Hessian - Hessian
2011, Smoke And Dust
Belgian newcomers Hessian don't fuck about. They play hardcore-infused metal with a solid sense of dynamics and a really great song writing ability. These five short songs manage to hold your attention, even though they are rife with influences and manic nods to such diverse bands as Hatebreed, Trap Them, Converge, Entombed, Nomeansno and Black Flag. One would think it would get messy and a bit too frantic but due to their superb ability to write great songs it never gets muddled or unstructured. The music leans heavily towards the metal end of the spectrum with focus on aggression and crushing rythms. There are tons of short hooks and twists in the songs, but they never get in the way of the flow of them. Another huge plus is their vocalist, whose awesome aggressive tone never gets cookie monster-growly or shrieky, just old school hardcore shouting with a bit of a raspy edge to it. Hessian is definately a band worth checking out if you're into the heavier side of hardcore.
Integrity - Thee DestroyORR
2011, Holy Terror Records
Here we have the latest release from legendary hardcore kings Integrity, who these days have a different setup personel-wise than in their heyday. Still, they are clearly recognizeable as the same band, with their heavy metallic hardcore and occult-ish imagery. After last years amazing The Blackest Curse, Thee DestroyORR feels a bit like a step, if not back, then at least sideways, both production wise and in the sense that the material on the album isn't as strong as on TBC. Of the ten or so songs (not counting the 30 minute interview track) only a handful strike me as being of the standard I'm used to hearing from Integrity. At least half of these, in turn, have been previously released as EPs. Don't get me wrong, none of the other songs are bad. Quite the opposite. They just aren't of the same quality as We Are The End/Beneath Black Flames We Ride or Love Is The Only Weapon/Let The Night Roar. Soundwise, the production feels uneven and a tad muddy (and still somehow brittle) and I get the impression the songs were recorded in different session. A bit of a letdown even though the album is above par for the genre. It just isn't as great as Integrity can be.