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I Rise "Down" 7"

Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2007 @ 6:36am » permalink

I Rise - DownSo I was browsing around the 1917 Records website a few nights ago as lately I've been inexplicably driven to start trying to catch up on some of the newer hardcore that's been floating around out there (go figure – there's actually a lot of great shit out there right now), and among my four purchases was the "Down" EP from Massachusetts' I Rise. I had never heard of I Rise before, but their energetic brand of metallic hardcore hooked me right off the bat, and I'm loving the fact that there seems to be a lot of bands coming up these days that are operating in a similar space to what these cats are doing. Herein they tear through six tracks in about 13 minutes and always manage to maintain a very hardcore sense of energy despite the fact that their writing tactics actually explore a much wider range of styles. Shit, just check out their complete list of influences on MySpace for proof. Any band that cites Inside Out, Unbroken, and fucking Dive (Wow. Impressive.) – not to mention Burn and the Cro-Mags – gets my respect without a doubt. I can definitely pick up on some similarities to early 108 and that sort of thing within some of the caustic metal-based riffing and discordant textures, though they never get too unhinged or veer off into chaotic territory, which is rather refreshing. There's a little more of a socio-political tinge to the lyrics than I tend to prefer these days, but they handle it very well, so it comes across with a personal touch that seems sincere (as opposed to the preachy and overly specific kind of approach, which gets old), so it doesn't bother me at all in the long run. This is some pretty creative and interesting shit though, so I'll damn sure be looking forward to hearing the full-length they're currently working on. I have a feeling the six tracks on this EP are only scratching the surface of what I Rise has to offer…

I Rise "Down"

Purchase:

@ 1917 Records (CD)*
@ 1917 Records (7")
@ 1917 Records (mp3)

*I just realized that the CD contains a couple of extra tracks, as well as the band's demo. Fuck. Wish I had noticed that before I bought the EP as a download, but I guess that's the only minor "setback" of the manner in which 1917 sells mp3's, because I was super fucking impressed with everything else about their setup. The mp3's are ripped at 192, you can do whatever you want with 'em, lyrics and shit are included as a .pdf, and the prices are absolutely excellent. I mean, $6 for a full-length? I'm sold, man. Awesome.

Tangorodrim "Justus Ex Fide Vivit" CD

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 @ 8:27am » permalink

Tangorodrim - Justus Ex Fide VivitThe fourth full-length release (though at six tracks in just about a half-hour perhaps it's more of an EP, especially by black metal standards) from Israeli duo (now featuring ex-Rabies Caste drummer Terno Graderz) Tangorodrim, released by Southern Lord, is actually my first true exposure to the band, and I'm already interested in checking out their back catalog, because as relatively one-sided as their brand of straightforward and rugged black metal may be, they're damn sure doing something right in the songwriting department. Is it terribly original? Nope. But the overall vibe of the music definitely works for me, and they keep things focused and to the point with a great balance of grimy midpaced power chords and moderately speedy tremolo picking accented by the occasional appearance of some slow, pounding riffs – all within compositions that stick inside the three- to seven-minute range. There's definitely a Darkthrone-esque quality to it all (though not entirely, mind you), but there's obviously a reason that this band gets the Fenriz stamp of approval: And damn near anything that gets the Fenriz stamp of approval is alright by me, man. Seriously, though, I've encountered a lot of mixed reviews for this album, but I really don't see what people are complaining about. This is good shit…

Tangorodrim "The Wolves are Also Coming…"

Purchase:

Southern Lord
@ The End Records

And since there have been zero comments two days in a row, I guess that means it's nice to see that everything is back to normal now, ha, ha…

Blade/Goldust split 10"

Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 @ 10:07am » permalink

Blade/Goldust - splitRecently released through Germany's Break x Out Records is this quality split between two (self-professed) heavily Clevo-inspired metallic hardcore bands from Europe (both of which also happen to be straightedge, if you're interested), though neither apes their influences particularly blatantly – which isn't a bad thing in this instance. Blade (Belgium) kicks things off with five tracks of fairly straightforward metallic hardcore with just the right balance of burly breaks and churning, moderately paced speeds – meaning that there is in fact a tangible degree of actual hardcore involved. Goldust (Germany) then follows with five tracks of their own, which take a similar road musically, though a hint more diversity is explored through a wider range of tempos and some killer little dissonant riffs that lend a darker edge to the songwriting. The vocals also possess a harsher and more ferocious edge, so when all is said and done the Goldust material definitely tends to leave more of a mark in terms of furious energy and overall intrigue. That's not to detract from Blade at all, however, as I'd certainly like to hear more from both of these acts, I just can't deny that Goldust is bringing a little more to the table with their curious breadth of influences. Good stuff overall, though.

Blade "The Scythe"
Goldust "Speaking Tongues"

I don't have the actual 10" for this one, but the artwork looks pretty damn cool and it appears that colored vinyl is available, so I'm guessing that the physical product would indeed satisfy all the vinyl-obsessive hardcore fans out there. I'm not sure about distribution or ordering information either, so go ahead and contact the label via MySpace to see what's up there.

Strangers "Weight" CD

Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 @ 8:24am » permalink

Strangers - WeightAs with their excellent demo (also released by Action Man Records), the debut full-length from New Zealand's Strangers continues to deliver the goods. All of the songs from the demo appear here in re-recorded form, so expect plenty of that same brand of material with a backbone of hard-hitting surges of churning heaviness and rumbling low-end countered by searing midpaced dissonance and frenzied bursts of more chaotically paced and textured riffing – making for a concise and well-focused presentation (with yet another beautiful layout to boot) of 10 tracks in about 26 minutes. The key differentiator here is that everything feels much darker and heavier this time out thanks to a fuckin' killer recording that beefs everything up significantly and really shifts the overall aesthetic more towards an actively furious and in your face attack, as opposed to the more passively spacious and subtly nuanced vibe of the demo. And it's interesting, because both approaches work extremely well for Strangers, there's absolutely no denying that, so… I'm not even saying that one is better than the other. I was pretty damn floored by the sheer force with which the full-length plows through the speakers, though, I must say. Well done, once again, gentlemen. Well done…

Here's a five-minute "overview" mp3 that the label's created to provide a taste of the varying atmospheres kickin' around all over this thing:

Strangers "Weight" (album overview)

Purchase:

@ Action Man Records*

*It's pretty damn pricey, but the label is in New Zealand after all, and shipping costs are a bitch. I'm not seeing the disc around anywhere else, so maybe they could use a hand on some distribution if anyone is interested and able to lend a hand!

Deathspell Omega "Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" CD

Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2007 @ 8:30am » permalink

Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem AeternumReleased by the ever-intriguing Norma Evangelium Diaboli and The Ajna Offensive, "Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" is the latest long-awaited full-length effort from the clandestine French black metal elite of Deathspell Omega – said to be the second chapter of a trilogy that began with "Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice". And, as expected, this material sees the group continuing to experiment with the boundaries and guidelines of "black metal" through generally lengthy compositions that traverse swirling dark ambient textures; the eerie, creeping dissonance of bizarre clean passages and jazz-inflected midpaced riffing; and the dominance of a frenzied pace that has become twisted and technical in a super-fucked-up way: Totally mangled riffs and erratic percussive blasts intertwine to form a densely reverberated sense of layering and resonance with little tinges of oddball progressive metal or even vague elements that could be described using the dreaded "post-rock" tag to some degree. All packaged in a six-panel digipack with a rather thick booklet rife with evidence of the curious lyrical substance, which reads more like a combination of narrative and philosophical text – arguably delivered in such a manner as well, in certain instances. Easily hopping from fluid and restrained to unhinged and over the top, it's just a strange, strange brew. There's no conceivable way in hell to provide a proper indication of what to expect through the written word, so you'll just have to listen for yourself and see what you make of it.

The feeling of destroying the capacity for inward peace, an insane dance with the angels of innocence amidst thorns and in frenzy, the warmth of a divine blessing, a daringness which prevailed over any imaginable fear hovering on the brink of a voluntary act of contrition, but soon all pales besides the cry this shattering truth wrests from all fellow men, there is more to it than suffering and sounds of suffering, it is a process that only the extinction of a divine soul could terminate. The eye can outstare neither the sun, nor death… if I sought God it was in delirium and in the delight of temptation.

The idea of salvation comes, I believe, from the one whom suffering breaks apart. He who masters it, on the contrary, needs to be broken, to proceed on the path towards the rupture…

Deathspell Omega "Bread of Bitterness"

Purchase:

@ The Ajna Offensive

Living Hell "The Lost and the Damned" CD

Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 @ 8:45am » permalink

Living Hell - The Lost and the DamnedFrom Revelation Records, of all labels, comes the latest from Living Hell – featuring ex-members of Follow Through, Dead Wrong, and Fear Tomorrow (Remember them?). And if those last two band names sound vaguely familiar for various reasons, the fact that you're greeted by two enormous "4P" emblems (as "popularized" by Integrity during the height of their "holy terror" period) upon opening the jewel case should perhaps come as slightly less of a surprise, as this is indeed another relatively new band that's building off of those "holy terror" types of influences – which is always a welcome treat to these ears.

Having heard about this band for awhile now (Dwid himself told me about them most recently, when they signed to Revelation), I believe this is the first time I've finally heard their work myself, and I'm obviously a fan. Offering up 12 tracks in about a half-hour, the material's definitely heavily inspired by classic Integrity, though in Living Hell's defense they're not just trying to blatantly copy the masters. Sure, there are plenty of "Those Who Fear Tomorrow"-esque song structures and sinister midpaced breaks, not to mention loads of straight-up Melnick-ian leads throughout, but the overall vibe of the music is a little chunkier and more straightforward (i.e. "less metal"), while the vocals possess more of that burly weight that I tend to associate with European bands of this general nature. So, some of the influences may be obvious, but this isn't a mere copycat show by any means. And as I've said before, this whole resurgence of "holy terror" styled metallic hardcore? Bring it on, man. The more the merrier, 'cause a number of these bands are definitely doin' shit right.

Living Hell "The Resurrection"
Living Hell "Vermin"

Purchase:

@ RevHQ
@ Very Distribution

Pusher "s/t" CD

Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 @ 8:38am » permalink

Pusher - s/tI knew absolutely nothing about this band prior to popping this disc in for the first time, but seeing that it was released by Auxiliary Records was a good sign, and when you combine that with the disc's killer packaging (one of those little chipboard envelope "arigato pak" things, complete with four-color screenprinting that's heavy on the metallic silver ink) I had a feeling this was gonna be some good shit. The label's website refers to the release as "the much sought-after unreleased full-length from Pusher, featuring Steve Sindoni (Breather Resist), Matt Jaha (Coliseum), and Eric McManus (Lords)", which gives you a bit of background as well as informing you that the band is sadly no longer around, but… full-length? No. The disc's 11 tracks barely pass the 12-minute mark, so… we're talking full-blown EP here. Full-length? Not even close. Only one track beats two minutes, and it's basically an outro consisting of a lone drum beat underneath various feedback noises and such. Thankfully, however, the prior 10 tracks blaze through a frantic and grinding form of hardcore/punk that's tight and energetic (vocals = excellent) while also tactfully loose and noisy – not to mention perfectly recorded given that stylistic balance. There's a pretty good range of influences going on, so the band was kind of operating in one of those "familiar yet inventive" spaces, which I tend to find pretty impressive… so this is yet another high-quality release from the stacked deck of the Louisville scene. Nicely done, and a damn shame the band couldn't keep it together for more than a few months!

Pusher "And We're Off"
Pusher "Scapehole"

Purchase:

@ Auxiliary Records

Atlas Shrugged "Vigilante Songs" CD

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2007 @ 8:29am » permalink

Atlas Shrugged - Vigilante SongsI'm not sure what the deal is with this release (via Trip Machine Laboratories) since the core three demo tracks were recorded way back in 1998, which I believe is the year that Atlas Shrugged originally called it quits, but I'm certainly not complaining, 'cause I'm way the fuck into this band and have been anxiously awaiting a potential discography CD for quite some time now. I've got a vinyl release or two from the Atlas Shrugged back catalog, but I don't really listen to vinyl anymore, and as someone who got into this band way late (despite having read about them all over the place back in the day, I only first heard their material a few years ago as the result of a post I made about Ghidrah, whose lineup shared some members with Atlas Shrugged) I just haven't been able to listen to their material nearly as much as I'd like to.

For those uninitiated, the band's style was pretty heavily influenced by Burn and that sort of niche – what with all the fairly technical little arpeggiated riffs and open chords with the cool melodic characteristics and ringing dissonance and stuff – though these cats were maybe a little heavier on the chunky grooves and undercurrents. Tacked on after the three demo tracks here is a full live set recorded at CBGB in May of 1997, which is also fairly solid, but as someone who's never been a big fan of live recordings, it's pretty much all about the demo songs for me. But all three of those tunes are completely fuckin' awesome – including the closing cover of Altercation's "Vigilante Song" (Anyone out there able to hook me up with Altercation mp3's?) – and the way "The Haze Control" kicks off kills me every time. Love that shit. Love it.

Atlas Shrugged "The Haze Control"

I'm unsure of ordering information here but I'm assuming it's relatively inexpensive to get your hands on a copy of the CD-R, so get in touch with the label through MySpace to see what's up. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a complete Atlas Shrugged discography release sometime in the future, man. That shit definitely needs to happen…

Insignificant "update"…

Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2007 @ 1:55pm » permalink

Today is shaping up to be the first less-than-11-hour workday I've had since last week, and it's also the first time since then that my workload's been light enough to actually take breaks and check email and screw around online or whatnot. Unfortunately, my home computer is basically dead now, and I've been waiting on a fucking pre-paid FedEx box to ship it in for service since Saturday, so… I'm still screwed for what will more than likely be at least another week. I won't be surprised if my readership has dwindled to a mere seven people by then, but… my hands are pretty much tied there. Hopefully I can finally get some new updates rolling soon after my piece of shit laptop is back in my hands and (hopefully) functioning…