New York punk band Ivy rip through seven songs in just under ten minutes on this demo cassette of messy, belligerent hardcore. These songs are rough, sloppily recorded, for the most part indecipherable and catchy as hell. The vocals for most of this release are barely distinguishable from the rest of the band, a distant, drowning, antagonistic presence – and good luck discerning even a single word of lyrics. That being said, these guys actually have some real hooks. While I have no idea what’s being sung, the vague, wavering, snotty, out-of-tune chorus line of ‘Antsy’ is seriously so catchy and will be stuck in your head for days.
There’s not really much else to be said here. You could listen to this album a few times over in the time it takes to read a review, and your time would be much better served. Get on it.
Arnaut Pavle come crawling out of the frozen northern wastes of Finland to encapsulate everything great about raw old school black metal. Named for a legendary eighteenth century Serbian ‘vampire’ supposedly responsible for a plague of mysterious deaths that decimated his village, Arnaut Pavle sound like exactly that. No modern twinkly teen star shit, nor even the classic Bram Stoker eternal lover; no, Arnaut Pavle sound like a wretched strung out blood junkie forest hermit, a leprous shell of a human that’s been living off the blood of icy corpses and rodents for nigh on three hundred years.
This music is not pretty, it’s rabid and intense and as catchy as a vampire bite. An impossibly icy arctic production vomits up chainsaw guitars that peel off tremolo riffs and surprisingly melodic leads like layers of rotted skin, crashing drums tear through rocking punk inspired rhythms and the vocals screech and croak in hoarse splendour.
You better get on your knees, the apocalypse is coming and its four horsemen are Dreadlords. This group of ritualistic racket-makers summon up an unholy concoction of apocalyptic blues, Satanic southern gospel and shamanic sacrilege. This blasphemous demo tape sounds like the sonic incarnation of a Flannery O’Connor short story or Cormac McCarthy novel – back before he started winning literary prestige awards and was still writing twisted Southern bloodbaths about incest, scalping and backwoods violence.
Guitars and piano clang and crash in a free form fall through a cathedral-sized chamber of reverb, while Dreadlords’ singer rants and raves like a schizophrenic madman at the pulpit, veering from Nick Cave-style blues sermonizing (once again, think less his later dad-rock, Kylie Minogue duet-ing phase and more his spastic early years) to black metal-esque croaking and snarling, and even the occasional haunting howl of a werewolf in full moon fever.
Roaring out of the deserts and dives of Phoenix, Arizona come Sacred Followers, an absolutely brutal hardcore wrecking crew featuring members of Gay Kiss and Lusitania. Dark Grease is an already gone limited tape release on Mike Martinez’s awesome zine/tape/whatever label Workin’ Nights, which collects their 2011 demo together with a couple of new tracks, all wrapped up in some stark ink-work from Philly scratcher Matthew Bellosi.
Dark Grease is basic, raw and animalistic, pure hardcore energy and rage at its most simplistic. These tracks are feedback drenched, mainly down-tempo, sludgy trawls through oceans of furious dissonance and crashing drum blasts. Sacred Followers lay down some of the heaviest, most fuzzed out bass lines ever committed to tape, like a doom metal four string slinger stumbling in an opiate daze into the middle of a 90s hardcore circle pit. Guitars slip and slide through some seriously disgusting down tuned train-wreck riffs underneath absolutely indecipherable vocals. Perfect.
Introspectively, the demo tape has always been the first glimpse we see into any up and coming musicians’ futures, and for better or worse this first impression determines the potential success of that future. In a market where music is dissected, labeled and mass produced instead of merely listened to, the simple and sacred process of artists sharing their vision with the world has never been more influential. In the case of Belgium’s blackened thrash amalgamation Possession, we are privy to a return to roots effort that exacts its ferocity through an homage to a time when classification did not exist, and all that mattered was producing the most tangibly destructive effort possible.
LITANY OF REGRETS are four young dudes from Italy and they play a painful, helpless and desperate hybrid of crust, post-punk and black metal that traces its roots back to Europe’s up and coming neo-crust movement, which is led by bands like Light Bearer, Link, Planks, and so on, and also leads back to the band’s most immediate origins, those embodied by GOTTESMORDER, the much more well known atmospheric black metal band in which guitarist Matteo usually plays bass.
That said, even though you may know already exactly what to expect, also rest assured that there are moments in this demo that are harder to pin down, that are just borderline annihilating, and that will leave you wondering what the hell on earth could have ever made these guys so fucking desperate and withdrawn into their hideous hole of bleak and tortured musical neglect.
“The Nuke Cult is a vicious gang of criminals. Most members are hooked on the highly addictive and dangerous drug Nuke. The leader of the cult is the superbly insane and deluded Cain. Their hideout is Sludge Plant.”
That description is actually of the villains from ‘RoboCop 2′, but it more or less applies to the cretinous band of thugs responsible for this morally questionable demo tape, Join Or Don’t. Everything about this release is so perfectly apathetic and ramshackle. The production quality is so, so cheap and raw that the oh-so-familiar burst of feedback that screechingly heralds the beginning of virtually every punk/hardcore release in existence sounds closer to a fucking kazoo, and actually triggers the same reaction that burst of feedback probably did when it first snuck its way into recorded music, before years of familiarity consigned it to the friend zone. It shocks you awake and tells you that you’re about to hear something truly, disgustingly punk rock. The ensuing guitar buzzes less like a chainsaw than a circular saw accidentally left on in a garage, careening its way through whatever material happens to be lying around, driven by an impulse of purposeless destruction and absolutely no regard for its own well-being or common decency. Surprisingly, the riffs it churns out are actually catchy as hell, but think less pop song and more urinary infection.
You have to wonder just how much gas is left in the tank for this brand of revisionist old school death metal. Some absolute gems like ZOM and Bone Sickness have popped up over the last two or three years; the common themes being bands with an affinity for the sounds of death, black and thrash of yore, cassette tapes and a nasty production. With that said, like any movement or scene or what you want to call it, there have been a few duds in the mix too especially when it becomes a little more popular (as far as underground metal goes that is).
Now that we’re in the second half of 2013, what has this dark and decaying world have to offer us and keep us interested? The always reliable Iron Bonehead have stepped in again to hurl this new demo tape at us, Sulphur Blessing, a caustic offering from Sacrocurse.
Hello there Arizona! Sunny, warm… and it appears, really fucking pissed too! From the sunny and usually less musically roudy Grand Canyon State hail infact an extremely crusty, violent, confrontational and wacked out hardcore punk band with a super cool name, Windmill of Corpses! These young lads from Northern Arizona have been lurking in the underground for a while now, playing in and around their native state and even venturing further into the deep south of the country, but nevertheless their awesome debut demo (which has been out for a while now), the first manifestation of their musical intent, thankfully made it into our hands and oh boy what a joy it was to discover its existence.
Fórn is a new band from Boston(Mass) that is playing some of the heaviest sounds currently resonating from the East Coast. Chris, the vocalist, is a friend of mine and I’ve been following this band since their inception. I’ve been taking notice of the killer shows they are playing/putting together for their local community and I’m really digging what these folks are creating. It’s all about supporting friends and these friends of mine happen to fucking crush!
Chris sent me a copy of their debut demo prior to the official cassette release which is being self-released in early July by the band. Their demo clocks in at around 14 minutes and is composed of two slabs of nasty groovy heaviness. The first track is titled “Serpent’s Lair” and weighs in at a little over 4 minutes and the second track is called, “Dasein”. Both of the tracks on this debut are characterized by their punishing pace of skin-crawling dirge and all out heaviness. They’ve enlisted the artistic creations of Bryan P. of Clovenhoov/Natvres Mortes Illvstrations for their demo artwork which you can check out below.