If you’re into the brutal and dark side of hardcore and you still haven’t heard of U.K’s Black Mass then you are clearly missing it big time…
Black Mass have been around since 2010 and have at this point released a Demo, an EP and a Split release with Host. “Of First and Last Things” is a compilation and re-recording of all their recorded material to date, plus one previously unreleased track.
Well, what can you expect from a band that states on their Facebook page that their influence is “Horror, disgust and anxiety through tonal abuse and overwhelming volume.“? Ridiculous and brutal drum discharges filled with the most dirtiest of the riffs that will carve into your flesh while fierce and vicious vocals will make your bones almost shatter. Black Mass aren’t fooling around. They have got to be one of the most underrated bands in the midst of this darkest faction of hardcore. These lads grab a handful of genres like hardcore, crust, death metal and grind and blend it into this furious and evil potion to which is impossible to stay indifferent.
The rather strangely named band DESERT BENEATH THE PAVEMENT from Mannheim, Germany, is another outfit implementing music somewhere between heavy dirges à la Neurosis and more Post Rock’ish sound-scapes. So far, so ordinary. I mean there are plenty of bands out there aiming for exactly that direction, so doing something exciting here has become a very, very difficult task. Thankfully enough DBTP seem to be really skilled when it comes down to song-writing and playing, so the outcome – titled Transit – should satisfy devotees of this sound easily enough. This CD delivers five tracks, the shortest one clocking in at about 6:30 minutes and comes in a neat looking six-sided digipack, along with images by the Polish photographer Tom Wasilewski. So there’s enough to dwell upon while getting into the songs itself (read on further down)
For those unfamiliar with Water Torture you’d be surprised to learn they create their ugly, noisy brand of power violence without guitars. Instead, two heavily distorted basses hum and thump about creating a dissonant and heavy cudgle that locks in perfectly with the frantic drumming and strained vocals. After the buzzing and screeching intro of harsh electronics the band drifts in and out of consciousnesses with short blasts of raging power violence only slowing down to ramp up again. I’m still a sucker for Shellfire! but this isn’t anything to scoff at.
This offering from Washington D.C.’s Disciples of Christ is a nasty little bit of brooding, slithery grindcore. Six songs ravage one after the other, verging at times at sounding so evil, it’d make black metal blush. The pace shifts from blitzkrieg to howling silence in a blink, each change replete with its own unique savagery.
“Intro” is a lengthy showcase of ill emotions as lonesome guitars, suffocating in bent up hate, croon to each other like murderous lovers. When this lower-than-hell strumming runs its course, the Disciples will worship. By far among the most feral beginning ever heard by these ears, Disciples of Christ shred, batter and slash their way through, and swiftly, through their demo. Like a hot but rusted blade, the sound slashes and saws its way, giving rare moments of respite as the fury subsides for some gloom and doom.
The production of this demo is one of my favorite aspects of it. The vocals are front and center, abrasive, monstrous and seemingly without mercy. The riffs at times sound like a sound bite from a David Lynch film, fading into bleak static only to rise furiously. The bluesy bass lines sound as if they were lifted from the devil’s own playbook. The drum-work here is off-the-fucking-wall, a pace wrecking homage to utter, amorphous chaos.
Disciples of Christ certainly have an eye and sound for aesthetics as this demo clearly gives a fuck about few things. This 9-minutes worth of your time will spit in your face, its that good and nasty. The whole shabang can be heard in all its pissed off glory here.
One of Portugal’s best kept secret is Revengeance, a five piece power-violence locomotive formed by rrriot grrrrl Inês (Vocals), Fat Bastard (Vocals), Deris (Guitar), Pedro (Bass) and Jimmy (Drums).
Taking its first steps in 2011, and already with three releases under their belts, Revengeance took the punk scene by storm with its unique blend of 80´s hardcore, proto-grindcore and all the cult 90´s power-violence bands, and adding a sprinkle of “fuck off” attitude. In just one year they managed to play all the key Portuguese festival and support slots for some overseas acts.
It’s true that in Portugal there’s no background when it comes to this type of registration but with “Complacency Complacent” it shows us that Revengeance have studied their lesson very well. Having among its ranks, some members with a solid music background in heavy music, but this time they have gathered strengths and created a very sharpened sound capable of creating bruises along its way.
“Complacency Complacent”, their second full-length, unleashes in just 10 minutes, 12 tracks of the most poisonous power-violenced punk/hardcore. Opening hostilities with the track “The Model Citizen” in which the band uses a sample taken from the movie “Taxi Driver.” The use of these short excerpts taken from cult movies or series are used and abused on this genre, so it’s no surprise that you will hear some of those on “Complacency Complacent” leaving that “dejá-heard” on your head for hours or even days. But let’s focus on Revengeance music, the band accomplishes in just over 1 minute (the “longest” track is about 1:23) to cause as most damage as possible. Songs like “Drunken Dialects”, “(R) helix”, “Lex Talionis” or “Jockcore Mentality” are like these small bombs that burst one after the other and whose splinters fly off in all directions while the sonic attack is controlled on the background by the voices of Inês and Fat Bastard.
One of the highlights in this record is the fact that, in the midst of this organized chaos, there’s still space for a great cover of Void’s “Controller”. Revegeance’s music holds no secrets, no tricks. Just simple, straight-forward, in-you-face, mean-as-fuck punk/hardcore.
Meanwhile check out Revengeance’s Bandcamp in order to hear more from them. Listen to this or die!!
Recording, mixing and releasing an album online within a couple of days is one very impressive feat and one accomplished by Momentum with apparent ease, and managed a guest appearance from Protestant’s Cory von Bohlen to boot. The London hardcore band, who feature four members of Light Bearer and ex-members of Fall of Efrafa, recorded this new effort Herbivore one weekend recently and by mid-week was unleashed upon the world via free download with a vinyl and tape release to follow in the new year.
There has been great albums out this year from Thisclose, Black September, Cross Stitched Eyes, Countdown To Armageddon, Hooded Menace, Neurosis and the list goes on. But this is a count down of the crust ones, so I won’t be including them, even though all great releases. And of course there has been great crust albums this year too by Slang, Nuclear Death Terror, Oiltanker, Martyrdöd, Wolfbrigade and Acephalix. So this has been a very tough list to compile as I like all aforementioned bands.
Number One: Putrefaction ‘Blood Cult’
(review 15 May 2012)
The debut LP by Ireland’s Putrefaction is a heavy dose of dark metallic crusty riffs skewered together by visions of concentration camps, putrefied bodies, cities consumed by filth, corruption and disease. The opening track ‘Scourge’ leads us in, with distorted feedback slowly fading and declining into a heavy bass tone atmospheric riff. This as all fans of heavy music know is the revving up and things after this are going to go pretty fucking awry. Much like being handcuffed to a car that’s about to explode. There’s the riff change, a low-pitched roar and yes, balls to the fucking wall, things have gone very awry!
Another year’s nearly gone by, and I have the honour of compiling CVLT Nation’s top 6 of German releases. I’ve tried to include releases from at least somewhat differing genres, as well as different formats (not just full length records) and also from new, exciting bands as well as established acts. Of course, a top six can never be complete, considering the huge amount of records released in one year, and naturally these choices are completely and utterly subjective. There are a bunch of other records I could have put easily on this list as well: O, Red Apollo or White Fields for example all released amazing records this year, but somehow I had to make decisions. Let us know in the comments section which records would have been on your top 6 German releases list and if we might agree on one or another! Oh and I cheated here and there a tiny bit, but I guess it should be fine with the golden rules of best-of-listing. Let’s go:
Orca Wolf Records are responsible for this split LP between California’s Amarok and Pyramido hailing from Malmö, Sweden. The doom sludge bands teaming up here is another suitable pairing for a bleak and pummelling listen, Amarok offering up one 14 minute dirge in the shape of Deserted and Pyramido have two slabs of corrosion of their own.
Number One ETERNAL HELCARAXE
Eternal Helcaraxe’s first full-length is deservedly one of the best records to come out of this island this year. Released by Abyss Records, Against All Odds is the Cavan black metallers’ best work to date after the To Whatever End EP and a demo in 2008. The band’s tales of ravaged battlefields and honourable warriors truly comes alive in each of these pummelling, but still melodic slabs, of black metal. Ireland’s bloody and violent history books are consulted for a rather complementary theme to the band’s rigorous and oft unrelenting barrages.
Some notable influences rear their heads too. Fellow countrymen Primordial’s trademark riffing and Nemtheanga’s historically tinged lyrics appear to have had a hefty effect on Eternal Helcaraxe’s overall aesthetic. The flourishes of Scandinavia are easy to pick up on as well, with Enslaved and early Moonsorrow clearly inspiring the band, particularly with the latter’s pagan themes. Influences aside, Eternal Helcaraxe’s devastating and ambitious air is one still somewhat unique to themselves. The trio of vocals are dynamic as they sway between orthodox black metal shrieks to a more guttural, sometimes death metal-like bark or the imposing and grandiose clean vocals dotted sporadically throughout, truly alighting on Invictus, one of the album’s undeniable highlights or As The Snow Gathers, complemented perfectly by imposing string arrangements.
And while Eternal Helcaraxe explores themes morose and blood soaked in their nature, they are still a band that sound totally invigorated and animated; take the almost ebullient close to One Still Stands Here as proof. Healthy levels of melody pinched from genres further afield maintain this album’s dynamism and always keep things interesting like the eerie opening riffs of We Assist Death, but at their heart Eternal Helcaraxe are a black metal band… scratch that, black metal warriors and this is their impassioned victory cry.