Rumblings from Hertfordshire’s underground metal scene
It’s been a while since I reported back on here about the current local scene, so here’s a collection of some of the most recent underground releases, along with news of forthcoming releases.
Jackal’s Backbone – new lyric video/EP coming soon
Jackal’s Backbone have undergone some big changes in recent months. There was a line-up shift, with bassist Becca Swinney also taking on permanent frontwoman duties, and the addition of Praetorian’s Greg Neath and Sam Farrington as new guitarists, as well as a overhaul of their whole sound. The revamped JB will be releasing their new EP ‘Tear My Eyes Out’ on June 16th, with the track ‘World in Darkness (Your Demise)’ getting a release as a preview track and lyric video. Atmospheric extreme metal given a gothic, post-punk coat, this slow-burner is already going down well with live crowds.
Black Skull Ritual – industrial-doom duo’s debut album
Black Skull Ritual have released their debut album ‘The Frequency Of Doom’, available as a CD and digital download from Bandcamp. If you’re a fan of the likes of early Pitchshifter, Nailbomb, Godflesh or anything from Tom G Warrior, give this one a listen – twelve tracks of industrialised, punk-tinged doom.
Elysian Divide – debut single/album
The London/Herts-based melodic metallers release their long-awaited debut album on May 18th, with a new single being released ahead of this tomorrow (Friday 11th May) titled ‘Love Is War’, which also features a live version of ‘Destruction’ as a b-side. Elysian have been doing well in this year’s Metal 2 The Masses tournament (the competition that offers bands a chance to play at the world-famous Bloodstock Festival), as they play a semi-final of Hitchin’s branch of the tournament at Club 85 on Sunday 20th May.
St Fenton The Tainted – debut album released
St Fenton The Tainted, the duo comprised of Gilla Bruja/Phlefonyaar mainman Paul March and Outright Resistance’s drummer Michael O’Neill, have recently released their debut album ‘Jaw Of The Tyrant Hills’, which has been getting a lot of praise from music sites recently. Produced by Everest Queen’s frontman Adam C Taylor (who also handled the new Jackal’s Backbone material), it’s a dark, sludgy southern-tinged release that fans of their other bands will appreciate.
Skullfucked – new single out now
Those cheeky scamps in death/grind merchants Skullfucked recently relased a new track, sans any pre-release hype – check out the free download below.
VNDTA – new EP/videos
VNDTA (formerly Vendetta) have just released new EP ‘Pale Glow’, featuring a mix of new tracks alongside older revamped favourites from the new line-up, which now includes the recent addition Billy Howard on bass. They’ve released a trio of new videos for this over the past several months, which includes ‘Excuses’, below.
Spotify users can check the EP out at https://open.spotify.com/album/3PXL5E2bcN8NbrX0wojxvQ
Prysmcrypt – debut track now streaming
Local techno-industrial act Prysmcrypt have posted their first track ‘Unsatisfy’ on Youtube. It’s early days for these guys at the moment, but this debut offering shows some promise – watch out for further tracks coming soon.
Earthbound – CD release/new video
Promising new melodic death metallers Earthbound have recently released a CD version of debut EP ‘Endure’, now available at gigs. They’ve also released a lyric video for the track ‘Finches’, now on their Youtube site at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eadNPyhcJA. Check out their full EP below.
That’s all for now, enjoy this heavy eight, there’ll be more soon.
May 10, 2018 | Categories: Music, Writing | Tags: british music, death metal, extreme metal, grindcore, heavy metal, hertfordshire, industrial, metal, Music, reviews, sludge, underground music scene | Leave a comment
The riffs that started it all
Partly inspired by that ’10 albums from your teens’ post that was trending on Facebook recently, I’ve been thinking back to the tracks that acted as a springboard to the bands and genres I’ve become interested in since, and decided to gather them together. Here they all are – I’ve done my best to list them in the order that I became introduced, but I can’t be sure on the exact order after all this time.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
I’m sure we’ve all reenacted that scene from Wayne’s World at some point. Party on.
Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked
Their cover of ‘Action’ also deserves a mention. One of their previous albums, ‘Hysteria’, has since become one of my favourite albums.
Guns ‘n’ Roses – You Could Be Mine
I think it’s this song that helped me develop an appreciation for building intros.
Michael Jackson – Give In To Me feat. Slash
I was already listening to Michael Jackson before I got into rock music. The riffs in this song took me further.
En Vogue – Free Your Mind
This one might surprise a few people. It’s overlooked by the rock community/press, but in my opinion is actually better than a lot of the proper attempts at ‘crossover’ tracks from other artists.
Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
My introduction to grunge. Don’t listen to it much these days. Be warned, this video is a little heavy going, given the subject matter, but it did help in finding many missing people.
H-Blockx – Move
I’d actually forgotten about this one until, well, writing this. I’ve got the single somewhere.
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
Another amongst the first grunge tracks I got into. It would be a little while before I also got into the likes of Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots.
Die Krupps – Isolation
My introduction to industrial music, think I first heard it on Ray Cokes’s ‘Most Wanted’ show, back when MTV played music.
Metallica – One
The first time I ever knowingly listened to them, and it blew me away. To date I still regard this as one of the greatest metal tracks ever.
Mutha’s Day Out – Green
Well, I could post the whole album, as they were one of the first rock/metal bands I got into. A guy I knew at the time recorded this on to a tape for me, and on the b-side of that tape was a mix of things, which included the aforementioned Soundgarden track, Pearl Jam’s ‘Go’, and also….
Biohazard – Love Denied
….this track. At the time, I wasn’t even aware that there was a genre of heavy music known as ‘hardcore’, but this was my introduction to that form of metal.
So there they are, my first steps into heavy music. I had no idea at the time just how important those steps would become.
Debut visual release from UKBM act
UK black metallers Denigrata have released their debut video for the track ‘Kyrie Eleison’, which is taken from last year’s awesome debut album ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’.
The video, which was premiered this week via the UK’s leading extreme metal magazine Terrorizer, also features a cameo appearance from acclaimed writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, V For Vendetta), whom the band met through mutual interests in their home town Northampton.
For more of their multi-faceted sound, check out the entire album here, available as a download and CD:
My review of the album – Denigrata – ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ review
May 25, 2016 | Categories: Music | Tags: band, black metal, download, extreme, heavy, heavy metal, industrial, metal, Music, promo, UK, UKBM, underground, underground music scene, unsigned, video | 1 Comment
Beautifully chaotic debut from UK metallers
1. Requiem Aeturnam
2. Kyrie Eleison
3. Dies Irae
4. Rex Tremendae
5. Confutatis Maledictis
7. Agnus Dei
Denigrata Herself – vocals/guitar
Manea – keys/vocals
Cændél – guitar
Legivn – bass/vocals
Tasìmengyì – ‘timbrel alchemist’
Ever heard an album so varied in its influences and sounds, full of calculated chaos and heaviness, that it defied a simple description? Denigrata’s debut album ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ is such an album. Comfortably encompassing black metal, industrial, goth and symphonic metal all at once, in such a way that it could also potentially qualify as progressive metal too (unless that’s just confusing matters further), it’s an incredibly adventurous extreme metal release. For an attempt at a simple breakdown, imagine for a moment, if members of The Berzerker, Cradle Of Filth and Nightwish collaborated on a Tim Burton soundtrack with Devin Townsend – you’d possibly get something similar to this.
Rather than provide a track-by-track breakdown, I’d suggest having a listen – it’s better heard than described! From the slow-building Blade Runner-esque intro of ‘Requiem Aeturnam’ and ‘Kyrie Eleison’ (available as a free download from their Bandcamp site) to the all-out operatic onslaught of closer ‘Agnus Dei’, the thought and production that has gone into this is incredible.
‘Missa Defunctorum….’ is like the perfect soundtrack to a gothic horror movie, all at once dark yet beautiful in its seamless flow of ideas, with the level of extremity you’d expect from a black metal album.
Denigrata’s ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ is available now via Bandcamp as a digital download and CD at https://denigrata.bandcamp.com/releases, and on CD at live events.
For fans of: The Berzerker, Apocalyptica, Strapping Young Lad, Cradle Of Filth, The Birthday Massacre, Emperor
Note: ‘Kyrie Eleison’ was also included on my recent metal mixtape, which can be downloaded for free with 17 other tracks from https://musikalsin.bandcamp.com/album/musikal-sin-mixtape-vol-5-metal-without-boundaries.
December 22, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, band, bandcamp, black metal, Denigrata, download, extreme, heavy, industrial, metal, Music, new CD, operatic, progressive, review, rock, UK, UKBM, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | 2 Comments
Not feeling old now or anything
Two 90s metal albums, both key albums during my teens, are now twenty years old – wow. These are Korn’s classic self-titled debut, and Fear Factory’s immense second album, ‘Demanufacture’. Both albums have been celebrated by critics and fans alike, with the anniversaries of both being marked by album performance tours.
When ‘Korn’ debuted, it was a true revelation, not only because it spawned an entire new genre of heavy music, but because that, thanks to frontman Jonathan Davis’s brutally open and honest lyrics, they were genuinely relatable. Oh and they were the first (only?) band to include bagpipes in their material.
Fear Factory’s ‘Demanufacture’ helped them become genre champions, pretty much laughing in the face of that old ‘difficult second album’ problem faced by many bands, and still sounds just as sharp and immediate as ever.
Another thing both albums have in common – the buzz their intro tracks both create for the listener. Have a listen to Korn’s ‘Blind’ and the title song for ‘Demanufacture’ for proof.
Special mention should also go FF’s labelmates Machine Head’s debut album ‘Burn My Eyes’ – twenty years old last year, and in my opinion, still their strongest album.
People aren’t always full of praise when referring to metal from the 90s – perhaps they’re forgetting about the existence of these three albums? Not to mention Sepultura’s ‘Chaos AD’ and ‘Roots’. Or Pantera’s ‘Cowboys Fom Hell’ and ‘A Vulgar Display Of Power’. Or White Zombie’s ‘Astro Creep 2000’. Or Metallica’s self-titled (‘Black’) album…. I could go on. Another blog entry maybe!
July 19, 2015 | Categories: Music, Writing | Tags: 90s, album, alternative, band, CD, Demanufacture, Fear Factory, heavy, industrial, Korn, Machine Head, metal, nu-metal, Roadrunner Records, rock | Leave a comment
Atmospheric, slow-burning, intense music
Sometimes, it’s not about producing the most full-on, relentless sound, with countless riffs and non-stop heaviness. There are times when it feels right to start off slowly, build up an atmosphere, build up the layers and then head into an eventual cavalcade of riffs and heaviness. There are other times when an overload isn’t even required; an alternate intensity can be found in a steady grind, an almost hypnotic groove and pulse or a gothic sense of darkness.
Here are just the examples that spring to mind for a suitable playlist.
Sikth – Tupelo
Their cover of the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds classic – taking that sense of impending doom up a few notches. Check out the original here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSl4KX7zBTQ
Slipknot – Gently (Iowa version)
The version found on second album ‘Iowa’, a reworking of the track originally found on their underground debut, released before signing to Roadrunner Records.
Swans – Like A Drug
I was addicted to this at one point. A dark, heavy grind with a hypnotic feel.
Steak Number Eight – Falling Out Of A Dream
Awesome build-up intro. Sludgy, grungy.
Tool – Eulogy
A slow, steady build from the masters of dyamnic. Hypnotic.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – *#..
Instrumental – sounds like it’d make a great intro, but is actually track 4 on their first full-length album.
Panic DHH – Simplex
A calmer, more restrained moment from this band; fragility in noise. Frontman Robbie Furze went on to form The Big Pink.
Gary Numan – RIP
Steady build-up into a wall of sound chorus from a pioneer of dark music.
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
The goth classic; essential listening for every Halloween.
Triptykon – Shatter
The current band from metal legend Thomas Gabriel Fischer. Only recently got round to listening after a suggestion from a friend.
Wardruna – Kauna
Gaahl’s dark folk project.
September 26, 2013 | Categories: Music, Random | Tags: alt-rock, alternative, band, Bauhaus, electronic, extreme, folk, Gary Numan, goth, grind, Halloween, heavy, industrial, instrumental, metal, Music, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, noise, Panic DHH, post-punk, rock, Sikth, Slipknot, sludge, Steak Number Eight, Swans, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Tool, Triptykon, underground, Wardruna | 1 Comment