.


That breath is whipped away once more on ‘胸騒ぎ’ with it’s ringing feedback and ever changing tempos. Spoiled write such good music though that it doesn’t matter how much those tempos change, because in spite of all the aural madness, it all fits together. That’s a hell of a skill for any musician to have. Rounding out AV_Syndrome_0.1 with ‘Skins’, Spoiled use the same approach as they did on the EP opener but this time with larger instrumental passages. It’s once again a mix of violence and beauty that must be heard to be believed. 


What a record! Almost five years on from it’s original release, it seems perfect for AV_Syndrome_0.1 to be available on vinyl, limited as it may be.


You can still grab the EP as a name-your-price download from Spoiled below:-



Spoiled - https://www.facebook.com/spoiledofficial


Tape copies are long sold-out from Larry Records, but you can still buy copies of the latest vinyl pressing from them and Zegema Beach Records below:-


Larry Records - https://larryrecordsisagang.bigcartel.com/product/spoiled-av_syndrome_0-1-12in

Zegema Beach Records USA Store - https://zbrusa.com/products/spoiled / CAN/INTL Store - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/spoiled


Larry Records - https://www.facebook.com/larryscrammo

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

Friday 12 July 2024

Икар - \\\\\\


Labels: Self-Released/Polar Summer

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Jun 2016


Tracklist:


1. Рождение Трагедий

2. Нашему Несчастью

3. Ветра Потерь

4. Он Звал, А Мы Стояли На Месте

5. Ревущие Деревья Ждут, Когда Мы Вернемся

6. Последняя


They say that a change is as good as a rest and this week has proven that to be true. So much so that I'm full of energy again and my head is surprisingly clear. To celebrate, I thought I'd indulge in some obscure Belarussian emo in the form of Икар. Their only album \\\\\\ was released in 2016 via Polar Summer on a pressing of 30 tapes, while the band also self-released it digitally. Oddly, the Polar Summer release contained thirteen songs (according to their bandcamp page), seven of which are not available to stream or download digitally. There must be a reason why so if anybody knows. please drop me a line.


I started a new job this week, which is the reason for my sudden burst of energy/excitement. Belarussian band Икар was another name that Polar Summer shed light on from Eastern Europe and on album opener ‘Рождение Трагедий’ it’s obvious why. Their explosive screamo/emo-violence hits with such immediacy that it’s hard to appreciate the musicality right away. Икар manages to weave a ton of melody and even rousing gang vocals into the mix later on for good measure. 


‘Нашему Несчастью’ is a super short follow-up to what was a very expansive opener. Less than forty seconds of intense percussion and rabid screaming, punctuated by guitar work that’s strong and quite technical as well. I’ll apologise now for not attempting to translate the song titles here (mainly because Google Translate cannot be trusted to translate things correctly). ‘Ветра Потерь’ follows with a slightly more brooding atmosphere although ultimately chaos ensues once again for about sixty seconds, ending with a thirty-ish second passage of introspection from Икар.


As has been the case so far for the majority of this album (or EP depending on how you interpret it), those songs bookended by the opener and closer have proven to be more urgent in delivery. That’s definitely the case with ‘Он Звал, А Мы Стояли На Месте’, which is a bizarre mix of off-kilter instrumentation and throat-scraping vocals. It’s only really bizarre because the instrumentation could sit more comfortably in the art-rock/art-punk scene.


Penultimate song ‘Ревущие Деревья Ждут, Когда Мы Вернемся’ goes for the jugular again right from the off, except this time Икар’s emoviolence is punctuated by brilliantly delivered math-rock. It leads to the other bookend I was talking about earlier, ’Последняя’. It’s the longest song on the album and it starts off pensively before growing in heaviness very quickly. It stays on that trajectory until the final moments where it’s stripped back to sensitive guitar and spoken word.


It would have been great to have heard the other seven tracks that formed part of the tape release but even without them, this has been a joy to listen to. Икар really harnessed such an honest sound. Polar Summer helped to bring that sound to more ears with their tape release and honestly, they still deserve more attention now. 


You can stream and download these songs for free via Икар's bandcamp page below:-



Tape copies from Polar Summer are long sold out.


Polar Summer - https://polarxsummer.bandcamp.com/music

Sunday 7 July 2024

Mutagenic Host - The Genotoxic Demo


Labels: Self-Released/Dry Cough Records/Excarnation Records

Formats: Digital/Tape/CD

Release Date: 19 Jan 2023


Tracklist:


1. Mutagen

2. March Of Pestilence

3. Enforced Bodily Terror

4. Hive Unintelligence

5. Metaphysical Maladies



In January of last year a brand new international death metal band emerged. Made up of members from Finland, USA and the UK, Mutagenic Host self-released their debut The Genotoxic Demo digitally that same month, while UK label Dry Cough Records made not one but two pressings on tape. Fast-forward a year and Brazilian label Excarnation Records released the demo on CD with a slightly different cover (see below).




Opening the demo with the unnervingly ambient, sample-filled intro ‘Mutagen’, there’s no need to second guess whats to come. ‘March Of Pestilence’ does all the guessing for you with it’s filthy, riff-filled death metal. Metallic in places and with harrowing vocals, it takes a bit of time to truly get going percussion-wise but when it does, there’s no escape. 


The excellently titled ‘Enforced Bodily Terror’ conjures up images of unimaginable torture and I guess that’s what Mutagenic Host were going for when they wrote it. It’s very much mid-paced in delivery but to be honest, all of the best death metal is at the slower/sludgier end of the tempo spectrum imo.


‘Hive Unintelligence’ has that slam vibe going on straight from the off, though that vibe is ultimately misleading as the sound morphs into something much more old-school and grinding soon after. The mix of fast and slow tempos really work here as Mutagenic Host reach their true, gruesome stride. 


Demo closer ‘Metaphysical Maladies’ comes at you way too quickly (I feel like I say that a lot!), but in this case it’s definitely true. It’s all down to the pace and song-writing that’s employed by Mutagenic Host, as they bring this impressive first release to a crushing end.


Mutagenic Host align themselves with the NWOBDM (New Wave Of British Death Metal) and they’re in great company. Dry Cough Records, alongside other labels, have been championing the latest wave of British death metal bands lately (including but not limited to Slimelord, Mortuary Spawn, Atvm etc). The future looks decidedly murky and dank, much like state of the nation. It’s almost like it was meant to be.


You can download the demo for just £1 (or more) via bandcamp below:-



Mutagenic Host Instagram - @mutagenichost

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


Copies of the 2nd tape press from Dry Cough Records can be purchased from the link below:-

https://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/mutagenic-host-the-genotoxic-tape-2nd-run-dc67


Get in touch with Excarnation Records if you'd like a CD copy here - https://www.facebook.com/excarnrecs/

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Cape Light - A Discography


Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 31 Jan 2019


Tracklist:


1. Senbou

2. Sei-shinka

3. Mushisareru

4. Chigai

5. Yowatari

6. Mukishitsu

7. Kotaewohitsuyoutosurusekainiikiru

8. Machigaeteirunohaitsumobokuda

9. Tooihiwakasundeikizanzoudakeganokoru

10. Nanimokaesukotonodekinaibokuwowaraudarouka


In January 2019 Zegema Beach Records released a limited tape of the discography by Japanese emo/post-hardcore band Cape Light. The tape gathered together songs from their initial 3songs cdr, their split tape with compatriots 5000 and four songs that made up their newest (last?) EP back in 2018. I'm only learning now that members of Cape Light, 5000 and Careless formed Komuso; a band whom I first discovered thanks to Left Hand Label (the sister label of Dog Knights Productions). The tape release was limited to just 50 copies with 40 on grey and 10 on platinum silver shells. 


Ten quick-fire post-hardcore songs with all of the Japanese flair and intensity are dropped here. A perfect way for those unfamiliar with Cape Light to hear their output. Opener ‘Senbou’ has everything from raw, organic percussion to angular yet anxiety-inducing guitar work and typically harsh vocals. There’s an obvious reason why ZBR jumped on this.


‘Sei-shinka’ follows without as much as a pause, continuing the momentum and intensity while adding more melody, as well as greater pensive post-hardcore tones. It’s dramatic in the way that only Japanese bands seem to be. Excellent stuff so far. ’Mushisareru’ was the final track from Cape Light’s early 3songs EP and it’s genuinely wild. Filled with modern punk-like guitar/percussion and shout-along vocals, which kind of remind me of Funeral For A Friend’s ‘The Art Of American Football’ 


Next you’re propelled straight into the songs from the 5000 split starting with ‘Chigai’, which is instantly faster in tempo and chaotic in tone. There’s no let up during ‘Yowatari’ either. After what sounds like an intro played using pots and pans (of course it isn’t, it’s just the live recording), Cape Light turn up the heat with treble-heavy riffs and fast/slow dynamics throughout. Add in pulse-raising screams and you’ve got something really special.


‘Mukishitsu’ featured as the last song on Cape Light’s split tape with 5000, which was their second and last physical release (if Discogs is to be believed). Emoviolence of the utmost insane is coupled once again with exceptional use of melody and post-hardcore/metal, in typically bright fashion.


The final four Cape Light songs pull no punches as ‘Kotaewohitsuyoutosurusekainiikiru’ kicks off instantly with off-kilter tempos that are way more obvious than before. Maybe it’s the short song-length but it’s mathiness alongside the raw recording make it very addictive to listen to. 


‘Machigaeteirunohaitsumobokuda’ is another song-title I’m not even going to try and pronounce (out-loud anyway). Cape Light harnesses so much beauty within their heaviness. Groovy, punk-like rhythms sit side-by-side with noxious riffage at times. You’re definitely not far away from dissonance and chaos.


Cape Light’s explosive take on screamo really comes into it’s own on penultimate song ‘Tooihiwakasundeikizanzoudakeganokoru’. It goes by way too quickly if I’m being honest. If you get distracted and take your ear off this song for all of a second, you’re missing out big time. Subtle nods toward Envy make themselves heard during the song’s latter half and the mix of quiet/loud dynamics just work really well.


Discography closer ‘Nanimokaesukotonodekinaibokuwowaraudarouka’ hits you square in the face as Cape Light delivers their final blast. Listening to this release in full is the best way to appreciate it. Unfortunately, due to life getting in the way I haven’t quite been able to do so. I’ll be righting that wrong in the not-to-distant future. What I can say for certain is that this deserved such a release, albeit limited. Does it deserve a repress? Definitely. Will it get one? Only time will tell.


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



Discography tapes are long sold out.


You can also stream and download their releases from Adabana Records here - https://adabana.bandcamp.com


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