indie / punk
Hailing from Cambridge, UK, indie punks Grieving throw a few energetic pieces of lo-fi rock music in our faces.And quite frankly, sometimes that is all we need. Their influences include Guided By Voices, Fugazi, Television, The Lemonheads, Bob Mould and Wolf Brigade, which could explain the varied sound of their songs. Sometimes they're emotional, coming close to indie pop while on other occasions they blast out of my speakers with a severe punk attitude. My favorites on this ep are 'Ownership' and 'Warmest Jets' but I also really dig the noisy and somewhat creepy 'Little Armoured'. In all, this stuff will certainly reach the many festival goers wherever Grieving do their stuff...
Fuzz yeah, this is the shit. Well, it is if you're into bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Red Fang. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, USA, Howling Giant comes up with some infectious stoner rock, nudging towards psychedelic rock and doom. The trio seemingly consists of nerds who combine their love for comics, space travel and downtuned, fuzzed-out guitars. Personally, I am more than ok with that, certainly if they keep on blasting out their massive sound in stunning songs like 'Mothership' or 'Exodus-Earth' and even in noise faceslaps like 'Dirtmouth'. My favorite is the doom track 'Clouds Of Smoke' but I have to recommend this stuff to any psychedelic stoner doomer out there.
doom / black metal
Give Praise Records seems to have a flair for interesting split 7" releases. This time, the label invited Ukrainian horde Moloch and Polish blackened doomers Gurthang. Moloch got the opportunity to open the split with an atmospheric intro and a massive track where funeral doom meets sludge metal. I really dig this song, but as far as I'm concerned, it could last for about twelve minutes instead of (barely) three. More haunting doom metal comes from Gurthang, who deliver another piece of crushing metal, not as raw and primitive as their colleagues but still damn immersive. The keyboards give the whole that awesome nineties sound. Yep, I'm a fan...
Iron Bonehead is another one of those labels who somehow always succeed in coming up with strange and obscure gems to please the filthiest of ears. This harsh, chaotic yet melancholic tape by Finnish black metal duo Celestial Grave is a perfect example of that. The three songs on this ep are not loaded with blast-beats (except for closer 'Burial Ground Trance' but still contain the necessary elements to make this a fierce competitor in the raunchy underworld of the blackened scene. The music is primitive but at the same time shows a great deal of musicianship and songwriting skill. The whole is not so much a performance, more like a dark ceremony or a nocturnal ritual, driving on vintage riffing and powerful drums. For collectors of obscure blackened gems, this certainly is a must-have. For others, well, I guess a lot of fans of extreme stuff will like this. So check it out and allow yourself to dwell in the thick sound of Celestial Grave
More obscure blackened filth, this time as a tribute to the 7" releases by German label Sombre Records. On this 7" we get some harsh, raw and primitive black metal, courtesy of four bands from the German underground. Intempestus opens with a grinding, punk induced song that will rip your head wide open. Antares comes with 'Revelations', a lo-fi piece of work that sounds as grim and haunting as this genre should be, and a well varied one too. Necrohell delves right into the old 'World Domination' compilation with their thick, grinding sound and relentless punk induced riffing. At the end, Vent comes up with a delightful piece of doomed and blackened audio-filth, my favorite one on this already impressive split.
Hardcore Punk / Powerviolence / Grindcore
'Boak' is Scottish slang meaning vomit or feelings of excessive nausea. That should already explain a thing or two about this ep. With four songs, in all not even seven minutes long, these Scottish canaille throws old school hardcore, grindcore and powerviolence in one massive heap of musical extremity. Yet, the whole thing is quite catchy if you're into this stuff, certainly because it's also loaded with weird samples. These songs can easily cause moshpits, walls-of-death and crowdsurfers wherever Boak decided to plan their next assault. My favorite is the last track, 'Pamplona' but the whole thing is so destructive that 95% of humanity will never be able to withstand the other tracks, HAH.
Oh, Frenchies, you certainly are a bunch of stubborn chaps, aren't you? 'Nous sommes fiers de notre langue et de nos habitudes', you say, leaving the rest of us wonder what the hell you are talking about. You make your own blend of hardcore and metal, pretty much all sorts of metal too, judging from this album. Upon that, you throw a massive amount of vocals, screams this time. Did anyone else ever notice how French vocalists throw in way more vocals than others, or is that just me?
In this case, the vocals are brutal. So is the music. The whole thing is a massive slap in the face, combined with a firm kick in the nuts and a full-on assault on your eardrums. It's the ideal soundtrack to a hardcore wrestling match, or a street fight if you like. According to the biography, Dive Your Head are children of the 1990s, influenced by nu-metal and groups like Of Mice & Men, Stray From The Path, or even My Ticket Home. That's perfectly fine by me, but I don't know any of those bands.
After listening to the first few tracks, 'Les Rois Perdus' and 'Avaritia', I was ready to compare this band to a hardcore version of bands like Fear Factory. Perhaps because of the fierce sound of the guitars or the meticulous battering of the drums. 'Luxuria' threw some death metal to the mix and here and there I even sense flashes of black metal. Needless to say that this is one intense motherfucker. Vocally, I almost constantly think about Belgian legends .Calibre.
'Post-Mortem' is the culmination of it all, post-hardcore, combined with industrial metal and a good slab of catchy melodies. Obviously, all of that aggression is spew out in the language of Molière. But before that makes you think twice about checking this out, often the exact language is barely audible, except in closer 'Invidia', which adds a bit of funk, nu-metal and rap to the whole thing. In all, this is a harsh, brutal and intense piece of work, varied enough to remain interesting.
Monument Of A Memory - Catharsis
We kick things off with a massive slab of modern extreme metal, courtesy of New Jersey, US residents Monument Of A Memory. 'Catharsis' is their sophomore ep, after their debut ep 'Dreamwalker' (2015). This is one of those albums that combine old school death and thrash metal with influences from modern extremes like post-hardcore and deathcore. Influenced by At The Gates, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God and Parkway Drive, these guys rage on in sheer brutality and ferocity. Needless to say that this is quite and intense ep, guaranteed to make you bang your head and start a moshpit. Recommended only for the metal extremists...
Devolted - Broken Kings
More headbanging material, be it a bit less extreme this time. Devolted, a quartet from Dublin, Ireland, are dedicated to headbanging, moshing and partying in the best way possible. They name bands like Guns 'n Roses, AC/DC, Megadeth and Ozzy as their influences, and that might be true but I certainly would add bands like Machine Head, Pantera and even Sick Of It All to their infectious blend of metal. The four songs on this album are groovy, immersive and definitely intense enough to start a massive party. My personal favorite here is 'God Of Light' but all songs have the so-called "true-metal" power that gets every fan off his feet and into the pit.
Horricane - Synthetic Forms
This is a perfect example of how diverse death metal can actually be. Horricane, from Estonia, come up with a completely different version, (mostly) slower, nudging towards the industrial side of the metallic spectrum and grinding on your darkest emotions and fears. The use of horror-themed keyboards certainly makes these songs have their own identity. It also makes it hard for me to compare this music to other bands. Fear Factory? Samael? The Kovenant? Sybreed? I don't know. All I know is that this ep is a monster, intense, heavy and immersive. It's about time these guys climb on bigger stages allover Europe. This is the shit I want to see on festivals...
Isolert - No Hope, No Light...Only Death
Fierce old school black metal from Greece, is there a better way to describe this album? Isolert formed in 2015, making this their debut album. But there's no way in hell that I'm going to believe that this is the first effort by these people. Judging from awesome songs like 'Your Hypocrisy', 'The Dance of Tormented Spirits' or 'Frozen Mist' they must have had their share of experience. If not, well, then these are skilled artists who know a thing or two about writing a brilliant black metal song. Their main influences include Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Dissection and Sargeist and that's exactly where this album belongs on your shelves, right in between the great ones...
Media Solution - The Prelude
metal / hardcore
Hell yeah, this is the shit. Rock 'n roll in its roughest form, loyal to the power of the riff and blasting through my speakers like a tsunami. Media Solution come from California, USA. Their name might sound like a shady business but they rock like a freight train. The music is a blend of heavy rock 'n roll, groove metal and hardcore, reminding me of a mix of Rob Zombie and Biohazard. Opener 'Destroy Something Beautiful' sounds like a damn good advice, and the rest of the album is the perfect soundtrack for that adrenaline rush you'll feel while tearing the house down, highlighting in the brilliant song 'Coward'. This is pure aggression, absolutely recommended stuff for fans of anything between Motorhead and Sepultura.
Silverbones - Wild Waves
heavy metal / power metal
Formed in 2013 by bassist/composer Andrea Franceschi, Italian metal band Silverbones pay tribute to the awe-inspiring sound of eighties and nineties power metal. Their influences include Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Gravedigger and Running Wild, but personally I'd like to add Hammerfall and Helloween to the mix as well. Why? Well, these songs have the same atmosphere, the same heroic and battle-ready sing-along capacity and the same rush as those bands have been producing over the years. I especially like the title track, which might be one of the best power metal songs I've heard in awhile. This stuff makes me a bit nostalgic, and that's a good thing.
Armed With Books - Honestly,Honesty
post hardcore / sludge
"Five friends from Norwich who hang out and jam" they mention on their facebook page. After listening to this album, I'd turn that into "five friends from Norwich who spew out their deepest fears, terrors and emotion in a whirlpool of harsh yet melodic post hardcore". That being said, yes, this is post-hardcore, but it comes with a highly immersive slab of post-rock influences and, for me personally, this makes this whole album quite interesting. I admit, the word "alternative-emo" on their page made me a bit weary at first but now that I'm into the album, I have to say that this is pretty damn good stuff. Hardcore for post-rock fans, there you go, excellent ep with a stunning opening track.
Idolatry - Visions From The Throne Of Eyes
This album by Canadian act Idolatry is pure chaos, which would be a bad thing if it weren't a trenchant black metal album, fueled by evil and misanthropy. Even in the world of black metal, this is quite a stand out. While many black metal bands work extremely hard to create a grimm image of themselves, Idolatry simply is evil. Their satanic aesthetic is real, their lust for chaos and disorder is predominant. Their music is a severe kick in your face, spawning from the deepest undergrounds you can imagine. Their vocals range from haunting growls to deranged screams. I don't know what goes on in these guys' heads, but it must be more terrifying than any splatter-horror movie you've ever seen. And that is a compliment.
Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus - Madness Incarnate
ambient black metal
Another, equally interesting, form of black metal comes from Philadelphia, USA. I loved this band immediately, simply because of their name, but when I heard the music for the first time, I was sold. Fierce black metal, often alternated or enhanced by strange noise, ambient and even minimal folk passages. Sometimes, the combination is weird, as in the massive song 'Immaculate Deconception', but the whole is so damn intense and immersive that is is quite impossible not to bang your head repetitively, until you reach a state of pitch black trance. I surely hope that these guys find a way to Europe soon and conquer the old continent with this stuff.
While They Sleep - La Nausee
This album by Ukrainian one-man act While They Sleep could quite possibly be the wickedest release in these breviews-series. The project was founded by sole member Kvolkaldur (also known as Ildverden) in 2013. His style comes close to that of other one-man acts, including Leviathan, Xasthur, Nortt and Burzum. It's lo-fi, haunting, sharp and straight-forward. Personally, I'd place this album into the depressive black metal scene, but I'd mostly recommend this to anyone who is constantly on the lookout for the grimmest, bleakest and darkest releases from the underground. This is one of those gems that sound so old school that they never get outdated, and that's not an easy thing to accomplish.
hardcore / metal
Right, time for a piece of brutality, torment and violence. We're still in Paris, France but we're not talking about the horrible recent events in France. No, we're talking about an ep by Everything Behind. In 2013 they released an ep, named 'Human Paradise' but they felt that it was time for a new start, a new sound. Still firmly rooted in hardcore, metal and possibly metalcore, this quintet comes up with a refreshing approach to brutal music, and after a few listens I have to admit that I quite like it.
Perhaps that needs an explanation. To be honest, I'm not a fan of hardcore and metalcore. In fact, none of our currently active writers are, which leaves me with the task to review the cds that come in. Yet, that often pleasantly surprises me. I often find this particular scene quite narrow and one-sided but once in awhile a band appears and shatters that prejudice. You guessed it, Everything Behind is such a band. They evolved, crossed the borders between hardcore, metal and electronics and come out with a pretty damn good album.
Don't get me wrong, there are still some fierce riffs, tormenting screams and skull piercing drums to be found but the whole comes with so much variation, so many surprising hooks and edges that it's pretty irresistible. I often found myself screaming along with songs like 'Hopes Run Away' or the brilliant closer 'Man From Elsewhere'. I enjoy the influences from the post-metal scene and I enjoy the pretty dubsteppy touches here and there.
Nah, as far as I'm concerned, this is one of the best things in today's 'core' scene. It's a dynamic, versatile and energetic blend of heavy styles that will make a lot of faces turn into Everything Behind's direction. Screams alternate with melodic vocals, immersive passages alternate with axe-smashing riffing and the drummer, well, he just wants to beat you to death I think. All in good fun of course.
alternative / post-hardcore
The defining lines between musical genres are often so vague that bands seem to cross them constantly. That certainly is the case with this Swiss band. They dub themselves "Too soft for hardcore moshers, too heavy for pop punk pogers" but I wonder when something is too soft or too heavy. In fact, this is a pretty heavy album to begin with. Perhaps it's one of those albums that get punk rockers over to the hardcore side of things. You know, a gateway band...
Guns Loves Stories combine the melodic aspect of punk rock with the brutal assault of (post-)hardcore and top it off with a number of influences, from Southern Rock over thrash metal to industrial. Unsurprisingly, that combination results in a highly energetic mix of modern day rock music. With this sound, this quartet should be able to please massive festival audiences and small venue crowds everywhere.
While at first, and certainly with songs like 'Predigested Hollywood' or 'Wear Out Your Heart', this album truly does sound like a post-hardcore album, gradually the other influences come shining through. 'Shark Bait' drives on the joyous energy of punk rock bands while 'Bland Masks' issues a touch of industrial, mainly in the drums. Then, here's the punk rock meets drone meets acoustic folk ballad 'The Birds Keep You Away'.
'Candles and Curses' is my favorite track, probably the most Southern Rock related one too. Comes to show how versatile this album really is. Not only the music is varied, Thomas' vocals range from emotional over melodic and rough to brutal screams. Besides, before I forget to mention them, there are some brilliant thrash metal riffs too. So check it out, fellow metalheads, this might be one of your favorite acts on those family friendly rock (but not metal) festivals, or on metal festivals, whatever suits you best...
stoner rock / hardcore
Sometimes, there's nothing like a good, hard slap to the face, and that's exactly what this French band delivers. Since I founded this website, I've been amazed by French bands. Somehow, it seems like each of them stubbornly follow their own path, combine whatever they feel is right and always come up with something out of the ordinary. This is no different, blending elements from hardcore, Southern rock, metal and stoner rock into a highly energetic set of songs.
Of course, they have the experience. After all, Fishing With Guns have been around since 2005, played numerous gigs in and around their homeland and released a highly acclaimed debut in 2010. Now, they're back with thier second album, one which should make this band conquer the rest of Europe. The competition is fierce but I'm quite sure that Fishing With Guns will be present on many festivals this year.
And why shouldn't they? With songs like opener 'King Of The Monsters', 'Murder Death Kill' or 'Moshpute' they convincingly blast out their severe sound, reminding me of something between Pantera, Sick Of It All and Converge. 'Silence Is Violence' goes even further, coming very close to today's post-metal scene and bands like Isis. Or how about about some thrash metal induced power rock? Fishing With Guns deliver it all.
In that aspect, these Frenchmen surely build a bridge between the old school of hardcore and the present day post-whatever scene. Here and there, mainly in some of the rough, raspy vocals, I can even hear some death metal influences. My neck seems to agree since it's been starting a slow but vicious headbanging session during 'The Ghost Theory'. Now, that's good morning gymnastics for the metalhead.
Anyway, if you're into heavy music, grinding guitars, a hint of melody and sheer metallic power, this surely is your thing. Check it out and join the moshpit, you know you want to...
thrash / metalcore
Right, how about a rude awakening today? We're kicking off today's writing session with a brutal blend of hardcore and thrash metal, because why not? After all, we need something to wake us up after a short night of sleep. Too short, if you ask me, but perhaps that's my own fault because I've been designing stuff until four o'clock last night. If all goes well, you'll soon find out what I've been doing over the past few days but for now, let's stick to our day job and review this stuff.
Atarra is a band from Warsaw, Poland, formed in 2012. Something tells me that these guys take their music very seriously and are determined to become a big player in today's metal scene. They seem professional and driven, two very good characteristics for a metal band but obviously, that doesn't necessarily make a band great. To be great, you need awesome music too. And that's where Aterra are heading.
Now, in all honesty I have to say that metalcore and hardcore have never been my favorite genres, although I do respect and admire the skills of many artists out there. In that aspect, Aterra might not become my favorite band but I will tell you that they made a very interesting album, one with a lot of variation, a lot of guts and a lot of power. For hard- & metalcore fans, this really is a must have.
The album opens with 'Still To Try', a track that immediately reminds me of bands like Sick Of It All, Hatebreed and many of their colleagues. Yet, there also seem to be some melodic death metal influences, mostly from the Swedish style. That combination works quite well as you can hear some excellent melodies behind a well of brute force. It's a great opener for this album, immediately showing the headbang capacity.
But there seems to be more to Aterra than just smashing some distorted guitars through your eardrums. Between most of the songs, they've placed a number of atmospheric instrumentals, some drones, some ambient stuff. These breathers are quite welcome between nutkickers like 'Paper Kings' (which could be seen as a very heavy Dog Eat Dog song), the grinding 'PW' or the punk rocker 'Voices'.
That alternation between quiet breathers and fierce hardcore metal keeps the album interesting for me. Besides, none of the songs seems to be exactly the same as the previous one, something which often is the case in this scene. 'Low', for example is a brilliant doomed post-metal track and, for that, probably my favorite track on this album. Did I mention the fact that Aterra often incorporates keyboards? No? Well, they do and they really complete this album.
So yes, I've been pleasantly surprised by this Polish quintet. Yet, I also feel that they still can do better, that they will undoubtedly grow as a band. Why? Well, there are some elements on this album that could set Aterra apart from other hard- & metalcore bands. If they find and emphasise these, I'm positive that they will become a pretty unique and genre-bending act in the near future and that they will, in their turn, influence a lot of young bands to go out there and do their thing.
sludge / punk / hardcore
Well well, this is a delightful shitload of noise, dragging itself through my speakers like a thick slab of tar, blackening everything it touches. Ok, maybe not tar because tar is way slower than this thing. But before I go into the review, let's complete the list of genres. We have sludge, hardcore, punk, doom, thrash metal, noise, black metal, new wave, grunge, alternative rock, death metal, grindcore, blues, stoner, progressive, noise rock and psychedelic rock. And I'm only halfway through this album.
Chestburster is a trio from Kouvola, Finalnd. Besides from being a pretty damn heavy band, they are obsessed with horror movies, which obviously explains the band name. According to their biography, they make music whenever they manage to drag themselves away from the Alien-boxset. As far as I'm concerned, judging from what I'm listening to now, they can do that a lot more from now on.
The first thing that came to mind when I was listening to opener 'Faces In The Rain' and follower 'Experienced Virgin' was: "this is what The Ramones would have sounded like if they were a sludge metal band". With thick, fuzzed-out guitars and dynamic, up-tempo drums, Chestburster immediately convinced me, which sometimes isn't easy. Yet, these sludgy punk songs suddenly made place for something different.
'Gas Station Pilgrim' for example, or the bluesy follower 'The Arm Stretches Out' slow the whole thing down and turn this album into a psychedelic doom metal thing. Then there are slabs of grunge, with depressed, clean vocals and also some outbursts of blast beats. Some of the solos remind me of old Slayer or Testament stuff while other passages seem to come close to Fields Of The Nephilim.
'Rojo Sangre' might be one of the most varied songs here, blending about half of the aforementioned genres into one epic song. 'Licking Letters' feels like something from the dirtiest corners of the grunge scene in the nineties, and so on. I'm not sure if you can still follow but that's ok. By now you should be aware of two definite facts about this album. One: it's heavy. Two: it's varied. So if you like heavy analog music with plenty of variation you don't have to buy any other album than this one this year. This one will certainly do...
France, you are still a very strange country as far as your music is concerned. I don't mean that as a bad thing by the way. French bands seem to be a bit more headstrong than bands from other countries, stubbornly paving their own way with their own sound. A Time To Hope from Montpellier is no exception. They just discovered a way to turn Living Colour in a noise rock induced post-hardcore band.
The main focus for A Time To Hope seems to be a positive message and an energetic live show. The energy is clearly present on the five complex and strange songs on this album. They continuously seem to change, alternate and explore new directions. The result is a mesmerizing orgy of intense metal, drenched in something I can only describe as noise rock. Just listen to opener 'Rosarosa' or 'Sweet T' and you'll know what I mean.
You'll also understand why I mentioned Living Colour. Apart from the typical post-hardcore screams, there are some clean vocals which remind me a lot of Vernon Reid, not only in timbre but also in vocal lines. It's a fresh approach I must say, one that definitely gained my interest. And then there are even some more surprises, like the instrumental, almost post-rock resembling, 'VII' or the soundscapes in 'Lemon Cupcake'.
In all, these are quite complex songs with a flair for both fierce riffs and insane experimentation. You'll notice that there are some damn good musicians behind this project, capable of adding thrash metal to hardcore and post-rock to progressive noise, or something like that. I have to admit that I was a bit weary of the post-hardcore tag, which isn't really my cup of tea. Yet, after listening to this, it really feels like this genre has started to evolve again, courtesy of A Time To Hope...
punk / metal
Sometimes I have no idea what genres to put on top of a review. Usually, that's quite easy, mainly because the band or label tells us. However, in some cases nobody tells us exactly what it is, so I take a look at the band's facebook page for more information. In this case, even that is pretty impossible because these guys mention Punk, D-beat, Crust, Hardcore, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Speed Metal, Progressive Metal and Gothic Metal.
So let's play the elimination game.
There is very little gothic metal to be found here, certainly not in the overdressed female fronted scene, so let's kick that genre out. Punk, D-beat, crust and hardcore are quite similar and since they're all here, we can just combine them into the tag 'punk'. Fast guitars, uptempo drums and an in-your-face attitude, that's what we get on these five tracks, reminding me of some old school punk bands and acts like Motorhead.
On to metal then, judging from the vocals, we're dealing with a death metal singer, or someone close to that. Some of the riffs say thrash metal and the overall tempo says speed metal, leaving us with progressive metal and black metal to be detected. I can't find them, except maybe for the blackened element in a very, very, very old school approach. So, out with progressive too since this is far away from acts like Dream Theater and company.
Right, what do we have left?
Well, we got four fierce songs, borrowing elements from thrash metal and hardcore punk, raging on in sheer intensity and influenced by horror movies. In fact, some horror movie samples are present on this album too. There is also an Ennio Morricone like outro, which obviously is somewhat calmer than the four nutkickers we heard before. Recommended? Well, if you like your music to be fast, vile and dirty, you should get your hands on this piece of work, that's for damn sure.
thrash metal / hardcore
Oh what fun, writing a review on this page and suddenly seeing our provider refresh the page, asking me to log in again, only to see that the whole damn thing is lost. Now, I'm not an aggressive man but bullshit like this really pissed me off. I actually threw a drinking glass through the living room in pure anger. Believe it or not but it bounced against a pillow and landed on a blanket. The damn thing is completely unharmed.
(Unlike my mood, fucking Weebly...)
Anyway, nevermind that, I'll just write the review again, copying the text on a regular basis so this stuff can never happen again. On the other hand, something else will probably happen in this stinking, fucked up and dystopian society we are forced to live in. And with that sentence, we're right back into reviewing this brutal piece of work. This album is one massive indictment towards our current society, raging on with sheer aggression.
Kicking off with two fierce and fast piece of hardcore, Slovakian act Wastage immediately makes an impact. Their main influences are thrash metal bands like Sepultura or Slayer and hardcore acts including Biohazard and Sick Of It All. The latter are certainly present in the opening tracks 'Away From The Darkness' and 'Slave To The System'. I can easily see the moshpits forming when Wastage blasts off on stage.
From then on, the tone is set and Wastage opens all registers to make this a brutal album. However, there is still plenty of room for some melody, some awesome thrash metal riffs and a bit of experiment. 'Ham-Let' and 'You Can't Stop' even bring bands like Soilwork or Machine Head to mind. Even Meshuggah appears in my list of references. That being said, yes this album is quite diverse, even if you keep in mind that this is one brutal motherfucker.
Honestly, I'm not really a fan of hardcore music, but this album is way more than that and that is why I am recommending it. Thrashers and hardcore fans can blindly trust Wastage to come up with something good, something that even old school death metal fans can appreciate. So check it out but whatever you do, be careful. This will spike your adrenaline and there might be some innocent victims in the aftermath.
I need a smoke...fucking Weebly...
post-hardcore / sludge
Well, time for something dark, heavy and relentless. In fact, after listening to this piece of work, I wonder how the hell the city of Copenhagen is still standing. One gig by this Danish act should be sufficient to send shockwaves of destruction over the city, making it instantly collapse. At least, that is what I envision while listening to 'Loss'. This is one incredibly heavy piece of work, a possible soundtrack for the apocalypse.
At first listen, LLNN could easily be placed among bands like AmenRa, Eyehategod, Cult Of Luna and company. With heavy, monolithic riffing, pounding drums and fierce hardcore vocals, this act created something brutal and crushing. Yet, after a while, some other influences seem to shine through. There seem to be electronics here, sci-fi soundtrack material and other haunting soundscapes.
Of course, all of those are drenched in sheer brutality. LLNN rarely lets the listener rest and, even when the intensity goes down, they never really lose their grasp. Well, 'grasp', more like a stranglehold perhaps. 'Rapture' and 'Monolith' are harsh, unforgiving and overwhelming slabs of noise. 'Calamity' goes even further, even to the point where it all becomes a little too much for me. Me, a seasoned fan of extreme music who is used to a lot.
And then we're not even halfway through this album. There's three more of those nutripping tracks left to discover, including the well-varied title track 'Loss'. I'll leave the other two songs up to you, but beware, this stuff is way too harsh and intense for most people. I've actually pressed 'stop', not because I don't like it (I do like it) but because my cat suddenly looks frightened by this. She had never been frightened by music before. So, LLNN, perhaps that is a compliment...
rock / alternative
Why isn't this one of the biggest bands in the international alternative rock scene yet? Why did it take ten years before this act reached me? Why does quality have to struggle so hard while generic rubbish effortlessly fills the charts? I guess that's one of the reasons why I like the underground music scene so much, because those artists genuinely believe in their music and follow their own path.
The Veer Union once was a one-man project by Vancouver, BC (Canada) resident Crispin Earl. He started his journey in 2001, back then as 'Everything After'. Gradually however, the whole became a bit more serious and several members were added to the band. They changed their name to The Veer Union and suddenly got the attention of Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. He recorded two songs 'Watch You Lose' & 'Make Believe' for his solo album 'Tommyland'.
Some people might know their song 'Seasons', which was the theme song for WWE's 2009 Backlash event. In fact, the music on this album is all perfect wrestling-theme material and sounds very familiar to me in that aspect. However, it hasn't all been sunshine and happiness for Crispin, who suffered from depression over the years. With this album, Crispin celebrates the tenth birthday of his debut, reviving five pre-Veer Union tracks and adding for brand new songs.
As a regular WWE watcher, I immediately recognized the euphoric and theatrical atmosphere on opener 'Defying Gravity' and the song 'Heart Attack'. They immediately reminded me of the huge arena bands with a massive sound and a very modern sound. Even more so, I'm overwhelmed by the level of songwriting and the emotional approach to the vocals. Besides, I dig the strong sound of the guitars.
Musically, you might compare this to a modern day alternative rock version of metal. If that is too complicated, perhaps I should throw in some bands, but I know very little bands in this particular genre. There is a bit of Muse, some Linkin Park, a touch of Foo Fighters, a hint of Radiohead, a whiff of Deftones and a tad of Incubus. I'm not sure if that is an extremely accurate description but if you're into those bands, you'll definitely love The Veer Union.
While 'Defying Gravity' remains my absolute favorite track on this album, I have to mention some other brilliant pieces of work. The uplifting rockers 'Watch You Lose' and 'I don't care' can make any festival crowd go nuts and the great ballad 'I Said' has some serious hit potential. I also really dig the electronics in the awesome song 'Make Believe'. Oh well, let's just face it, I really like this album. It's one of the best modern arena rock things available right now.
sludge / hardcore / post metal
Alright, let's throw a bit of sheer aggression through my speakers. Maybe that will wake me up today. There's a big possibility it will wake me up, slap me silly and leave to die in a puddle of my own blood, but I'm willing to give it a shot for the sake of amateur journalism. So bear with me while I try to find my way though a thick cesspool of aggression, dark brutality and pummeling percussion.
Throwers is a band from Germany, founded in 2011. Since then, they have been recording, touring, recording, touring, recording and touring. They shared the stages with acts like Celeste, Ken Mode and Mantar, among others. I can only imagine how destructive those evening must have been, judging from what I'm listening to right now. This goes beyond sludge. In fact, I think these guys just discovered the hardcore version of sludge metal.
Anyway, to hell with all the classification-attempts because those seem to be wasted on Throwers. Somehow, I think being asking about their influences, they will probably answer 'the heaviest of any genre'. The result is a crushing amalgamation of sludge, post-metal, grindcore and hardcore. The only thing that seems to be a constant, is the thick earthquake-causing sound coming from all the instruments and the pissed-off vocals.
To give you an example of how heavy Throwers actually are, let's check out some of the possible influences. Besides the fierce outbursts of metal, there are a few calm passages. Yet, instead of being atmospheric soundscapes, Throwers turn them into noise-drones. Furthermore, there are very few of those breathers. The rest is sheer throatsnapping insanity, complex, technical, fierce, brutal and punishing.
In Seven songs, Throwers guide you through a dirty and impending world where everything that represents beauty is mercilessly destroyed. I'm not going to name a favorite track, because the whole damn thing is absolutely overwhelming. Fans of sludge, noise rock, hardcore, grindcore or anything 'fucking heavy' for that matter, should check this out. If you survive, you will be so damn satisfied by this piece of mayhem...
hard rock / blues
Several months I go I got acquainted with French heavy rockers Flayed. Even though they sounded, and still sound, old school as hell, I've always regarded them as a breath of fresh air in today's hard rock scene. With this new album, 'Monster Man', they seem to secure their spot in this scene, which is a good thing. The world needs more of this bluesy rock 'n' roll. So get your old jeans, lace up your boots and join me in front of the stage for this one.
The album opens with the highly energetic 'Release The Fever', a song truly deserving of its title. This is about as seventies sounding as it can possibly get. Up-tempo drums, a bit punk-rock like perhaps, strong riffs and awesome Hammond sounds. Above all of these, the rough voice of Renato appears, perfectly fitting in with the music. From there on, it's rock 'n' roll party all the way.
There's a number of bands that come to mind when I listen to 'Monster Man'. Deep Purple is the first one, especially in the track 'Monster Man'. Shortly after Living Colour, Gary Moore, Guns 'n Roses and Led Zeppelin appear. At one point, I even called 'No Surrender' a Pantera blues song. I don't really know where that comes from but it certainly shows how powerful this music can actually be.
The album alternates between fierce rockers, like the massive 'Stanced' to high level blues tracks, like 'Novel'. My favorite lies somewhere in between, namely the groovy 'Up Above'. I would like to recommend this piece of work to every fan of decent rock music and certainly to the old school blues fans. It's a great deviation from the often over-distorted metal scene of today, a stunning flashback into the time where it all started...
Talent has no age. I've seen twelve year old musicians awe experienced artists before and I'm no longer surprised when a young band take a seasoned act with them on tour as support act. American combo Black Tide signed their first record deal when the vocalist was only fifteen years old, played Ozzfest, toured with Bullet For My Valentine and gained a lot of attention from press and audiences all around.
In a way that shouldn't be much of a surprise. What Black Tide do, is not out of the ordinary or extremely renewing but they do know how to come up with something that will please a lot of metal heads. Blending old school thrash and speed metal with modern day post-hardcore and arena-rock, these youngsters surely have made a name for themselves. Perhaps it's a matter of being there at the right time with the right music.
The result is simply an awe-inspiring album, well-varied and perfectly suited for a decent headbanging session. The songs aren't too complex but do have a certain level of musical craftsmanship that not everyone seems to possess. I don't think it's easy to crawl into a rehearsal studio and create something that will maintain its quality, both in small venues and on large festival stages.
Bands that come to mind while listening to this piece of work include Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Escape The Fate and Thrice to even Foreigner and Kiss. That might give you an idea about the immense versatility within this band. I can easily imagine a large audience screaming along with tracks like 'Chasing Shadows' or 'Sex Is Angry'. The latter wins the price for song title of the year.
In all, I'm quite positive that this album too will gain these guys a lot of attention and loads of gigs in the near future. The old school fans will love those brilliant guitar harmonies while the younger fans will adore the sheer power coming from the music. Hell, even fans of decently written power-pop will be awed by the level on songwriting. That being said, check it out, you'll be in for a wild ride with Black Tide...
Before I started listening to the album, I was going through the press release when I saw the band photo. From the computer screen, five cheery young men were staring at me with big smiles on their faces. It looked like there is absolutely nothing to worry about in this world, even though the setting of the picture was quite dark and gloomy. However, when I finally pressed play, hell broke loose and before I realized, I was drenched in filthy post-hardcore.
The band was formed in 2008 and hails from the French city of Nantes. Their main influences seem to come from modern hardcore, metalcore and djent, a genre I only recently got acquainted with and to me still sounds a bit like the other two combined. The combination of all these influences result in a crushingly heavy and painfully aggressive album. Yet, there's plenty of room for melodic passages, reminding me of some melodic death and dark metal bands.
The riffs are stunning on this album, and so are the lead guitars. They don't only sound more or less completely similar to their influences but also to some modern day doom metal bands, which is a plus for this album. The tempo usually is quite slow, except in some tracks, like the intense outburst 'Epsilon'. That being said, there's quite some variation, even though the overall atmosphere is quite similar to a spiked booth being thrown in your face.
Post-hardcore fans will absolutely be awed by this album, I can promise you that. Not only the quite impressive set of riffs and leads but also the typical screams. I often hear French lyrics but they're mostly indistinguishable from their English counterparts. Personally, I really dig the instrumental breathers like 'II', right before the title track once again blasts out in a massive rage and crushing intensity.
So check it out if you're into this kind of music as Ellipse certainly managed to come up with a fresh and highly modern metal sound, one that just might define the future of the French core scene. If you're not a post-hardcore fan, most of what you can hear on this debut full-length will probably sound like a hurtful slab of chaotic noise, but I don't think that's Ellipse's problem. They will probably just keep on smiling and crushing at the same time.
If you're from America, you know what Upstate NY brings: sick hardcore that is brutal and gets sadly classified as metalcore. I have seen around, not that metalcore is a bad label but so many metalcore bands ruined the genre so the tag scares some people, including me Yikes!
So yeah, back to Malfunction's highly convincing brutal hardcore. I can see lots of kids getting new scars at their shows, I haven't seen them yet but am anxious as hell. But I'll be the guy in a safe zone because I know the peps are gonna destroy each other! Hopefully they come through Baltimore or Philly so I can get to the show (hey guys, put me on the guest list ha ha - or contact me and I'll set up the show even).
Anyway if you were into Victory Records in their true heydays when they were releasing the best of the best hardcore records in the day then you need to get this in your arsenal and prepare to eat the floor and pick up your teeth, especially when the track "Drift" kicks in. I totally fucked up my office hitting repeat a few times. Top to bottom this is a great debut album and I'll be watching these fuckers for a while.
punk / noise rock
Some bands fall victim to the overwhelming amount of releases we still have to go through. As I mentioned in my column about this past year (read), some albums have been delayed and others might never be reviewed because we simply can't handle all of them. Then again, some albums suddenly seem to pop-up from somewhere in the huge pile and draw my attention. This is one of them.
Death Of Youth is a band from Germany, founded in 2013. Their main influence seems to be hardcore punk, and that have been what made me weary of it at first. Yet, as you can see, I underhandedly added the term 'noise-rock' to the genres above. There's a good reason for that too, otherwise I wouldn't do that. Opener '55116' really is much more of a noise rock anthem than a punk song.
For starters, there's the tempo. Death Of Youth seems to prefer a mid tempo approach, at least on most occasions. That doesn't affect the aggression and crushing spirit of the whole by the way. The raw, pissed-off vocals certainly have that in-your-face punk attitude but I can see this song being played by Melvins just as much as by Agnostic Front. There's just as much Godflesh, Winter or Tool as there is Hüsker Dü or Gorilla Biscuits, to name a few.
Even when the tempo goes up, there's still is experimental, noisy approach, resulting in eerie feedback noises here and there. And then there's also 'Eine jugend, die es nicht wert ist, erzählt zu werden', a song the combines sludge, shoegaze and blacked doom, or something like that. This is a massive song. If this still is hardcore punk, it's probably one of my all-time favorite hardcore punk songs, that's for sure.
This album is one of the reasons why I still refuse to like or dislike certain genres. I don't consider myself a hardcore fan but I'm absolutely sure that there are hardcore bands that I will like. Same with noise rock. To be quite honest, I have no idea how to classify Death Of Youth ('Die Nacht Von Lissabon' could have been a Burzum song for crying out loud) but I certainly like what they came up with. So check it out dammit!
hardcore / sludge
Ok then, one more slab of brutal aggression and adrenaline before I leave the heavy guitars behind for today. This time we're in Switzerland with power mongers Colossus Fall. If you're into acts like Converge, Isis, Keelhaul, Calibre, Hatebreed and Mastodon, be sure to check it out. If you're not, my work is done here. Oh, how easy can the life of a music reviewer be, right? Well, sometimes, but in some cases things get a little more complex.
Because yes, Colossus Fall seems to be influenced by the bands I mentioned in the previous paragraph but we're definitely not done here. Vocals and some of the riffs remind me of death metal acts like Gorefest. Yet, there's also a massive hardcore influence present and we shouldn't forget about the whole post-metal and sludge craze. There's just so much going on that it's not easy to grab this.
The songs are quite short, something which in this case translates into sheer intensity. Yet, even then Colossus Fall manages to make complex tracks, a bit like (and here's yet another genre) mathcore bands have been doing in the past few years. At point, the level of experiment and complexity goes so far that I suddenly invented the term 'sludge-jazz'. But don't let that scare you, you can still bang your head into a bleeding pulp.
Ok, one more genre. There's blast beats present at some point. So, black metal? Sure, why not. Hell, even Meshuggah comes to mind and nobody knows what kind of metal that is exactly. So let's just say that we're dealing with a kick in the balls with boots with spikes as large as some Swiss mountain tops. There you go, you have been warned...