Control "Northern Wolfpack" CS

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 @ 7:00am » permalink

Control - Northern Wolfpack"Northern Wolfpack" is the debut demo from UK hardcore act Control, released just today via Lost Cause Records. I'm generally not a huge fan of this style of hardcore beyond its late-80's heyday, but every now and then a band comes along that very refreshingly captures the finer aspects of that traditional, old school hardcore sound, and Control is definitely one of those bands. There's no awkward metallic crunch, no overly aggressive vocals, etc. Just straightforward, pissed off hardcore driven by fast-paced power chords, solid bass breaks, and strong songwriting. Plus, they're releasing their demo on cassette in 2010, so you know they take the old school aesthetic seriously! I like the recording, too. There's some room for improvement, but the guitar tone has a little bit of that Cleveland vibe happening, and that's never a bad thing. Five songs, a little over nine minutes, that's all there is to it. Good stuff. I look forward to hearing more.

Control "What Gives You the Right"

Purchase:

@ Lost Cause Records

Mourner "s/t" CD

Posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010 @ 7:19am » permalink

Mourner - s/tNashville, TN's Mourner doesn't fuck around. Their debut full-length (from the extremely interesting Paradigms Recordings) contains a mere three tracks that clock in for a total of 40 minutes. This is some seriously sick and twisted doom that's heavy as hell and refuses to beat you over the head with a straightforward attack. As you'd expect there are tons of slow, pounding riffs with occasional forays into stripped down clean passages, but the overall vibe is very spacious and abstract. There's nothing straightforward or to the point about this material at all. The creeping dissonance of the guitars frequently caves in to eerie ambient textures, while in many cases the scathing vocal snarls (often appearing as completely insane shrieks and moans) act as additional layers of texture as opposed to a vehicle for delivering lyrics. When they really get going and the elements start piecing together into more concrete song structures with subtly melodic pulses of bass, crushing power chords, and somewhat more tangible vocal performances, you've got to respect the full potential of their vision. The band refers to themselves as "bonded by the creation of doom in its most raw, arcane, and nihilistic state", and that's an absolutely perfect description of these peculiarly punishing atmospheres. You'll really have to experience the music for yourselves to get a true feel for what's in store here:

Mourner "Still II" (excerpt)

The CD is limited to just 500 copies, so make the grab if this is your thing…

Purchase:

@ Paradigms Recordings
@ The Omega Order

Hidden by the Grapes/Lambda split 7"

Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 @ 7:26am » permalink

Hidden by the Grapes/Lambda - splitThe first release from Austrian label Sooder Records sees two excellent Austrian emo/indie rock bands teaming up for a split 7" with one new song apiece (the digital download actually comes with two bonus songs, so you'll get two tracks per band). First up is Hidden by the Grapes with loads of angular guitar work and pulsing basslines with generally relaxed singing that occasionally leans towards more of a shout. They've got a lot of surging, midpaced riffs with just the right amount of rawness and a couple of noisy/chaotic bursts thrown in for good measure. Lambda then follows with a similar approach that they describe quite well on their own as falling "somewhere in between catchy and complex tunes" that "try to combine noise and melodies". They're currently an instrumental act, and I have to say they fare surprisingly well without vocals. I tend to get bored very easily with most of the instrumental bands that I encounter, but this material has a great sense of energy to it and really holds interest well. As usual I'm not really saying enough here, but… the excerpts below should speak for themselves. I'm a huge, huge fan of this material and would absolutely love to hear more from both of these bands. Highly recommended!

Hidden by the Grapes "Blowout" (excerpt)
Lambda "Weiter Geht" (excerpt)

The 7"s are hand-numbered out of just 300 copies (150 on colored vinyl), and as mentioned above each copy comes with a download code that includes two bonus songs. You know what to do…

Purchase:

@ Sooder Records

Chronos "2010 demo"

Posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 @ 6:54am » permalink

Chronos - 2010 demoThe debut demo from UK act Chronos kicks off with a series of ambient hums and arpeggiated clean guitars over dense washes of bass, but don't let those relaxed atmospheres fool you. While there's a good balance of breathing room throughout this four-song, 23-minute outing, once they get going there are some devastatingly pounding rhythms, dissonant textures, and intense shouting/screaming vocals happening here. The overall approach reminds of that whole "Neur-Isis" type of sound – before it got watered down with boring "post-rock" influences and generally drawn out, artsy bullshit. There's just enough layering to thicken things up and add some character, but compared to many bands of this nature there's something refreshingly "stripped down" about these compositions that really works. They've got that plodding, hypnotic repetition angle down, and the straightforward approach to the instrumentation brings out a lot of detail in the vocals. I really find the vocals to be particularly awesome: They're certainly better enunciated than most, and without losing any harshness or feeling. Good stuff. There's a hell of a lot of promise here, so I'll look forward to seeing how the band perfects things as they progress…

Chronos "Expectation Turns the Colour of Fear"

I'm not sure if physical copies exist, but you can download the entire demo for free from Chronos' Bandcamp page, so… have at it:

[DOWNLOAD] Chronos "2010 demo" (@ Bandcamp)

Rot in Hell/Wayfarer split 7"

Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 @ 7:17am » permalink

Rot in Hell/Wayfarer - splitThe latest from Carry the Weight Records sees UK hardcore acts Rot in Hell and Wayfarer teaming up for a Ragnar̦k-themed split 7" featuring one new track per band. Rot in Hell kicks things off with "Amsvartner", which opens with an eerie intro of acoustic guitars and slow, melodic leads before plunging into their immediately recognizable brand of chugging, churning metallic hardcore. As is generally the case with this outstanding act, the composition is loaded with tons of little bits reminiscent of classic Integrity/Ringworm wrapped up in a raw, in your face attack that never fails to hit the spot. Wayfarer then follows with "Faithless and Accursed", which also seems to draw inspiration from the finer characteristics of 90's metallic hardcore. Whereas Rot in Hell fall on the more explosive and in your face side of things, Wayfarer's approach is slightly crisper and more "polished" Рbuilt largely around pounding midpaced rhythms and gruff vocals with some awesome little discordant textures thrown in for good measure. They, too, drop an unexpected dose of slick acoustic passages and Integrity-esque leads, however, so this is a killer match-up through and through. Awesome.

Rot in Hell "Amsvartner" (excerpt)
Wayfarer "Faithless and Accursed" (excerpt)

The 7" is limited to 500 copies (100 on white, 200 on grey, and 200 on grey with black and white splatter) and is currently in the pre-order stage. That being said, it looks like the white vinyl has already sold out, so… seeing as the records are slated to ship later this month, I'd order now if you're planning to pick this gem up!

Purchase:

@ Carry the Weight Records

Like Rats "s/t" 7"

Posted on Monday, October 11th, 2010 @ 7:54am » permalink

Like Rats - s/tThis self-titled effort is the second EP from Chicago, IL's Like Rats (released by Cosmic Debris), and it tears through five tracks of viciously aggressive hardcore in about 13 minutes. It's an interesting run, too, as their approach is certainly more diverse than most bands of this general nature. Apparently they're heavily influenced by Celtic Frost, and you can definitely hear some of that in the pounding surges of midpaced riffs that pop up throughout the compositions. And then there are the vocals, which are so acerbic and in your face that they really possess somewhat of a black metal-esque snarl. So, if you can imagine a frantic, blasting form of hardcore that has a powerviolence sort of undercurrent thanks to the Celtic Frost worship, and also flirts with touches of black metal and Swedish-tinged D-beat… the result would be pretty damn close to Like Rats. The recording's very effective as well, with a balanced mix that keeps things sounding nice and crisp without sacrificing a certain degree of harsh bite. What's not to like? Here's a little taste of what to expect:

Like Rats "Hunger"

The 7" is limited to just 300 copies at $5 apiece, but the band is also offering a "pay what you want" digital download (as well as a free download option if you want to be a cheap bastard). If you like what you hear I encourage you to at least throw a couple of bucks the band's way…

Purchase:

@ Like Rats (7"/mp3)
@ Cosmic Debris (7")

Integrity "Those Who Fear Tomorrow" LP

Posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 @ 4:54am » permalink

Integrity - Those Who Fear Tomorrow"Those Who Fear Tomorrow" was Integrity's first full-length record, and this particular issue is the latest in Organized Crime Records' series of impressive vinyl reissues. Originally released by Overkill Records in 1991, "Those Who Fear Tomorrow" has since been re-released by so many different labels, on so many different formats, under so many different titles, and with so many different combinations of bonus songs that it's hard to keep track of them all at this point. This particular treatment sticks to the core album's 15 tracks and includes the original Francis Bacon cover art (with the perhaps more widely known Bosch cover art on an inside panel), lyrics, and some subtle gloss overlay printing. And, in keeping with the plans for this entire series, there's a special edition that features a reinterpreted cover created by Stephen Kasner – printed in metallic silver ink on a matte black sleeve.

"Those Who Fear Tomorrow" technically predates the birth of the "holy terror" term with regard to Integrity's brand of apocalyptic metallic hardcore, but that doesn't make the album any less appropriate under said banner. While not my personal favorite piece of work from Integrity's flawless back catalog featuring the core lineup of Dwid and the Melnick brothers, I would still argue that "Those Who Fear Tomorrow" is the single most important "metalcore" recording of all time (and remember – that's "metalcore" before it became such a dirty word, folks – this is 1991 we're talking about here). The sheer intensity and innovation of the music; the insanely blunt, borderline poetic apocalyptic fury and rage of the lyrics (not to mention Dwid's stellar and absolutely inimitable vocal delivery); and just the fucking power of the atmospheres… No other band has ever matched the force of Integrity in their prime, nor has any other band been able to effectively imitate the unique attack that Integrity created for themselves.

And no one ever will.

The bottom line is that, like it or not, without this album, the vast majority of the metallic hardcore that followed would not have existed – for better or for worse. This album changed the game. Four years ago, when I last wrote about this classic record, it seemed that the younger generation of hardcore fans lacked appreciation for the true impact and significance of Integrity's influence, but it seems like that's finally started to change. And rightfully so.

For some reason it's incredibly complicated to write about such a crucially important and legendary album from a band that, for me, has been one of the single most significant bands in my personal life. Period. But Integrity is/was one of the most incredible bands to have ever set foot on this miserable planet, and I will never forget that as long as I live…

Integrity "Micha: Those Who Fear Tomorrow"

If you don't own this yet, there may be no hope left. Anyone who's into heavy music that has any connection to "hardcore" whatsoever needs to be familiar with Integrity. This shit is totally mandatory. If it helps, the LP's come with download codes. The limited edition Stephen Kasner covers are still available as well. Collectors: Order while you still can…

@ Organized Crime Records
@ Interpunk
@ RevHQ

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