lördag 20 augusti 2011

Life made me Hardcore

Dead Language - Dead Language
2011, Iron Lung Records

There's something strangely disconcerting about Dead Language's music. There is an almost overwhelmingly oppressive sense of claustrophobia, rage and paranoia coming off from from these songs, reminding me of Corrosion Of Conformity's Animosity record or the first Die Kreuzen album. And while I can't quite put my finger on it, there is a feeling of a lot more going on here than meets the eye. As if there are hidden layers somewhere in there that I just can't seem to get at. I also get a distinctly Black Flagish angst-ridden vibe that isn't really present in the music itself so much as in the overall tone of this lp. Dead Language (which feature members from Iron Lung, Walls, Low Threat Profile, Running For Cover and the mighty No Comment) plays a nasty form of heavy and fast hardcore that's neither very punk nor very metal, but altogether its own, unique, entity. At times it reminds me a bit of Total Abuse and Ceremony as well as the aforementioned Low Threat Profile or Iron Lung, but Dead Language never really goes all in on the power violence and grind elements, but rather does it's own thing, incorporating those elements without overstating them. The majority of the tracks are short and fast and ferocious, with a real sense of urgency to them, almost panicky, with a lot of emotional turmoil and tempo shifts weaving in and out. There are plenty of hooks and breakdowns and tons of amazing riffs but they never last more than a few seconds, which fit these songs perfectly. The vocals are fucking amazing as well, sounding at times like a hungrier, nastier lower-register Mike Williams (EyeHateGod and Arson Anthem). There is almost no breathing space at all within these nine songs except for maybe the nine minute closing experimental track, fittingly titled Misanthropy, but that's what makes Dead Language's music so utterly devastating. It makes you feel like you can't breathe; as if your life is in danger. I've already lost count of how many times I've listened to this. This could, seriously, be one of the best hardcore records I have ever heard.

torsdag 18 augusti 2011

Splitsville pt 2: Q: And crusties? A: And crusties.

Alpinist/Masakari - Split
2011, Southern Lord

Masakari is rapidly becoming one of really big names in modern hardcore, and the reason why is plain to hear on this brand new split with fellow german crustgrinders Alpinist. And as much I respect the latter, it is essentially for Masakari that I keep returning to this split lp. The material they unleash here is so many fucking leagues ahead of the curve of what anybody else is doing right now it's quite honestly disturbing. They display not only amazing musicianship but also absolutely stellar song writing. These aren't your ordinary everyday glue-huffing crusties who accidentally stumbled into a practice space and started a band "because they could", but fucking solid musicians, capable of writing truly memorable and epic hardcore songs. They incorporate metal elements into their crusty brand of grind/hardcore, both from the doomier side of the spectrum as well as from the death metal side of things. They also slip in a lot of melody and breathing room into the songs giving them a much bigger depth and accessibility, while at the same time also giving them a sense of complexity that makes them not quite as easy to penetrate and figure out as their previous material. These eight tracks are by far their best material yet and I can only hope the band stays the course set out on this split.

Alpinist plays a very similar style but focuses more on the basic staples of the genre; heavy breakdowns, d-beat styled metallic hardcore blasts of midtempo fury, with alot of simplistic melody thrown into the mix, as well as some really cool black metal influenced bits. I actually really love what they do here, but it pales in comparison to Masakari's material. Sorry, guys. It's not you, it's me.

Use bandcamp to stream and/or download this split and check out the lyrics as well.

Masakari's bandcamp
Alpinist's bandcamp

onsdag 17 augusti 2011

Do you want total war? / Unleash the beast in man once more?

Total War - 8 Track Demo

On this brand new demo Vancouver's Total War unleash eight tracks in just over nine minutes and it's all about raging hardcore punk. I hear similarities to such notables as World Burns To Death and Tragedy, as well as an apparent love for Japanese and Scandinavian metallic dis-core. It's unceasingly aggressive and anthemic yet somehow vaguely melodic. The pace is intense and seldom drops below whiplash speed but it never gets anywhere near boring; the songs simply aren't long enough to become dull. Each and every one of them is like a punch in the face, with lots of ripping metallic riffs and lots of bouncy d-beats. Nothing fancy just shit that gets the job done. Me likes.

Obsessor - Obsession EP
2011, Tankcrimes

Here we have two fairly short tracks of perfectly executed old school deathrash with a huge dose of crusty punkiness thrown into the mix. This is raging hardcore as much as it is metal and I keep thinking of British 80's metalpunk act Warfare when I hear this. This is a killer ep with a really cool retro-style of metal that's much in the same vein as that of Toxic Holocaust, only rougher and less frilly (and considering the almost complete lack of frills in Toxic Holocaust's music you know this is some rapid fire no-nonsense shit). The pace is frantic but never really blistering fast, just thunderous midtempo blasts with a huge Motörhead, G.I.S.M and Venom influence, with gruff shouted, rather than screamed, vocals. The production is kind of raw and rugged but it works pretty well even though it feels a bit too brittle at times. I'm pretty pissed off that there are only two measly songs on this thing. More! Now!

Suffering Quota - Suffering Quota Demo

This demo blew me clear the fuck away on the first initial listen and that's not something that happens very often. These five short tracks are some of the very best I've heard in the genre for quite some time. It's a rare thing to have a blend such as this where really memorable grindcore bleed so easily into both hardcore and thrash as well as death metal and to have it played so astonishingly well is nigh on unheard of. The songs are all short but they are constantly moving forward, continually throwing in little twists and turns into the mix. I really dig the vocals as well, because they aren't the usual fare of high pitched shrieks and cookie monster growls. They rather remind me of Scott Hulls vocals for Pig Destroyer. In fact alot of the music on this way too fucking short demo remind me of Pig Destroyer. Perhaps that is why Suffering Quota's music clicked so strongly with me. I'm truly looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

All three above releases are available for free downloads. Just check the links and you'll find them.

tisdag 16 augusti 2011

Serving Time In The Middle Of Nowhere

Meth Drinker - Meth Drinker
2011, Always Never Fun Records

On their self titled debut New Zealanders Meth Drinker set the bar for what's to come right at the onset. Opener Deprivation is a plodding, ragged, nasty piece of downtuned punkfuelled hatesludge. There is no beauty or light to be found here. There isn't anything even remotely positive that you can draw from this album. Only a damp sense of failure and angst, of drug induced psychosis, misdirected rage and self-destruction. This is the soundtrack to a decaying life of rotting teeth and substance abuse and a slowly deteriorating surrounding world that doesn't care if you live or die. This is pitch black, devastatingly depressive shit. But it's also very, very good. There are obvious shades of EyeHateGod clearly present but that in no way detracts from the force of these rumbling, feedback-laden dirges of death, failure and spite. None of the nine tracks are overly long or in any way boring or droney, which is too often the case with this style of music. This is doom/sludge with a huge side-order of Flipper/Black Flag snottiness and chaos attached to it, as well as some obligatory Black Sabbath riffing. Meth Drinker in no way re-write the book or anything. They just do what they do really, really well. Even if I do feel like I need a long, hot shower after listening to it.

söndag 14 augusti 2011

Apocalypse Wow!

Hail! Hornet - Disperse The Curse
2011, Relapse Records

On their sophmore release Hail! Hornet brandish a bigger brush and use a broader palette of colours than on their self-titled debut, incorporating a greater variety of styles, from near grindcore and hardcore thrash, to bluesy sludge and NWOBHM-style riffs and more. Not only that, but on this album they manage to incorporate these disparate elements more succinctly and less stealthily than on its predecessor. The song writing is tighter, the vocal patterns are sharper, the riffs more memorable and the drumming fucking stellar. This is a huge step up from an already huge debut. Everything about Disperse The Curse is monumentally ferocious. From the backwards spoken passage and the thunderous opening of Shoot The Pigs to the thrashy, bass-jangly Suicide Belt, to the cavernous dirge-like closing track, Blacked Out In Broad Daylight listening to DTC is akin to being persistently pummelled with liver shots while someone screams rabidly in your face. There is seriously not one single song on this album that doesn't blow me away and does not make me want to break expensive things. The production is wicked heavy and stripped down with a killer bass presence. Did I mention the drumming? I just can't seem to stop listening to it. It's, simply, that good.