Archive for the Hardcore Category

Metal Eurovision 2013 – Part Two

Posted in Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom, Goregrind, Hardcore, Psychedelic, Sludge, Stoner, Thrash on June 18, 2013 by Badass and Grim

Ireland

Tricifix – Monothist (death metal)

As with Eurovision tradition, some golden oldies are brought out when there’s no hope left to relive their wonder years. This bunch from Donegal formed in the late eighties, and the track is taken from their 1991 album Diurnal Decay. Mixing smoothly flowing bass lines with an intricate and thrashy approach to death metal, Tricifix are worthy additions to any early death collection.

Israel

Betzefer – Doomsday (groove metal)

From their 2011 album Freedom To The Slave Makers, this track nods to Betzefer’s influences of Pantera and late Sepultura while still maintaining an original sound. Proof that keeping it simple can be as effective as any uberwiddly solo, the chorus chant has a tendency to lodge in your head all day.

Italy

Murk – In The Kingdom Of The Dead (black metal)

From Florence in Tuscany, Murk bring a dissonant and haunting breed of BM. Vocals are a little too reminiscent of a comical Strepsils advert for my taste, though these improve as the song progresses. Guitar tone and tempo however are spot on. Taken from the 2007 album Unholy Presences.

Latvia

Grondh – Bads (black metal)

Taken from their only album Necilvēks, not much has been heard of the band since 2011. The track hurtles in at a gallop rather than creating atmosphere, but the vocal style is commendable.

Lithuania

Dinozauras – Įpareigotas Maitoti (sludge/goregrind)

While seeming an unlikely genre, it’s certainly proof that in metal anything is possible if you hit things hard enough. Meaning ‘Obliged To Defile’ in Lithuanian, crushing drums and staggering riffs create a disgustingly brutal tone reminiscent of an explosion in an abattoir, and while the grind part is seemingly absent, the gore is definitely there. From their album Ecce Cruor!, released in 2012.

Macedonia (FYROM)

Furion – Queen Of Thieves (thrash)

Released in February of this year on their first full-length album Thrashing Folks, Furion have a solid style of thash that brings in elements of their native music with great effectiveness, seen best in the way the track boots back from an instrumental break into full headbanging glory. Even before this album release, Furion won a Battle Of The Bands contest and played at Wacken in 2009. Certainly one to get heads nodding.

Malta

Thy Legion – Sadism Through Holy Intervention (blackened death)

Playing at Chains’R’Us is certainly a good formula for a music video, but it helps if the music is good as well. These Maltese metallers certainly deliver, with machine-gun blast beats, effective vocals and catchy guitar riffs. Taken from Venerato Diaboli, released in 2010.

Moldova

Caligo – Behold Ragnarok (one-man black metal)

Immortal-like vocals reside in tin-can style production quality, adding to the grimness of this great track from solo black metaller Caligo. Released in February of this year, it’s the second track off his demo album Residing In The Black Void, which also features a cover of Darkthrone’s ‘Skald Av Satans Sol’.

Montenegro

Zaimus – Under The Unholy Spells Of Night (black metal)

More black metal, this time with two members, Khamul and Asmodai. While relying quite heavily on just a few riffs throughout the majority of the track, the track has a pretty nice tempo to it, lyrics are pretty good, and programming adds something new, particularly at around five minutes in. Taken from their self-released EP of the same name.

Netherlands

Acid Deathtrip – The Aftermath (sludge/doom)

Wonderfully crushing sonic dystopia, complete with ’60s moustaches and boobs. A relatively new band, they released their first EP on the 18th of March this year. Describing themselves as ‘blasphemous boogie’ and ‘getting face-banged by nudist midgets under a pagan moon’ should give you some idea. One to watch!

Norway

Summon The Crows – Menneske (crust/death)

Renowned for its prowess at most other kinds of metal, it was hard to find something a bit different for Norway’s entry. Translating as ‘Human’, this track from crusty riff-jugglers Summon The Crows is short-lived but amazingly intricate. It is the penultimate track on their EP; since then they have made two more full length albums and a split with Deviated Instinct.

A close second came Dødfødt with ‘Krigen’.

Romania

The :Egocentrics – Mystic Initiation (psych/stoner)

A truly commendable effort, this song just builds and builds with some truly amazing tone. This stoner-psych behemoth is from their demo, and checking out their other releases is highly recommended for lovers of the overweight chub riff.

Russia

Камни (Kamni) – Bong of Satan (stoner/doom)

Taken from their 2010 EP, crushing riffs and some pretty awesome wah-pedalling make Kamni’s ‘Bong Of Satan’ a pretty damn good track. Vocals sound oddly like Ramesses pretending to be Phil Anselmo, but it fits the style they’ve created nicely.

San Marino

Nothing Inside Eyes – The Day Skies Fall On Earth (thrash/hardcore)

The ever-valued Encyclopaedia Metallum is often vital in searching for new bands, but unfortunately San Marino, a country of just over twenty-four square miles, turns up two results, both of whom had split up. One of those, Alchimia 2012, went on to create this band after departing, and the result is a pretty modern-sounding ‘core affair. Released in July of last year.

Serbia

Putrid Blood – Kontraudar (thrash)

Meaning ‘Counterattack’ in Serbian, ‘Kontraudar’ has that rare quality of native-tongue songs that means once the words (or at least their approximate sounds) are learnt, it’s just as fun to chant along to as any other song. Even with Google Translates’ erratic guessing, the lyrical themes are pretty key to many other thrash tracks, and the riffs hammer them home well. Taken from their 2012 album Absolute Profit.

Slovenia

Somrak – Howls From The Devil (black metal)

Slovenian for ‘Twilight’ (though luckily no relation to a franchise of the same name), Somrak focus on Satanism and the occult as their inspiration, and between the four of the they’ve created some pretty good stuff, even if the vocals falter at times. Taken from the 2007 album The Abhorred Blessings.

Spain

Monkeypriest – Hanuman’s Dance (sludge/doom)

Breaking straight out with some Phurpa-style throat singing, ‘Hanuman’s Dance’ soon settles into a distinctly crushing plod, almost impossible to resist nodding along to. The opening track from their 2011 album, The Psalm, it sets both the pace and tone for the remaining six tracks brilliantly. It’s well worth listening to the album in one hit to get the full effect of it.

Sweden

Soliloquium – Crossroads (doom/death)

From Sweden hail Soliloquium, a two-piece band from Stockholm. The band mixes atmospheric clean-sung passages with more brutal sections, similar to the style of Katatonia and October Tide, but still manages to remain unique and intriguing, using switches between both vocal styles and tempo to keep the listener’s interest peaked. Taken from their new album The Concept Of Escape.

Switzerland

Moonfrost – Cleanse (black metal)

With their name winning triple points in Black Metal Scrabble, Moonfrost bring this fantastically desolate track forth from the land of snowy peaks and traffic incursions. It has some brilliant instrumental parts at the beginning that lead back nicely to well-paced BM, but the piano sections at the end may lead some to turn it off early. From the album Starfall, released in December 2011.

Ukraine

Marauder – Atrophied King (thrash)

With a vocal sound akin to Australian thrashers Mortal Sin, this Kiev bunch throw themselves headlong into a superspeed thrash assault for just over two minutes. Short, but sweet. Taken from the single of the same name, which was released in February of this year.

Venus in Binbags

Under Vultures / 466/64 – 10″ Split Release

Posted in Black Metal, Grindcore, Hardcore, Power Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2013 by Badass and Grim

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SPANISH GRINDCORE TAG-TEAM TIME

Under Vultures:

Formed in 2009, and hailing from Fuenlabrada, Madrid, Spain, Under Vultures deliver Grindcore with a Black Metal undercurrent. This record kicks off with a suitably grim sample “My life for hate, a vision dims…”, before hurtling into the first 16 minutes of the 10” which makes up the Under Vultures side of the split. The first thing to say is that for my taste these guys get the balance between the Grind and BM elements in their music right on the money. “Ions Inside” exhibits the discordant guitar harmonies of the far off frozen hinterlands before calling an emergency stop into beat-down territory, then the pedals back down for a race to the finish; that’s a lot to pack into 1:12 of song.

There are also some more straightforward Grindcore tracks, such as “Screwing Sickness”, “Trying to Avoid Death” or the brief 13 second double punch “And You More…” to keep those of you who prefer to have that pneumatic drill split your skull open unmolested by such heresies as song progression or tempo variation. However, the highlight is undoubtedly the three middle tracks “Where Life…”, “…And Death…”, “…Converge”, showing off the best of everything Under Vultures do. “Where Life…” is a minute of grim Nathrakh-esque bile, which dumps you into “..And Death…”. This a breakdown worthy of an on-site ambulance to deal with the quantity of snapped spinal cords and whiplash I foresee following its delivery. Finally “..Converge” jumps back into full speed Grind-mode. This a well executed collection of tracks which will appeal to fans of Dragged Into Sunlight, and you can look forward to another split release from Under Vultures later in the year through “The Path Less Travelled Records”.

If you’re a fan of grindcore definitely go and listen to these guys, there’s absolutely no excuse not to as this split is available for free on their bandcamp page (http://undervultures.bandcamp.com/). They will be playing at Summon the Dead Madridfest II with other great acts including Mumakil later in the year, and will also be playing with French Blackened Noisecore act Nesseria.

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466/64

Tip: If you search for 466/64 online the first suggestion you’re likely to get back from the google meta-brain is “7.28125”. If you are astute enough to add the qualifier “band” to your enquiry you will find almost jack diddley fuck, which is to say, these guys aren’t interested in you Liking their latest blog post / fashion parade / release from South African jail. What they are interested in is force feeding you bite sized portions of aural shrapnel interspersed with Spanish quotations and if you’re lucky some chunks of broken glass. The band bio that is available was in Spanish, and contained such revealing information as “one of the most powerful musical projects who have never seen the Canary Islands”. Intrigued yet?

The 15 tracks which make up the 466/64 side of this split are a mix of Grindcore/Hardcore and Power Violence (a genre pioneered by “Man is the Bastard” according to THE INTERNET). What you’re getting here is 12 minutes of convulsive violence which vacillates between bass drum barrages and punk laden riffage. The word that really comes to mind is chaotic, like a rabid dog who’s just eaten all the red skittles and has been thrown into a strobe lighted chicken coop. It’s not pretty but after 12 minutes it comes out filthy, covered in blood, sated but a little bit confused; very much like my ear drums after hearing this.

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Overall I give this: 7.28125 out of 10

Deej

 

 

Let It Die – Let It Die

Posted in Hardcore with tags , on March 3, 2013 by Badass and Grim

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Describing band interests as ‘melting faces’ certainly makes for a good first impression. At a shade over 12 minutes long, Let It Die’s self titled EP is an affable effort from the Kettering three piece, with cover art reminiscent of a bleak mountainside, desolate clouded moonscape or your mum. You can hear the progression from their 2011 demo album, both in the production quality (which is managed by Alex Smith, the drummer) and in the inventiveness of their riffs, though the demo is a highly recommended listen.

Not wishing to go into an EP too lightly, the intro song ‘Hangman Blind’ hurtles straight into rain, thunder and the bad heavy metal of the heathen bells, and a riff reminiscent of the start of Diamond Head’s classic ‘Am I Evil?’ so much that you almost begin humming the next part out of habit. No such luck, however – the meaty guitar notes ring solidly between each bell before driving drum lines help to punch out space for the vocals like the widening of a mosh pit before impending doom and a visit to the medical tent. Amply performed by experienced lung-owner Red Sismey, the lyrics are launched towards the earholes with suitable levels of venom and ferocity, gathering pace to explode at full gallop around 1:30. The combination of this along with hailstorm drumming and a disgustingly brutal guitar tone from fret-raper Ben Collins creates a sound that is almost impossible not to nod, stamp or punch things along to.

Instead of the typical hardcore barrage of nanosecond long songs, Let It Die is split like a tasty rage sandwich, with morsels of three-minute long filling peppered with fiery 30-second bouts of angry hot sauce. Each song by itself is something easily listened to, with the half-minute tracks a good way to navigate to memorable riffs, but the shortness of the album means that it is just as effective listened to as a complete song separated into chapters, much like Dragged Into Sunlight’s Widowmaker. It is hardcore, crusty and glorious like stolen trophy underpants, with the perfect balance of breakdown and fast-paced enthusiasm that makes it an ideal crowd-pleaser in live performances.

Through the monotone carpet-cleaner vocals of Red Sismey, the lyrics to the songs are applaudably original and well thought out. Rather than choosing the over-elaborate New Wave Of Masochistic, Capitalist, Bohemian Tosspot Mocking, or the more amateur ‘everything is shit and you are too’ approach to hardcore, Let It Die have instead chosen the Fukpig route. It is anger at the people who are making the world go wrong rather than blaming various classes or each other, as with the lyrics of ‘Funeral Of No Tears’ and ‘The Judge Is Guilty’, launched into life by a barrage of jutting riffs and driving snare attacks that bring worrying pace to venomous lyrics. If it weren’t for the duct tape, screaming “your mind is your only weapon” at the neighbour’s cat would make for an enjoyable pastime. The album is commendably more thought-provoking and enthralling for the trouble.

The band are currently writing material for an upcoming split with doom-mongers Monolithian, which is certainly something to look forward to if this EP is anything to judge them by. If you get a chance to see these guys live, go. It’s sure to be quite an experience.

Venus in Binbags

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Gig Review: Orange Goblin – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 30/1/13

Posted in Gig, Hardcore, Heavy Metal with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2013 by Badass and Grim

Orange Goblin play Wales, accompanied by some of their bessie’ mates and gig-worn locals! What else would you be doing on a Wednesday night?

Lifer

If you live in South Wales or go to one or more UK festivals a year it’s a statistical certainty, like being hit by a car, that you’re going to see Lifer. Lifer are what happens when the mines close and the good ol’ valleys boys discover that Heavy Metal complements their innate raging alcoholism perfectly. While the name suggests a heavy Down influence, they’re actually much angrier, punching out a two-fisted hardcore racket that goes down a treat. As you’d expect they’re very, very serious about what they do and these gents will be gigging until the unlikely event that the coal industry revives itself, so you’ve got no excuse not to get out there and see them.

The Earls Of Mars

These guys are deeply confusing genius. Perhaps the best way to describe them is to follow this tenuous hypothesis: Bill & Ted (of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the notable sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) are happily travelling through time & space in their time-travelling phone box when they decide to create the most bodacious band ever, possibly as a support act to Wyld Stallyns. They carefully steal a drummer from the whisky-soaked Appalachian mountains of the 1800’s, a moustachioed double-bass player from fin-de-siecle bohemian Paris, a shredtastic lead guitarist from the hair-metal heyday of the 80’s and a keyboard player/vocalist from a space opera in the future. Probably. Then they mash them all together and after the intro “Hi, we’re The Earls of Mars, those lovely gents in Orange Goblin have asked us to play a couple of songs. Hope you like them”, they launch into epic sound journeys that range from baroque & roll Muse-touching to Prohibition Era swing. If you can imagine Victorian policemen storming a building, that’s what The Earls of Mars are the soundtrack to, and about the closest thing you could compare them to is A Forest of Stars with the Black Metal influence removed. It’s a bewildering experience that many aren’t ready for but that doesn’t detract from a powerful performance – I hate to use the word ‘mesmerising’ so I won’t.

The Earls of Mars

The Earls of Mars

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

When they take the stage, I’m not sure if Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are a band or historical re-enactment society. While The Earls of Mars are happy to recklessly plunder musical time and take all the best bits like pillaging time-vikings, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell painstakingly re-create the 70’s to the point where the drunker members of the crowd are checking their pockets to make sure their beer-money hasn’t turned pre-decimal and their mobile phones still exist. Cockney accented stage banter evokes pre-80’s Spinal Tap which doesn’t help things and to begin with I have difficulty taking them seriously. Groovy 70’s Sabbath-worship is something that a lot of bands are doing very well and honestly, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are no exception – but it’s the detail they’ve gone to in order to recreate that whole era, right down to the necklaces, sideburns and flares. It’s all very well using analogue recording and vintage boutique gear to get that vibe into your music, but these guys are living it, they have taken retro rockin’ to its absolute logical conclusion. I get the sense that they’ve lived it once before, born just in time to appreciate and idolise the rock n’ roll greats but 5 years too late to be gigging. Musically, they’re dialled right into it: they’re tight as hell live, their songs have got some groove and bite to them and they believe in it totally, which is a noble thing. Go see them and you’ll have a cracking night; put their album on and you’ve got the soundtrack to a fondue & key-swapping party; but they seem an oddly entrenched choice to put on after the decade & genre sweeping Earls of Mars.

Orange Goblin

And so, to the main event – the club goes dark, the intro music kicks in and the crowd go apeshit. Orange Goblin stroll onstage with cheeky grins and rip into their opener. There are few bands who can look so totally relaxed playing live, but you just have to look at them to know that this is where they belong, onstage, beer in hand, ripping out riff after blissful riff on well worn, hard toured instruments that by now are almost extensions of their bodies. Orange Goblin have worked hard and put in the graft night after night to the point where house melting hard rock is not second nature to them, it is nature. It’s audible, it’s physical, it’s music that makes you move and demands that you sink another beer, grab your knackered air-guitar and headbang like you don’t have to work the next day because the moment is all there is. And the moment is glorious.

One of the greatest things about Orange Goblin’s music is that you can tell the band love it as much as the crowd, and that’s glaringly obvious tonight: Not in a rockstar, ego-trip kind of ‘oh-fuck-I-love-my-solos’ way, but in a life affirming, hail-the-riff aspect. It’s a fantastic connector between artist and crowd, and bolstered by Ben Ward’s trademark frantic high- fiving of everyone within the considerable reach of his arms, they whole show feels like one big all inclusive party. That’s the magic of Orange Goblin, and that’s why they’re going to get the big things they deserve.

The set is a mix of material off last year’s triumphant ‘Eulogy for the Damned’, which virtually all of the crowd is rightly well acquainted with, and their older stuff which serves as a lesson for most and a back catalogue refresher for the guys in the ’95 tour shirts. Favourites like ‘Some You Win…’ and the more recent ‘The Fog’ are received rabidly, every word hurled back hoarsely at the stage. They come back on for the inevitable encore, three songs forming a microcosm of the old/new/old set and then the moment is over, a blur of headbanging in drunken memories. No-one wants to leave.

Ben Ward zombie mode

Ben Ward zombie mode

Rumple

Rumple was accompanied by veteran yankee all-round rock man The Dude, who offers a SECOND OPINION….

Second Opinion:

After a morning in work and three presentations, two of which were ones I gave, I’m just sitting down to write some comments on last night’s festivities.

Earls of Mars… or perhaps the Grand Dukes of Mars! Initially amazed by the electric stand up base and the musician behind it who reminded me of Mr.B the Gentleman Rhymer, which was contrasted by the guitar player who was more like Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad circa 1979. Along with  the drummer – a handsome lad attacking his kit like his very life depended on it – I wondered if these three talented musicians had picked up the lead singer from an insane asylum on the way to the show and allowed him to rant lyrically over their music. Although that idea might make for an interesting future project, I soon realized that the singer was in fact an intricate part of the act complete with mad elbow skills on his keyboard. My over –riding thought as they played was, “I am thoroughly and honestly enjoying myself”

On to The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell… despite the obvious cool factor these guys brought with some wicked sideburns that would make Derek Smalls envious (not to mention the authentic back hair peeking out from under a band member’s yellow OK t-shirt while bending over an amp) these guys brought way more to the stage than a wheelbarrow ‘s worth of Spinal Tap jokes. Despite perhaps still being pissed off about ‘Nam or that they were never as big as KISS, to me, they were more reminiscent of Deep Purple and truly rocked the night away!

As for Orange Goblin, not much to say except ‘too much rock for one hand’. I may even try to catch them again next week at the Fleece in Bristol. Also see they’re playing one of my all-time favourite music venue’s – Bogart’s in Cincinatti, Ohio –  this March so to anyone back on that side of the pond, “freaking tune-in or miss out!”

The Dude

Lockersludge: Falling On Our Faces

Posted in Hardcore, Sludge with tags , , on January 7, 2013 by Badass and Grim

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I like sludge, in fact i like sludge a lot. There’s something very beautiful about how effective a bunch of drunkards with downtuned SG’s and only a few chords can be or maybe its because i spent a lot of my teenage years listening to filthy UK sludge and drinking Kwiksave Ice Dragon cider. The UK sludge scene died off a few years ago which left me sad but there are still a few bands going extolling the virtues of less is more, so enter Lockersludge, a 3 piece from Devon.

Falling On Our Faces, the 2nd release from these guys draws on the scuzzy late 90’s sludge sound all mashed up with a liberal douse of hardcore. This isn’t squealing feedback and 3 notes akin Iron Monkey but more like the bastard love child of Biohazard and Black Tusk. The
opening track ‘Hiding Emotions’ sets off with a pretty brooding menance, quickly switching up with barking vocals and a solid head nodding riff, how I wish they’d have stayed with this set up! As you work through the rest of the release the vocals lose their intensity, the darker tone is changed for a much more gain-heavy crunchy hardcore sound, There’s no denying ‘Green Army’ has floor filling, circle pit inducing carnage written all over it and the release is tight and tidy but I just wanted more, more feedback, more filth, more desperation, more drowning in disgusting noise.

I can see what they wanted to achieve here, that hardcore tinged sludge circa NOLA but unfortunately its ended up a bit more sludge tinged hardcore but lacking that sheer aggressive arrogance that hardcore demands. There’s no doubt live this stuff will make anyone bang their head, hell i’m sure Rumple would probably punch a floor or two, but its just a bit off mark for me to imagine enjoying this whilst sat on a park bench swigging cider.

6.5/10 horns of ICE DRAGON!

Necrowulf

You can check Lockersludge out at:
http://www.facebook.com/Lockersludge
http://www.reverbnation.com/lockersludge
http://www.myspace.com/lockersludge