ALBUM REVIEW: Kublai Khan – Absolute

On Absolute (Rise Records), Kublai Khan ticks off a lot of the boxes I’m looking for in modern Metallic Hardcore or extreme music, but something isn’t quite passing state inspection. They’re blending equal parts Hardcore and Metal fury, have meaty breakdowns, occasional Thrash tempos and happen to be from Texas. I should like this. Or I should like this a bit more. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Portrayal of Guilt – Suffering is a Gift

Yes, this is a review for Portrayal of Guilt’s Suffering is a Gift (Closed Casket Activities) and believe me we’ll get to it in a bit, but who the fuck tried to sell this to me as Screamo? Honestly, screamo? These Austinite’s aren’t looking to settle for some re-warmed Metalcore riffs and lofty choruses so we can leave that outdated subgenre in the circular file. The riffs and blast beats on Suffering is a Gift are eager for dust and blood. Continue reading

Cloudburst – Cloudburst

One of the most appealing aspects of getting to listen to Cloudburst’s self-titled sophomore (Samstrong Records) effort is learning that they hail from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Through years of tape trading, international touring and eventually communicating online we’ve always known that the extreme music market is indeed a global one, but it’s always exciting to receive these imports. Continue reading

King Parrot – Ugly Produce

Not that I’ve ever thought about this musical cocktail, but what would happen if you took Slayer, Napalm Death and added a dash of Burnt By The Sun and strained into a Collins glass? The result and subsequent hangover could be downright frightening or approximate what Australia’s King Parrot have produced on Ugly Produce (Housecore Records). If that description borders on hyperbole for you, fuck off for questioning me, and I politely urge you to spare a half an hour and listen. Continue reading

River Black – River Black

Formed after the demise of Burnt By The Sun, River Black release their eponymously titled debut on Season of Mist with a line up featuring Mike Olender, John Adubato and Dave Witte of Burnt By The Sun, and joined by Brett Bamberger of Revocation. Continue reading

River Black Debuts Their New Low Single

What do you get when you combine three former members of Burnt By The Sun with the major rager from Revocation? The answer is River Black, and the music is just as awesome as you would expect it to be. Continue reading

Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself

Publicist UK forgive Yourself album cover 2015

Publicist UK’s sound is not what I expected to hear when first seeing internet headlines of a group featuring bassist Brett Bamberger of Revocation and drummer Dave Witte formerly of Burnt by the Sun and currently Municipal Waste (among 2,000 other bands). I’ve listened to Forgive Yourself (Relapse Records) three times already today and I’m still slightly surprised by the sound. The compositions here are lush, moody, and at more often than not beautiful.

It’s the kind of music that the cool kids on college radio play while wearing obnoxious hats and chastising Interpol for “selling out.” And I like it. A lot.

Rounding out this supergroup is Goes Cube guitarist David Obuchowski and Freshkills vocalist Zachary Lipez. If you, like myself, are a fan of lower voice ranges, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised with Lipez’s haunting baritone. It alters from BauhausPeter Murphy to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis while also summoning sounds not unlike Type O Negative’s Peter Steele. Lipez has sounded strong on Freshkills releases, but here he sounds fully committed to the performance.

‘Blood Relative’ and ‘I Wish You’d Never Gone to School’ are world weary and almost shoegaze in nature. Think Deafheaven, but without the black metal edge. Music that can maintain its dark heart all the while remaining tuneful and soothing. Even old man Morrissey would nod his stubborn head to these songs.

Acting as counterbalance to the gloominess is a heavy guitar chug that wouldn’t be out of place on a Helmet record on tracks like ‘Slow Dancing to this Bitter Earth’ and ‘Levitate the Pentagon.’ ‘Away’ closes out the affair while making good use of that heavier dynamic and even throwing in some of Witte’s famous double kick-drums without feeling out of place.

When I cranked this album on my laptop the last thing I expected was the musical equivalent of Joy Division on a collision course with Cave In, but what a lovely wreck it turned out to be.

9.0/10

HANSEL LOPEZ