All Photos & Text by Matthew Grant Anson
The Power of the Riff, if nothing else, is an experience. It’s almost 12 hours of constant aural pummeling, the only reprieve coming in trips to the bar or time spent splayed out in the booths lining the Echo and Echoplex.
With over 20 bands playing (including the ones that played in a pre-party the prior evening), it can be a struggle differentiating the genres as your ear drums begin to cave in and your bar tab increases. Because of this, it’s hard to give a fair, objective review of each and every band because the experience of POTR is just so extreme. Freshness is a thing when confronting so many hours of music, and the feeling of excitement and apprehension before Opposition Rising was far different from the feeling of exhaustion, delirium, and the impossibly early start of a hangover that came with The Obsessed.
Still though, it would be a crime not to point out the highlights. While legacy acts like Final Conflict and From Ashes Rise were cool to see and certainly put on good shows, POTR’s strengths come in putting together a lineup that is modern and relevant. The grindy hardcore of Dead in the Dirt was crushing, the sheer heaviness of Mammoth Grinder floor shaking, and the fury and frustration of Replica authentic.
As of right now, you can get 40 to 50% off all the records and cassettes in the CVLT Nation Record Store!!! After a year of carrying music in our store, we are shutting it down and we are clearing out all our stock at the lowest prices you will find anywhere. CVLT Nation HQ is making the big move up North, so we are taking a break from the music retail business…so check out the record store for massive deals on titles from Neurosis, Deafheaven, Kylesa, Code Orange Kids, NAILS, Cursed, Ramesses, Noothgrush and many more!! Head over to the record store, no code required!
Vancouver, B.C. hardcore outfit Burning Ghats have employed Brad Boatright (All Pigs Must Die, Modern Life Is War) to master their new LP, Something Other Than Yourself. And, like the other releases from Audiosiege, this LP is no different in terms of the scope of heaviness. The sound that comes out is a furious mix of blackened hardcore with crust punk sentiments. Something Other Than Yourself crushes through ten tracks, laying waste to all that listen to it.
Starting off with “Cold People”, Burning Ghats employs an old school hardcore approach; the steady drumbeat meeting gruff vocals. “Hexes”, a fifty three second track, is downright mean; a blistering assault that, to put it bluntly, takes no prisoners. “Grief Ritual” is reminiscent of acts like Nails; short, intense bursts of pure aggression. Here, the group shows their grinding crust influence; blast beats and ripping guitars pepper the track. “Grief Ritual” is hard and menacing, a brutalizing twenty one seconds that rolls along like machine gun fire, tearing apart everything that stands in its way.
Featuring members of ULTRA//NEGATIVE, New Hampshire’s Bonethrone have released a four song demo upon the world. Unrelenting hardcore and power violence, this demo wreaks havoc.
The first track, “Empty”, is full of hardcore riffing and blast beats. Bonethrone pounds their way through two minutes of unrelenting brutality and mayhem. There’s little room to breathe on the track as it just suffocates the listener with drop-tuned guitars and thick bass. “Wither” is much of the same; force meeting an immovable object. These two tracks are juxtaposed by the last two, which have more of a sludge feel to them. “Confined” is much slower; a more doom oriented track that hits like a hammer over the skull of the listener. It’s tough as nails hardcore blended with metallic influence, culminating in utter destruction. The last track on the demo, “Plagued”, combines all these elements of hardcore, metal, and power violence into one neat little package; a fitting end to the demo.
Bonethrone might not have a lot of material to their name, but there’s a lot to work with. This demo should surely bring attention to a band working hard to make their way up the proverbial ladder. They are crafting a sound that is menacing, heavy, and destructive; to be excited for what comes next is an understatement.
So yeah, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Metal bands featuring the likes of dogs, cats and even parrots in their lineups, bands solely made up of puppets or robots or metal bands consisting of either incredibly young kids or really old folks. All is very interesting, but truly awesome and R-A-D is something different. Very Different. That is why Sockweb stands out completely even from the most unconventional metal bands and is a total exception even within the exceptions. Because this band is simply awesome and fucking RAD, not only for the unusual band “structure” the band has and for the kick-ass music they play, but mostly for what it stands for and symbolizes. Some parents drag their kids to church, others send them off to get brainwashed by the scouts, others leave them to get numb and disaffected in front of the TV or video games all day, but not all parents are like that… In fact, some parents on the other hand are so rad they want their kids to get creative and express them selves through art, and even get straight into it with them and start making music together and even form a grindcore band with their kids. Wait… WHAT?!…Pre-order HERE!
Alerta Antifascista brings together Italian atmospheric black metal act Gottesmorder and German atmospheric sludge/post metal band Red Apollo. Each band offers one song in this release, resulting in thirteen minutes of heavy, intense music.
Gottesmorder from Pisa released their self-titled debut EP back in 2011 through Nojoy Records. Since then Absurd Creature Records, Tokyo Jupiter Records and Le Crepuscule Du Soir Productions have re-released their excellent first offering. In this split, Gottesmorder, unleash their crust infused atmospheric black metal with the “Winds’ Shadow”. Through its six and a half minutes the band manages to build a frozen ambiance filled with desolate riffs. The emotional side of the track is also its strongest point, with the cold-hearted guitar leads fitting in perfectly with the deep deathly growls. The crust vibe beneath the black metal riffing is quite prominent, with the band getting a sincere amount of energy through its primal roots, with the drums are adapting to the different tempos in an excellent manner, providing that extra boost of energy whenever Gottesmorder need it.
Another ugly fucking gem of an album going unnoticed? We think not. Emptiness is a Belgian death metal band formed by members of Enthroned, and although they don’t tour much or step out into the spotlight too often, they deliver quality awesome fucking death metal, never failing to bust out staggering albums on a regular basis. Their latest opus is Error, a horrific masterpiece of noisy and surreal death metal. While the execution and delivery of the music is at par with what you would expect with the top ranks in the genre, what’s incredible about this band is it’s crazy fucking sound.
(Photo captured by Oakland Photographer Alberto Gutierrez)
Summers in The Bay Area are wonderful. The weather is nice, the air is damp yet refreshing with the precipitation of the close shorelines and the perspiration of others, and as long as you stay out of SF there’s hardly any preposterous hills that you will have to climb. During this time it’s easiest to get around on a bicycle, which makes things a lot more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about being a buffoon that actually operates a vehicle while presumably being intoxicated. Falling down and getting bruised up is no big deal, losing your life and the lives of others you potentially care about is fucking terrible- so don’t drink and drive, it’s not worth it. As school lets out every summer there is a stream of great bands/artists performing nightly in DIY houses and venues throughout our cities. Forward Thinking and Intellectually inclined individuals who’ve formed bands are getting the opportunity to travel after their semester is over and set off to share their ideas and artistic expression with the diverse culture and show community found only here in The Bay. This is a very unique place to reside if you are a fan of music and art.
Easpa Measa were going for over ten years and have forever left their mark on the underground DIY scene in Ireland. Playing their own brand of powerful, melodic hardcore with a heavy crust punk influence, they called it a day in 2012. Streaming here in full is their new and final 7″ EP “Free Blood”. Which will be available next week on vinyl from CONTRASZT! Records (Germany) or DISTROY Records(Ireland)
Up until only a few months ago, the peaceful and quiet hills of Emilia Romagna – Bologna to be exact – in central Italy were the unexpecting home to one of the most tortured, tormented and venomous blackened crust bands we have come across in a long time. Il Male (literally “The Evil”) were an italian four piece anarchist punk/metal band formed by Enrico (guitar) Stella (bass), Silvia (drums), and Sabbo (vocals) who are now recently disbanded for reasons unknown and who in the span of only two albums (“Ritorno”, released by Hanged Man Records last year, and their self titled debut from 2009) and a few years of activity have left an invaluable mark on the sub genre of blackened crust, donating to the genre two of the most blistering, concise, memorable and downright destructive releases this style of music has ever seen.