New noise from Herts headbangers
Morri Haig – Guitar
Fred Jessop – Vocals
Jordan Allard – Drums
Max Hummerstone – Bass
Herts-based quartet Skullfucked have just released their debut album ‘Blasphemy’, available now from Bandcamp. Combining death metal and grindcore with groove, a punk attitude and a twisted sense of humour, ‘Blasphemy’ literally goes up to 11.
Sounding reminiscent of the sort of albums being released by Earache Records during the 90s (I could actually imagine them snapping this band up, had they been around back then), this is recommended to fans of old school death metal and British extreme metal. Behind every NSFW song title there’s some (almost) no-nonsense intensity, with tracks like the brooding ‘Impending Foetal Doom’ and ‘Bloody Tissues Daddy Issues’, and the riffy closing self-titled track, continuing the metal tradition of ending with the longest track.
Skullfucked will be headlining an album launch party at The Red Lion, Stevenage on Friday 16th December, with support from Phlefonyaar, FSI and Praetorian. Entry is free.
‘Blasphemy’ is available now from Bandcamp at https://skullfuckedbgka.bandcamp.com/album/blasphemy, with a CD release coming soon.
For fans of: Obituary, Carcass, Earache Records, 90s death metal
New music from Oxford sludge quartet
2. Hippy Crack
Tom Greenway – vocals/guitar
Taz Corona-Brown – vocals/guitar
Olly Corona-Brown – bass
Stephen Frame – drums
Drore, the Oxford-based act featuring members of Undersmile and Crippled Black Phoenix, have just released their debut EP ‘TapeOne’, posted below. With a sound that takes the members away from their other jobs, TapeOne features four tracks of intense, atmospheric sludgey-noise that will also appeal to fans of doom and post-metal.
Whilst CBP and Undersmile deal with more progressive and slow-burning build-ups, Drore are much more immediate and direct, whilst still maintaining the latter’s darkness and that sense of atmosphere. This is angry sludgey doom in a neon package – watch out for live gigs.
For fans of: Torpor, Steak Number Eight, Hang The Bastard, Windhand
Recent rumblings in the underground music scene
A round-up of recent releases I haven’t had time to blog about in more detail over the festive period.
Bad Pollyanna – new album
UK rockers Bad Pollyanna have just released their second album ‘The Broken Toys’, available now via their website. Immediately engaging and dramatic, ‘The Broken Toys’ has a varied sound that might appeal to a broad range of audiences, from the electro-rock/goth crowd, to fans of 80s post-punk – imagine an act somewhere between Toyah, Evanescence, The Birthday Massacre and The Dirty Youth, and you’d be getting close. Coming as a result of a successful Pledgemusic campaign, and getting strong reviews everywhere in the rock press, 2016 may just be Bad Pollyanna’s year.
A solid album that features some catchy tunes (highlights include ‘Define Me’, ‘Hooks’ and ‘Ugly Love”) with little filler, ‘The Broken Toys’ is available now as a digipak CD and digital download at http://shop.badpollyanna.com/album/the-broken-toys, live gigs and other digital outlets.
Toy Birds – new EP
Toy Birds, featuring The October Game’s drummer Ollie Taylor as frontman, have released their debut self-titled EP. Having offered a preview of their sound with the track ‘These Eyes’ earlier this, the band have now expanded on this with these five tracks, with an electronic-pop sound not a million miles away from some of the popular acts of the 80s – if you’re into pop in the A-Ha/Paul Young/Nik Kershaw vein, give this a listen.
Dorylus – debut tracks
London/Herts-based metallers Dorylus have released their debut EP, two tracks from which are streaming now over at Reverbnation. Having formed less than a year ago, the band have been gigging since May and winning fans with a melodic-death metal sound that would appeal to fans of the likes of Lamb Of God, Meshuggah, In Flames and DevilDriver. The whole EP is out on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Googleplay and other outlets.
The Tuesday Club – new EPs
St Albans post-punk/glampop crew The Tuesday Club have recently released EPs 3 and 4 for this year’s set of releases. Titled ‘Lady Gargar’ and ‘Boo Hoo’ respectively, both EPs comprise of three tracks each and are available now via their website. These complete the set of four releases which make up their second album.
Despite recently losing a couple of members (The Minx and J-Rod), the band look set to continue as a five-piece for 2016.
The Wolves Of Avalon – new single/album
Pagan-black metallers The Wolves Of Avalon released a two-track vinyl single a few months ago, and are currently working on the release of their next album for 2016. The A-side of their single is a cover of Venom’s track ‘Die Hard’ and features guest vocal appearances from Rob Miller of Amebix, Mirai Kawashima of Sigh, Alan Averill of Primordial and Venom’s own Mantas guesting on vocals and guitar. The B-side, ‘Carrion Crows Reprise’ is an alternate version of a track originally featured on their first album. Released via Eternal Death Records, available on their Bandcamp site.
The next album, to be titled ‘Across A Twilight Field Of Corpses Grey, Only The Trilling Of Nightingales Can Be Heard’ , is currently scheduled for a May 2016 release via Godreah Records.
December 27, 2015 | Categories: Music, Random, Writing | Tags: 80s, album, alt-rock, alternative, Bad Pollyanna, band, bandcamp, black metal, death metal, Dorylus, download, electronic, electronic pop, entertainment, EP, extreme, glam rock, goth, gothic, metal, mp3, Music, new CD, pagan, post-punk, review, rock, The Tuesday Club, The Wolves Of Avalon, Toy Birds, UK, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a 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
Bringing one hell of a storm on their second album
1. Blood And Rust
2. No Redemption
4. Bad Blood
5. Unto Me
7. No Return
8. Off The Edge
9. Cross To Bear
10.Voice Of Demons
11.Psychokiller (Talking Heads cover)
Jimi Brown – Vocals
Ash Smith – Guitar
Dom Wallace – Guitar
Darren McCullagh – Bass
Jon Paul Quantrill – Drums
UK metallers Stormbringer have been around for a few years now and already proven themselves worthy of attention and festival slots, having previously played at Download and Bloodstock. Having had the pleasure of booking these guys earlier this year and hearing what their new vocalist was capable of, I was eager to hear what ‘Blood And Rust’, Stormbringer’s first album with new frontman Jimi Brown (and second overall), had to offer. I was not disappointed.
Following the instrumental intro, Stormbringer tear into ‘No Redemption’, a catchy track with some classic rock swagger and meaty riffs. Tracks ‘Rise’ and ‘Bad Blood’ have both been released as promo videos, posted below, and are worth looking out for if you’re just as equally comfortable listening to both contemporary melodic metal and classic rock stadium acts. The chorus to ‘Unto Me’ is likely to lodge itself into your brain for days after listening, and goes down well in the live environment too (look out for it on a Bandcamp mixtape I’m releasing soon). Moving further into the album, it becomes difficult to pick out any favourites over the others as the quality presented here is consistently high, with ‘Ashamed’, ‘No Return’, ‘Off The Edge’ and ‘Cross To Bear’ all deserving some ear time, but one thing does become obvious: they made the right choice in picking Jimi Brown as their new frontman, his voice is phenomenal and fits in perfectly in what was already a finely-tuned act. Want hooks, catchy choruses and solid solos? This album’s packed with them. Penultimate track ‘Voice Of Demons’is nothing short of a nostalgia trip; reminiscent of a time when MTV used to play rock music, when bands such as Alice In Chains, Skid Row and Queensryche could be seen on Headbangers Ball and the like – this sounds exactly like the sort of thing you’d see playlisted, with its darker heartfelt lyrics, almost ethereal riffs and passionate vocals. Ending with something out of the leftfield, their cover of Talking Head’s ‘Psychokiller’ is an interesting track, one they’ve successfully managed to put their own stamp on – rather than sticking out as an odd track, it works well alongside the rest of the album.
Full of highlights and lacking any ‘filler’, ‘Blood And Rust’ is recommended to pretty much anyone who likes solid rock with a decent tune, those looking for a rock act who’ve disregarded any and all modern trends, and those who’ve been passionate about all forms of rock and metal over the past 30-40 years. A potential future classic.
The video for ‘Bad Blood’, the first to be released –
The video for ‘Rise’ –
Stormbringer’s ‘Blood And Rust’ is available now via Attic Records on iTunes at http://bit.ly/SBMMXIII, and on CD at
http://atticrecordsuk.bigcartel.com/product/stormbringer-album-cd-blood-rust and at live gigs.
For fans of: Skid Row, Buckcherry, Def Leppard, Galactic Cowboys, Fozzy, Testament
November 29, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, band, classic rock, heavy, heavy metal, heavy rock, metal, Music, new CD, review, rock, Stormbringer, UK, underground, underground music scene | Leave a comment
New sludge from Herts quintet
1. Insect Whore
2. Sanity Of A Madman
3. I Spit On Your Grave
4. Isolation Trip
William Jennings – vocals
Jim Males – guitar
Sam Farrington – guitar
Sammie Donnelly – drums
Jimmy Long – bass
Herts-based sludge quintet Skrugg have just released their eagerly-awaited debut EP, ‘Asylum Mist’. Formerly known as Lord Shrugg and featuring three former members of the promising but short-lived doom act Burn The Yeti (and two currently from black metallers The Graven Sign, who’ve also just released a new EP), members have also previously played in acts such as Gilla Bruja, Wrongly Accused, Zebediah Crowe and Wyndforge, so these guys are no mere newcomers to the scene.
Featuring five tracks of dark, dirty sludge metal, ‘Asylum Mist’ is the result of several months’ hard work and, combined with their touring schedule which is already seeing them getting booked for underground festivals, should see Skrugg expand their fanbase further. Including established live favourites such as ‘Insect Whore’ and ‘Isolation Trip’, this is filthy down-tuned sludge that even non-fans of this particular subgenre could into, with its heavy yet catchy groove-injected riffs, intense vocal delivery, one almighty hook of an opening track and all the elements required for a solid metal release.
‘Asylum Mist’ is available now to download via Bandcamp at http://skrugg.bandcamp.com/, or on CD at live gigs.
For fans of: Down, Crowbar, Nailbomb, Sepultura
Live photo courtesy of Chris Woor Photography.
September 1, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: band, bandcamp, CD, debut ep, download, EP, extreme, heavy, hertfordshire, Herts, live music, metal, Music, new CD, review, Skrugg, sludge, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment
I may have cheated a little bit….
Recently, I set myself a challenge: write as many movie reviews as possible, using just one line. How well do you think I’ve done?
* SPOILER ALERT: he wins in the end – Rocky II-V
* It stars a French Scotsman and a Scottish Spaniard, and they can’t die because they’re really aliens – Highlander 1-2
* A dystopian future where policemen now come in tins – Robocop 1-3
* How to thwart an alien invasion using their own USB ports, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – Independence Day
* It’s ok, the dog actually survives (seriously though, who could you make a film where the dog dies??), you’re safe with this one – K9
* Nope, not falling for that! – Marley & Me
* This film is just a figment of your imagination and doesn’t actually exist; in the words of Tasha Yar, “It didn’t happen!” – Star Trek: Nemesis
* It’s got past the stage where it might be seen as tragic; he’s just being plain clumsy with his family now – Taken 3
* Seagal’s often clumsy with his famiy too – Any Seagal film.
* Can we watch Bill & Ted instead? – The Matrix
* Still waiting for that third Bill & Ted – The Matrix 2
* Bill & Ted…. just putting it out there – The Matrix 3
* Worst episode of Come Dine With Me ever – Red Dragon
* Did you know that if you watch the whole saga backwards, it becomes the heartwarming tale of an evil cyborg’s quest to become a real human boy? – The Star Wars series
* Know what makes me mad? Lack of closure. – Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
* Worst episode of Deal Or No Deal ever – Se7en
* Man solves evil Rubix Cube, gets worst facial piercings ever – Hellraiser
* Would’ve been better off with a Teddy Ruxbin, just saying – Child’s Play
* Although, if you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Charlie Sheen possessed Teddy Ruxbin…. – Ted
* Nine hours of proof that Gandalf doesn’t know any flight or teleportations spells – Lord Of The Rings
* They’ve managed to cross Independence Day with Wreck-It Ralph? – Pixels
* Imagine if after Home Alone, Kevin goes into Witness Protection with a new name, but grows into a bitter man with a more twisted imagination and thirst for vengeance – SAW
Blackened concept album from ex-Akercocke members
Dan Abela – bass/producer
David Gray (Akercocke/My Dying Bride) – drums
Peter Benjamin (Akercocke) – vocals, guitars
David Loynes (Akercocke/Diminished Fifth) – guitars
01. Suicide Note
02. Music For The Recently Bereaved
03. The Actress
04. Vicarious Lover
06. Imaginary Sketches of A Poisoned man
07. The Antidote
08. The FuckTrance
10. The House Of Black Light
11. The Final Portrait Of The Artist
12. Last Train Victoria Line
13. The Ultimate Narcissist
14. Cold Harbour Lane
Another album I’m finally catching up with – ‘London’, the second album from Voices, the band comprising of former members of highly-regarded UK progressive death metallers Akercocke. Formed with the aim to create a more avant garde sound, ‘London’ makes for an interesting listen.
At its heart, ‘London’ is a black metal album, yet offers so much more than that. A concept album written about existence in our country’s capital, rich in texture and varied in sound, this album transcends the boundaries of BM to the point that it could appeal to fans of many subgenres of metal. Often switching between restrained acoustic passages and brutal riffs with intense drumming in a majestic death metal territory, interwoven with spoken word pieces and field recordings that provide a backbone for the album’s theme, tracks such as ‘Music For The Recently Bereaved’, ‘Vicarious Lover’ and ‘Hourglass’ are a satisfying experience for those who want more than just standard meat-and-potatoes metal. ‘Megan’ could even appeal to fans of tech-metal acts such as Textures, and ‘The House of Black Light’ is perhaps the greatest horror movie soundtrack yet-to-be, perfect for anyone who wants a slice of straight-up classic DM. Offering extremity and subtlety in equal measure, this is an ambitious, progessively-minded album, and one that deserves repeated listens to truly take it all in.
More than just a black metal album, ‘London’ is a richly-textured extreme metal album that pushes the envelope – fans of progessively-minded/adventurous heavy music should seek this one out.
Voices’ ‘London’ is available now via Candlelight Records at http://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/album/london and iTunes, or on CD at http://www.plastichead.com//item.asp?ex=fitem&target=CANDLE487CD.
For fans of: Akercocke, My Dying Bride, Emporer, Textures, Tesseract, Talanas
May 27, 2015 | Categories: Music, Writing | Tags: Akercocke, album, band, bandcamp, black metal, CD, death metal, download, extreme, heavy, heavy metal, London, metal, Music, prog, progressive, review, rock, UK, UKDM, underground, underground music scene, Voices | Leave a comment
Complex and dramatic second album from British death metallers
1. Ethereal Organisms
2. At His Behest
4. Primal Revelations
5. The Fevered Spirit
7. The Whisperer
Paul Sadler – Vocals, lead, rhythm, acoustic and classical guitars, keyboards
Richard Corrie – Lead and rhythm guitars
Alex Jolley – Fretless bass
Chris Barnard – Drums
‘The Whisperer’, the second album from Manchester-based metallers Spires, has actually been out since November of last year, but it somehow missed my attention until recently, after a recommendation from a labelmate of theirs. I wasn’t disappointed.
Much like two of their labelmates Talanas and Rannoch, Spires specialise in an adventurous, more expansive take on death metal. Rather than bludgeon with constant brutality (which is no bad thing when done properly), they offer a more complex palette of sounds, alternating between heavy riffs and growls, and long melodic, twisting passages, with a strong, dramatic delivery. Despite only consisting of seven tracks, this album totals up at over an hour long, but manages to keep the listener interested by refusing to stick to one path for too long, and the delivery is faultless, with tight musicianship displayed and fascinating arrangements. Opening track ‘Ethereal Organisms’ contains more ideas than some bands will throw into an entire album, and middle track ‘Primal Revelations’ in particular might be of interest to fans of Opeth. Title track and album closer ‘The Whisperer’ also features a special guest appearance from Exivious/former Cynic guitarist Tymon Kruidenier, among other guests on the album. Ending the album on a high, Spires have managed to create an album as complete and accomplished as a band can hope for, with repeated listens required to take it all in.
‘The Whisperer’ offers up progressive, technical death metal with a gothic, almost operatic sense of drama, a genuine theatrical feel. I’ll be curious to hear what future releases from Spires bring.
‘The Whisperer’ is out now via Eulogy Media, as a limited edition digipak CD and digital download at http://spiresband.bandcamp.com/album/the-whisperer, and at live gigs.
For fans of: Opeth, Cradle Of Filth, Within Temptation, Ephel Duath, Triptykon, Gojira
May 20, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, band, bandcamp, CD, death metal, download, Eulogy Media, extreme, goth, heavy, metal, Music, musicians, prog, progressive, review, rock, Spires, technical, UK, UKDM, underground, underground music scene | Leave a comment
Rumblings from the underground music scene
There has been so much good music released this month – here’s some of what’s on offer!
Vendetta – new EP
North Herts metallers Vendetta have released a new 6-track demo EP ‘Illusions’, which they’ve made available as a free download via Bandcamp. Living up to the potential that was demonstrated when they released the track ‘Martyr’ some time ago, ‘Illusions’ is just pure intensity – anyone looking for new metal acts to listen to should definitely check this one out.
Toy Birds – new track
The October Game’s Ollie Taylor has released the first track from his new project Toy Birds, ‘These Eyes’. Very similar in sound to this solo album released back in 2012, ‘These Eyes’ is a catchy electronic pop number which hints at interesting things to come from Toy Birds.
Owen Stephen – new EP
Ollie’s TOG bandmate Owen Stephen has also just released his second EP, ‘Day & Night’. The follow-up to his debut EP ‘Just Dreaming’, that EP saw Owen win new fans on both sides of the Atlantic (when he toured the US with Ramin Karimloo), ‘Day & Night’ may well see him continue to do so.
Healyum – new video
Young Milton Keynes act Healyum have released a video for their track ‘Feels Good’, a song that will also be appearing in an upcoming episode of E4’s ‘Banana’ series. Formed by the trio of sisters Jeana and Katie and their brother Jed, this folk-pop act could be one to watch. ‘Feels Good’ appears on their EP ‘Fools Eyes’, available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and Spotify.
White Line Diaries – new track
WLD have released yet another new track online, entitled ‘(Welcome To) The Circus’. Featuring backing tracks from funk rockers Indi & The Vegas, this continues their run of new tracks being released on a monthly basis (after ‘Hurricane Body’ and ‘Come Back To Mine’) as ‘Name your price’ downloads. Offering a heavier, edgier sound that still displays their knack for writing a catchy tune, these new tracks are highly recommended.
As You’re Falling – new track
Another metal act from North Herts, As You’re Falling, have just released a new track ‘Cry Of The Banshee’, which you can download for free from their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AsYoureFalling. These guys will also be releasing a new EP very soon.
February 7, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: alt-rock, alternative, band, bandcamp, death metal, deathcore, download, E4, electronic, entertainment, EP, extreme, folk, funk rock, grassroots, Healyum, heavy, hertfordshire, Herts, metal, Music, owen stephen, pop, review, rock, the october game, UK, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment