Articles by Andy Price
AXIS have delivered an excellent record that harks back to the metallic hardcore heroes of the late 90s such as Botch, but moves the sound forward in unexpected ways.. Punishing, rhythmic and accomplished.
SECT have delivered an absolutely brutal tour de force in modern hardcore; a focused ball of barely contained rage that delivers a huge amount of caustic vitriol in its short runtime.
Art As Catharsis have done it again, finding an absolute gem in this debut album from New Zealanders Opium Eater, which is a stunning journey through a progressive post-metal landscape, full of beautiful moments and crushing riffs.
Nomasta have crafted a great debut album, bringing riffs from all angles and demonstrating a level of technical ability and writing that complements the songs, but that unfortunately doesn’t quite replicate the intensity of their live show.
God Mother have created a beautifully ugly, abrasive and visceral blend of hardcore, d-beat, grind, sludge and black metal, and carved out 14 angry slabs of perfectly proportioned noise that brings the energy of the pit to your stereo speakers. Guaranteed to ruin your neighbour’s day.
Yards have crafted a dark, aggressive, headlong trip of a record, which all fans of modern hardcore should listen to. It is heavy, bleak, intelligent and a devastating statement of intent as a debut album.
Hundred Suns are a new band featuring current and ex members of Norma Jean, Every Time I Die and Dead and Divine, and they’ve turned in a great album of soaring, epic post-hardcore which struggles to escape the legacy of its forebears, but managed to do so through some smart progressive tendencies and a willingness to embrace melody.
Shepherd and Death by Fungi release a cracking split bringing together grungy sludge metal and late 90’s style emo / mathcore into one tasty package that is packed with ‘shiver down the spine’ moments, proving once again that the underground is alive, well and kicking hard.
Less Art take the post-hardcore genre and bring it up to date, paring the unnecessary flesh from the bone and cutting the listener deep in an emotionally complex, powerful debut album. It is really, really bloody good.
Dvne have created a true journey with ‘Asheran’, which feels narratively rich and that rewards with multiple listens. The scope and the scale of the songs are consistently great and occasionally breath-taking, and the execution is uniformly excellent; this is forward-thinking progressive stoner doom at its finest.
The Death Of Money have crafted a beautiful collage of misery, layering lush instrumentation, meandering shoegaze structures and mournful, ambient vocals with a hidden pop sensibility to create a wonderfully bleak listening experience.
Timeworn have taken a step away from their most immediate influences and taken on a far more progressive direction for album number two, creating a collection of intelligent, soaring sludge metal that still references Mastodon a little too often, but is never less than engaging and exciting.
Direwolves have crafted a passionate, emotive ride through 19 minutes of angst, delivering a pitch perfect blend of angry d-beat style hardcore, emotional post-hardcore and soaring Deftones style alt-metal tones that pulls the listener in from the first chord to the until the final sound fades.
Comity have continued their reign over forward-thinking and wilfully complex heavy music, blending Converge style aggression with technical riffage that chops and change at a pace comparable to the attention span of a toddler with ADHD, producing an essential but disorienting odyssey to a very dark place.
‘Homey’ is a sugary sweet, ray of sunshine of a record which revels in the sheer joy of musicianship, while providing an experience which manages the weird feat of being both frenetic, but also laid back, relaxed and human. It is summer music; designed to be played from a knackered set of speakers on a beach, while soaking in the rays and blissfully unaware of the harshness of the world.
Overall ‘Tempest’ is an emotive experience that aims to connect with the listener at a far more visceral level than prior efforts, and for the most part it absolutely hits the mark, creating a true journey, from the quiet build of ‘First Light’, to the squalling, droning sludge of ‘Metanoia’s closing bars.
Blacksmoker bring the riffs, the big stoner vibes and a veneer of sludge metal on their sophomore full-length, an album that never really fully establishes its own identity and doesn’t quite hit the mark, but demonstrates real potential for future releases and marks them out as ones to watch.
In ‘The Truth In Our Bodies’, Earth Moves have created a beautiful piece of music, an emotionally engaging journey with peaks and troughs, a brutal intensity and a pervasive sadness that draws the listener in, not letting go until the bitter end.
Omega Massif were fantastic, and the post-metal community were distraught when they called it a day. Cranial is the latest band to arise from the ashes and takes this legacy and runs with it, expanding the sound and the template over 45 minutes of well crafted and emotive sludge metal. There’s a wonderful feeling of humanity about the whole album; its texture, the warmth of the sound and the edges of the performance feel authentic, epic and real.
Andy Price chats with bassist and all-round lovely chap Fritz from Norwegian blackened hardcore mentalists Attan on their first UK tour to find out about the joys of tour bus boredom, working with Shelsmusic and the future of heavy music in an increasingly digital age.
It’s been on constant play since I heard it and is one of the most vital and exciting 14 minutes and 11 seconds that you’ll listen to today – and this is exactly why you should go out and buy this record. – By Andy Price