We have a LOT of time for UK Sludgey Hardcore/Metal act Allfather. Not only is their new album And All Will Be Desolation (Rotting Throne) a beast of a record, they also possess an arsenal of MASSIVE riffs, and those riffs also kill fascists. It’s true, it’s damn true! Staunchly political, and marrying this to a love of underground HEAVY music, spearheading a campaign to share and promote their contemporaries and those they love and share ideals with online, it only made sense to ask vocalist Tom Ballard to talk us through some of his favourite EPs of 2018.
That and the silly fucker walked straight into it in a Twitter chat about what was and wasn’t included in the Ghost Cult Albums Of The Year 2018
Anyway, over to Tom…
These days, who the fuck has time to sit through an album? Who has time to sit through 35, 40, 45, fucking hell even 50 minutes of, fingers crossed, half decent tunes where the band hasn’t filled half of it with with regurgitated riffs and song patterns just to fill out the space. Well, NOT ME*! As such, here are the best EP’s from this year, most of which are over and done with in about 25 minutes leaving you the time to get on with your day
*totally me, and most of the time bands don’t do this at all. I was just looking for a punchy intro…
Redbait – Red Tape (self-released/Bandcamp)
As 2018 takes us further and further into this alternate, dystopian timeline of stupidity, lies and the establishment’s inability to hold itself to account for anything, we need bands like Redbait that are ready to lead the charge with rage in their hearts and blood on their knuckles. Fiercely political, seething with anger, they manage to cram a bucket load of ideas in to nine minutes of recklessly paced Hardcore Punk Rock. Dual vocalists Rebecca and Madeline take a slash and burn approach to the proceedings, mixing up guttural Death Metal barks and harsh screamed vocals to devastating effect.
In terms of the tracks themselves, the bruising ‘We Refuse’ is followed by the anti-police anthem ‘Smoke In Your Eyes’, both pulling no punches, but it’s the lyrically haunting, ‘I’ll Be Fine’ describing the breakdown of an abusive relationship, that really hits home. While the live track ‘Dick Punch’ may sound like a daft Pop-Punk song from the title, it’s actually a scathing attack on ongoing issue of sexual harassment at gigs by men who can’t seem to take no for an answer.
Furious, visceral and utterly essential, with Redbait as our vanguard, we should all have their backs.
Casket Feeder – Scalps (Hibernacular)
This five tracker from Milton Keynes’ Casket Feeder kicks off with two pummeling songs that intertwine Hardcore and Death Metal, reminiscent of the first two Venom Prison EPs. Mixing up screams, growls and Hardcore bellows, the vocals come at you hard and fast. Add to that some gigantic bloody breakdowns and floor shaking double pedal work and what you have is some seriously mosh-friendly bangers.
Come the third track, though, the foot comes of the accelerator a little and allows the brilliantly titled ‘Carve Their Names Into The Hanging Tree’, to slowly stomp all over your face for the first few minutes before the second half breaks into a mix of Black Metal and emotional Hardcore where haunting leads and vocals deliver a highly charged finale to the track.
Finishing with another two Hardcore heavy songs (with a fair bit of top notch soloing), Scalps takes plenty of twist and turns and should have you both swinging fists and screaming along.
Red City Radio – SkyTigers (Red Scare Industries)
Sometimes, in between the gnarly riffs, devastating blast-beats and hell brewed vocals, you need something with a bit of heart and soul. And this year that came from the the masterful Red City Radio. Five tracks of big hooks, huge choruses, a touch of folk/country twang and colossal gruff Punk Rock melodies, not to mention the stunning, (maybe Transmetropolitan inspired, maybe not) artwork. Grab a couple of beers, a few friends and have a tear-filled sing along to SkyTigers.
Deus Vermin – Monument to Decay (FHED)
Deus Vermin take the scathing tones of Black Metal and add thundering Deathly elements to their sound and as a result; this record manages to happily drag you down the back of a dark, dank cave somewhere and give you a right old kicking. With a thick, booming production that adds just enough decaying atmospherics to keep things a little creepy, the band have created five (well, six if you include the intro) stunning tracks that are packed with enough variety, hooks, breakdowns, riffs and blasts to keep the listener interested all their way, rather than relying the same, tired song structure all the way through. Bloody marvellous.
Noose Rot – The Creeping Unknown (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
Like Gatecreeper with more moss and rot, the debut demo/EP from Noose Rot, The Creeping Unknown, staggers along from one sickening riff to the next, like a rotting, crusty, hulking Death Metal beast, stinking of the grave. With a thick-as-fuck guitar tone, crushing drums and huge echoing vocals sounding like they are being bellowed from hell itself, each track will have you throwing claws and banging your head til the goats come home. Probably the most exciting thing about the release is it’s only a demo suggesting more to come from these nasty bastards. Worship the Crypt? Mate, I’m fucking devout.
Armed for Apocalypse – Palm Reader (self-released/Bandcamp)
In September this deathy, Sludgecore monster dropped and caused a significant disturbance in the riff force. AFA manage to squeeze to, through a fairly dense sounding production, inject a massive amount of Hardcore energy and some truly explosive, shit-kicking moments, especially in ‘Forced To End’, not to mention the huge drops in and downright savage riffing throughout tracks ‘Palm Reader’ and ‘Worlds Beneath’. Absolutely fucking brutal stuff.