BRUXA MARIA – HUMAN CONDITION (2016)
An absolutely terrifying, pummeling noisepunkrock full length from London that ploughs its own furrow straight in to a petrol station. Bruxa Maria are quite new, but their overwhelmingly negative and distinctive sound is so honed and callously loud, caked in filthy overdriven noise and about as approachable as a suicide bomber. After the pretty innocuous opener ‘The Hipsters and The Heathens’, it becomes apparent they’re alarmingly adept at finding oblique angles from which to punish as they implode in to a repetitive Framtid death roll, and throughout Human Condition, the eerie, vicious and manipulated vocals of Gill Dread surface in gushing torrents of monochromatic riff detritus which would smother any other voice. They offer up Unsane and Breach as references, and it makes sense, but you can hear anything from L.O.T.I.O.N. to Nailbomb in their freakish, roaming vehicle, designed to constantly aggravate, surprise and repulse. At points, Human Condition is just as abrasive as the Full of Hell/The Body collaboration, or the new Shit And Shine grindcore atrocity – at others, it settles in to an angular post-hardcore (or even grunge) style, and never does it feel forced or contrived. Gorgeously weird and definitely bad for you.
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.
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.
DEEPSLEEPER – EP + BLEAK (2016)
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.
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.
SAVAGE REALM – NOCTURNAL SAVAGERY (2016)
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.
HERD MOVER – VOL.1 (LIVE) (2016)
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.
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″ (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…
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.