Random Roundup: February, 2023

Blood Runs Cold

Daze is undoubtedly one of the best labels out there right now, having unloaded interest-piquing metalcore aplenty in the last six months (Riot Stares, Adrienne, Suntouch House, etc.) and beyond. The impeccable cover art alone implies that this two-song teaser from Long Island's Blood Runs Cold should totally smoke, and indeed the result is utterly gnashing, dark metalcore—think Merauder meets H8000—littered with pit-inducing grooves and a few riffs that flirt with the finer points of death metal. Alongside, you've got uber-pissed vocals that to my ears hit like Allegiance meets Kickback (high compliments), and an over-the-top snare sound that reeks of uber-kvlt '90s hardocre aficionadoism. Stamp of approval: received!

I believe these tracks were culled from a six-song EP that's coming later this year, and if it were up to me, "later" would mean "tomorrow." For now, spin(kick to) these jams via Bandcamp, Spotify, etc.

Brain Cave/Knub

This split has been my first exposure to Cleveland's Brain Cave, herein delivering four tracks of skronky noise rock that starts to cross over into semi-abrasive post-hardcore territory. However, the delivery retains these weirdly melodic undercurrents that kinda throw things for a loop with a vibe that'll have you scratching your head, like, "Huh, this is cool and unusual." Whatever you want to call it: it's good.

For my money, the mighty Knub (Baltimore) are one of the best bands out there at the moment, and these four tunes further solidify that fact with more of their churningly hard-hitting noise rock excellence fronted by super unique vocals that tie-in to the painfully underrated Onespot Fringehead (yes, I'm gonna mention that tidbit every damn time, for the seven people cool enough to care and do some research). If pulsing bass-centric rhythms, head-splitting percussive power, and gnarled guitars with somewhat of a Helmet-esque lurch appeal to you, well... look no further!

Procure this sucker on vinyl from Hex Records, 'cause it looks great: clear vinyl with rainbow splatter, hand-numbered out of 300 in screen-printed sleeves with an obi, plus a nice insert with lyrics, etc. "Posers," enjoy on Spotify or the evil entity of your preference.


Majesties features Carl Skildum and Matthew Kirkwold from Antiverse and Inexorum (amongst others) with Tanner Anderson from Obsequiae utterly nailing the brand of melodic death metal that Sweden was dishing out all over the place during the '90s. They've fused the scathing ferocity of the genre's earlier side with the slightly crisper production and more developed harmonies of the years that followed, so the overall aesthetic kind of sits in a 1993 - 1995 sweet spot, but doesn't come across as feeling dated in any negative capacity. Being the Carl Skildum fanboy that I am, I'm of course beyond enthusiastic about this endless cavalcade of riffs. Seriously, if you were into this form of metal 25 - 30 years and don't lose your mind over this, methinks you've lost your edge!

Vast Reaches Unclaimed will be out March 3 through 20 Buck Spin. Hear a few tracks now at Spotify, or via Bandcamp—where you can also pre-order on the physical format of your choosing.


I recently discovered Outwest (Ventura, CA) while checking out the Candlepin Records catalog before ordering a different cassette, and was quickly enamored by—at least on this EP (I haven't checked out their prior work just yet)—their ruggedly tousled-up indie/alt. sounds that take an early-'90s Guided by Voices meets Superchunk approach into the realms of blown-out Dinosaur Jr. grit. The mix can be a little muddy with low-end throb while the vocals are often pushed toward the background, so the production can take some getting used to, but once each tune gets goin' the writing's pretty damn great. There are some serious power pop-level hooks buried in there. Definitely curious to hear more.

All the Wild Horses cassettes should ship mid-March, or you can also stream on Spotify and the like.

Sign Language

I followed Cincinnati's Sign Language on Instagram like a year ago on the heels of their two-song Window Pain EP (which for some reason is still not on Bandcamp!?) and had been looking forward to hearing more, so... even better that this new single is coming via Sunday Drive Records, which likely means that some form of tangible release is on the horizon. "The Nothing" might be the band's best track yet, with a brighter, punchier recording that majorly highlights their take on a "grungegaze" type of sound that explores both spectrums effectively in terms of achieving aggression and energy as well as dialed-back lushness and atmosphere.

Check out "The Nothing" through Bandcamp, Spotify, or YouTube; and keep your eyes out for a full-length at some point in 2023.

Wave Types

Instrumental progressive metal project Wave Types out of Baltimore, MD released a new seven-song, 21-minute EP called Tides toward the end of last month. They've become one of my favorite such projects over the past year or so, thanks in large part to a knack for absolutely killer riffs and atmospheres. Guitarist Alex Cooke's super melodic and subtly bluesy/jazzy take on this style might not be as hyper slick as Intervals, nor as quirkily inventive as Polyphia, but in my opinion Wave Types should easily be mentioned in the same breaths as those groups, and damn well deserves to be rising toward that level of attention based on the strengths of their output. If you're into either of the aforementioned acts—or Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, etc.—please do yourself a favor and give Wave Types a shot. All three EPs are awesome, trust me.

Tides just got added to Bandcamp, plus you can stream it on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc. I'd freakin' love to have all this stuff on CD one day, but I'm not holding my breath...