Navigation

Random Roundup: July 2018

I've actually been enjoying a decent amount of new(-ish) music lately that I just haven't had the spark to write about, so I took a break from work yesterday morning to force myself to throw (most of) my recent recommendations out there in one shot, "quick hits" style. Here they are, in alphabetical order...

God Program

A friend texted me that I should check out this Connecticut act, and that assessment was correct. God Program debuted with a three-song demo back in March, and dropped an even stronger two-song promo last month. "Dostoyevsky vs. The Long Island Sound" is the finest example thus far of their late-'90s-inspired metalcore with an even distribution of chugging rhythms, abrasive textures, and fierce vocals that carry the bulk of the atmosphere—occasionally easing from scathing screams into spoken passages, and in this case some singing, too. Plus, there's a track from their demo with the lyric, "You said nothing can exist in a vacuum. Just watch me...," and that shit is hard as nails. I mean... whew. It's been a while since I've heard a line that struck me like that. Love it. I'm really looking forward to hearing whatever comes next.

Both sets of tunes are available as name your price downloads via Bandcamp.

Integrity/Krieg

I've been raving about Integrity on this very website for 18 years now, so I'm running out of new/useful things to say about a band I've loved since the mid-'90s. That being said, this split finds 'em following last year's stunning Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume with four streamlined, hyper-aggressive tracks—all less than three minutes apiece—including two covers: "Sons of Satan" (originally by Dwid's Vermapyre project), and "Document One" (originally by the legendary G.I.S.M.). If for some reason the boundless experimental artistry of Howling… as a whole was too much for you to take, this obliterating dose of "metalpunk" mastery ought to suit you just fine.

Despite having been familiar with Krieg for many, many years, I've never explored the catalog before. Haven't the slightest clue why. These three tracks are pretty damn killer, presenting precisely the style of rugged, straightforward black metal that I prefer. Well-recorded but unpolished, powerful midpaced tempos without an over-reliance on harshness or speed, and just the right amount of dissonance and atmosphere free of unnecessary trappings. Even the live track delivers. One of these days, I've got some serious catching up to do here...

Out next month on Relapse Records, pre-order now on 12" or CD. You can also grab the band-exclusive color variant—while (limited) supplies last—from Integrity's webstore. There's currently one more track to stream on Bandcamp, too.

Low Dose

Yet another seemingly-incredible band out of Philadelphia, Low Dose has only released one track from their forthcoming full-length so far, and if "For Sure" is any indication, this is gonna be one of my favorite albums of the year, hands down. I guess the group consists of Fight Amp plus the former vocalist of Legendary Divorce, in this case performing an unexpectedly catchy—and I mean super fuckin' catchy—form of rocked-out hardcore/punk with a firm-hitting grit and some grungy post-hardcore tonalities. This kicks so much ass, I can't even tell you. I flip out less and less these days, but I got very psyched on this very quickly, so I'm quite sure I'll be raving about Low Dose again at some point!

The Northern Skulls

Speaking of flipping out less and less these days, I really wanted to flip out about The Northern Skulls, as this is the latest outfit to feature frontman Jonah Jenkins from the almighty Only Living Witness, Miltown, etc. That being said, they're not launching me into the flipout zone just yet, but their three digital singles to date are becoming more promising, so I'm getting there. The work certainly bears similarities to some of Jonah's past efforts, but—so as not to insult their pedigree with any forced genre terminology—I'll simply refer to them as "nebulous hard rock with superb and inimitable vocals." There can actually be a D.C.-ishness to 'em at times, too, but in that "heavier" Boston manner, you know? "Art Thief" is definitely my favorite of the tracks thus far. That driving, emotional energy reminiscent of Miltown... I simply can't deny it!

My future-be-damned distaste for digital-only music has my fingers crossed for some form of eventual physical release, but right now you can grab the tracks for $1 apiece through Bandcamp.

Open City

Philadelphia wins again! I read about Open City over at No Echo a week or two ago and didn't really expect to be all that into it, but ended up coming away extremely impressed. Apparently the four-piece are not fans of the "ex-members" factor, so I won't bother running through résumés (if you care that much, Google will tell you in 0.84 seconds), but this is some really interesting and creative hardcore/punk. There are plenty of hammering, high-energy bass runs and jagged, angular guitars; but you'll also encounter a ton of tempo variation and some darker, more melodic and atmospheric elements, too—leaning toward what I'd have to refer to as an "emo" type of aesthetic. But, we're talkin' the most respectable, high-level associations for which that term could ever be applied here, okay? Great production and truly unique vocals, too. I tried to choose a song that would represent a little bit of everything, but you really need to dig through the entirety of last year's full-length and 7" to get the full picture. It's pretty surprising (and kinda shameful) that this band hasn't received more attention. Really, really cool and unusual. Highly recommended.

Digital listeners hit up Bandcamp, or your streaming service of choice. Physical copies can be obtained through the band. If you're one of the last remaining CD nerds on Earth like me, the full-length was only released on disc in Europe, so... be aware. I need to hurry up and grab physical copies of these jams myself!

Rod of Correction

San Diego unit Rod of Correction includes members of Take Offense, Narrows, and Godcollider (of which I've only ever heard Take Offense), and their 15-minute Lies EP pretty much sounds like when U.K. punks Broken Bones went full-on metal circa Losing Control in 1989. Seriously, dead on. The bitter vocal sneers, the crisp sheen of the guitar tone... I mean, just, whoa. And, of course, I'm all about it. If that niche of crossover is finally reaching the point of being deemed "acceptable," that's 100% fuckin' fine by me. It's about time!

This one's also on Bandcamp, or grab the 12" from Indecision Records. I held off on ordering the vinyl only to discover later that—to my shock—it's on CD, too!? Nice! I need to order one soon...

Tourniquet

New Jersey's Tourniquet has at least been on my radar for a couple of years, but my copy of their latest EP, I Hate the Way This Makes Me Feel, just showed up in the mail yesterday from Contraband. Expect caustic, ferocious, late-'90s-sounding metalcore, not unlike God Program above—though Tourniquet leans toward a more chaotic and death metal-tinged approach. Totally retains the proper vibe, though. There's some industrialized texturization at times, but they're not messing with overly modern experimentation nor groove-drenched production techniques or anything. Just good, quality shit here—tighter and more coherent than comparable acts tended to be "back in the day," and certainly deserving of more hype out there in the current landscape.

Digital folks, see Bandcamp. If you'd prefer a physical copy (as you should), pick up a cassette or CD (pro-duped CD-R, really) with bonus track.