BEG – S/T 7″

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BEG – S/T 7″ (2016)

Superhuman chaos grind from a member of Art of Burning Water (‘PhD-beat‘ 10/10) and a member of The Afternoon Gentlemen – so restless and heavily encrypted it could be both bands playing at once. Beg churn out the most challenging spread of riff/blasts you’re likely to encounter this year, segmenting their tracks into hundreds of brutal hurdles that hurt the brain as much as the ears, and underneath the bursts of flak, a constant nauseous whirl of soft noise exarcebates the pervading sense of unease. Krupskaya and Narcosis both hit this level of rare intensity in years passed, but neither did it in this warped manner, bringing in serrated bits of repurposed AmRep sludge and maniac powerviolence and often executed as surgically as extreme metal. A truly brilliant seven minutes of mastergrind 7″.

RECENT, DECENT: AUGUST

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A slow month on the site, blame it on the glimpse of summer and live music. Here’s a massive haul of new tracks – there’s a lot of omissions and some here deserve longer write-ups, but keeping up with such a hefty batch of releases is no easy task.

In the last few years there’s been something of a doom boom in the UK, and while the quality hasn’t matched the quantity across the board, there’s still a lot of innovators pushing open some breathing space by putting out heavy tunes that make your head feel like it’s in a giant garlic crusher. Belfast’s Slomatics are definitely one of those aforementioned experts in sadistic tone warfare, and their fifth LP, Future Echo Returns, is a long They Live style brawl of volcanic riffs and repeated decreases in tempo. The grand finale ‘Into The Eternal’ is a must if you were disappointed by Pallbearer’s recent cover of Type O Negative. Also out on the same label (Black Bow) are Tides Of Sulfur, who have a cadaverous death metal take on sludge that goes for the graveyard groove of Coffins, the indecent depth of Warhorse and Cianide, and the journeying inventiveness of Slabdragger, punctuated with inconsiderately heavy doom beatdowns.

Skinny Girl Diet have their new LP Heavy Flow coming out soon, and the tracks so far are confrontational, noise-drenched grunge future classics – ‘Yeti’ beats at least 50% of Nirvana classics at their own game, but they’re definitely a punk band and crucial for fans of Action Swingers and fellow Londoners Comanechi (RIP).

There’s another month or so until the remainder of On Strange Loops touches down, but stupidly advanced extreme metallers Mithras have two tracks out ahead of its release, ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis‘ and ‘The Statue On The Island‘. As before, their infuriatingly vivid technicality and huge, awe-inspiring atmospherics make Morbid Angel look like amateurs, and between his expertise in astrophysics and total mastery of multiple instruments, you wonder if Leon Macey is of this earth at all…?

You definitely don’t have to be freakishly gifted to make savage noise though, after all, we’re Only Human. This new Reagent Records band from Yorkshire have already been compared to YDI a couple of times, a fair comparison given they deal in blurry, cyclical, nightmare hardcore punk on their demo, though there’s also slobbering The Accused style yelling and hints of the Stupids and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers. Also digging up an ancient USHC sound and from Leeds or thereabouts are Whipping Post, and their first demo Taste The Whip is some seriously addled crawling fuzz hardcore that pretty much picks up off where Mob Rules left off, making miserabler improvements on later Black Flag and bands like Nomos – the track ‘Pull The Cord’ especially is a heaving sleepwalk stomp.

Not done yet… Also from the locality and leaning towards a classic US sound are Natterers, whose debut demo is made up of upbeat rock’n’roll indebted instrumentation (the kind that Regulations and Adolescents both were so good at utilising in their songwriting) and dominated by loud unabashed vocals.

London’s Dym might rub up hardened heavy fans the wrong way, but the dreamy, queasy, mesmeric melodies that lull, lurch and snap throughout their dead sick of trying EP are a welcoming mix of Hum, Mahumodo and mid 90s Dischord emo, all very introspective and art school – not that there’s anything wrong with that, and if you’re after more contemplative matter in the screamo vein, Nottingham’s Underdark present a very intricate, refined version of black metal on their first, Mourning Cloak. The slick post-rock production bolsters their pretty compositions immeasurably as they ascend towards strained emotional climaxes, but for the most part they knuckle down with swaying, negative riffs and intermittent blasts, placing themselves along established BM expanders like Wolves In The Throne Room and (inevitably!) Deafhaven.

 

PERFECT BLUE – A WEEK OF FIRES

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PERFECT BLUE – A WEEK OF FIRES (2016)

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: JULY

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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.P is 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.

 

 

BLOOD EAGLE – DEMO ’16

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BLOOD EAGLE – DEMO’ 16 (2016)

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.

HEX – DEMO

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HEX – DEMO (2016)

Really new, really gritty hardcore punk from Leeds (where else?) with throat ruining vocals and a straight forward negative approach, alternating between crunchy midpace stomps and brief lurches in to faster gears – kinda youth crew sounding, crucially without the heaps of dumb posturing and limited scope. If you lapped up Teef and Mangled Youth when they were around, you’ll dig the trend-free and undeniable radness of Hex, who have got it spot on with their sarcastic spiteful lyrics, rattly bass and concise song length. Reckon they would be killer live!

LUGUBRIOUS CHILDREN – 7″

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LUGUBRIOUS CHILDREN – 7″ (2016)

Another release caught speeding from hyperfast laughterblast trio Lugubrious Children, who are carrying on a fine tradition of ‘ridiculously tight powerviolence/grind from Leeds.’ Ben Jones’ drumming sounds like drumsticks left in a tumble dryer on a particularly gnarly spin cycle, Henroy’s nifty guitar is ultra precise and to the point, and the longest gap between two different sections on the whole record is around five seconds. The new recording of ‘Alone Time’ is way more vicious and unforgiving than before, and all the other songs detonate skin-stripping jets of blasts and riff fragments at you like a normal band put through a wood chipper. In jokes are thick on the ground, and it’s a must for fans of Spazz, Hummingbird of Death and er, Famine, Dog Eggs, Ona Snop, The Afternoon Gentlemen…