Trip Machine Laboratories has really been on a roll for the past year or so, with quality output both from bigger names and lesser-known acts that deserve wider recognition. That being said, I don't have time to write seven full-length record reviews—and, really, who's gonna read that shit anyway? So, to catch up, here are some quick thoughts on each of Trip Machine's seven most recent releases, in chronological order. Take 'em for a spin, see what you think, and score 'em from the label for a reasonable price if you like what you hear.
Dose: 23 - Unrestrained, Forward Onto Death (2014)
Billed as being "for fans of For the Love Of, Harvest, Strain, Undertow, and Threadbare," the debut full-length from Portland, OR's Unrestrained cranks out angular and discordant '90s-styled metallic hardcore counterbalanced by chugging force, so it's neither chaotic nor overly abrasive (and with thoughtful lyrics to boot). Oh, and it also features a slick cover of the No Escape classic, "Framework," featuring some guest vocals from Tim Singer himself! Limited to 525 copies, some of the stamped and hand-numbered clear vinyl is—inexplicably—still up for grabs, so what the hell are you waiting for!?
Dose: 24 - Recycled Earth, Assignment: Survival (2014)
Nyack, NY's Recycled Earth unloads chunky metallic hardcore with the slightest tinge of old school Swedish death metal—both in the guitar tone and the occasional riff. Just barely, though. For the most part, this succinct EP is loaded with chugging midpaced rhythms and burly shouts alongside sporadic dashes of darker, dissonant runs. Not too shabby. 200 pressed, less than 100 remain, so fans of the tangible should act quickly.
Dose: 25 - Hesitational, Demo (2015)
The "sore thumb" of the bunch, Long Beach, CA's Hesitational is coming from the droningly melodic, grungy shoegaze side of things. Trip Machine has been known to dish out some unexpected gems now and then (hello, Robots and Empire), and this is no exception. Personally, I'm a huge fan of that diversity, and this four-song cassette is actually one of my favorites from this set of releases. Simple, catchy-ish songwriting and an aptly crude production style that's not overblown or drowning in effects to the point where it becomes a hindrance. A one-time pressing of 100 copies, and to my surprise there are still a handful left, so snag one before they're gone!
Dose: 26 - Jagged Visions, Beyond the Serpent's Touch (2015)
This 7" EP from New Haven, CT's Jagged Visions is another immediate favorite of mine from this batch of recordings. I have to assume their name stems from Integrity's "Jagged Visions of My True Destiny" (a.k.a. one of the greatest songs ever written), which—coupled with the inclusion of the "4P" emblem in the background of the cover art—would suggest they're exploring the holy terror angle to some degree. This is definitely not an "Integrity worship" scenario, however, as Jagged Visions follows more of a groove-based approach that arguably combines the aforementioned holy terror style of metallic hardcore with a hint of a beatdown twist. 500 copies pressed, and it's still available on white or snakeskin green vinyl.
Dose: 27 - Palehorse, Rumors of War (2015)
Also from Connecticut, and also holy terror-ish, this 7" marks the first new material from Palehorse since the mid-2000s, so I'm not sure why it doesn't seem to have made quite as much noise as one might expect!? Five songs, 13 minutes, and the band continues to crank out a Ringworm-inflected style of metallic hardcore that should very much appeal to fans of Cleveland's heyday. Limited to about 500 copies, and still available on a few different color combinations, so make the grab while you can.
Dose: 28 - Fuming Mouth, Demo (2015)
The cassette pressing of the four-song 2013 demo from Worcester, MA's Fuming Mouth offers a relatively short, to the point dose of crusty metallic hardcore filtered through a sheen of early Swedish death metal worship—Boss HM-2 "Sunlight sound" and all. Without a doubt one of the better bands treading this type of path. The rugged, straightforward production style is a huge benefit here. Limited to just 200 copies, grab one on red or white tapes.
Dose: 29 - All Out War, Dying Gods (2015)
Yep, Trip Machine's latest is a limited edition cassette pressing of the incredible new EP from the legendary All Out War. About a half-hour of flawless, apocalyptic metalcore—complete with Amebix and Carnivore covers. Scorching leads, eerie acoustic passages, this thing has it all. 20+ years down the line and this band is still at the top of its game. A lot of this material seriously harkens all the way back to Truth in the Age of Lies. Just fuckin' awesome. Only 300 copies pressed, and cassette junkies can still pick one up on silver or gold tapes.