Barren Altar – Entrenched in the Faults of the Earth

Black filth from the hearts of scumbags” states the Facebook page of Californian quintet Barren Altar, and some of the band’s previous song titles seem to bear that out with considerable strength. Each band member is identified by just one initial, but debut album Entrenched in the Faults of the Earth (Self-released) eventually creates a strong enough identity of its own.Continue reading

Beyond Dishonor – Generations EP


Before you dismiss Beyond Dishonor as just another metalcore band, you need to look at exactly how far they have come without any record label or management help. Just a simple ‘google’ will show you that they played over 70 self-funded shows a year and that they have previously supported big names such as Whitechapel, Emmure and Chelsea Grin. Their hardworking attitude is something that many bands nowadays are lacking, and it is safe to say that their efforts have paid off in their latest release Generations (self-released).

Opening track ‘Heisenberg’ instantly proves that Beyond Dishonor have managed to nail all aspects of the metalcore genre; heavy music greats you from the first second of listening to it and the guitar riffs are very technical, which creates a unique pace for the song. Reese Dunlap’s vocals are extremely brutal and it would be interesting to hear how he manages to perform live.

‘What Clayton Bigsby Doesn’t Know’ is hard-hitting and furious, featuring angst-filled lyrics which merge perfectly with Reese’s vocals. The breakdown is anything but tame, appealing to head-bangers from all across the metal genre. Final track ‘God’s Greatest Gift’ is the perfect end to such a powerful EP but talent oozes out through every single song. The fast-paced and heavy riffs continue, making every song as impressive as the next. Despite only being six tracks long, this EP manages to showcase some of Beyond Dishonor’s greatest work and it proves exactly why you should give their music a try.

It really is hard to call Beyond Dishonor anything but talented, even if you are not a fan of metalcore music. Their hard work and effort shines through in Generations and it is easy to see exactly why they have previously supported or been on tour with so many popular bands.



Beyond Dishonor on Facebook


Killer Refrigerator – The Fridge and the Power It Holds


Ladies and Gentlemen, we are, apparently, at war. Not the sort of war that has been on your television news broadcasts, but with technology and appliances the world over. So say the slightly crazed minds of the creators behind Killer Refrigerator. The Fridge And The Power It Holds (Independent/self-released) is KR’s second album of scatalogical humour set to an old school death and thrash metal soundtrack that is every bit as bonkers as you might have already begun to suspect.

Kicking off with ‘Terrorvision’, I had a mental image of black drainpipe jeans, white high tops and old Stormtroopers of Death t-shirts as the band dive headlong into an absurd, whirligig of frenetic thrash metal and punky vocals . We move into more mid-tempo classic thrash territory of ‘Slaystation’ which is eerily like early period Nuclear Assault and no bad thing in my mind. ‘Shower Thrashing Death’ is two minutes of aural stupidity but I mean that warmly. Let’s be fair, any band that calls a song ‘Shower Thrashing Death’ and has a lyric that proclaims the coming of the “toilet gods” and how we will all “bow down to the toiletries!” is not exactly taking itself too seriously. And neither should we.

There’s an echo of Kerry King running through ‘Slave to the Easy Bake’ and a bassline that Dan Lilker would have been proud to call his own. On the title track, it’s totally apparent that this band have a complete love of thrash and death metal that despite the obviously stupid nature of all of this, it’s done with a large degree of love and affection.

In much the same way that Evil Scarecrow have appropriated and twisted the black metal genre then so Killer Refrigerator have taken old school thrash, horror tropes and high school humour and created a small part of the musical universe that is uniquely theirs. It’s unequivocally lightweight and a bit samey in parts: there is only one joke here and whilst it’s amusing enough, you can’t possibly keep on telling it without it wearing a little bit thin. There’s a level of inevitability about that but whilst it’s here, the band are smart enough not to outstay their welcome.

Fresh, stupid, silliness.


Killer Refrigerator on Facebook


Darkher – The Kingdom Field



The west Yorkshire idyll of Hebden Bridge was on the news a few years ago, highlighted as the lesbian capital of the UK – an unexpectedly contemporary claim to fame for such a quaint, old fashioned town. For the area to produce such explosive, edgy, mournful, and downright fucking sexy folk-rock as this EP from local troubador Jayn Hanna Wissenberg, aka Darkher, is also something of a surprise.

Before The Kingdom Field (Self-released/Independent) arrived in my inbox, I checked some more stripped-down material on YouTube and subsequently asked myself, “Why the hell have we got this?” Within seconds of the breathy, siren-like beginning, I had my answer: the cello. Rasping, calling like a spectre from the sea, it slices through the prickling folk lilt, giving the haunting rhapsody an, albeit brief, violent edge which kicked this listener square in the bollocks. That’s aside, of course, from the eerily beautiful, heart-breaking melody of Wissenberg’s voice, and the sparing guitar slicing through the atmospherics like a primal roar in a desolate field. The judiciously introduced drums of opener ‘Ghost Tears’ accentuate the chilling tambourine with a fearful ease; the whole evoking one of the jerking undead coming for vengeance in a classic horror. Yeah, it’s that good.

The gently-picked acoustic of ‘Hung’ underpins the unbearable hurt in the mellifluous vocal before more cello strains take us to within an inch of sinister euphoria. It’s the ensuing ‘Foregone’ however, where the rock edge really explode with a resonant riff constantly threatening to blow yet always holding back, whilst the drums swell then recede to a seductive, heartfelt sway in a ‘Polly Jean Harvey goes all melodic doom’ style claustrophobia. Look, there is a strong argument as to whether this should really be here on Ghost Cult or not but, basically, this is Myrkur for the ‘Folkies; a haunting, beautiful, teeth-edging horror and it’s utterly brilliant.

Bring me an album, now.


Darkher on Facebook