Album of the Month... February 2015

Eternal Misery by No Zodiac

23 Sep 2012

My Turn: 'Athens'

My Turn - Athens

I’ve been into My Turn for quite a while now since Apostles (founder of WAK) sent me the link to his band. Their debut release Noble Intentions was a fantastic record which was reviewed last year and since listening to this, it got me really interested in their music and also the themes and topics they cover from day to day life. They have recently just dropped their first full length Athens which is also an awesome record and shows great progression in their music and song writing. What I really enjoy about My Turn is the positivity and themes they put across and the nice melodic approach within the music, it’s something fresh and original from the hardcore scene in Greece. This is a record not to be missed!

After a quick vocal introduction on the opening track Photos on the Wall the guitar riffs kick in with a nice fast, punk hardcore sound. The recording quality of Athens is far more refined than that of Noble Intentions and is noticeable from the instance you start the record. The next track Broken pumps out a really powerful melodic hardcore sound which to me has taken elements from bands such as Verse and Anchor. It has definitely got the compelling lead guitar melodies and emotional edge to it but on this record the song structures are far from generic and My Turn have pulled off a decent original hardcore sound. There are some really catchy tunes that come out on the tracks Let’s Laugh to Death and Bitter Smile especially with the fast drum rhythms and inventive guitar riffs. I really like the old school punk feel in these two tracks that really show the routes of hardcore coming through.

My Turn play this style of hardcore how it should be played. The track lengths are just the right time too, the songs are not dragged out in length or are too short which keeps the listener entertained. The shouting vocals may not be for everyone but I personally think they fit perfectly with this style of hardcore and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The track Do You Care slows things down a little but is a nice break from the previous track, do not get too comfortable though as this soon breaks out into heavier guitar riffs and rapid drum beats. My favourite tracks are towards the end of the record, If and Precious, are just so catchy and makes me want to be at their shows stage diving and shouting into the microphone. It’s a nice change to listen to a record that is filled with positivity and hope.

My Turn has come a long way and I feel they need more recognition. Overall this is a good quality album and is a record you should not sleep on. Drop whatever you are listening to at this time and check out My Turn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Help these guys out and pick up the record here.

Bandcamp
Facebook
MySpace

23 Aug 2012

Swamps Interview




Swamps are a fairly recent hardcore band from Western Massachusetts USA. Combining a heavy mix of stomping metallic riffs and New York style hardcore they are a hard hitting band who seem to be making quite a name for themselves. Upon reviewing their new release 'Seven Sides' (which is a fantastic record), I thought I would catch up with Swamps for a short interview.


Can you please introduce yourselves and give us a recent history of Swamps.
Swamps is Andy McQuade, Nicholas Bechard, Tom Margeson and JJ Degen. We’re a hardcore band from SpringfieldMassachusetts and have been playing music for about a year and a half. We have a couple releases out right now, an EP called Corroding Kings and a double 7-inch that was just recently put out by FDR called Seven Sides.

‘Seven Sides’ has just been released and sounds awesome! What can people expect from listening to this record?
Well thank you, we appreciate that. I think people can expect a more structured and harder-hitting Swamps.  For us as a band, this is a big step up from Corroding Kings. A lot more time and effort was invested in writing the new songs and I think it shows. People are saying that it seems like we’ve found our sound and we definitely agree.

What motivates you to write the music that you play?
I think just a mutual love for hardcore music. We like the music we play and want to keep creating it.

What messages and points are you trying to get out to people through your lyrics?
Not necessarily any messages or points. We’ve never really been the “preachy” type or attempt to prove anything through our lyrics. We write songs about things that piss us off, feeling shitty about situations, girls, etc.

Why is hardcore important to you?
Hardcore is important to us because I think it somewhat serves as an outlet. Whether that outlet be playing on stage or going off at a show, I think it’s all therapy for us. I’ve also always been attracted to the fact that hardcore is DIY and really anyone can be a part of it and be free to express themselves.

What is the hardcore scene like in your area and does it differ when travelling to different states?
Our scene is cool. It has a lot of history as well as a lot of current bands. It’d be nice to see more bands surface from our area though and more touring bands come through as well. Scenes definitely differ when travelling to different states. Even when we play right next door in Connecticut it seems like a different world. Some places have really tight knit scenes and others don’t. It’s really hard to judge a scene based off one show though.

If there was anything you would like to change in the hardcore scene, what would it be?
I guess violence, fights, stupid shit like that. I know it’s hardcore and things like that are going to happen but I feel like a lot of people who go to shows are more in it for the violence and not so much the music or supporting the bands.

What bands have influenced you the most since you started?
No specific bands really. We all listen to a lot of different types of old and new hardcore and I think that gets brought to the table when it comes down to writing and structuring songs. For me personally, I like a lot of New York hardcore so there’s obviously going to be some of that influence in there. But Swamps has never really tried to go after a specific sound or genre of hardcore and I think (or hope) that’s what’s going to make us stick out as a band.

Are there any particular bands you have or would feel privileged to share a stage with?
Yeah absolutely. We’ve already gotten the pleasure of playing with a few of our current favourite bands such as Soul Search, Take Offense, Expire, Rude Awakening, Suburban Scum, etc. and that was really awesome. I myself am a huge fan of every band that’s on Reaper Records so obviously it would be great to play with any of those bands (Madball, Terror, Trapped Under Ice, Backtrack, Fire and Ice, Naysayer, etc).

What are your plans in the near future? Is there any chance you guys will be coming to the UK anytime soon?
This winter we are hopefully setting up a west coast tour and also in December we will be heading to Puerto Rico for a weekend so that should be awesome. We’ve been keeping in contact with a band called Spires who are from the UK and we’re possibly trying to set up a little tour over there in the near future. So yeah hopefully we’ll be over there soon, we’d love that.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, are there any other shout outs or comments you would like to make?
No problem, thank you for wanting to interview us and hopefully we’ll be making our way out to the UK sooner rather than later. Shout out to Frequency Deleted Records.

21 Aug 2012

Swamps: 'Seven Sides'

Swamps - Seven Sides

In 2011 Swamps, a hardcore band from Western Massachusetts released an EP titled Corroding Kings which to me was one of the top records of last year. I was very excited to hear they were releasing another record this year and finally they have just released Seven Sides. Just like their previous release the new record is just as fantastic and hard-hitting. Swamps just seem to have a sound of their own, mixing loads of different hardcore genres together to create a heavy powerhouse of a record. The structure of each track is unique and the vocal style of Andy is something that stands out to me, I have not heard a voice like his before and it shows good originality. The style of Swamps jumps between an old school punk sound, to a harder hitting style and you can sense a tinge of a New York hardcore influence too. I knew this record was going to be awesome and they have delivered a good quality record that brings something a little different to the hardcore scene.  

Seven Sides kicks off with the introduction track Bed of Thornes which has been released as a single. From the moment when the first guitar kicks in on this track you can tell this is going to be a heavier sounding record than their previous material and with the heavier sound  an angrier attitude has developed. I didn’t think these guys could get any angrier or crazier but this record proved me wrong.  The following track Drowning Dry seems to be the most popular favourite track from the audience and I have to agree with this.  There is such a catchy riff on the intro of this track and makes me want to just move around. The heavy down tuned guitar riffs and fast paced drums set the tempo for this track and towards the end it breaks out into a slower part with an incredibly angry vocal part which I absolutely love and this is followed by yet another catchy stomping riff. Even just listening to a couple of tracks, I was pretty set that this was going to be one of my favourite records of 2012.

The Other Side keeps the momentum going and the pace never slows from here on. There are a lot of two stepping type of riffs especially in the track Done Digging Holes but not too much that it gets repetitive. Every track on this record is alive with fire and passion and each song is as good as the next. There is good consistency within the song structures and the aggression is always there from Bed of Thorns until the final track Serpent which both have short sound clips. I particularly liked in this record as it sets the mood. This is a ruthless record and I wouldn’t have Swamps change anything on it as it is fantastic. Vocally and musically this album is very hard-hitting and vicious but remains original. Do yourself a huge favour and treat yourself to this record here
  


6 Aug 2012

Camden Carnage Tonight


If you're in London tonight then you need to get down to this show. I couldn't think of anything else better to do on a Monday evening. Doors are at 7pm and venue is Camden Underworld so make sure you get there early to catch the first band. If you don't know these bands then I suggest you have a listen and get yourself to this show.






4 Aug 2012

Rucktion Records Monthly Night


Make sure you get down to this one early as it's going to be a popular night. On this months show Reign Supreme are headlining and there are some awesome support bands. Doors are at 8pm I believe and it's 7 or 8 quid to get in so don't miss out on this. These following bands are playing, if you haven't heard them then check them out:




30 Jul 2012

True Valiance: 'Expect Resistance'

True Valiance - Expect Resistance

Respect Resistance is the brand new full length from Bristol’s most hardworking and hard hitting hardcore band True Valiance. This album is fast paced and fresh with eleven tracks that will get you moving all day long, with heavy pounding drum beats, thrashing, chugging guitar riffs and passionate fiery vocals. This full length takes all topics from themes including revenge, resistance and bringing justice in this corrupt world. There aren’t as many breakdowns as Hooked on Revenge but the slight change in sound compliments their style resulting in a fantastic album. There is a nice old school mid-90s sound to some of the songs and a much more metallic edge with thrashier riffs but True Valiance’s ethics still remain the same. From the first listen I take my hat off to one of Rucktion Record’s finest releases.

Pushing play on this record unleashes a fury of ‘in your face’ thrashing guitar riffs which sounds very Slayer-esque and shows a more metallic style and edge to True Valiance’s music. When the vocals kick in with the shrill, screaming sound all of the attitude and anger is present and is perfect for their heavy sound. Bloodlust is such a catchy track creating an unmistakeable sound and leaves you banging your head through the whole track. There is just something fresh and different about True Valiance and I really enjoy the energy and passion that has been put into their tunes. The following track Blindfold brings to mind a very UK hardcore sound with some dark down tuned guitar rhythms and heavy pounding drum beats. There is also a down-tempo breakdown part towards the end of this song which is so heavy and fits with the present themes. Although tracks such as Burn and No Mercy have a very aggressive sound both vocally and instrumentally, there is an underlying positivity which is shown through an inspirational attitude. 

The ferocity of the tracks Arkansas and To an End gives me a slight late 80s early 90s trash feel to it mixed up with elements of Terror and some typical hard hitting Rucktion style hardcore. Towards the middle of Arkansas there is a breakdown part which is thunderously heavy with stomping riffs and blasting drums. To an End contains a really shrieking, technical solo which is unsuspected but sounds amazing. This is all structured together perfectly with the emotional lyrics who’s voice jumps between screaming and shouting parts and into a deeper growling sound. There are also smaller parts which contain spoken words very similar to mid-90’s metalcore such as in the track Expect Resistance

This record is packed full of everything you need in a heavy hardcore album including tight instrumental parts, breakneck speed riffs, moshing parts, quality song structures and is full of emotion and passion. This is a fantastic record which I had been waiting to listen to for so long now and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is another great release for the UKHC scene and I hope everyone gets into this as much as I have. Pick it up here and help support True Valiance.




15 Jul 2012

Hardcore Afternooner


If you are lucky enough to have a day off today then you need to get down to Stockwell for this afternooner of UK hardcore. Doors open at 4pm and it's a bargain prices of 8 quid so it's definitely not to be missed. Here are some links to the bands playing:


If you like what you hear come down and mosh!


23 Jun 2012

Verse: 'Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace'


Verse - Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace


There has been a lot of hype since Verse have reformed, mostly positive but some negative and at the time I didn’t really know what to think, but after listening to Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace I am really glad that they decided to get back together. There is nothing special to the sound that Verse produce with their modern, melodic style of hardcore but the way they get their messages of emotion and anxiety across just really does it for me more than some other melodic bands do. From the screaming vocals of Sean Murphy to the instrumental guitar melodies and drum rhythms made by the band, from heavy to melodic, I think Verse have accomplished a sound of their own. This is definitely an essential record to have as Verse are an asset to the hardcore scene once again and this full length makes you want to detonate your emotions.

In my opinion, Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace isn’t as powerful as Rebuild and From Anger and Rage however, I listened these albums to death when they were released so they take a lot of beating. I was pleasantly surprised to still hear the anger and passion come out through their music instantaneously from the first track The Selfish of the Earth. There are a couple of tracks (The Silver Spoon and the Empty Plate and Oceanic Tendencies) which are shorter than Verse’s average song times, where time keeping it short and sweet but still managing to maintain their straight-to-the-point lyrical content and sounds. This isn’t the case for every track though, as Verse have still gone above and beyond to produce some intense guitar melodies; this is especially apparent in The Relevance of our Disconnect and with the technical solo in The Selfless of the Earth. This is not an album to be ignored as it provides the listener with outrivaled melodies, occasionally broken up with relaxing interludes throughout constructing a quality atmosphere.

Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace isn’t the most perfect record and I am pretty sure it is not to everyone’s taste, but who cares - the energy and motivation is still consistent throughout the record. It’s great to see individuals in the hardcore scene stay passionate and enthusiastic to cover topics such as politics, emotions and aggression. Some of the guitar sequences sound cluttered, evident clearly on The Selfless of the Earth and at times there is a lot of spoken words rather than shouting which could put off some listeners but, for me, this shows variety and a signature to Verse’s sound. The same emotion and energy can be detected from their previous material and personally I think you should do yourself a favour and pick this record up as it will definitely grow on you. Get it here from B9. 

8 Jun 2012

Expire: 'Pendulum Swings'

Expire - Pendulum Swings

Pendulum Swings is the brand new full length from Expire released on Bridge Nine Records. This is already one of my favourite albums of 2012 and contains some of the best quality hardcore I have heard in a while. With 12 new tracks, Expire are setting the standards high with the introduction track Just Fine kicking off this album which is full of power and energy and you can really feel the intensity as screaming vocals kick in. The consistency shows throughout the record with a merciless sound on every track. The songs are all under 2 minutes and are enraged leaving you feel a little dishearten but nonetheless is a powerhouse of a record.

Pendulum Swings sounds a little heavier than their previous material and which I think serves as a fresh sound for them. Don’t get me wrong Suffer the Cycle, Grim Rhythm and their Demo were all fantastic but this full length really breaks through with its hard hitting sound. I really like the tracks Spit it Out, Anxiety and Pills and a Promise which had me with my fists tight wanting to mosh around the room and gave me goose bumps on first listen. Expire have progressed well within each release that they have put out. There are a few more breakdown parts than usual that come out of nowhere, lots of two step parts and the album has a good flow to it from the instrumental parts from start to finish. 

The song structures are very similar track by track which is evident in Dig Deep, Abyss and Focus and shows a similar approach to their song writing. This can be a little repetitive but the aggressiveness and power in each song easily makes up for this. There is just something about their heavy crushing guitar riffs and hard hitting drum beats that leaves me wanting to hear more. The vocals are very angry and screamy which adds to the impact of this record and it just seems to take hold of me every time. Although the songs are short, this isn’t a negative aspect as it makes you want to repeat the record over and over.

This album has had a lot of praise since its release and to be honest, I can’t fault it. Pendulum Swings appeals to everyone in the hardcore scene, from older tastes to more modern tastes and if you’re into the more ‘tougher’ hardcore sound then this is the record for you. This album is very heavy; fast paced and is best left on repeat. Don’t knock this until you've listened to it. Pick it up here.




8 May 2012

Zombie Fight: 'Alive and Well'

Zombie Fight - Alive and Well

Zombie Fight are a New York hardcore band formed in November 2010. They have recently release d a new EP titled Alive and Well which they played a release show with Ashes Forever and Torch Bearer (wish I could have been there). First impressions are that this band is out to make a statement with their ‘in-your-face’ style of hardcore. They incorporate themes of negativity that surround the world, and after listening to this record there is a balance between the music and the lyrics, relating to real life situations. It is evident that these guys are from New York and can hear the influences coming through in the vein of bands like Sick of it All and Judge.

This is one of the catchiest records that I have heard in a while and pack a punch with their heavy straight up hardcore sound. Fiery guitar riffs are present throughout each track alongside the exploding drum beats and rhythms. Some the instrumental parts of the tracks do remind me of some of the older Bane songs, only Aaron Bedard’s vocals have been replaced with an aggressive attitude with booming and deafening shouts. Of course there are many influences present in Zombie Fight’s music but what I really like about Alive and Well is that they combine a variety of hardcore sub-genres to create a driving force of a record. There are many references to a failed society but even through the aggression there are many lyrics in relation to positivity and hope guiding us through a day to day life. 

Tracks Celebrities Think They Are the Best Role Models and The Decision contain some uplifting guitar riffs and faster paced drum rhythms and fits perfectly with the rough shouting vocals. There is a strong mix between the steady rhythms and breakdown moshing parts. In Reconnect the continuing riffs soon breaks out into some mad technical guitar patterns adding variety yet again. This record is well structured and contains some appealing music. The track Sick Of takes yet a different sound combining more old-school hardcore punk instrumentals which makes you want to dive around and circle pit. This is good quality aggressive music at its best.

My only gripe is the recording quality but the content within the music easily makes up for this. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this band and am enjoying Zombie Fights music. If you’re into aggressive tough style hardcore and enjoy confrontational subjects dealing with friendship, society and drastic change then this is a record you’ll enjoy. I guarantee it will have you moshing all day long! Check them out on the links below.

Bandcamp      

21 Apr 2012

Lay it on the Line: 'Midnight in the Bellagio'

Lay it on the Line - Midnight in the Bellagio

Lay it on the Line is a fairly new band, forming towards the end of 2011. In January they released a debut EP Midnight in the Bellagio, featuring 10 tracks of raw, melodic hardcore. For those of you unfamiliar with Lay it on the Line, a couple of the members were part of Phinius Gage and Not Katies. These may have not been the most successful bands at the time however the sound that they have come up with for this new band is very effective and I hope others get into it like I have. This EP contains 10 tracks, clocking in at around 13 minutes, so there is a good amount of material. Hailing from South London area hopefully to make their mark in the UKHC scene.

My first impression of Midnight in the Ballagio is you can hear the determination and effort put into the record. Although there is a lot of melodic guitar parts, which might not be to everyones taste, there is also substantial heavy sounding riffs, adding a nice touch between the lighter melodies creating two moods. I feel that the sound quality and production of this EP is slightly let down though, and takes away the impact of the heavier sounding instrumental parts. The opening track This is the Deal contains catchy chugging style guitar riffs and steady drum rhythms. There are some background ‘gang’ style vocals which spans out to most songs of the EP partly from guest appearances from Joe and Robin from Random Hand.

Lay it on the Line have created their own sound to hardcore and this strays away from the typical moshing macho sound and style often present in the scene today. Instead, concentrating on steady rhythms and melodic guitar work with raspy growling vocals that work surprisingly well. They have taken upon many genre influences, which include hardcore, punk, rock, and even a little ska; the song Oreo Speedwagon contains a part towards the end of ska-style guitar chords. Spread Thin has a breakdown, quickly jumping to the next track Easy Street, a metalcore style guitar instrumentals. It seems there is a bit of everything for everyone.

I think Lay it on the Line have a lot of potential with songs such as A Score A Drink, Easy Street and Midnight in the Bellagio, and with some development I feel this band can really be something. I am sure there is much more to come from Lay it on the Line and this debut EP is just the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled for future releases of this band and check out their music from the links below.

Reverb Nation
Stereo Killer
Bandcamp

19 Feb 2012

Tonight at The Camden Enterprise

If you're around London this evening then you need to get down to this show at The Camden Enterprise, even though it states Star of Kings on the poster the venue was recently changed. Closest tube station is Chalk Farm, doors are open at 17:30 and it's only £6, what a bargain! Don't miss out on this! Check out the bands playing:




14 Feb 2012

I Want You Dead: 'ΑΩ'

I Want You Dead - ΑΩ

There have been a lot of decent hardcore bands coming out of Greece, like My Turn & Eternal Hated, but this is one of the heaviest and fierce records I’ve heard in a while from this country.  A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a band called I Want You Dead asking me to listen to their brand new EP entitled ΑΩ, being their second release and a follow up to We Are the Legions of Scums from 2010. They certainly live up to what they wanted to achieve, delivering some of the most negative and hateful music to their audience.

ΑΩ contains 4 tracks of pure remorseless and bloodthirsty dark hardcore with some of the most pummelling sludgy style guitar riffs. If you’re into negative hardcore then you need to check this band out as they are on a whole different level. There are a lot of themes covered in their music including disgust on the world, vengeance, hatred and making a stand against authoritative figures. Every track is a terrifying flurry of heavy sludgy guitars with smashing drum parts and the vocalist belting out raw, throaty screams of evil and dirty lyrics. The sound quality of this record is awesome too, considering how down-tuned and heavy their sound is.

From track one, All Colours Pitch Black, you can already sense the increase of the sludge sound compared to previous material. I am not complaining though, as I feel they have progressed into something stronger and have a greater impact. This fresh feel combines some elongated down-tuned guitar riffs but splits this up with some quick hardcore punk sounding outbursts and faster drums, most prominent during Cvits. In my opinion the track Black Sails stands out to me and is my favourite song on the EP; the song structure is perfect and doesn’t hold back on attitude or weight. Even though there are a vast amount of sludge elements to this record the sound quality and production is crisp and is a great listen.

Easily one of my favourite records from 2012 already, and it’s only February. ΑΩ is a superb release, with some of the heaviest and aggressive music going. A very well put together EP, which I highly recommend. I’m also a fan of the art work! Get your copy here.

Check out the band here:

1 Feb 2012

The Hardest Season: 'Dawn'

The Hardest Season - Dawn


Recently I received an email from Dale Robinson who is the founder of the record label Enjoyment Records. He sent me a link to a band called The Hardest Season who are from Italy and asked if I would review their full length Dawn. After the first listen all I could think of was ‘Wow, why haven’t I heard this band before’; their music is pretty impressive. Taking more of a push from the sounds and influences of bands such as American Nightmare and The Hope Conspiracy, this record combines everything great from this style of hardcore but also adds further heavier elements in the vein of Rise and Fall. Personally I feel that this record could be aimed at all areas of the scene as there seems to be a bit of everything for everyone.

Dawn is the follow up to their self released Demo and EP (which I am still to get hold of) but I am pretty sure it cannot be as refined as this album. This is a record you need to listen to at maximum volume to obtain the best satisfaction for your ear drums. The quality of the instrumental parts is fantastic, not a single chord out of place and everything is tightly held together. From the introduction track Confessions there are constant frantic guitar riffs and intense drum beats combined with furious screaming vocals. The next track Dead Romantic quickly turns the tables of sounds into something darker and heavier cutting to a catchy moshing sound. There is a perfect balance between the well-structured instrumental melodies and the vicious sludgy breaks, particularly apparent in Sleepless and The Storm. This music is fast and keeps you on your toes with raw, screaming vocals containing so much passion and emotion.

It’s not all about the quick drums and fast paced riffs that are enticing about this album though; The Forward combines some pleasant sounding guitar melodies, adding contrast between the Tear Valley Sickness Blues and The Storm, breaking them apart in an effective change of pace. Twentyeight to Ten is another catchy track that contains more energetic heavy riffs and towards the end there are some toned down gang style vocals bringing an accomplished feel to the end of the record, finishing with Last Fuckin’ Scarred Lines.

I really got into this record and it’s fresh sound from Italian hardcore. The sound is very emotional but effective with the perfect amount of heaviness and melodies creating an all round compelling full length. You can check out one song from Dawn on their bandcamp. If you like it then I suggest you pre-order it.

28 Jan 2012

Ashes Forever: 'Love, Leave, Forget, Repeat'

Ashes Forever - Love, Leave, Forget, Repeat



A while ago I reviewed and interviewed a band called Don’t Give a Fuck. Recently they have changed their name to Ashes Forever and have released a new 1 track EP titled Love, Leave, Forget, Repeat. I was quite surprised that they had changed their name so quick, but do not worry as it still contains the same two members; I loved the EP A Girl Burning and Dying their new material is very unique and the slight changes in their sound have worked in their favour. They have still kept the perfect mix of melodic style hardcore and emotional screaming vocals but this time they have incorporated some really deep growling vocals and sludgy riffs which I think works really well. Ashes Forever still combine a nice melody of guitar instrumentals with various drum rhythms but seem to have made them slightly heavier. The vocals still consist of elongated screams and throaty parts but taking on newer styles; there are also some very lower growling vocals which seem to generate even more anger and emotion for this duo.


The track titled Her Repressed Memories has, from what I can tell 3 different major sounding parts to it. The first part is a very heavy, sludgy and emotional rollercoaster which gets the listener instantly hyped up with the despair and anger from the vocals. This is closely followed by the second part and middle of the song, which is mainly focused on instrumental parts, forming signature guitar melodies and fast, smashing drum beats and double bass. The final part wraps everything up nicely by a perfect transition from the chaotic time signatures of the instruments into a heavy breakdown part with multiple vocals. I really like the use of both types of vocals towards the end part of the song as I feel it makes the music seem much more passionate if both members are screaming their lungs out. This then fades out with  dark, down tuned guitar and slow drum beats, completing the EP.    


Ashes Forever seem to have had a lot of positive feedback so far and I’m not surprised. I really like the new EP and the name change, and I am really digging the heavier style and varied vocals. If you haven’t heard this then you’re missing out. This is for fans of straight to the point, sincere and emotional music.


Check out the band here:
Facebook
Bandcamp

25 Jan 2012

Best Albums of 2011

2011 was a pretty decent year for hardcore record releases both from older artists and modern ones. The following album list is my own individual choices that I feel stood out and made a positive impact. I have included both full lengths and also extended plays. So over January 2012, I’ve been thinking about releases over the last 12 months...


10.) SWAMPS: 'CORRODING KINGS'


There are a lot of different views on this band, some positive some negative. So I thought I would see what all the hype was. From start to finish I could not find any complaints with this EP. In my opinion it has been one of the catchiest records of 2011 and I actually got addicted to listening to it. Corroding Kings is very hard hitting and is in the vein of the 90’s era. I have to admit the content and the hatred theme is a little too obvious but who cares! The instrumental sound and mosh style of this record got me hooked and seemed quite fun, alongside the hate and anger, that’s exactly why it’s up here.



09.) REAL TALK: 'MINDLESS'


I only started listening to this band a couple of months ago but instantly found myself loving their hard hitting sound. This EP is really heavy, raw and sounds a little like Trapped Under Ice (but in a good way). Mindless is a solid record that pulls no punches. If you haven’t listened to Real Talk yet, then you should be expecting real, straight up angry hardcore. It’s full of catchy breakdowns, 2-step style riffs and contains just enough melody to separate the other elements from each other. This EP flows really well and yet again it is another addictive record which I thoroughly enjoyed.


08.) NO TOLERANCE: 'NO REMORSE, NO TOLERANCE'


I know a lot of people have been posting stuff up about No Tolerance and I thought I'd join in as this new EP is so good! I didn’t get into this record as quick as I wanted to but once I first heard it I was completely hooked! It’s one of the hardest and solid records I’ve heard in a while. You can definitely notice the 90s hardcore influence on this record, mixed up with some rapid speed riffs and angry lyrics. One of the best straight edge bands around right now and this new EP is so much better than the demo (and I loved the demo).



07.) EARTH CRISIS: 'NEUTRALIZE THE THREAT'


I have been a big fan of this band for quite a few years now and I think it would be wrong of me if I didn’t mention these in my list. Earth Crisis just have a massive amount of aggression which no one can compete with and this album is no different. I love the 90’s style metalcore and to hear it still going strong in 2011 is amazing, with just as much passion and energy as always. Still unsure of some of the instrumental work that is present on this one, but nonetheless, still up here in my top favourites! 



06.) SORRY EXCUSE: (SELF TITLED)


Sorry Excuse had to be in my top ten, just for the sheer amount of ferocity and speed in their songs. They combine rapid instrumentals with raw, shredding vocals which is just plain and simply, a heavenly sound. Fast riffs, mid tempo-breaks and complete moshing destruction sums this band up in one. Every song is super quick and doesn’t even allow a gap before the next. This record is quality and is one of my favourites 
from last year. Sorry Excuse are bringing the rawness back, minus the bullshit (excuse my French).




05.) MOTHER OF MERCY: 'IV SYMPTOMS OF EXISTENCE'



This band play some of the best metallic hardcore that is currently around, and are best known for their thrashing chugging sounds. They seem to be able to take out all the best parts from early 90s sounding hardcore and combining it with just the right amount of metal. This album is just as great as their previous material and I really enjoyed the sound and spent a lot of time listening to this record. I really love this record and hope to hear more from Mother of Mercy in the future.



04.) 
NAYSAYER: 'DOWN BUT NOT OUT '


This EP was pretty short with only 4 tracks but it’s a decent listen. Naysayer have never disappointed me with their sound and this is no different. They also released a full length last year too with 2 tracks from this EP on it but to be honest I did prefer this EP. The recordings and content is a lot rawer and I liked the sound of the tracks better. A heavy, pummeling style of hardcore in the vein of old school bands like Madball and Death Threat. Definitely a must have which is why it's on my list.



03.) KINGDOM: 'THREADS'


I pre-ordered this and for all the good reasons. Kingdom are a very angry, vegan, straight edge band who cover all of the relevant topics that are affecting the world of today. I have always liked the way Kingdom have gone about things, maintaining good ideas and ethics behind all their activities. Threads is diverse but still packs a powerful punch that is needed. This record contains intelligent lyrics based around suffering, police violence, poverty and rage on the system. I like everything about the 4 tracks and only wish it was longer!




02.) WAR HUNGRY: (SELF TITLED)



Since I first heard War Hungry they have always been one of my favourite bands and was delighted to hear they were releasing a full length last year. After listening to it I loved it! They are the perfect sound of modern day metallic hardcore and add some really heavy guitar riffs which just make you want to bang your head. Containing 9 tracks, this was one of the heaviest releases of 2011 and is an essential record to own.



01.) FOUNDATION: 'WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS'



One of the fastest and heaviest records of 2011, containing some very hard hitting, straight edge hardcore. This contains 10 tracks of pure pummelling instrumentals, ferocious breakdowns and untamed vocals. This to me, was Foundation’s best material released as of yet and I loved it from start to finish. This is a must have album and is easily at the top of my list.

8 Jan 2012

Dead End Path: 'Blind Faith'



2011 was a great year for hardcore releases and Blind Faith by Dead End Path is by far no exception. Released on Triple B records, this is their finest material yet and follows up from their 2010 EP Death Walks Beside Us and their 2009 Demo. Dead End Path are taking the metallic hardcore style to the next level with their crushing metal riffs and dominating vocals. You can definitely hear the old school New York style hardcore sounds coming through which must have been a big influence in their music and some parts remind me a lot of bands like Buried Alive, Merauder and All Out War only with a more modern twist. This is a very well put together album and everything fits into its place perfectly and I thought this album stood out as one of the top from last year.

Dead End Path incorporate every item you need of hardcore into their album making you want to mosh and bang your head instantly. The guitar riffs are extremely heavy and metallic but not too metally (if you know what I mean) which makes the perfect breakdowns in their songs and adds groove elements. The vocals are very bold which sites nicely alongside their aggressive lyrics. When you hear the lyrics combined with the hard hitting music it’s like they are painting a picture with words only it’s full of gloom and wretchedness. Wilkes Barre has given birth to another great band.

There are so many great songs included on this album, naming a few of my favourites are Never Had Heaven Ever, End on End, and Death and Birth of a Ghost. In fact every song on this album is great! The transitions between each track is consistent and each track is different from the next adding some good variation. After the introduction track Blind Faith it cuts straight in with some captivating tunes leading into catchy 2-step parts, and from here on the album flows smoothly. Tracks like Requiem and Skeleton Key to the Cemetery contain some really good solid riffs and slow tempo drum beats working perfectly with the hammering vocals.

All of the tracks flow really well and nothing can disappoint with Blind Faith. The intensity of this album is amazing like a hardcore version of a ten ton hammer crashing down to the earth. To round this up it is a solid record and should not be missed out on! 

5 Jan 2012

Maths: 'Ascent'



Maths latest EP Ascent is the follow up to their 2009 full length Descent which was a fantastic album I must say. Maths has always been top of the list when it comes to Screamo bands from the UK and you will see why after listening to this. Containing a very raw sound and loose song structure sounding like a clutter of instruments and vocals, resulting in perfect chaos. The disorganisation of guitar melodies and smashing drum parts are really compelling and quickly change from extremely fast tunes with blast beats to relaxing guitar harmonies. Although it sounds all over the place, you can also realise how carefully Ascent has been constructed to conclude in an emotional and effective gem of a record.

Formed in 2006, Maths have progressed so much over the past 5 years and have released some fantastic records and have a split with Throats, which I enjoyed. Ascent is sadly only 4 tracks, but what is delivered in these 4 tracks is made up in quality. In terms of sound, this EP has many traits that are also evident in Descent, however I did find that the full length sounded crazier and they have ever so slightly toned down their fast sound. I was looking forward to another ear blistering release but this one is ever-so-slightly more gentle on the ears. It is a nice change to hear more relaxing tones coming from their latest tracks, especially The Wind Swept Away which left me thinking how articulate and precise these songs are.

I feel this record deserves to be up at the top of this genre just as their previous material was. There are some quick frenzies of furious guitar riffs especially in Consecrated Earth and Unending Bloom and frantic drum beats through each song that are just fantastic. The raw, screaming vocals fit perfectly with the heavier instrumental parts, and even with the more melodic parts showing a great contrast between the two sounds. After listening to the EP many times I still think that the best track from this The Wind Swept Away, which seems to be a lot of people’s favourite. This tracks clocks in at 5:48 which is a little longer than the majority of their songs. They have incorporated so many sounds into this one track and it constantly rises with the faster paced parts and falls again with the emotional, melodic parts – unbeatable. There are so many frantic screaming vocals and lively instrumentals which I found really impressive.

This is a definite must have to your collection and the contrast between styles is just ‘music to my ears’, and the vocal parts still remain as bloodthirsty and ferocious as ever. I didn’t think it could be possible but the instrumental parts have greatly been improved and I think are the best from Maths so far. All in all, a very artistic and accomplished record which you should definitely check out.