K-X-P – IV

Ambient music is tricky. Get it right and you can create some of the most mind-blowing, expansive, forward-thinking art imaginable. Get it wrong and you’re left looking like a pretentious mess. It’s very difficult to ride the line of pretension and come out on the right side when making anything that forsakes a conventional song structure, but by album six, you’d think K-X-P would be pretty adept, right? Continue reading

Glassing – Spotted Horse 

A thunderous crack of guitars explode outwards above a deluge of dextrous percussion. It all swirls around the listener before reaching a fever pitch and bursting into its main atonal, bending riff. This is just the mere beginning of ‘When You Stare’ from Blackened post-Hardcore outfit, Glassing, a band clearly out to not just pique interest, but demand attention. The vocals have an ominous amount of reverb to them, giving the same halfway-down-a-corridor feel of the likes of early Emperor or any Black Metal luminaries for that matter. The actual screaming itself, however, has far more in common with contemporaries like Tripsitter and We Never Learned To Live, with its strained and passionate delivery evoking repressed tender emotions rather than scathing the eardrums with rhapsodies of hellfire. Continue reading

Zaum – Divinations

A histrionic chime of a small bell is the first noise that greets the listener. It seemingly summons spiritual moans and groans that echo in the proverbial temple of Zaum‘s oeuvre. ‘Relic’ begins placidly, slowly building its way up to the riff that forms the song’s centrepiece, and when that riff arrives it is a blissful moment. Continue reading

We Never Learned To Live – The Sleepwalk Transmissions 

Much like Roadrunner Records in the 1990s, a mark of contemporary quality is any band on the Holy Roar Records roster. You are guaranteed an absolute slobber knocker with pretty much everything they have put out over the last decade, whether it’s the all-out Hardcore of Employed to Serve or Secret Cutter, the Screamo of Portrayal of Guilt or the psychedelic Stoner Prog of Boss Keloid. Now turning to Post Hardcore, we as listeners should welcome the arrival of We Never Learned To Live‘s latest offering; The Sleepwalk Transmissions (Holy Roar Records). Continue reading

Heavy As Texas – Heavy As Texas

It has been almost thirty years since Pantera changed the landscape of the metal scene with Cowboys From Hell (East/West, Atco) and its repercussions still live on in music today. It’s an obvious comparison to make for the debut album of the Exhorder spin-off project, Heavy As Texas, but it’s one that needs to be stated straight off the bat. However, there are numerous other influences and musical styles that are present throughout the album.
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Black Sites – Exile

Nostalgia can often be treated with cynicism and suspicion. Oftentimes heralding the past can be seen to be a cheap way of living of someone else’s glory through pale imitation, or can equally be seen as a pointless endeavour that does nothing to progress the state of artistry. For those who are not naysayers of throwback music, it can provide a comfort and a safety net; the points of reference are starkly apparent and it does nothing to rock the boat leaving the listener with a warm sense of familiarity. Continue reading

Tripsitter – The Other Side Of Sadness

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. If you do you might imagine that Ulysses, by James Joyce, is a novel about Irish architecture rather than a masterpiece of modernist literature / a meritless stream of consciousness depending on whose opinion you ask for. A cursory glance at The Other Side Of Sadness (Prosthetic Records) by Austrian quartet, Tripsitter, would imply nu-Metal with its monstrous, Korn-like depiction of a family portrait. What we get instead is a curious blend of Hardcore, Shoegaze and even the tiniest hint of Black Metal – so intertwined are the latter two thanks to Blackgaze. Continue reading