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Upright "2010 demo" CD

Posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 @ 6:51am » permalink

Upright - 2010 demoUpright is a new Finnish group, and yet another band that continues to reinforce my claims that Finland still has one of the best metallic hardcore scenes out there these days. Their brand new, debut demo unloads four songs in just eight-and-a-half minutes that are jam packed with absolutely killer riffs that take that crunchy late-80's/early-90's NYHC sound and throw in just the right amount of thrash metal crossover, plus those burlier than average vocals that tend to be more common coming from European bands. They're certainly not trying to push the boundaries or get too creative with their approach, but as I've said many times before, I don't give a shit about originality as long as the songwriting hits the mark. These dudes have a fuckin' great sense of midpaced groove, well-placed breakdowns, and the formula works, so… I'm into it. I hate to keep it so brief, but the songs blow right by and leave you wanting more, so there's not much more to say. Here's a quick taste of what to expect:

Upright "Face the Consequences"

Get in touch with the band via the MySpace link above to see about getting your hands on the tunes, and keep your eyes out for more from these guys down the road!

Cripple and Casino "s/t" CD

Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 @ 6:55am » permalink

Cripple and Casino - s/tThe oddly named Cripple and Casino is an excellent band from Croatia, and their self-titled debut full-length was released by Olympia, Washington-based label Radio is Down sometime last year. I was familiar with neither the band nor the label prior to receiving this album for review, but I love situations like this where I'm randomly taken by surprise and really dig a random album I had never heard of before – especially when it's from somewhere like Croatia, since you just don't get exposed to Croatian acts every day, you know? The band describes their sound as a combination of "post-punk, noise rock, and post-hardcore" that continues "the sonic legacy of Fugazi, The Jesus Lizard, Sonic Youth, Jawbox, etc." Admittedly I don't listen to a ton of bands of this nature, but I'm always interested to hear more quality music from this general realm, and I certainly agree with their assessment of their sound (which has a definite 90's vibe, in my opinion). Most of the vocals are kind of half-spoken, half-shouted, or half-sung, and the music is loaded with a strong blend of caustic, angular riffing around roving basslines; driving "alt. rock" power chords; little bits and pieces of melody; and plenty of spacious breaks that let the rhythm section do most of the legwork. They do a great job of creating memorable (and almost catchy, at times) arrangements from all of these assorted sounds, and I really am a huge fan of this stuff, so I'm glad the band contacted me about checking out their work! Here's an idea of what to expect:

Cripple and Casino "Movie Star"

And the band has been kind enough to make the entire album available as a free download (in a variety of formats) from their Bandcamp page, so you can check out the whole thing over there:

[DOWNLOAD] Cripple and Casino "s/t" (@ Bandcamp)

Physical copies are available for just $10, though, so… don't hesitate to pick one up if you like what you hear:

Purchase:

@ Radio is Down

Detritivore "Pakt" CD/LP

Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 @ 6:30am » permalink

Detritivore - PaktThe latest from the always curious and atypical Lyderhorn Records is "Pakt" – a six-song, 35-minute journey from Norwegian outfit Detritivore. The label states that the release is "essentially a concept album depicting disillusionment with religion and subsequent descent into darkness", and describes the material as "a harrowing experience of not quite drone, not quite noise, and not quite doom metal, but a true amalgamation of the three". I'd have to agree with that assessment, as the majority of the material sees sparse appearances of subtly fluttering clean guitars or concrete riffs bubbling up to the surface amidst spacious layers of pulsing, ominous hums and gritty, sustained power chords. Assorted little background textures also creep in from time to time (occasionally with some excellent panning effects to keep you on your toes), and you could describe a handful of moments as "psychedelic" atmospheres, but that stripped down type of ambient doom/drone delivery is definitely the dominant factor overall. As far as I can tell there are some droning vocals in the opening track, but that's about it, and there's no percussion either. Many bands of this nature tend to let the compositions run on and on and on – be it through hypnotic repetition or loose, open-ended improvisation – but thankfully that's not the case with Detritivore. I'd say both of those tactics play a role here from time to time, but most of the songs hover right around five or six minutes long, so you don't feel like you're sitting down for a marathon-length test of endurance with this album at all. Here's one track to give you an idea of what the band has to offer:

Detritivore "Pakt"

Purchase:

@ Lyderhorn Records (CD/LP)
@ Crucial Blast (CD/LP)
@ All That is Heavy (CD)
@ All That is Heavy (LP)
@ Nuclear War Now! Productions (CD)
@ Nuclear War Now! Productions (LP)

Cold Craving "Beacons" LP

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010 @ 5:57am » permalink

Cold Craving - Beacons"Beacons" is the debut full-length from Canada's Cold Craving (released by Eschaton Industries), and I have to say that its breadth of influences is pretty damn impressive. Never in a million years would I have expected to encounter a band that occasionally throws total black metal riffs into a combination of different little elements from emo/"screamo", angular indie rock, and droning "post-rock", but… Cold Craving does it. And effectively, too!? The vocals range from super polished singing to harsh screaming and a few approaches that fall somewhere between the two. The singing is so strong that it really suggests the type of band that would be all about huge choruses and catchy songwriting and stuff, but that's not really what this band is about at all, which creates an interesting contrast. Most of the songs top five or six minutes here, and the more memorable moments tend to result from combinations of the vocals with some of the more frantic riffing – which generally comes in well-focused, energetic bursts throughout the album. There's almost always some melody tucked away in there, though – be it through that ringing sense of post-hardcore dissonance that a lot of the chord phrasings and layers create, or more obvious treatments. But you'll also encounter pulsing throbs of distorted bass, quick fits of chunky rhythms/picking patterns, sparse electronic textures, acerbic guitar work with blasting percussion, and numerous other bits and pieces. As usual I'm starting to feel like there's no sense in trying to properly describe what's going on here, so check out the track below and judge for yourself…

Cold Craving "Cold"

This one's limited to a mere 250 copies (100 on green/white swirl, 150 on beige with gold haze), so vinyl fans should act fast, as I'd be shocked if this didn't sell out. For everyone else, it's also available on iTunes, so… you know what to do!

Purchase:

@ Eschaton Industries (LP)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Santa Karla "At the Mouth of Madness" 7"

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 @ 5:48am » permalink

Santa Karla - At the Mouth of MadnessI believe "At the Mouth of Madness" (released by Thirty Days of Night Records) is the second EP from UK act Santa Karla, though it's my first exposure to their work. Its three songs/11 minutes display a quality blend of metallic hardcore styles, from stripped down midpaced chugging with dense, prominent basslines to riffing that carries the more caustic edge of bands like Turmoil – all fronted by harsh, relentless screams that work quite nicely. There's just a smidge of melody tucked away in there as well (largely amidst the more metal-based runs), and another cool point is that some of the rhythms that have more of a traditional, old school hardcore type of structure are twisted around to come from a more discordant angle. Closer "Iron Skye" even hits on some unexpected little bits of gritty, not-quite-rocked-out sludge riffs, so there are a good amount of different influences swirling around here. Since it's such a short EP, I'll just include an excerpt of what's offered:

Santa Karla "Whispers" (excerpt)

Pick one up if you like what you hear. The vinyl's limited to just 300 copies total (on two different color combinations), but it's also available on iTunes if you're more into the convenience of mp3's…

Purchase:

@ Thirty Days of Night Records (white/blue vinyl)
@ Thirty Days of Night Records (red/black vinyl)
@ Thirty Days of Night Records (both colors)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Gypsy Spit "2010 demo" CD

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010 @ 5:46am » permalink

Gypsy Spit - 2010 demoGypsy Spit is a peculiarly named new band from Jacksonville, FL whose debut release is this super short, in your face demo that cranks out four songs (three originals and a cover of the Descendents' "I Like Food") in less than five minutes. You can expect generally fast, raw, grinding hardcore with a serious powerviolence vibe happening thanks to some gritty dissonance and pounding midpaced rhythms that really add some force/intrigue and help to break up the intense speeds. The rugged recording works well for their approach and suits me just fine, the songwriting's not completely one-sided, and I really dig their visual aesthetic as well, so… I'd definitely like to hear more from these guys down the road. I hate to keep it so short, but… it's a five-minute demo, what more can I say!? Here's a quick taste:

Gypsy Spit "Keep Clear"

And you can download the whole thing for free here:

[DOWNLOAD] Gypsy Spit "2010 demo" (@ MediaFire)

Physical discs are available, and super limited to just 35 copies. They come in handmade sleeves with an insert, two buttons, and a sticker – all for just two bucks!? So, contact the band via the MySpace link above if you're interested in getting your hands on one of those while you still can!

Dran Dran "Skullcarver" CD

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010 @ 5:37am » permalink

Dran Dran - SkullcarverI believe "Skullcarver" is the debut (self-released) three-song demo/EP from Belgian act Dran Dran, and they've got a pretty sick blend of "metalcore" styles happening here: From the super intense, death metal-infused churn of Belgium's classic H8000 scene, to a more chaotically arranged and modern approach. However, the tracks run from less than three minutes to more than seven, so… they're sort of all over the place (in a good way), and other influences do present themselves throughout. In addition to the more expected fare – chugging power chords, rapid bursts of tremolo picking, absolutely vicious screams – you'll find occasionally melodic bass accents, somewhat sludgy dirges, and the quirky riffing/warped bends of closer "Fract. and Fiction" (to cite but a few examples). The recording's dense as hell, too, with an absolutely massive bass tone forcing itself to be heard right alongside the meaty rhythms of the guitars. It's a fairly powerful effort overall, and apparently the CD's packaged in a 7"-sized insert to better represent the pretty damn cool artwork (as well as the somewhat abstract lyrics). I'm only posting a clip since there are just three songs in all, so here's a quick hint at what the band has to offer:

Dran Dran "Fract. and Fiction" (excerpt)

It seems like these guys have some cool ideas, so I'll be interested to hear more. If you like what you hear, contact the band via the MySpace link above, or send 'em an email to get concrete ordering details.