Amdi Petersens Arme - s/t 7" (Kick n Punch, PO Box 578, 2200 Kobenhavn N, Denmark)
This is total old school hardcore. It sounds almost exactly like it could have been on the Discord Flex Your Head compilation. More importantly it's also fantastic! They completely tore shit up when they came over a while back. Not a lot else needs to be said really.
Amps For Christ/Jalopaz - split 7" (Garbage Society, PO Box 8183, Victoria, BC, V8W-3R8, Canada)
I've heard stuff by both outfits before and quite liked them but I wasn't too into this 7". They each do some fairly short basic noise stuff. I mean, it's alright for what it is but it seems like a bit of a waste of vinyl. Noise bands usually sound better if there's quite a lot of time for them to their thing and expand on the sounds that they're creating. Also the only other Amps For Christ stuff I'd heard was an album of weird acoustic folk type thing mixed in with noise which was amazing. I was therefore a bit dissapointed that there stuff on here was just plain noise. Worth getting if you need a bit more straight noise in your life but don't expect to find anything massively earth shattering.
Aphex Twin - drukqs dbl CD (Warp)
If I was a wicked sick underground electronica fruit I would probably give this a right slagging off. I believe that da Twin is no longer considered particularly cool. However, I'm more of a wicked sicked underground hardcore fruit. In electronica terms I'm more like the kind of person that thinks they're Mr punk fucking rock for buying a NOFX album. Yep, I don't really know much about it. Therefore I can quite happily enjoy this double CD without having to think that DJ arseknobbler or DJ sillygoateebeard are miles better. However, I can kind of have a small claim to being 'down with the scene' (ooh kid 606 references - it's almost like I've just seen the Exploited on TOTP2!) considering htat I got this a fe weeks before it was released. At the last 1in12 hardcore fest Graham Swan Off thrust it into my hand saying that he managed to blag some copies from work. Predicatbly I gloated like an idiot to the small number of people I know who are into that kind of stuff. Then one of them goes and gets the fucking deluxe 4 LP box set and my cool aspirations are shattered. Erm, anyway, back to the review. Borrow it off a mate or something (or watch loads of adverts on TV says MC Cynical and the punkerthanthou Krew).
Atomshmasher - s/t CD (Hydrahead Noise Industries, PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199, USA)
This is just complete and utter musical destruction. Words just cannot describe it! If you don't know already this is one almighty collaberation between James Plotkin, Dave Witte and DJ Speedranch. If you don't know who they are then you clearly suck and need to get rid of all your dumb ass whiny emo indie schmindie shit and get some good records. It's got a kind of basic strucutre of fucked up guitar, drums and samples but it's just amazingly well done. For the most part the music is just super hectic with things flying everywhere. Apparently there's more stuff in the offing from them so I can't wait to hear that. In the meantime I'll satisfy myself by listening to this loud and pissing off my housemates.
AVO - Fuck Positive Hardcore 7" (Short Fuse, 34 Atchison Rd, Macquarie Fields, 2564 New South Wales, Australia)
The cover of this 7" has to be seen to be believed and was one of the main reasons I bought it.It's got an X'd up girl in glasses reading poetry with a 'Melbourne Emo Posse' t-shirt on being punched in the back of the head by drunken loon who's also puking up. The single is also called 'Fuck Positive Hardcore'. How funny is that? Lots of super fast thrash songs. Could almost be an Aussie version of Voorhees with songs like 'You're a fuckin prick' and 'Love is shit'. Also has quite possibly the longest thanks list in the world...ever.
Burnt By The Sun - s/t CD (Relapse)
If I told you this was a crazy mix of brutal grindcore and New Jersey style tech metalcore and has Dave Witte on drums then you should already be sold on this release. I know I am. It's only got three tracks but what fucking tracks they are. Anymore and it would probably kill you. Imagine if Human Remains were intent on moshing you to death rather than going off on weird tangents. If only all metalcore was like this then the world would be a lot better place. Repeated listens don't dull the brutality one bit which can happen with some bands of this ilk. I only hope they release more stuff of this calibre and come over to the UK at some point.
Candiria - 300 Percent Density CD (Century Media)
I've got a tape of an older album of there's called 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt' which is just an amazing fusion of death metal, jazz, hardcore and hip hop. It's totally technical and ace and doesn't sound like lame rap metal stuff at all. Unfortunately this isn't as good. They've still got the same kind of thing going on but it just seems a lot more nu-metally. I'm quite disappointed to be honest because I'd been really looking forward to hearing what they were doing now. To your average nu-metaller it would sound like absolute lunacy in the same way they would think of Tool but, like Tool, it doesn't really satisfy my cravings for crazy music. Hopefully they might make a trip over here because I'd still love to see them.
Charm - Hito 7" (Coalition, Hugo De Grootstraat 25, 2518 Eb Den Haag, Netherlands; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Absolutely fantastic Japanese thrash stuff. Do you really need to know anymore? Even though it's only 1 sided this 7" is still well worth getting hold of. Not only is the music ace but the packaging and vinyl are really nice too. The non-music side has a design painted on that looks really weird if you put it on the turntable and let it go around. Definitely want to hear some more by this band.
Children Of Bodom - Follow The Reaper LP (Nuclear Blast)
This has to be one of the most metal records ever made. Mix up Europe, Manowar, Dio, Slayer, Emperor and Iron Maiden and you might be close to what Children Of Bodom sound like. Total over the top classic metal with superb songs and superb musicianship. Trust me you'll be listening to this with you're mouth gaping wide open in incredulity as to how fucking metal it is. Air punching, head banging, full on rocking, keyboard powered, double guitar solo duelling, anthemic HEAVY FUCKING METAL. Ooh yeah, a picture disc too. I hope they come over here some day. It's not that likely though because they're quite big in Europe but all the metallers in the UK just want to listen to nu-metal crap. I want to move to Finland (Children Of Bodom's homeland) because one of their singles got to number one in the proper pop charts. How great must it be to live in a country like that!!
Converge/Hellchild - split LP (Bastardized, PO Box 200521, 56005 Koblenz, Germany; www.bastardizedrecordings.de; email@example.com)
You can never go wrong with more Converge material. Unfortunately there's only one proper new song on here. Predictably it's fucking crazy with loads of offbeat, intricate, messed up metalcore action goign on. Bodes well for the new album. They also do a Depeche Mode cover. An interesting idea but face it, Depeche Mode suck. They're the kind of band that cyber goths love. Not a good thing. obviously because Converge do it it's not that bad but still, Depeche fucking Mode. The rest of their side is made up of three live tracks. It's quite well recorded seeing as it's live and you can envisage the total craziness of a Converge live show. I can only hope they hurry up and make it back over here. I've got a couple of other bits and bobs by Hellchild and they've never really impressed. They're heavy and stuff but it just doesn't seem to connect. To be honest, it's only really worth getting if you really like Converge (which you should do!).
Cornucopia/Joshua Norton Cabal - split CDr (Audio Intruder, C, Mstro Miguel, Chicote 9, 28500 Arganda, Madrid, Spain; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some lovely fucked up noise here. The most notable thing about this release is that the packaging is left handed. I don't think either of the noisey fuckers are left handed themselves. I suppose they just did it to be awkward. It's defiitely something for listening to late at night with a cup of tea and your headphones on. Rather than bland Merzbow all out noise rip offs, there's a lot more structure and stuff so you can kind of chill out and listen to it.
Costas Cakehouse/Biceptasaurus - split CD (In League Wit' Satan, email@example.com)
I got given this at a Godnose gig I put on a while ago by Aaron from Biceptasaurus who was over with Godnose for their tour and then to travel around a bit afterwards (Godnose are from Australia, should be a review not too much further). Ended up seeing him at a few more gigs. Really nice guy and his band were/are fairly shit hot. It seems that this is a posthumous release which is a shame. They play fairly unoriginal but brutally wicked grindcore which hits the spot quite nicely. Much as I like all that weird jazz grindcore stuff you can't beat a band that just goes straight for the jugular occasionally. Costa's Cakehouse are from Germany and are fairly average to be honest. They do a similar thing to Biceptasaurus but not as well. It's worth getting for the Biceptasaurus half though. Also it's worth getting for the case. They've somehow printed a big skull on the actual plastic cover and it looks really good. It's only got an email contact for the label but I'm sure it'll be turning up in a distro box near you soon.
Creation Is Crucifixion - Child As Audience CD & Book (www.hactivist.com)
Wow! The whole packaging and concept of this thing is amazing. Come on, how many bands include a flaming book with their CDs? If you've ever been to CIC's website then you'll know what to expect from the book. Stuff about making Gameboy games teaching kids to masturbate and other bizarre stuff like that. It's kind of like Crass for a new generation or something. The music's nothing like Crass though being incredible sick ass technical grind metal stuff. Once again I can only say that Creation Is Crucifixion are one of the best bands on the planet.
Creation Is Crucifixion/Suicide Nation - split 7" (www.hactivist.com)
Okay, I'm bored of going on about how great CIC are. You need this like you need all their other releases. It's a reissue of a single that came out a coupl eof years ago. Predicatably the CIC side is full on manic unique tech grind stuff that blows away every other band on the planet. As a bonus Suicide Nation are great too. I'd heard lots about this band but never got around to checking them out. I'd heard them described as black metal hardcore. I generally take the hardcore scene's descriptions of bands sounding like metal with a large pinch of salt. However, you can hear a large element of black metal in Suicide Nation. The vocalist could easily fill the boots of that guy from Impaled Nazarene! There's also a large dose of At The Gates in the music. Adding the hardcore passion and frenzy makes it even better.
Dead Inside - s/t 7" (Land Of Treason, PO Box 2454, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8YT; firstname.lastname@example.org)
This band blew me away when I saw them at a 1in12 alldayer a while back. It sounds like a cross between Fugazi, Black Flag, Born Against and some Amphetamine Reptile type bands but to be honest it sounds more like Dead Inside! I really like it because there aren't really any bands doing that kind of thing anymore. The packaging also really nice and it's on a big, heavy slab of vinyl too. I can't wait to see what Pete Land of Treason puts out next because Land Of Treason distros some ace stuff so I'm sure it'll be good.
Dead Life Portrait - demo tape
"There's nothing left, you might as well kill yourself now". How very posi! Those words are spoken by the singer towards the end but he's wrong. There's still the rest of the song left and it carries on in the great style it began in. There's only one song on this tape but it's a good un. They hail from Ashford (I think!) and are in the inital stages of making an ace blend of Hydrahead style noisecore, Bloodlet style sludgey new school hardcore and Tool. The signs are there that they'll be cooking up some amazing stuff in the not too distant future but for now they're a band to look out for and support.
Dead Mans Fingers - 12:01 CDr (email@example.com)
A noisecore band from that musical desert of Blackpool. Sounds pretty good. Only two songs. The first devlops quite nicely through some chaotic bits to a nice heavy mosh part at the end. The second song has quite a bit of singing on it which doesn't work that well because the guy can't really sing that well. However, when it's full on rocking it works really well. This demo is quite old now and apparently they've improved a lot. I think they've recorded some newer stuff now so get in touch with them if you like the whole Coalesce/Converge thing.
Dead Mans Fingers - "I'll Stay Sober If You Stay Pretty" CDr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well here's four new songs from them. The rumours were true - they've improved a lot. Still nice and chaotic they seem to have decided to replace the dodgy singing mellow parts with more Isis stlye atmospherics. A fucking great idea in my book! There's quite a lot of Hydrahead lvoing in the music but it's not generic copycat stuff. They've definitely got their own unique twist on the sound. It's not in the realms of being amazingly great yet but the promise is defintiely there. If they were from the US this would be a 7" already and they'd probably be a load of hype about them. Thankfully they're from Blackpool so we're going to get to see them blowing some heads live. Another plus is the ace packaging. All nicely hand done with arty pictures and silver pen.
Driven Down - Unleash The Fury tape (http://go.to/drivendown; email@example.com)
This is a bit of a stopgap until the 'Down go into a proper studio, this being recorded in one of their bedrooms. Unfortunately it sounds liek it too. If you've seen them live and stuff you'll be able to make out the tunes and stuff but I can't see anyone who hasn't heard them before being blown away by this tape. But just wait. They're going to be recording something soon and when you've heard that you will be blown away. In the meantime go and see them live
Echo Is Your Love - Sheets Of Blank Fucking Paper (If Society, Seunalantie 1 a, 00730 Helsinki, Finland; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kylie, PO Box 24148, London, SW18 1WU; email@example.com)<
I'd heard of tyhis band for quite a while but never got around to checking them out. They're veterans of the noise/clanking improv tape trading scene (well, I've seen quite a few flyers and stuff for their stuff). Cross Sonic Youth, Submission hold and any number of early 90s Sub Pop also rans. They seem to have ambitions aims but don't quite hit the mark. They seem to want to sound like an innovative art punk type band but the ideas aren't quite good enough to keep my attention. Maybe repeated listens might let me get into more but for the moment it's nice try but no cigar.
Egg Raid - demo CDr
To be honest I feared the worst with this CD. Egg Raid is a name I've seen around a lot but mostly on punks picnic/gumbhi 77 punk cider and glue type gigs. Images of spikey mohawks, the exploited and cider flashed through my mind. That kind of stuff is all very well and good but it just isn't my cup of tea. However, I was pleasantly surprised when they burst into some nice uptempo thrashy hardcore punk. Maybe they prefer amphetamine to glue! Although it does have it's hardcore thrash element you can defintiely see that it's roots are in tueful punk rock. It makes for quite a nice mix. There is one atrocious song on here that appears to be trying to be a bit experimental or soemthing and it just doesn't work.Kin dof spoken wordy with odd bass bits going on and stuff liek that. It's a shame they can't pull it off. However, it menas that they should stick to doing the hardcore punk thing.. If I get the chance again I'll probably try and see this lot live as I feel a little bit stupid for letting my preconceptions of them steer me away from seeing them before.
Fig 4.0 - Action Image Exchange CD (Bombed Out, PO Box 17, Leeds, LS8 1UP; www.bombedout.co.uk)
This is a bit of a fucker to review. I've seen them way too many times, good friends with them all, lived with some of them, know all the songs already. of course I'm going to say it fucking rocks. However, the simple fact is that it does rock! Come on even Kerrang thinks so, they gave it 4Ks (ha! ha! ha!). Just super fast, super short melodic, thrashy hardcore punk fucking rock.
Godnose - Odessa CD (Trial And Error, PO Box 391, Richmond Vic, Austrlia 3121)
I put this band on under the impression that they sounded like a cross between Rorshach and Citizens Arrest. To be honest they sound nothing like that. It's kind of hardcore punk with a bit of sludge thrown in. It's quite a strange sound they've cobbled together and for the most part it doesn't really work. Imagine some John Holmes type stuff stripped dwon and played slower. Thankfully they occasionally throw in the odd fast song which sound a lot better. They were great fun live but that was more to do with their humour and crowd interaction. They were great people but I haven't really had any urge to listen to this much.
Hero Dishonest - Pleasure/Disgust CD (If Society, Seunalantie 1 a, 00730 Helsinki, Finland; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some quality straight up hardcore from Finland. It's good but not brilliant so by the end of it's 40 odd minutes and 27 tracks it does get a bit dull. Maybe it's a discography type thing. I mean, that's the only complaint I've got with this. The music's rocking, the lyrics are interesting, it's packaged nicely, it's DIY. If you need some straight ahead hardcore then search this one out over whatever rehashed tripe Revelation or Equal Vision has released this month. Hero Dishonest are much more worthy of your attention. They're no Get Up And Go'ers or Endstand but they're a hell of a lot better than In My Eyes. I reckon if I saw them live I'd like this a lot more.
Kevorkian Solution - s/t CD (Deathstill, PO Box 633, Dagenham, RM8 3AZ; email@example.com; www.deathstill.co.uk)
Words just can't describe how fucking mental this album is. Chris had taped me a few unmixed songs from this a while back (as well as a tape full of other cool stuff) and the songs sounded pretty damn hot. This album (all 29 tracks of it) just blows me away though. Even though I've played it loads of times I still can't work out just what the fuck they are doing. It's grind but nowhere near like normal grind. I mean this makes Cephalic Carnage sound like some shitty 77 punk rock band or something. You'd definitely be into it if you like the kind of stuff that Fantomas and Dillinger Escape Plan do but it sounds nothing like those bands. You know when you're listening to Kevorkian Solution! It's hard for a band to be original and unique and crazy and experimental and still fucking rock like bastards but Kevorkian manage it. Oh yeah, and I only paid a measly £4 for it! If this band were from the US and had cool friends everyone would be going on about how fucking amazing they are and stuff and hailing them as the best thing since Human Remains. Actually they might even be better than Human Remains. Have I made myself clear yet? This if the fucking shit. Buy it or lose.
Lack - Blues Moderne: Danois Explosifs CD (Scene Police, 2 Church Meadow, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 5EW; www.scenepolice.de)
I don't actually own this yet. As soon as I've got some money, though, I'm going to rush out and get a copy. The W left this CD round at our house a week or so and I've been listening to it loads since then. Just think of an ace mix of Converge, Refused and JR Ewing. Yep, it's that good! This is what Boy Sets Fire should sound like, instead of being a crappy wimpy emo band without an ounce of passion. Lack, on the other hand, are just jam packed full of emotion. You can just imagine them exploding live. I reckon you could probably add Catharsis to that list of bands as well. Yep, that passionate! Apparently they were going to be touring here a few months back but no-one wanted to put them on! Fucking hell, how fucking retarded is the hardcore scene in this country. Everyone wets themselves over inexcroable shite like Jimmy Eat World and Garrison and the Get Up Kids and Planes Mistaken For Arse. And if it's not emo it's fucking American Shitemare and As Friends Rust. Jesus H fucking Christ, why is everyone so fucking dumb! I bring over Iceburn and Creation Is Crucifixion to fuck all response, Lack can't even get a fucking gig, hardly anyone wants to put on Out Cold, Kevorkian Solution play to only a handful of people. The mind boggles! I might just have to go over to Denmark to see them play. I bet they're appreciated over there. Unless of course it's under the spell of Alkine Trio liek everywhere else. I know I'm constantly ragging on all this emo stuff but Lack are a billion gazillion trillion fillion dillion infinion times more emo than some 10th rate indie tune with out of tune vocals. Everything about this CD is just about perfect - amazing lyrics, fucking heavy metallic bits, melodic cointerpoises that don't sound out of place, lots of rock, nice packaging. It's one of those CDs that makes you want to throw petrol bombs, fall madly in love and rock out like a loon all at the same time. Rant over, I'm off to get this CD and so should you.
Local - Suburban Offpeak Frequencies
This might just be the CD that makes Fig 4.0 lose their hippest hardcore band in the UK tag. Not that they've actaully got that but you know what I mean. You see the thing is, this is Joe, the singers, side project thing. It's done with his mate Matt and it's all crazy ass electronica stuff. Very much in the Rephlex/Braindance vein but with added love of Commodore 64 sounds.It isn't any lame incompetent gabba crap like you might expect from someone involved with hardcore. Just thinking, does anyone else remember when gabba was cool in the metal scene. Krusher sitting on his couch on Noisy Mothers saying that some box set of Dutch gabba tunes was the most extreme thing since grindcore and stuff. Mmmm...those were the days. Did you ever hear that thing he did with Johnny Violent and Wurzel from Motorhead? Unbelievably shit but still funny. No, this is nothing liek that. Joe and Matt really know what they're doing with their sequencing thing. The beats and sound fly off and completely random tangents in a most satisfying way. This CD also reminds me off last summer back in Bradford. Joe just sitting around all day on our housemates computer and then emerging in the evening to let everyone hear what he'd been up to. Better mention this sideprojects sideproject as well - L.Sid. There's this computer programme available on gameboys which is a sequencing type thing. Predictably they found ways to make fucked up tunes on that as well. L.Sid have only made one appearance so far. It was at an acoustic night in Wakefield. After some godawful guy who couldn't sing moaning on for about 45 minutes with an acoustic guitar Joe and Matt got up with two gameboys connected together and wearing sombreros improvised a set of ace weird electronica. A while into their set some townie types walked into the bar and orde4red some drinks and then finished them off sharpish when they began to realise what was happening on stage. Just listening to them mutter on about how shit it was was ace! Well, anyway back to the review, you need to try and track this CD down because it's fantastic.
To be honest this is not the sort of thing I'd normally listen to. It's that emo-y pop punk stuff. They've got some fairly good tunes and a female vocalist which makes a nice change. I've heard people compare them to Discount so if that's your kind of thing go for it. The only things I could compare it to are two of my newest favourite bands: the Go Gos and Blondie. Obviously this pales in comparison but what couldn't! They do have the potential though. This tape copy I got sent doesn't come with any lyrics but from what I can make out from the songs there's some pretty cool subject matter. Quite a lot of attacks on pissed up sexist jerks in pubs and things like that. If they were from America and on some cool label loads of people would probably be hailing them as the best thing since sliced bread but, unfortunately for them, they're from Grimsby and not Gainesville.
Lvmen - Raison D'Etre LP (Day After, PO Box 153, 35201 AS, Czech Republic; www.dayafter.cz)
Don't think I've ever heard a band from the Czech Republic before. Who would have thought a band as good as Lvmen would come out of that country? Apparently they going to be touring with Sweep The Leg Johnny soon. That'll be one hell of a gig! Lvmen are somewhere in between crazy chaotic nosiey emo stuff and Touch and Go style post rock. Definitely a unique kind of sound. I really can't be bothered with another 'if they were from the US' rant but you know it's true. You can still save face though, just go and search this record out. Lovely gatefold packaging too!
Morser - 10,000 Bad Guys Dead LP (Chrome Saint Magnus, Am Bahnhof St Magnus 10, D-28759 Bremen, Germany; firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'll assume that everyone's already got "Two Hours To Doom" their last LP. If not, why not?! This album sees Morser going into a lot more Slayer-y territory. I'm certainly not complaining. It's still as brutal as ever. I'd kill to see them live especially just to see their four vocalists goign mental on stage. Only problem with this LP is tha tmy copy seems to have some dodgy bits on the vinyl which does detract from me enjoying it fully.
Neurosis - A Sun That Never Sets CD (Relapse)
Not quite sure what the point of reviewing this is. I mean, it's the new Neurosis album. Of course you've already got it. And of course it's also brilliant. They're one of those bands that is completely in their own world. Other bands desperately want to be Neurosis, not the other way round. They've added some more psychedelic stuff since the last album and it works. The last track ends with what sounds like the CD skipping. I had quite a few conversations with different people about whether or not it was actually skipping. After taking the time to actually look at the CD display on my CD player I saw that it wasn't skipping and that they'd intentionally made that effect. Total genius. Unfortunately at one point on the CD it does skip but that's because I was a moron and left the CD out of the case for a while.
Not much to say on this one. It's well played but fairly bogstandard Fat Wreck type punk. They don't really have anything to make them stand out from the crowd. I reckon a single would have beena better release for thema s I don't think they were quite ready to put out an album.
The Oath - s/t 7" (Coalition, Hugo De Grootstraat 25, 2518 EB Den Haag, Holland)
I'm sure everyone knows by now that this is the ex-Charles Bronson band so there's obviously high standards to be lived up to. To some extent it does live up to them. It's not as afast as Charles Bronson but it's still good. They're doing a similar kind of thing to What Happens Next? Yep, it's total 80s hardcore thrash. I missed them on their recent UK tour with the Locust which was a shame. I was going to be putting the Locust and the Oath on in Bradford but there was a £350 guarantee. Not very punk rock if you ask me.
Old Man Gloom - Seminar II CD (Hydrahead)
If all seminars were like this then maybe I might have turned up to a few more at university. The progress since Meditations in B, their first record, is stunning. It makes it sounds like Boyzone in comparison. Think a fusion of Swans, Neurosis, Gasp, Isis, Thrones, Bastard Noise and other similar fucked up bands and you're somewhwere close to the kind of unholy sound that Old Man Gloom cook up. It sounds like the soundtrack to some twisted psychological horror film where the monkeys rule the world and perform bizarre rituals on their victims. The listeners to this CD being the victims. Repeated listens throw up loads of new things that you hadn't heard previously showing that this is more than just a few sludgey riffs thrown together with a bit of noise on the top. It's been perfectly crafted for maximum fuckedupedness.
Posta Lowa - Everything That Connects You CD (Spiteful; www.spiteful.i12.com)
This is a bit of a rarity - a CD sent to the IM HQ for review. It's not bad. From the promo sheet I was expecting horrendous indie rock stuff. It's more in the post rock vein and has some nice atmospheric stuff going on. The ideas are all fairly simple though and sounds a bit too much like a 3rd rate copy of Touch and Go/Godspeed stuff. With time they could get better but at the moment I wouldn't really recommend that you rush out and get a copy.
Racebannon - First There Was Emptiness LP (Level Plane, PO Box 280, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276, USA)
Quite bizarre this one. I had a tape of this before I bought it and really enjoyed it. So much so in fact that I agreed to sort out a UK tour for them which I did until, two months before it was supposed to start, they cancelled. It wasn't too bad because Iceburn came over instead but it's still quite a shame because this is an ace LP. It's got a lot of that screamy emo stuff going on but they also throw in loads of weird sound effects and noise bits, a bit like Gasp. Kind of like an update on the Swing Kids/gravity records sound. They've put out loads of split singles so you might have already heard them so you'll already know the kind of quality sound they make. Even if you haven't, you should try and pick this LP up.
Racebannon/Zann/Anger Is Beautiful - Tour 7" (Adagio 830, Scheffelstr 38, 04277 Leipzig, Germany; email@example.com)
Quite a tour 7" this one. Only one of these bands actually made it over to the UK in the end. That was Zann. Racebannon got replaced by Iceburn and Anger Is Beautiful were turned away at the border because one of them had been a naughty boy at the Genoa anti capitalist protests. Still, it's a fairly rocking 7". Racebannon chuck in a new song which is just as crazy as the LP. Still a bummer that they couldn't make it over. Anger Is Beautiful rock out in an early Converge/Per Koro style way. The only stuff I'd heard previous to this by them was an appallingly recorded rehearsal tape. Stupid fucking imiigration officials. This stuff would have kicked some fucking arse live. Zann wrap up this 7" with an ace song from their demo. Read the review to see how good they are. I've also done an interview with them this issue so I reckon that might tell you that they're a pretty damn hot band. I should have some copies of this for sale soon so send us £2.50 and I'll send you one. Oh yeah, it's on super thick vinyl too. You could probably beat someone to death with it. Thining about it just playing it would have the same result!
Bogdan Raczynski - My Love I Love LP (Rephlex; www.rephlex.com)
This is the sound of Bogdan's heart breaking. Imagine if Leonard Cohen was a fucked up electronica dude then this might be what he came up with. This is quite different to the usual Bogdan sound. Usually he's into make super spazzed out computer nonsense. This time there's accordian and mournful acoustic guitar sounds. It's definitely a very unique sound which is a good thing. The only comparison I can make is something like Massive Attack only a lot stranger and a lot more fucked up. Maybe it's not the best place to start with Bogdan Raczynski but if you already like the kind of stuff he does then you might be pleasantly surprised with this. Comes on soem nice see through red vinyl which is a bonus.
Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP (Vagrant)
What's the point in reviewing this? It's RFTC for fucks sake. Of course it's ace! I know loads of people who don't like RFTC because they've only heard that "On A Rope" song. Trust me, that was nowhere near their finest offering. In fact, it's a bit shit to be honest. Unlike this LP, though, which rocks all the way through. Standout track is probably the last one which is quite melancholy and is piano driven, a bit like some of the Paint As Fragrance era stuff. RFTC are one of those bands that never seem to fail so get it dammit!
Send More Paramedics - demo tape (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Listening to this tape I have to wonder why these people have been wasting their time with And None Of Them Knew They Were Robots. have you heard "Undisputed Attitude", the Slayer punk covers album? Well that is what this sounds like. Add in some ace lyrics about zombies and eating brains, and some gang back ups and you have a quality tape. It was halloween last night and them, Fig 4.0, Driven Down and Charlie Don't Surf played. Virtually everyone at the gig was fully dressed up in zombie gear - make up a, the full works. Most people had already heard this tape and everyone was well up for some punk rock craziness. It was ace. loads of moshing and silliness with zombies flying everywhere.
Shank/Unholy Grave - split 7" (Sterilized Decay, PO Box 16, Barrow In Furness, LA14 3GH; email@example.com)
Shank return once again to pulverize some heads with their manic out of control thrashing power violence turbo rock shit. Not suprisingly the songs are backed up with highly cyncial and sarcastic but intelligent lyrics and explanations. Topics such as commercial US hardcore hegemony, hardline, work, tv and consumerism are all covered in inimitable Shank style. Japan's Unholy Grave complete this split quite nicely. Slightly less chaotic than Shank, sounding a little bit like the Accused in places Unholy Grave are pretty damn good. Holy shit, they've even got a bit of melody in the vocals. What's that about?! If you're into fast hardcore then you need this record.
Sick Puppy - Winners At The Game Of Life CD (Fek, 868 Pershore Road, Selly Park, Birmingham, West Midlands, B29 7LS)
I try not to be unnecessarily harsh with my reviews but this is just utter shit. I can't believe this has actually been released. It would have been a fairly crap demo but as a full release it's just bollocks. I believe the idea of FEK records is to give bands a helping hand putting out a rlease. To be honest the money spent releasing this would have been better spent on rehearsal time. One of the guys in this band put together that Birmingham scene report thing which obviously shows enthusiasm for the whole underground music thang which is good. With a bit more time Sick Puppy could do something good, in fact I hope they do because they've got enthusiasm. Unfortunately that really isn't enough for me because you also need the tunes. Nice try but no cigar I'm afraid.
666 Dead - s/t 7" (Violent Change, PO Box 309, Leeds, LS2 7AH; firstname.lastname@example.org)
I remember seeing this lot at the first 1 in 12 hardcore festival I went to in 1998. I think I did anyway. They were on the flyer. All I can remember is a series of fast as fuck hardcore bands blowing me away. Unfortunately they split up not long afterwards. Thankfully they went into the studio before they split. There's some pretty gnarly hardcore on this 7". Quite a unique sound as well. There's defintiely some AC/DC mixed in with all the hardcore brutality. Needless to say you have to get this. Comes on white vinyl as a bonus.
Songs Of Zarathustra - The Birth Of Tragedy CD (Blood Of The Young, PO Box 14411, Minneapolis, MN 55414, USA)
Well they're interviewwed this issue so obviously I like them a lot! I put them on earlier this year. A few weeks beforehand I got sent this CD and I was instantly blown away. A simple, yet effective, guitar line fades in, then some atmospherics. It breaks down to a few second bit of church organ and then all hell breaks loose. Not of the hyper metal kind that you might expect but rather of the screaming, heavy, chaotic emo kind. Like Refused and Reversal Of Man having a fight to the death in San Diego! The thing that really makes this stand out from the masses of similar bands is that the organ doesn't stop with the intro but is a constant presence throughout the CD. Actually, it's just a plainold keyboard but it still sounds rocking. Thankfully they more than rocked live. One of my favourite albums of the year.
Songs Of Zarathustra - Bote Des Zorns 7" (Vendetta, Berliner Str 29 13189, Berlin, Germany; email@example.com)
This is the European tour 7". It's got four new songs which, unfortunately, aren't quite up to the standard of the CD. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. They're certainly not terrible by any means. I reckon that the CD is fucking amazing so even if it's not quite as good that still makes it very good indeed. It just seems to lack the all out craziness and hooks of the CD. However, further listens make some of these more brooding songs more interesting.
Squalbalkus - rehearsal tape
Okay, so they said that this wasn't really worth reviewing or anything but I will anyway. It's a rough as fuck recording as can be expected. However, you can make out that there's some quality crusty grind fast screaming stuff on this tape and in this age of emo that's worth a fucking mention.
Stalingrad - s/t 10" (Scene Police, 2 Church Meadow, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 5EW; www.scenepolice.de)
This is a bit of a weird one to review because I'm now in a band with most of the people that recorded this. Ever since I first saw Stalingrad live they've been one of my favourite hardcore bands. Completely brutal chugging metalcore that isn't the usual cliched rap. It's not quite up to the standard of the LP but it still rocks a lot. There's a lot more noisey soundscape bits on this which are quite enjoyable if you're into that kind of thing, the best of which is a remix of a song from the album. The packaging is ace and really nicely designed. You open up the cover and there's a picture of two smiling men and a caption saying "you are my best friend". Then you fold down some of the cover to reveal the rest of the picture and there's a caption saying " but I hate you and I want you dead". Lovely!
Stand - demo tape
Very mosh metal. The recording is fairly ropey but once you get past that then you can get into their moshing groove. Quite a bit of high end guitar bits which is always good to see. Also it doesn't just rely on e chugs all the way through. Not that they're adverse to using it when necessary! I can imagine the Blackfish/Household Name crowd getting very into this band. Hopefully they'll be able to break out of Grimsby because I can see this going down a treat live. Okay, so it's not high on the originality stakes but I just thank god that they're not another fucking emo band!
Sweet Levinksi - demo tape
I'm probably very biased about this because it is my brothers band. This is pure out and out pop stuff. Bands you could compare them to are Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, Sweet, Weezer, Sparks, Todd Rungdren and the Beatles. They're all shit hot musicians (their old drummer left to join that big pop band Sugar Babes backing band!) which means that all the songs have really nice melodies which don't just use obvious tricks. Just send a pound or a tape or something to me and I'll tape it for you. It's about 50 minutes long and is great throughout.
Tangaroa - Ever Fucked A Black Metal Whore? CDr (Raw Nerve, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is well worth getting just so that you've got some kind of idea what the hell they're actually playing when they're ripping it up live. They're self described as Leeds' best death grind band but to be honest they're the only death grind band in leeds so it's not that hard! That's not to say they're not good. Hell no! They're fucking ace. Just imagine a cross between Dillinger Escape Plan, Morbid Angel and Canvas. There's two super long songs on here that have nearly as many twists and turns as DEP. These songs are quite old old now and the newere stuff is even crazier. Send them a couple of quid and be prepared for an aural battering.
Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon/The Autumn Year - split CD (Contrition, PO Box 187, Leeds, LS6 1LH)
Fuck me! How far have Thirty Seconds progressed?! They've gone from being a pretty good metallic hardcore band to being fucking brilliant. There's loads of intricate, technical type stuff going on but they never forget how to mosh as well. Unfortunately this CD took ages to come out so the two songs on here are relatively old and incredibly their new songs are even better. Still, you have to get this CD for these TSUA songs because they rock like motherfuckers. After the TSUA stuff there's the Autumn Year. I can listen to about the first 30 seconds of it going "hmmm...reasonably enjoyable indie rock type guitar stuff" and then the vocals start and I have to press stop. They're just hideous. Thing is I know both the singers can sing well because of their previous bands (Dropnose and Canvas) so they seem to be intentionally doing that whole out of tune wailing emo style vocals which I can't stand. Sorry! People into emo seem to ga ga over Autumn Year so what do I know! Still, the two TSUA songs are more than worth shelling out your money for.
Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon - demo CDr
This CDr is basically a stop gap release for all the UK kids that rightly love them before the album is released. The songs are even better than the ones on the Autumn Year split. Just listen to the MCD from a couple of years ago and then listen to this and you'll be gobsmacked by the progression. It's hard to believe that these songs are going to end up on an album on Goodlife. TSUA hands down destroy everything else on that label (I still maintain that the only 2 good goodlife releases [as opposed to good in an ironic, funny way] were Abnegation and Catharsis). Anyway, this CDr is only a couple of quid from the band so make sure you pick it up especially if you love chaotic metalcore stuff.
Total Fucking Destruction - demo CDr
Okay, hands up if you don't already know that this is Rick Hoak's new band. It's detention for any of you emo wusses that didn't know (oh, and it's a fucking bullet to the head if you didn't know that he was in Brutal Truth). It sounds like early Brutal Truth but maybe a bit more eighties. Nothing wrong with that though. Songs about eating the brains of jocks and smoking weed and stuff. This CD was just a quid when they came over with Groinchurn (if you missed that gig then you fucking lose because they fucking rocked and then did a fucking Terrorizer cover to top it all off). Bargaintastic! Grindcoretastic!
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