perfect blue’s first recording is a considered, savvy rush of knotted chord changes, discordant harmonies and agonising emotions, all coming in at under eight minutes. It’s top quality lofi screamo, attained without resorting to any of the wincing, self indulgent idiosyncrasies of the style – instead, a week of fires has a real identity and consistency throughout. ‘palisades’ and ‘solitude/absence’ have dramatic, forceful riffs that jolt up and down, whetting their soft guitar tone in to a sharp weapon, and when the inevitable but loose jangles slither in to the mix during ‘altered state’, they’re despairingly dark and bookended with fitful blasts. ‘shattered skin’ brings the demo to a close with a wrenching melody that needs no punch behind it to be so memorable, but it’s worth skipping track four if you’re allergic to samples.
RECENT, DECENT: a spree of where it’s at tunes from the abundance of excellent new things that keep cropping up.
Doe drop two videos in two weeks from their new record Some Things Last Longer Than You. They’ve got doubts about sincerity, but their punk-pop is bullshit-free and doesn’t patronise you at all – it’s adult and feelgood and catchy, especially ‘Last Ditch‘. It’s another lesson in understated drumming excellence by Jake (of The Exhausts, City Dweller, Tremors, and er TAT), and Nicola’s vocals have got some of the best vowel inflections ever.
Blown Out have served up a sliver of their new record, New Cruiser, which you can listen to here:
Last June they released easily the best psychedelic release of 2015, the Jet Black Hallucinations LP, listening to which was like inhaling space vacuum for kicks, and you can only hope the new one out on Riot Season next month proves to be as thrilling and fatal. Similarly lengthy, boggling and from Newcastle is Khünnt‘s new LP/song, the 38 minute long Failures, which you can attempt to digest at Echoes and Dust. It sounds like a demon sentenced to drown inside a giant church bell at the bottom of the ocean, being knocked about by evil whales.
Both sides of the split below have surfaced now, which won’t take long at all to listen to:
Leicester’s Nothing Clean are improving on their infuriatingly slippy and complex powerviolence with every release, Ona Snop on the other hand are a bit mincier and yesss come on, and the fact that they can use Broken Teeth as a cheap gag is great – still, horror grinders Chestburster make them both look like pensioners in the fast lane holding up the guy behind in the Ferrari. The Troma E.Pis a visionary mini-epic that combines sound collage, studio-refined grind and horror movie aesthetics, with truly remarkable results.
Betrayer released the Demonstrating Aggression demo last month, promising thrash and duly delivering, but in a way which will definitely appeal more to fans of Unearth and other beefy metalcore groups from the early 2000s than old school purists – although Dan of Renounced absolutely masters the sneering villain vocals. Northern wolfpack crew Control are playing the exact type of bright, melodic hardcore that people like to champion, but only if it’s from the US… Something of a shame, seeing as they’ve patiently reared and evolved a youth crew sound over the past few years to the point where their own tracks come across stronger and more full of conviction than the Turning Point cover.
Manchester’s Big Machine are two ex Hammers members, and pretty much the only aspect they’ve kept moving forward from those heady crust days is their total refusal to do things in a straightforward manner. On the new demo Bigger Machine, Nick and Sacha break out contortionist punk that can’t decide if it’s seething or pleasant, with intricate folding riffs and perplexing direction changes around every corner. Only three tracks, but totally fascinating.
Last of all, if the JK Flesh and Sun Kil Moon collaboration at the beginning of the year rubbed you the wrong way, then Broadrick’s latest distort-techno LP Rise Above restores a sense of vitality to his work, as his dystopian, disorientating electronic flows and reveals at its own pace rather than serving as a diminished backing track. ‘Defector’ gives a good estimation of what the motorways of 2116 will sound like, while tracks like ‘Cast’ and’Conquered’ are like trudging through a marsh of slimy, burping bass.
Wicked heavy metal from five Leeds lads who just couldn’t help themselves and forged a demo that sounds like three lost B-sides from the glory days of European thrash. The lack of bullet belts and crap moustaches is disappointing, but that’s the only downside on an otherwise immaculate shot on target – ‘Stoneheart’ has so many classic diabolical metal moments that will forcibly bang the head of any self-respecting longhair past or present; ‘Syrinx’ could be on a lost compilation with Saxon, Tank and Angel Witch if it weren’t for the updated production and grim satan vocals. The best of it is saved for the eponymous final track, which has much more of a spikes and motorbikes feel to it, pulling alongside Iron Age and Stone Dagger stateside, Amulet and Aggressive Perfector more locally. Show it to your uncle who loves Motörhead and watch their eyes light up.
Lamenting, dejected heavy crust has been thin on the ground in the UK, but Deepsleeper from Plymouth are bringing about change with their initial efforts. Mature post-metal dissolves seamlessly in to their gruff sound, with a percussion free, Justin Broadrick styled introduction firmly establishing a wide, earthy tone and a torturous method of persistent smothered chugging that unravels across the two tracks of their EP, most of which is taken up by the marathon ‘Black Bile’. Thematically, they sit alongside xRepentancex with a fellow nihilistic vegan stance, but it makes more sense to trace their roots back through bands like Year Of The Flood, Fall of Efrafa and naisian. Standalone track ‘Bleak’ hauls unwieldy slabs of sludge out of a droning mire before snapping in to fast dbeat action with only a fraction of the track left. Fingers crossed they keep up the diversity moving forward.
Excellent post-punk played with such an eye-rolling, nonchalant attitude that it comes across like they’ve been coerced into writing songs against their will. The drums are so washy and distant, like they’ve been lifted from a cassette wedged in to a car stereo for twenty years; the uniform downpicked guitar lines are like a machinist approximation of East Bay Ray; the vocals are sarky, androgynous and on the brink of giving up – and it all makes for a brilliant, aesthetically honed demo. The faux-Cyrillic logo and bleak, functional artwork work so well with the lethargic approach, although when they open up in to ‘Figure In A Landscape’ and depart from the rusty pogo, that’s probably when they sound most unique and intriguing. The rest of the time, it’s like a Peckham discount shop version of obscure French post-punk/disco, which is the highest praise and heartiest recommendation.
Lich (RIP) already did the whole ‘effortlessly heaviest band in the UK’ thing for a few years, and now four members have decided to give it another shot as Savage Realm, who are resuming business by swapping out some of the crust/sludge leanings for hazy, otherworldly, hideously detuned death metal. The woozy tremolo melodies in ‘The Sea Of Claws’ and ‘So As Below’ sound like they’re being melted, and although they play loose in parts, it’s a case of giving you enough rope to slip around your neck before snapping tight with grinding, mechanical indifference. The guitars plummet down in to a gloopy murk so thick they don’t need copious amounts of distortion, so far down that you might miss the devastating beatdowns that they sneak in in between grim blasts and cavernous atmospherics. Every one of the four tracks is saturated with grisly character and conviction, and it’s hard to fathom who would dislike this, such is the quality.
Bonkers noise-rock with filthy, surreal punk doesn’t even come close. Herd Mover go at it like Cold Sweat, Every Time I Die, Lightning Bolt and Drunk In Hell all at once, and it would appear that they’re just a trio of vocals, guitar and drums – so much unnerving, sludgy noise from essentially two instruments. It’s grisly and unorthodox, like the songs themselves are drunk as shit but still pulling off these really impressive moves, and the vocals remain pretty nihilistic even when the tracks partially mellow out, usually in to less crazed but untrustworthy grooves that are likely to buckle and career back in to something nasty. The four songs go by in a blur of dense fuzz/octave and overdriven drums, both instruments played with zero subtlety until they reach closing plot twist ‘Everything’s Major’, a straight rocker with toxic attitude and a killer tone. Would go down a treat at Raw Power or in hell.