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Rot in Hell "Hallways of the Always." CD/LP

Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 @ 6:58am » permalink

Rot in Hell - Hallways of the Always.Finally available from Grot Records is the incredibly long overdue debut CD release from Rot in Hell, by far one of the finest hardcore bands out there right now. (Also available on vinyl from A389 Recordings.) Included are all of the songs from the band's vinyl releases to date – the 2007 demo 7" (a.k.a. "Sins of Malice"), the "Millennial Psychosis" split 7" with Brain Dead, the split 7" with Hordes, and "The Works of Fate" split 7" with The Process – as well as a handful of other tracks that, for the most part, have yet to be released elsewhere (as far as I know). As I've discussed here a few times in the past (and am sure to do again in the future), expect nothing but top-notch metallic hardcore heavily influenced by the classic "holy terror" sound pioneered by Integrity, as well as flourishes reminiscent of Ringworm and Gehenna, alongside their own wickedly raw and explosive aesthetic. You'll find short, explosive bursts of power chords with loads of tactfully chaotic leads straight out of the early Integrity handbook, maniacally screamed/shouted vocals as well as a few cryptic whispers, slower midpaced rhythms that flirt with darker atmospheres, and searing little bits of feedback galore. And then there's 8+ minute closer "Now, Today, Tomorrow, and Always", which heads in an entirely different direction with beautiful acoustic guitars and faint samples amidst distant, obscured singing and quivering experimental noise textures. In addition, this 12-track release contains four of the absolute best fucking cover songs ever recorded: "Final Word" (Meanstreak), "Kingdom of Heaven" (Integrity), "Skincrawl" (Ironside), and "Chunks" (Last Rights). I mean, holy shit… come on! You just don't get much better song choices than that! This is an absolutely outstanding collection that's sure to be among the best releases of 2009. I'm a huge fan, and can't wait to hear more…

Rot in Hell "Behavioral Resistance"
Rot in Hell "Iron Halo"

Along the motorways the thunder spoke in tongues. Promise of charnel skies and sack cloth for a sun. All this and more, rightfully yours, stolen by a jackal in the skin of a whore. Breeding in the sewer, seething behind the walls. Fenris devours existence, nothing but death for them all. Illusions shatter the order, leaves nothing the same as before. Existence caves in to the weight of your sin, as salvation closes its door. We cease to exist, we cease to resist.

This gem's on sale for just £5 right now (which ends up being about $12.50 US after the currency conversion and postage), so… don't sleep on it.

Purchase:

@ Grot Records (CD)
@ A389 Recordings (LP)

We'll Go Machete "s/t"

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 @ 6:25am » permalink

We'll Go Machete - s/tThe band name and cover art could be slightly misleading here, but I'll give anything a shot, and when one of the guys from Austin, TX's We'll Go Machete contacted me about checking out their self-titled EP on Cedar Fever Records citing "early-90's influences such as Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi, and Quicksand", he certainly got my attention. Their MySpace page also mentions labels like Touch and Go, Dischord, and Amphetamine Reptile – all of which actually does provide a surprisingly accurate approximation of what the band has to offer here. You'll find six tracks/22 minutes of quirky, angular noise rock riffs accented by surging post-hardcore dissonance and occasional forays into a more melodic, "indie rock" type of direction, fronted by vocals that walk the line – not quite yelling, not quite singing, you know the drill. And always beneficial for bands of this nature is a crisp recording that emphasizes warm, natural tones and a mix that allows every element its own space – neither too polished nor too raw, etc. It's all quite well done, and there really is an authentic "early-90's" type of sound to the aesthetic of the songwriting that should absolutely hit the spot for longtime fans of the aforementioned bands/labels searching for new sources of those classic sounds. I'll definitely be looking forward to hearing more from these cats…

We'll Go Machete "Archibald"

I'm not sure if the EP's being pressed on CD or not, but you can already grab it from iTunes. I'd suggest contacting the band via the MySpace link above if you'd prefer to inquire about potentially scoring a physical copy of the material.

Purchase:

@ iTunes (mp3)

Cable "Variable Speed Drive" CD

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 @ 6:51am » permalink

Cable - Variable Speed DriveOriginally released by Doghouse Records in 1996, "Variable Speed Drive" was the debut full-length from Cable. Much of what I've read states that this Translation Loss Records reissue (complete with all new artwork and the band's three-song 1994 demo included as a bonus) hit the streets back in 2008, but… if that's true, it didn't show up in my mailbox until last month, so fuck it! Expect 11 tracks in a little under 45 minutes that are much noisier and more angular than the sludgier and at times "rock" oriented sound that the band would develop on later albums. At times I'm reminded of what other Doghouse Records bands like the almighty Threadbare were doing around this same time period, but Cable was kicking out an even more abstract (even lyrically), AmRep-influenced kind of angle. There's just this weird not-quite-metal but also not-exactly-noise-rock attack happening – one that even peculiarly flirts with a little of that indie sort of backbone that was common from the Doghouse roster throughout much of the 90's. Harshly screamed vocals and heavily pulsing basslines punctuate loads of quirkily winding riffs and jangly harmonics that explode into chugging rhythms peppered with discordant chord phrasings – occasionally decaying into unhinged slides and gnashing guitar noise. At times the song structures can feel overly loose and somewhat tiresome, but such moments make the payoffs – when everything locks together to become a hint more memorable – extra powerful. And while I typically find it rare that bonus demo tracks are all that intriguing, they're actually an excellent inclusion here, so… I'd certainly recommend giving this a shot even if you haven't necessarily been a fan of some of Cable's more recent work.

Cable "Carolina Eyes"
Cable "Chained" (demo)

Sinking – killing – sinking – down. Six weeks I've crawled. Step on my fingers. Rape my eyes. Rape my eyes. Lie. Sterile needles make nice presents. Stainless steel lasts forever. Lie.

Purchase:

@ Translation Loss Records
@ The End Records
@ Relapse Records

Blind to Faith "The Seven Fat Years are Over" 12"

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009 @ 12:22am » permalink

Blind to Faith - The Seven Fat Years are OverThe latest from Holy Terror Records is "The Seven Fat Years are Over", the long-awaited debut 12" EP from Blind to Faith, which tears through eight excellent tracks in less than 17 minutes. Expect absolutely ripping hardcore/punk that's actually a little faster and more furiously intense (in a straightforward, blasting hardcore manner) than many listeners might expect, while an almost Celtic Frost-like vibe provides a counter to the speed by injecting a forceful midpaced churn to several of the compositions. The recording is completely awesome as well, boasting an insanely crisp/clear mix and a badass guitar tone that surprisingly has some of that Sunlight Studio sound to it, thus lending a classic Swedish death metal edge to the material without the songs sounding at all like Swedish death metal. It's basically over in a flash, but certainly calls for repeated listening thanks to the explosive fury of the delivery, and I can't recommend this enough. The vinyl comes handsomely packaged in a sleeve that utilizes lots of subtle gloss printing, and while I haven't played the actual vinyl yet due to lack of time, I'm told the 12" is curiously "reverse mastered" so that the grooves run from the center to the outside. Nice little touches to keep you on your toes!

Blind to Faith "Blood Like Water"

To my shock the pre-orders didn't sell out, so you can still get your hands on one of the first 250 copies of this gem – which includes the limited edition Integrity/AVM split 7" that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Apparently the 7" is actually "parallel mastered", so rather than playing from start to finish, each song on each side of the record runs parallel to the other, so you have to choose which song to listen to one at a time. Bizarre!

I'll be stunned if the remaining pre-orders last through the end of the month, so make the grab while you still can…

Purchase:

@ Holy Terror Records

The Reed Sea "No Help"

Posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 @ 7:50am » permalink

The Reed Sea - No HelpThe Reed Sea is a four-piece from Portland, OR, and that's pretty much all I know about 'em. One of the band members shot me an email a week or two ago and asked me to check out their free EP, "No Help", and I immediately knew that this was something I could appreciate. They play what I would lazily describe as stripped down and restrained emo/indie rock, but there's really more to it than that because there's also this unique sort of dark, "post-punk" sound that's to some degree reminiscent of assorted UK bands from various points over the last three decades. The vocals definitely have that soft, somber, monotone approach goin' on, while the music relies almost exclusively on jangly clean guitars over pulsing bass and relatively straightforward percussion. They transition into a mild surge of light distortion once or twice throughout the entire 17-minute listen, generally opting for lots of slow, winding arpeggios. In theory it sort of seems like it's the kind of thing that might get old fast, and I'll admit that typically bands of this nature hit me as far too one-sided. I generally miss the dynamics and clamor for a distorted edge to act as a counterbalance. But that's not the case here at all. Whatever they're doing, consciously or otherwise, they've completely nailed it. The atmosphere really works – it doesn't feel overly plain, and nothing seems missing. I'm already looking forward to hearing more…

The Reed Sea "Other"

As mentioned above, the whole EP is available as a free download, so there's really no excuse not to check it out in full:

[DOWNLOAD] The Reed Sea "No Help" (@ The Reed Sea)

Strangers "Night Minutes" 7"

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2009 @ 6:25am » permalink

Strangers - Night Minutes"Night Minutes" is the latest from New Zealand's Strangers on the sadly now defunct Action Man Records, unloading six tracks in about 13 minutes. For the most part this picks up where their full-length, "Weight", left off, with an absolutely awesome recording helping unite the band's fusion of dark 'n' dingy midpaced rhythms and looser, more chaotic riffing (think "noise rock" meets Converge-esque "metalcore"). But things are definitely starting to feel a little more intense here in terms of frantic speeds, hammering basslines, and overall explosiveness. Each time out the band seems to push just a little farther, and it definitely pays off for 'em. The variety keeps things interesting and adds a little more atmosphere/breathing room, the acerbic bursts aren't so out of control that they become unhinged, and the overall aesthetic of the songwriting is dead on for this style. It's hard for me to believe that in this day and age bands from outside the US still face so many challenges in terms of reaching the widest audience possible, but… it's really lazy listeners that are to blame. I'm quite sure this band would be fairly "popular" if they were from the US and signed to a label like Deathwish Inc. or something, so… keep an open mind and check 'em out!

Strangers "Suck & Burn"

The 7" comes with a 3" CD-R of the material, so you should be set even if you don't have a turntable. Gotta love it!

Purchase:

@ Interpunk
@ RevHQ

Overthrow "Within Suffering" CD

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2009 @ 6:41am » permalink

Overthrow - Within Suffering"Within Suffering", the sole full-length release from excellent Canadian thrash band Overthrow, was originally released in 1990 by Epidemic Records. Apparently it was reissued by NHR Records in 2007 with the band's 1989 "Bodily Domination" demo and several live tracks as a bonus, though unfortunately I had never heard of Overthrow before and was completely unaware of this fact. But thankfully this outstanding reissue is now being distributed digitally by the increasingly impressive MetalHit.com, so I was finally introduced to the band's material a few weeks ago. While the glory days of thrash metal inarguably took place in the 80's, I must confess that many of my favorite thrash records are from 1990/1991, and "Within Suffering" is right up my fuckin' alley with its super meaty riffs and raging guitar tone. Expect snarling vocals over energetic, high-speed picking patterns interspersed with chunky rhythms and quick little hints of melody – standard yet better than average fare for the time period, basically. They pretty much perfectly combine American and European sounds with a balance of Bay Area crunch/technicality and an aggressive yet punchy riffing style reminiscent of late-80's era Kreator. I guess the fact that they didn't form until 1987 and released their debut album just as thrash was first starting to "die out" didn't help them secure a great deal of attention back in the day, but… this is such a quality release that I'm shocked I can't recall having ever heard mention of Overthrow's name before!? Oh well! This is absolutely a hidden gem, and I'm quite pleased to have learned of its existence, even if it did take almost 20 years!?

Overthrow "Chemically Exposed"
Overthrow "Corrupted Faith"

Enucleation Records has this disc on sale for a measly $6, so definitely pick one up if you like what you hear…

Purchase:

@ NHR Records (CD)
@ Enucleation Records (CD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

The Platoon "Like Hyenas in the Desert" CD

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 @ 7:04am » permalink

The Platoon - Like Hyenas in the DesertI learned of The Platoon, from Germany, last month when I posted about Drift, as The Platoon features former Drift vocalist Marcel Ströter, who was kind enough to hook me up with the band's latest EP on Filled With Hate Records, "Like Hyenas in the Desert". And as I might have guessed, this shit is absolutely crushing metallic hardcore at the high-quality level I've come to expect from Filled With Hate over the years, dropping six tracks in about 20 minutes and honestly making for one of the finest releases I've ever heard from the label. Like many European bands of this nature expect burly vocals and loads of viciously chugging midpaced breakdowns, accentuated by just the right amount of catchy groove, occasional hints of melody, and subtly more metal-based leanings here and there. They're not really rewriting the book on this style of hardcore, but the songwriting's extremely forceful and the the recording's fuckin' outstanding in every possible way – with a perfectly massive guitar tone leading the charge alongside a strong bass presence – so there's definitely enough going on here to make this EP stand out from the pack with ease. I really believe that those familiar with this genre will agree with me that these guys are creating a sound that's pissed off and in your face without relying on overly stripped down rhythms or arrangements that are too simplistic and one-sided. This is an awesome and highly recommended EP, and I can't wait to hear more from The Platoon…

The Platoon "Zero Gravity"

Purchase:

@ Filled With Hate Records
@ Interpunk

Castevet "Stones/Salts" 7"

Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009 @ 6:53am » permalink

Castevet - Stones/SaltsCastevet's "Stones/Salts" 7", which I believe is their debut release (on Paragon Records), is one of the most interesting records I've heard in awhile. The label states that the material "reshapes the grim, dissonant riffing and anguished rasp of black metal into a new form that asks questions of the listener before revealing the secrets hidden within its epic structures", but were it not for that description and the label's often black metal-based reputation, I'm not entirely sure I would've made a significant connection to black metal here. There are definitely some surging tremolo picked rhythms with a great sense of dissonant melody, but there are also some math metal sounding arrangements with weird chord phrasings or slower, peculiarly winding takes on black metal's discordance. Plus, the vocals have more of an almost hardcore-ish strained shouting/yelling thing going on, which makes sense to me because some of the music really could be associated with top-notch "metalcore" as well (and notice that I said "top-notch", so I mean the good kind of "metalcore", not the bullshit where 16-year-olds with throat tattoos try to sound like Scandinavian bands with mosh breaks). It's definitely epic, but the blend of influences is pulled off in a way that can't be simply pigeonholed into one genre or another. Whatever you want to call it, it's fucking great, and there's a lot of curious elements at work here – continued by the fact that the visual presentation consists of almost no text whatsoever. There's a two-sided insert with photos befitting of the record's title and a clear vinyl 7" with no labels. The only text present is the label's name/address and a sticker on the 7" bag with the band name/record title. Very cool. I'm impressed, and quite looking forward to hearing more…

Castevet "Stones" (excerpt)

Purchase:

@ Castevet
@ Paragon Records