Austria might be famous for quite a few things in this world – mountains, delicious food and a weird dialect for example – but Doom Metal is not exactly one. However IRON HEEL hailing from the country’s capital Vienna have all the darkened potential to change this, bringing misery and sweet leaf-ish epicness upon us with their debut full length Book Of Grief.
Already turning heads with their demo, IRON HEEL kept evolving in an absolutely exemplary manner. The predominantly screamed, harsh vocals of the band’s early days are almost gone completely (except for a few moments when gastly cries mirror the ugliness of this world, like in Sleepwalker), giving way for truly epic, dramatic vocals raised in the school of Candlemassionism. If you listen to this and don’t want to stand on a mountain top with a 6.5 ft long sword in your hand something is seriously wrong with you.
If your problem is happiness, or just a general feeling of contentedness with the world, then No Solution may in fact be the solution. In ten songs, eleven minutes and twelve inches, Jackals could turn fucking Mickey Mouse into Robert Smith (Faith/Pornography Robert Smith, not “Love Cats” Robert Smith).
Affirmative, anthemic posi-core this is not. These Norwich, UK-spawned Jackals take the Negative Approach approach to hardcore, and No Solution is venomous, oppressive, and crushingly bleak. Calling to mind the savage stylings of American contemporaries Hoax, Jackals rip through track after track of explosive distorted fury with a strong eighties hardcore tinge, filtered through three decades worth of destroyed vocal cords.
“From All Purity” marks the return of Chicago’s sludge monsters, Indian and this time they’re angrier than ever. Just like their predecessor “Guiltless”, “From All Purity” introduces us to a little more than a handful of tracks, in this case 6, but that are more than enough for the band to violate our ears with its corrosive sludge throughout the 40 minutes that the album lasts.
Once again, Sanford Parker’s production proved to be a valuable tool in the making of this Indian album. “From All Purity” seems to catch the loose ends left by “Guiltless,” but here the band seems to amplify all the hatred they have inside them and have release it to cause the maximum damage possible. The sound on this album is way more abrasive than its predecessor – let’s say it’s more “raw” than the one heard in “Guiltless”. The guitars seem louder and more abrasive, the drum sounds louder as it hits like a sledgehammer, the vocals are simply vicious and harsh enough to create cracks on the floor, and to all of this they add some noise, drone-ish elements on the background that will not only punish your ears but they will only enhance the pain you will feel along this cruel and abhorrent trip that is “From All Purity”.
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11:45 P.M. – The time I finally arrived in Columbus, Ohio to behold something rarely seen and experience something rarely felt, an event that entails a complete and utter possession of the mind and body: Aevangelist live. Through three hours of snow-ridden, treacherous roadways, I made it to Carabar… to find that the band were nowhere to be seen. Their vehicle broken down in Indiana, the mysterious group lay stranded for four hours in those same subzero temperatures. Hearing this, my heart sank, thinking I had made such a long, dangerous trek for nothing.
But frozen was not the inner flame of this hellish project. They were still coming.
If you chat to anyone in a band that has a bit of history behind it, and especially when this includes albums that general consensus calls “essential” or even “classic”, chances are those musicians have very strong feelings about what their final record with this band means to them, whether positive or negative.
GridLink are certainly a band with a history behind it. Jon Chang emerged from the ashes of Discordance Axis, a band that arguably ended their existence with one of the most pivotal grind records of the 21st century in The Inalienable Dreamless. Teaming with co-founder Takafumi Matsubara and maintaining a relationship with Hydra Head, GridLink sprung up several years later, laying down a thrilling gauntlet of technically abstruse grindcore with two full-lengths, near-peerless in their scope and ferocity.
What happens when a group of close friends who are bonded by a deep friendship, a highly socially-aware anger and an interwoven web of strong progressive beliefs decide to play loud, angry, abrasive and blown out hardcore punk as a vessel for the expression of radical and extreme vegan, pro-animal rights, feminist, anti-patriarchy, anti-religion, anti-misogyny, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia and anti-speciesism ideals? Well, what happens is that in seconds you end up enveloped in a shit storm of rage that has seemingly no end, nor shows any kind of willingness to loosen it’s vicious, mauling attack on your sorry throat at any time, and that will stop in front of nothing in order to get its message across. And that’s what CARNIST‘s music is all about. Being pissed to no end about a multitude of social matters, and therefore being pissed in an exponential kind of way, in a million different directions. End up in this album’s path and the only choice you have to stay alive is to embrace its message, otherwise get the fuck out of its way or the damn thing will flatten you like a worm under a steam roller.
Bible Thumper’s Decimation is a wallop of a D-beating. The screams radiate from behind a muffled wall, with the savagery butchering its way through nine gut-punching, jaw-cracking and teeth-grinding tracks. Be warned.
The title track rends its way with a mosh pit conjured from the scumiest bowels of hell, maintaining its unholy pace throughout its length, promising only a forbidden taste of the debauchery to come. In “Only HUman,” the vocals roar, scream and claw their way from behind the jagged sound. “Artificial Fulfillment” is a disgusting duet of snarl and snap, supported by frenetic drumming and riffs overdosing on speed. “Spiritual Death” is monstrous, coming with a sledgehammer swinging and be assured, brains do go flying. A personal favorite and certainly among Decimation’s finer offerings. “Spiritual Death” abridges itself like a malignant twin to “By Our Will,” an anthemic helping that will inspire stationary limb throwing no matter the situation.
Label: Human Trafficking
Metal Gear Solid is an entrancing game series, if not downright awesome. Any band that has the mind to name themselves from the “Outer Heaven” concept from said series must be awesome, right? Correct. For the uninitiated, the aforementioned concept involved ending the exploitation of soldier’s by governments. Stoic as it maybe, the sacrilegious vibe of the name is enticing. Outer Heaven play their war tune slow and heavy, cruel and calculating. This meaner than mean blend of doom metal and hardcore moves like a dull, weighted ax bent on giving the executioner’s block the big red kiss. This seven-track demo will make heads roll.
“Eden Burns” is towering, weaving a mosh-friendly opener with riffs that do nothing short of crush. You will be air-punching, so give yourself plenty of killing room. “Vultures” is a brisk smattering of a track, rife with rage and tangible wrath. Riding it snare like a hellhorse, “Vultures” circles into a “Death Grip,” which like “Eden Burns” before it, was meant for inflicting joyous pain. “Vessel Empty” has a dash of Suffocation that finds itself strangled among the metallic hardcore backdrop, making it one of the demo’s nastier, more complex confections.
In a perfect world, LARVAE, from the ever so musically fascinating SF Bay Area, would be ruling the world of blackened death-doom and handing out invaluable lessons to everyone when it comes to things like form, integrity, character, style and execution. But as we know the world is far from perfect, and is actually more often than not a spiteful and cynical shithole pit of injustice, where assholes and jocks rule the world while real talent goes completely unnoticed. Well fuck that. Maybe it’s just because of this that Larvae is where it is, or maybe cause these boys are shy and prefer to stay away from the spotlight, but truth is, it is most likely that none of you, or very few of you, have heard of this band before, and that, sorry to say, is fucking unacceptable.
It seems like every band these days is related to five million other bands, and Love Interest are no different, hailing from the incestuous musical underground of Olympia, WA, and sporting members from schizoid hardcore bands GAG and White Wards as well as dark post-punkers Soft Kill. You wouldn’t guess it though, as their sound is wholly their own and seems to emanate from an entirely different time and place.
Opener ‘Narco’ is a perfect little slice of brooding fuzz pop, aching heart vocals moaning over melodic bass, spectral synthesisers and yearning guitar lines in a track that splits the difference between eighties Euro-cold wavers Asylum Party and the ethereal mess of early Weekend. It’s a melancholy earworm of a track that makes you wish John Hughes was still alive and making teen movies. Listening to it immediately spawns involuntary but welcome visions of Phoebe Cates in the Sherman Oaks Galleria food court. I can definitely picture this song being played at a pastel pink high school dance in a town that doesn’t exist.