Torch Runner – Endless Nothing

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Just when you thought that grindcore couldn’t get any more punishing, with recent releases by Nails, Columns and Misery Index plumbing new depths of aggression and hate-filled violence, along comes Torch Runner, a three-piece from Greensboro, NC, who with new record Endless Nothing (Southern Lord) look set to cause even more cerebral haemorrhages and broken bones than your average night at an unlicensed boxing match.

Clocking in at a mere 22 minutes, Torch Runner waste little time in creating an atmosphere of unease and tension with the squalid feedback and unhinged brutality of the likes of ‘Attrition’ and ‘Bound by Misery’ causing merry havoc. Aided by a brutally thick guitar tone and a vocalist who sounds like he’s on the verge of escaping from his straightjacket, the songs on offer here are short, sharp and about as pleasant as being on the receiving end of a cup full of battery acid. However the band aren’t just another set of one-dimensional speedfreaks as the tortured crawl of ‘Godlust’ and the skin-crawling sludge of ‘Circle of Shit’ emphatically proves. The latter in particular features a bass guitar tone that could bring down trees, while the intrusive feedback is reminiscent of Eyehategod at their most unpalatable.

While the members obviously have an appreciation for the crustier side of things as so many on the grind spectrum do, here the influence has been carefully imbued into the songwriting process, rather than smeared haphazardly on the surface like a layer of, well, crust. This gives Endless Nothing a feeling of authenticity that many of the bandwagon-hoppers just can’t manage.

A truly horrible and violent album that will have fans of Nails and Brutal Truth foaming at the mouth even more than they usually do on a daily basis.

8.0/10

Torch Runner on Facebook

 

JAMES CONWAY

Temples Festival – Live at Bristol, UK

 

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Day 1

 

The excitement is palpable on the first day of Temples as the 2000 or so patrons eagerly await the delights of the truly impressive bill. The room for the Second Stage is packed as Flayed Disciple open up the second stage serving us some old school death-trash with effortless precision. Code’s new vocalist may just be settling in but melts effortlessly into the old sound only hindered by theatrical fluttering. The room turns distinctly black as northeastern beasts Wodensthrone unleash atmospheric layers of tremolo riffs with triumphant synths cut from the heart of heathen Britain itself. Winterfylleth fell victim to Friday’s sound issues, descending into a repetitive wall of noise, but luckily Desecration were ready to up the ante, running through neck-snapping family favorites such as ‘coffin smasher’ and ‘cunt full of maggots’. Mick Kenney may have been absent from the Anaal Nathrakh lineup for Temples, but his replacement is more than a match for their usual barrage of noise. As people pack to the main-stage, Gehenna’s old school blackened mass falls on just a few ears but those that remain are treated to cold dissonant blasts right out of ancient Norway.

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Some niggling sound issues are present at the Main-stage, but it doesn’t make much difference to the likes of Moss and Jucifer who both do their best to blow out as many eardrums as possible with their devastatingly heavy sludge batterings. Blood Ceremony draw a large crowd and it isn’t just because of what vocalist Alia O’Brien can do with a flute; their brand of rural pagan doom has enough charm and Sabbath-ian groove to bewitch anyone watching. There’s a feeling of sadness in the air as grindcore veterans Brutal Truth take the stage for their last ever UK show, but the feeling soon dissipates as they proceed to level the venue with mini cluster bomb tracks from ‘Extreme Conditions…’ through to ‘End Time.’ Drummer Rich Hoak hits his snare so fast it’s a wonder his arms don’t fall off while rotund frontman Kevin Sharp grunts and bellows his way through the likes of ‘Fuck Cancer’ like a belligerent old dog refusing to admit his day has come. Electric Wizard’s headline set is characterised by bad vibes, sloppy playing and ear-splitting heaviness; just why we love them. The absence of the trademark visuals may lessen the atmosphere slightly but it doesn’t stop ‘Satanic Rites of Drugula’, ‘Dopethrone’ and a gloriously ramshackle ‘Funeralopolis’ from burying the audience in smoke in a gloriously downbeat closer to Day 1.

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Day 2

 

There’s a few sleepy faces on Day 2 so what better wake-up call for the Second Stage than a blast of vicious metallic hardcore from local heroes True Valiance to brush away the cobwebs? Those expecting a Sabbath cover band are no doubt confused by Mob Rules and their disjointed hardcore which goes off in all directions, none of them particularly satisfying. Both Unkind and Vitamin X get their rage on in style with some impressive crowd participation but both of these acts are a mere forerunner to the triumphant return of D-Beat gods Wolfbrigade whose snarling, relentless set has bodies swaying and screaming along to cuts from as far back as the Wolfpack era. No one wants it to end yet as soon as old crusties Doom saunter on stage and set about reminding us that the 80s never really ended, all that matters is how utterly relevant they, and the likes of ‘Police Bastard’ still are.

 
Hangovers seemed plentiful on in the early afternoon as Mike Gallagher of ISIS fame entrances us with his post-rock side project MGR on the Main-Stage. Long intros and sparse notes dropping into shrieks show Bossk are on full form that evening, warming up for doom lords Conan who roll out a thundering wall of noise that make even the hardiest earplugs quake. Matching the intensity, Tombs heavy mass of sound is a dark moving mass of noise, twisting and turning through the set with deadly precision. Calling the masses back, Amenra captivate with bleak black and white visuals and Cult of Luna sound. The stark contrast of riffs and doomier chords combine perfectly to create an atmosphere of disembodied despair and pain. Neurosis said a massive fuck you to curfew and set times sailing through their billed time and treating fans to a massive 2-hour set. Their experience is evident as they break out solid grooves that ensnare even the most exhausted crowd members to the final note.

 

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Day 3

One of the largest crowds of the festival turn out for the lighter fare of Beastmilk and it’s impossible to resist the pitch black post-apocalyptic party for anything longer than a few seconds. Smiles are soon wiped however by the blackened rage of Oathbreaker who attack their instruments with venom, laying waste to the assembled throng with their nihilistic fury. A weak guitar tone and frequent pauses renders The Secret an exercise in frustration although ‘Seven Billion Graves’ still cuts deep. Nothing can prepare however for the complete annihilation of Dragged Into Sunlight whose wall of fog and caustic noise is like being hit by a nuclear bomb while being butchered by the Manson family. Repulsion have no hope of matching such intensity but you can’t argue with their cheery demeanour and the bulk of “Horrified” going down in easily digestible rotting chunks.

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An energetic start to Main-Stage as rock n roll band Lionize attempt to breathe life into a flagging audience with soaring vocals and classic riffing. Continuing on, stoner rock act Black Moth up the fuzz and hazy solos are offset by Hyde’s slow, haunting vocals. Herder up the energy, bursting on with a pure dosage of sludge on speed although it lacks the depth that Issac’s post-Taint band Hark brings to the stage. Crossover thrash masters SSS bring with them an infectious, relentless energy, pummeling out short sharp pulses of sound, rousing the crowd into masses of flailing bodies and limbs. Twin harmony riffing and vocal bellowing abound, its Doomriders consistent energy that ready the main room for the much-anticipated headliner that evening. Clutch’s dirty bluesy rock riffs are an undeniably catchy. Aptly opening on ‘The Mob Goes Wild,’ they break out enjoyable opening grooves but it quickly transforms into a distinctly slow end to an explosive weekend.

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WORDS BY JAMES CONWAY & CAITLIN SMITH

PHOTOS BY STEVEN WATKINS

Eindhoven Metal Meeting Preview

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This coming weekend thousands will descend on one of the metal capitals of the world for the Eindhoven Metal Meeting! Ghost Cult Magazine is proud to be a media partner with the festival for 2013. Centrally located and accessible to many major cities, this festival seems poised to biggest edition of the fest, going back to the hallowed beginnings in Arnhem a decade ago. In what promises to be a memorable festival lineup worthy of closing out this year of stellar gigs and productions throughout the EU, the promoters have assembled a trove of amazing headliners and support bands for hungry metal fans to feast on. The main set up of the fest is two stages. The Large Stage is sponsored by Large PopMerchandising is where the main action will take place. Not to be outdone, the Jagermeister Stage, also features many well known, killer acts that will likely have fans splitting their skulls and ear drums, going back and forth between the two. On the plus side the running order for the entire fest has been posted and in a genius stroke, the bands will all be alternating sets, so theoretically very few bands will overlap each other. That’s a class move right there, one to be appreciated by today’s discerning metal fan.

 

The-Dream-Calls-For-Blood-Death-AngelThe lineup is amazing on each day. Kicking things off on December 12th will be a very thrash feeling experience with headline caliber sets likely due from Dew Scented , Death Angel, and Sabbaton on the The Large Stage. The Jager stage will have the likes of Downfall of Empires, Extrema, Zetro Souza’s (Testament, Exodus) new band Hatriot, and Accuser. The headline band for Thursday is the always fun in a live setting Accept.

 

 

 

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Day two might be the most evil and well-balanced lineup on both stages. The Large Stage is notable for a proverbial murders’ row of names such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Morgoth, Belphegor, Napalm Death, Carpathian Forest (!), Tiamat, and Watain. In addition to the very strong In Solitude, the Jager stage has a lot of grindcore for a good change of pace such as the anticipated reunion from the Church of Pungent Stench, Vomitory, and good old Brutal Truth among others.

 

 

 

To grow a fest like this into a three-day affair, you need to be able come to the table with a strong final act and they have certainly done it here with this collection of bands: The Monolith Deathcult, Destroyer 666, Arkona, Hail Of Bullets, Elvenking, Arcturus, Coroner, and Therion among others. The Jager stage has no slouches either with names such as the recently added Heavenshine, Bodyfarm, Centurion, Hooded Menace, Impaled Nazarene, Nargaroth and Aborym to name a few. This promises to be a great time for all. Ghost Cult will be there to capture all the action and bring you a review soon after. Take care of each other out there and have a good time in the name of metal!
 

Eindhoven Metal Meeting on Facebook

Buy single day tickets and find info on accomodations here.

 

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Mumakil – Flies Will Starve

Mumakil-Flies-Will-StarveNamed after the six-tusked, one hundred feet tall, elephant-like creatures created by Tolkein, Swiss Mumakil release their second album for Relapse, the first in four years since Behold The Failure, and prove that although they may not be extending the margins of grind core in the way that Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Pig Destroyer may be in the process of doing, they are making blast beats and flailing guitar their own. Apparently motivated to get together to play in 2004, “…to have fun and play without any stress” there is evidence on this release suggesting the album was shaped with that mantra in mind. Continue reading