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Dare to Defy "The Weight of Disgust" CD

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008 @ 12:00am » permalink

Dare to Defy - The Weight of DisgustFor some inexplicable reason, Philadelphia's Dare to Defy seems to have fallen off the map of awareness in the years since their dissolution, but their early- to mid-90's material – consisting of their debut full-length, "The Weight of Disgust" (released in 1995 by Too Damn Hype), alongside their tracks from "East Coast Assault" and "Philly Dust Krew" – most definitely deserves more attention these days. Jammed with absolutely sick rhythms loaded with raging mosh breaks and thick, chugging riffs over plunky basslines, they utilized just the right amount of eerie dissonance to add a slightly darker edge to their bitter, in your face brand of "metalcore". And check out the acoustic intro to "Warm Itch" (one of the band's greatest tracks, without a doubt)! God damn, I love that shit. I'd prefer to go into more detail, but I never knew a ton about these guys, so I'm not gonna ramble on and on here. This album's a total scorcher that I know a shitload of people will appreciate now that this particular style of hardcore's (finally) starting to come around again. Just check this shit out:

Dare to Defy "Warm Itch"
Dare to Defy "Hiding in the Light"

This one's also long out of print, so here's the entire album, in all its glory:

[DOWNLOAD] Dare to Defy "The Weight of Disgust" (@ Mediafire)

However, if you act fast, you can score a used copy from Amazon.com for dirt fuckin' cheap, so… I highly recommend you do so while you still can! "The Weight of Disgust" is a sorely underrated classic of 90's metallic hardcore in my book…

Moutheater "Lot Lizard" 7"

Posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 @ 6:44am » permalink

Moutheater - Lot LizardCoincidentally, after remarking in my write-up of the Vegas/Moutheater split 7" a couple of weeks ago that I'd really like to hear more from Moutheater, I got an email from Thrashed! Records letting me know that they had actually already sent me a copy of "Lot Lizard". Released in late-2007, I believe this was the band's debut EP – recorded by Steve Albini, appropriately enough – and as anticipated these three tracks offer up the same high-quality dose of lightly noisy AmRep-ish influence. Think plodding basslines, angular riffing, some slick post-hardcore dissonance, perfectly harsh vocals, and that expertly warm, natural tonality you'd expect from Albini's handiwork. While slightly less "heavy" (and that's not a derogatory remark here) than the tracks from the split with Vegas, I'd say these three tunes offer a smidge more variety in terms of unexpectedly energetic bursts and tempo changes, but the overall aesthetic is definitely right in line with what I've now come to expect from the band. At this rate, the full-length they're slated to start recording at the end of the year should indeed yield some damn solid results. Good stuff…

Moutheater "Meat Grinder"


@ Thrashed! Records (7")
@ Interpunk (7")
@ RevHQ (7")
@ iTunes (mp3)

Mightyfew "Cinema" CD

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 @ 5:54am » permalink

Mightyfew - CinemaTo this day I know almost nothing about Australia's Mightyfew, but they were a painfully underrated, overlooked, and just plain wronged band that had so much talent and so much potential but never achieved the proper level of appreciation. Recorded in 2000 and released by the now defunct UK label Rage of Achilles (I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think it actually hit the streets until 2002), "Cinema" was Mightyfew's debut EP, and I remember being unexpectedly impressed by the material when I originally reviewed the disc on the old version of the site. Having never heard of the band before I had no idea what to expect, but their interesting fusion of "alternative rock" and post-hardcore stands the test of time fairly well. I'm sure there are a good number of people who'd nitpick it to death and find aspects to complain about – admittedly the singing can be a bit of a weak link when compared to the fierce screaming and the overall force of the music – but when all is said and done it's hard to deny the quality of their riffs or the emotional tone of their songwriting. From roving basslines and dissonant guitar textures interspersed with darker melodic undercurrents and subtly sludgy rhythms, there's actually a little bit of a Deftones-ish thing going on to some degree, but whatever you want to call it, it's pretty solid work. Here's an initial taste of Mightyfew at their best:

Mightyfew "Both Shoulders"

And since as far as I can tell this one's out of print, here's the entire EP for your perusal (and hopefully your enjoyment, as well):

[DOWNLOAD] Mightyfew "Cinema" (@ Mediafire)

It was when digging around to research for this post that I discovered the band had broken up in early-2007, but not before releasing one last EP called "Of Course You Do, Everybody Does", which they were apparently giving away for free via their MySpace page at one point (How's that for underappreciated, eh?). Since they haven't even logged in since last summer, I'm guessing chances are slim that I'll be able to get my hands on a copy from them, so… if there's any chance that someone out there could hook me up with high-quality mp3's of those tracks I'd really appreciate it. Thanks…

Quagmire "We Know We Don't Know" CD

Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2008 @ 6:46am » permalink

Quagmire - We Know We Don't KnowHaving released three EP's and a full-length since 1999, I believe "We Know We Don't Know" (released on CD by Groupsounds) is the sophomore full-length effort from Sweden's Quagmire, who I had unfortunately never heard prior to this. Recommended by the label for fans of Fugazi and Shellac and the like, the album's nine tracks explore an array of efficiently meshed influences: From jangly, angular alternative/indie rock riffing strewn with a really nice dash of melody and interwoven guitar textures, to pounding basslines and raw, energetic burst of punk-ish power chord rhythms. The songwriting just offers an excellent blend of frantic and relaxed atmospheres – the true quality of which doesn't fully take hold until you get about 10 minutes in and everything starts to sink in a bit deeper. I haven't encountered all that much music of this nature in recent times, but this is a great fuckin' album that really hits the spot. Here's a little taste of what the material has to offer:

Quagmire "Pre-emptive Retaliation"
Quagmire "McGandhi"

And if you like what you hear, the entire album is actually available from the band for free under a Creative Commons license:

[DOWNLOAD] Quagmire "We Know We Don't Know" (@ Quagmire)

But don't forget that you can also snag a physical CD from the Groupsounds label if you'd prefer something a little more tangible!


@ Groupsounds

Darkane "Rusted Angel" CD

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008 @ 7:06am » permalink

Darkane - Rusted AngelWhile it wasn't necessarily the most original sounding album in the world when it first hit the streets, I have to say that "Rusted Angel" (originally released in 1998 by W.A.R. Music/Relapse Records, though it was reissued several years ago by Regain Records as well), the debut full-length from Sweden's Darkane, has really stood the test of time exceptionally well, and every time I look back on it I realize more and more what an incredible piece of work it was. In the late-90's it seemed to be fairly standard melodic Swedish death metal, but that's just not the case at all, as the hyperactive sense of frenetic energy and technical, thrash-laden riffing was really heading in a more aggressive and explosive direction. I always fucking loved the drumming on this thing, and Peter Wildoer's exceptional performance is still top notch, knowing just when to step back into a basic beat or cut loose into some wildly flashy fills; and as the band's only album with Lawrence Mackrory on vocals (unfortunately), that surprisingly powerful mix of high-pitched sneering with hints of singing was ahead of the curve as well. But, as usual, it's the songwriting that really makes the difference, as there are some fucking classic songs here. Opener "Convicted" was always one of those songs that tore my head off right away, and I'll never forget it. The chorus to the title track is also incredible, as the singing is used perfectly to accentuate the tempo changes and melodies. And I really haven't even touched on the super tight guitar work, complete with complex rhythms and slick lead playing. I'm not entirely sure why, but the overall quality of the musicianship and songwriting herein seems to have gone vastly underappreciated in the years since the release of "Rusted Angel", which is a damn shame. Hopefully this will refresh some memories, as well as introducing younger listeners to an outright awesome album that certainly deserves more attention in the grand scheme of things…

Darkane "Convicted"
Darkane "July 1999"


@ Relapse Records
@ Amazon.com

Darkane's discography has since been somewhat inconsistent. I still don't really care for the follow-up, "Insanity", though I do rather enjoy "Expanding Senses" and "Layers of Lies". They've never fully recaptured the energy and memorability of their debut, but it seems that every other album is a bit more forceful and interesting somehow, so perhaps their latest, "Demonic Art" (due out this week, coincidentally) will be another keeper. I'll certainly check it out…

Heathens "s/t" 7"

Posted on Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 @ 6:47am » permalink

Heathens - s/tFeaturing current and former members of Bracewar and Cast Aside, the debut 7" from Richmond, VA's Heathens (who were known as the singular "Heathen" at the time of the record's release, as indicated by the cover art), on Thrashed! Records, tears through five tracks of absolutely excellent hardcore/punk infused with dingy sludge in less than 10 minutes. It's an interesting combination of styles that you don't really encounter too often, especially these days. The stark contrast in tempos and concise running times along with the bitterly snarled vocal delivery bear some resemblance to a powerviolence sort of angle on occasion (not unlike some of Bracewar's output), but the superbly textured recording really amplifies the effects of those uncommonly gritty, feedback-drenched aspects of the riffing. This is absolutely top-notch material on every level, and since it's over in a flash I'm already super anxious to hear more. Well fucking done…

Heathens "II"


@ Thrashed! Records (7")
@ Interpunk (7")
@ RevHQ (7")
@ iTunes (mp3)

Svarti Loghin "Empty World" CD

Posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 @ 6:52am » permalink

Svarti Loghin - Empty World"Empty World" is the impressive debut full-length from curious Swedish black metal trio Svarti Loghin – as well as the first release for new label A Sad Sadness Song (partnered with ATMF) – and this is one of those rare albums where you can just tell from the aesthetic of the cover art that there's more than likely something special to be found within. The mere six tracks (most of which top eight minutes) make for nearly 45 minutes of cold, winding, atmospheric black metal that's familiar but still quite intriguing in its use of almost shockingly emphatic melodies and atypical riffing tendencies (as far as black metal is concerned). Sure, the lightly reverberating screams are as tortured as one would anticipate, and many of the midpaced rhythms surge forth with a consistently pounding pace (to some degree reminiscent of Katatonia's early years), while a number of the eerily creeping riffs weave amidst melodic tendencies commonly heard from some of Norway's finest, but there's much more to it than that. In fact, I'd argue that some of the melodies are so fluid and forthright that they have an almost emo/indie rock quality to them – coming across through a distorted howl that bears an incredibly unusual similarity to some of the harder to categorize bands from the more openly melodic niche of the 90's metallic hardcore scene, like Split Lip and Empathy, among others. I know it's sort of stupid to bring up bands like that in a write-up about a black metal act, as few will have any idea what the hell I'm rambling about, but… the similarities are just too uncanny to ignore in some instances. It's these almost "upbeat" melodies that really shift the overall character of the album in a more creative direction – strange, but highly effective. Hell, the clean guitars during the intro to the title track sound almost identical to something Dan Swanö would've done with his progressive rock outfit Unicorn, and at one point I'd swear they lift the core melody from The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" for a few moments!? In words these tidbits are almost certainly creating an inaccurate picture of this album, however. Many listeners probably won't notice some of these characteristics buried amongst the darker and more traditional aspects of the compositions, but I feel that there's plenty to appreciate regardless, and I'll look forward to hearing more from Svarti Loghin in the future…

Svarti Loghin "Inner Desolation"


@ The End Records

Integrity "Walpurgisnacht" 7"

Posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 @ 6:53am » permalink

Integrity - WalpurgisnachtThis long overdue two-song 7" (released by the increasingly mighty A389 Recordings) marks the first new output from Integrity since the solid return to form of "To Die For", and despite another round of lineup changes since that time, both tracks absofuckinglutely deliver. The title track kicks things off right away with plenty of textbook Clevo-sounding power chords and explosive leads that sound straight out of the Melnick days, but it's not a total throwback to old times either, as the piece transitions into a close of restrained, somber clean guitars. "Mirror in Reverse" then follows suit with a similar base driven by melodic leads and basic power chords, utilizing more chaotic vocal layering and a hint of added dissonance to beef things up, and continuing to experiment with a smattering of darker ambiance towards the end with a faint sample over feedback and low hums. I haven't seen the actual 7" packaging yet, so I can't speak as to what the insert(s) may or may not contain as far as lyrics, artwork, etc., but fuck it, 'cause I was totally floored by this material when I was first hooked up with the tracks, and this shit proves once and for all – in the face of so many skeptics – that Integrity can still capture the ferocity and vision of the sound that the band fucking invented two decades ago. Awesome.

Integrity "Walpurgisnacht" (excerpt)

I believe most of these 7"s already sold during the pre-order phase, so it'd probably be wise to grab one sooner than later, since they'll probably be gone by the end of the year…


@ A389 Recordings
@ RevHQ

Agalloch "Pale Folklore" CD

Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2008 @ 7:00am » permalink

Agalloch - Pale FolkloreSince it's finally starting to feel like autumn around here, I've been breaking out some of my fall favorites, so here's a repost of this autumnal masterpiece for those poor souls who may still be unaware of its brilliance after all these years. Every year my listening habits become quite a bit more specific as soon as the official launch of the fall season hits in late-September and the nights grow longer. I tend to listen to even more Katatonia than usual, and frequently find myself spinning some of my favorites from the darker, colder, more atmospheric realm of the metal world. And here we are with one of my absolute favorites from what I feel is one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and certainly one of the top five bands active today in the metal scene: Agalloch. I can't believe it's been nearly a decade since their debut full-length, "Pale Folklore", was released. This was one of the first CD's I ever got to review when I started my site nearly nine years ago that actually blew my fucking mind right from the start – immediately solidifying the band's position at the top of my list, where they've stayed ever since thanks to a faultless discography that all comes very highly recommended from this end.

There's plenty of information on these guys out there since they're still around, so I'm not going to bother with any history, all I can do is absolutely gush over their painfully moving music in all its spectacular glory: Be it powerful expressions of complete and utter nihilism, diverse musical explorations of the sinister and less traditional underbelly of the metal genre, or sheer depressing overtones – the lyrics, the music, the feeling… it's all fucking impeccable, and many of the songs on this record still give me chills with every listen (a very rare occurrence for me). I'm also not going to pigeonhole the music, as Agalloch is truly its own entity and many influences are built upon throughout their work. Let these two songs provide but a mere example of what brilliance the album offers (be aware that the first track below is the final portion of a much longer three-part epic, so the start may seem a little odd out of context):

Agalloch "She Painted Fire Across the Skyline (Part III)"
Agalloch "As Embers Dress the Sky"

And I am left with nothing but an oath that gleams like a sword, to bathe in the blood of man. Mankind…


@ The End Records (CD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)

Nahvalr "s/t" CD

Posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 @ 7:07am » permalink

Nahvalr - s/tThe latest release from the incredibly curious Enemies List is another peculiar outing, this time from Nahvalr – dubbed "the world's first open-sourced black metal project". The "band" is driven by Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga, the core duo from Have a Nice Life, and "…aims to create the densest, most visceral sounds possible by combining the input of a dozen collaborators, all working individually, in a coherent and intuitive way. In other words: Several people, operating anonymously around the globe, have their work hacked, chopped, distorted, fused, and recorded over to create something altogether new." The result is actually a very Wrnlrd-esque excursion into the most abstract fringes of "black metal" throughout eight lengthy tracks in more than an hour's time – generally playing out more like an experimental noise album given its penchant for burying textures underneath washes of distortion and reverb. From samples, rhythmic loops, and mangled ambient hums to the occasional appearances of more tangible percussive textures or distant, snarled vocals, the bulk of the material does indeed feel somewhat improvisational and unstructured (at least with regard to thinking in terms of "songs", and the types of characteristics generally anticipated from music associated with the "black metal" tag). However, there are rare instances where elements seem to blend into discernible "riffs", to varying degrees of ambiance or abrasiveness, many of which come towards the latter portion of the album, with "The Witch Box" boasting the most overall potential in terms of creating a literal fusion of abstracted black metal and sinister, droning undercurrents of ambient melody. The disc is housed in an excellently decorated digipack with a 12-page booklet that follows a similar aesthetic – all with a satin finish – and the handwritten "lyrics" (the delivery is so misshapen it's impossible to decipher whether or not the provided content is actually what's being projected amidst the compositions) provide a nice touch:

High up in the ocean's air, the enemies of philosophy count themselves awake, and cough sad numbers made for the earth, and I don't understand a single thing because my life is meaningless and everything I know is bullshit.

I've honestly lost most interest in experimental noise over the last three years, but this is another peculiar yet incredibly interesting release for Enemies List that certainly holds my attention, so I'll absolutely continue to look forward to the label's future efforts. Very nicely done…

Nahvalr "The Witch Box" (excerpt)
Nahvalr "Blood Flood"


@ Enemies List

Rash of Beatings "s/t" 7"

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 @ 6:07am » permalink

Rash of Beatings - s/tReposting this classic for anyone who missed it years ago. I still know fairly little about this record, but it's easily one of the best grindcore EP's ever released, and I'd probably rank it very closely behind Terrorizer's "World Downfall" as my favorite grindcore release of all time. I know that sounds crazy, but this is seriously one of the most underrated records I've ever encountered. I found it several years ago in a used bin for like .50 cents or something and bought it because I loved the band name, and as soon as I listened to it I was completely floored. It came out on the Sensual Underground Ministries label in 1996, and from what I can tell you can probably still get your hands on it from traders or distro leftovers if you do some digging. Expect 11 tracks of raging grind in about as many minutes, with tons of tempo changes and slick dissonant riffing – very much recommended for fans of the almighty Assück, but I like this a lot better since they focus more on feel rather than intense speeds (granted there's no absence of intense speeds on this thing). Members have gone on to perform with Goat Shanty and BG, among others, but I haven't really followed any of their work past this mighty 7". So, without further ado:

[DOWNLOAD] Rash of Beatings "s/t" (@ Mediafire)

Vegas/Moutheater split 7"

Posted on Monday, October 13th, 2008 @ 7:03am » permalink

Vegas/Moutheater - splitThis long-awaited split 7" between Vegas and Moutheater comes courtesy of Thrashed! Records, offering up two tracks per band for a mere 11 minutes of surprisingly diverse excursions. I believe this is the first new material from Vegas in almost four years, and "Becoming the Night" kicks things off with a dark, relaxed twist that's actually quite comparable to vocalist T's work with the Roses Never Fade project, while "MMVIII" then builds into an explosive two-minute assault of straight-up Cleveland hardcore worship, complete with a slew of chaotic leads mixed deep in against the backbone of the composition. Moutheater, on the other hand, operates in an entirely different space, loaded with grungy, AmRep-styled "noise rock" that's a little more aggressive and in your face compliments of some forceful vocals and an incredibly warm, natural recording that really lets the plodding, bass-centric rhythms shine. I had never heard this band before, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but this is great work, and I'd quite like to hear more. I believe the 7" is limited to 500 copies, and from what I understand it's selling rather quickly, so… check out the excerpts below, and make the grab while you still can if you like what you hear!

Vegas "MMVIII" (excerpt)
Moutheater "Misperceptions" (excerpt)


@ Thrashed! Records
@ Deathwish Inc.
@ Interpunk
@ RevHQ

Deadeffect "s/t" CD

Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2008 @ 6:59am » permalink

Deadeffect - s/tFor those unaware (and that's probably most of you, unfortunately), Deadeffect formed from the ashes of upstate NY's mighty Cutthroat in 2001 (best known for their appearance on 1997's "East Coast Assault II" compilation – "Split Your Face" is still an utter fucking classic to this day), and it was that connection that led me to discover the band when I was searching around online trying to find out what had ever happened to Cutthroat. And now, I'd absolutely place Deadeffect amidst the long list of acts that should've done far more than they ever did. I didn't discover the band until 2004, at which time I did a big feature on this release (their only recordings) and even ran a contest to give away a few demos and t-shirts on the old version of the site, but I believe that was already a year or two after this material was recorded, and sadly it wasn't long before the band vanished into thin air. This stuff totally sounds like a logical progression from where Cutthroat was heading: Just fucking brutal metallic hardcore with completely massive production and a lot of hard as nails grooves that are leaning way in the metal direction. The songs are all pretty short (right around three minutes each), focused mainly on rhythm and fucking bitter vocal screams that are pissed as fuck and have a really unique sort of venom happening. The guitars are monolithic, the bass tone is suffocatingly huge and has enough presence to create its own space, and this shit still sounds better than the vast majority of material I hear coming from bigger hardcore/metal labels out there. "Driving" is an utterly perfect opener that sets it off right away with no bullshit (totally makes me want to smash faces). Absolutely awesome:

Deadeffect "Driving"

If you dig that shit (and I can't possibly imagine why you wouldn't), here's the whole demo:

[DOWNLOAD] Deadeffect "s/t" (@ Mediafire)

I still can't believe these cats never got signed off this material. A pathetic shame, indeed. I would've loved to have seen a full-length…

Helms Alee "Night Terror" CD

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 @ 6:50am » permalink

Helms Alee - Night TerrorAs someone who used to be an absolutely enormous fan and follower of Hydra Head Records, I've honestly really lost interest in the vast majority of their releases in recent years. However, they still drop some true gems from time to time, and "Night Terror", the debut full-length from Seattle's Helms Alee, is just one of those outstanding efforts (also available on LP from Robotic Empire). Something about this album just seemed like it would be good, so I set it aside to check out a few weeks ago, and I wish I hadn't slept on it for so long, 'cause I'm totally loving it. With 10 tracks in a well-focused 36 minutes, the trio covers a hell of a lot of ground, from chunky power chords and oddball "math metal" time signatures to hypnotically pulsing rhythms and loads of lush melodies contrasted by dry, jangly guitar textures that explore more of a quirky indie rock sort of vibe – all accented by the occasional presence of some oddly spacey effects and massively fuzzed-out basslines, not to mention a multi-vocal approach that covers a decent range of shouting/yelling and a little bit of singing, too. There's also some "psychedelic grit" and "western-ish drugged out drone jams" in there (as cited by Robotic Empire), which might sound a little funky, but really does make sense once you give this stuff a listen. The recording is impeccable and really highlights the texture and space, lending plenty of breathing room to all of the subtle intricacies that help to make this such a unique listen, but make no mistake, because the songwriting's fucking great as well. Very cool. This is an awesome album, and I'm already looking forward to hearing more. Well done…

Helms Alee "Grandfather Claws"
Helms Alee "Big Spider"


@ Hydra Head Records (CD)
@ Robotic Empire (LP)
@ Interpunk (CD/LP)
@ RevHQ (CD/LP)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)

Violation "Devoured" CD

Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 @ 7:20am » permalink

Violation - DevouredThe debut full-length from California's Violation on 1917 Records, "Devoured" cranks out 11 tracks in about 22 minutes and offers up the same top-notch, thrash-laden metallic hardcore you'd expected based on the strengths of last year's "Possessed" EP, which was my first exposure to the band. Damn near all of the songs are about two minutes or less, based around straightforward, thashy picking patterns and bursts of speed amidst traditionally basic midpaced metallic hardcore rhythms, occasionally tossing in subtly more metal-based runs or even quick solos. The vocals are mixed a touch loud, but part of that comes from the fact that they've got a rawer and more in your face approach going on, which would've been equally forceful even without the slight bump in volume. It's not a setback, though. Other than the fact that I'd like to be able to hear more of what the basslines are doing back there, the recording sounds pretty damn good, and quite effective for what they're presenting. The songs deliver, too, with just the right amount of the groove that a lot of these contemporary hardcore acts are bringing back, and plenty of furious rage, so… what more could you ask for, really?

Violation "Disillusioned"
Violation "No Solace"


@ 1917 Records (CD)
@ 1917 Records (LP)
@ 1917 Records (mp3)
@ eMusic (mp3)

Pale Creation "Before Twilight and After" CD

Posted on Sunday, October 5th, 2008 @ 9:14pm » permalink

Pale Creation - Before Twilight and AfterThe first release from the newly resurrected Holy Terror Records is "Before Twilight and After", a 24-track, 78-minute (almost) discography collection from Cleveland's always underrated Pale Creation. Opening with one "new" track, "Kaliira", which I believe was recorded about three years ago around the time that the band regrouped for a reunion show in Cleveland, the disc then contains their sole full-length, 1999's "Twilight Haunt" (originally on East Coast Empire Records), as well as the four tracks from their extremely rare split CD with Repugnant (originally on Repentance Verified Records, released in either 2000 or 2001, I can't recall), with the eight tracks from their absolutely excellent 1992 demo tacked onto the end of the CD. This is pretty much everything the band ever recorded, sans the instrumental outro from "Twilight Haunt" ("Procession", likely omitted due to time constraints for its less-than-mandatory status) and the six tracks from their 1994 demo sessions.

The inclusion of the 1992 demo and "Twilight Haunt" alone really gives you a feel for the massive evolution Pale Creation endured throughout their near-decade of existence, sprouting up from a crossover-tinged thrash metal act with almost Dave Mustaine-like vocals to a much darker and more diverse take on the metal-based hardcore for which Cleveland is so revered. The light vocal effects and droning guitar work present throughout "Twilight Haunt" really lend a different sort of feel to classic tracks like "Trade a Soul", among others. In fact, the closest Pale Creation ever came to sounding more like their Clevo hardcore forefathers was on their final release, the split CD with Repugnant, where they stripped down to a rawer, more in your face attack, with shorter songs and harsher, more direct vocals – which, when devoid of effects, actually had much more in common with Dwid's inimitable screams. But even the centerpiece of that release, the absolutely awesome "The Rest of Forever", revisits some of the more twisted riffing and droning leads of "Twilight Haunt", so… Pale Creation was always operating just outside the bounds of what was considered "normal" for whatever scenes they were tending to fall within. And that's certainly not a bad thing, granted it may provide some additional insight as to why the band never received their due.

The disc is packaged in a standard jewel case with more superb artwork from the one and only Stephen Kasner, as well as a five-and-a-half-page complete history of Pale Creation, which goes into plenty of detail – right down to the fact that my old blog posts about the band's two demos back in the summer of 2005 may have provided the first spark that eventually led to this CD. If that's the case, I have to say that I'm honored to have played even a small role in leading to the proper release of such a collection, and I certainly hope the renewed interest in the whole "holy terror" thing that's going on right now will finally bring some more appreciative listeners to this sorely overlooked material. It's about time…

Pale Creation "Trade a Soul"
Pale Creation "Terror Binds the Soul"
Pale Creation "Natural Assassin"

This one's only available from the label at the moment, and I'm extremely curious to see what the future will hold for Holy Terror Records. In a day and age where "holy terror" is being claimed by a number of bands whose material has little in common with what the "holy terror hardcore" sound represented a decade (or more) ago, I'm guessing it's safe to assume (especially based on this collection) that the record label itself will uphold a higher standard of quality…


@ Holy Terror Records