SARCASM – TOTAL INSTITUTION (2016)
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.
LIVING WITH DISFIGUREMENT – POSTHUMOUS INDIGNITIES (2015)
A bit late to the gory party seeing as this was released in November, but then again, so are the band themselves – Posthumous Indignities comes six years after Living With Disfigurement’s debut gurgle, Thrill To The Terror Of Death, and the band’s silence since that sick/sickening EP suggested there would be no more material to come. A couple of line-up adjustments later and they’re back though, wielding a full-length of morbid and chunky death metal that you might want to disinfect before putting in your ears. You don’t have to be a goregrind fanatic to expose yourself to this record – there’s an almost sarcastic technicality that manifests in exaggeratedly evil riffs (occasionally veering on the theatrical perfection of black thrash) and grooves, along with sneering vocals and a generally rotten atmosphere that reeks of mid era Carcass. All the songs are so superbly written and memorable, and there’s a surplus of gruesome individual charm in Living With Disfigurement’s sound (‘Necrophilephile‘) that might very well surpass County Medical Examiners (‘Necrotic Apologues‘) and General Surgery, (‘Necrocriticism‘) if you’re craving a fix of exquisitely decomposed putridity.
SKY:LARK – LP2 (2016)
Few 7″s in recent years have been as rad as the Meadows / Sky:lark split on SuperFi in 2014; the Meadows side has two of their best back-breaking riff stampedes, the Sky:lark side so sharp and vicious sounding, with plenty of warped unmelodies and perversely catchy breaks. Of the two equally spot on bands, Sky:lark have been first to issue a hefty amount of new material in this LP, and it’s great to hear them challenging their previous template and still retaining all that nasty bite of their work so far. Passages of untamed saxophone blaring open and close shop on LP2, and between those two points Sky:lark introduce you to an excruciating and complex style of post-hardcore, not dissimilar to aspects of the last KEN mode album, but with a wicked tendency to untangle their pedantically heavy grooves in to beautiful guitar leads. ‘Big Rig’ lures with a cheery Minutemen bass that bounces in to a flailing breakdance of drum fills and whirlpool shredding. ‘Lam Elisa’ sounds like Ravachol covering Modern Life Is War, with some nifty staccato riff chopping straight out of Joey’s Kitchen. Often the tone takes dark directions, harking to distorted experimenters like Hoover and Engine Kid, but LP2 is adventurous, aggressive and skilled enough to warrant many years of repeated listens. I hope. Only been out a few weeks.
MURDER – DEMO (2016)
Split between Leeds and London, this debut demo from Murder has tried and tested characters uniting for more top quality chaotic hardcore punk, armed with a grating guitar tone and with a gauntlet of pit beats consistent all the way through the six tracks. They hone in on burly midpace tempos with major swing as well as precise rapid sections, and spray the tracks with streams of unhinged guitar leads in signature blown out punk shredder style – the evil scandi bends and grumpy vocals go down a treat and all. Partly Poison Idea, bits of Vogue come to mind, even Zero Boys by the time the demo bounces into ‘Reduce Me’. Bloody shreds of Perspex Flesh, the FLEX and DiE are stuck on this barbed wire brandishing demo, which is great news of course and goes a long way in explaining the high quality. I always planned to start a band called Murder but clearly got beat to it.