Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review: Wildspeaker - Survey The Wreckage

Wildspeaker from Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas just released their first full-length album, 'Survey The Wreckage', and asked me to review it for OPFMTD. They play what they describe as 'Blackened Crust heavily influenced by punk, hardcore, and doom', and that is a pretty accurate description. I readily admit this is not the stuff I listen to the most, but as with any style, awesome is awesome! And Wildspeaker falls into that category for me. To me, I feel this entire 'blackened' thing sorta started with the Amebix back in the day, and bands like Nausea (NYC), Catharsis and (early) Gehenna introduced it from the punk scene into the more metallic hardcore scene, and more extreme metal influences started to seep in. Nowadays it also includes a lot of black metal influences, altho Wildspeaker's sound is more rooted in crust punk and hardcore than doom or black metal to me, even those those influences are also clearly here.

Their sound is centered around 2 elements: the awesome guitar sound and the equally impressive vocals. The guitars are heavy with razorsharp riffs, and occasionally have that slight buzzsaw sound often heard in this style, but it rarely becomes a blur, which is a compliment to both the band and the producer. The vocals compliment the music perfectly. The singer's voice reminds me of those of bands like Gather and Belgium's Oathbreaker, piercing screams that are raspy, throaty and full of conviction. Lyrically the band takes a very nihilistic, mysanthropic & apocalyptic stance, humanity fucked up and nature will eventually rise up against our destructive habits.

In their email to me they mentioned their influences also include 90s hardcore (inspired) bands like Chokehold, Racetraitor and the aforementioned Gather. I would also add bands like the amazing Zero Hour and their successor Children Of Barren Wasteland to that list.

Wildspeaker is seriously good, even if you don't wear tight black jeans covered in patches and a bullet belt. It's always great to come across bands that surprise you, and Wildspeaker certainly does. Please give them a chance! I don't think their album has been released in physical form (yet?), so for now check it out on their bandcamp. My favorite track? Tie between 'Abrupt Decay' and title track 'Survey The Wreckage'.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Doghouse Records was started by Dirk Hemsath to release stuff by his band at the time, Majority Of One. After releasing a few records of Majority Of One as well as a 7" for his other band, Transcend, Doghouse signed Stronghold, a band Dirk/Doghouse had befriended while touring. Stronghold was a Dayton, OH hardcore band from the late 80s/early 90s and had that typical sound when hardcore bands were starting to experiment a bit more with their sound, with a more intricate and clear guitar sound and such. Think bands like Trial By Jury which I blogged about a few times and Billingsgate (on their severely underrated LP).

Stronghold's first, self-titled, 7" was released in 1991. It's a good one, and already shows a band that wants to progress. But with their follow-up 7" called 'Ad Infinitum...' from 1992 the band really came into their own. Opening track 'Slow Burning' (the listing on the back & inside of the sleeve is wrong) is nothing short of amazing with its mid-tempo groove and contemplative lyrics. And it continues with the rest of the 4 songs on this 7". To me this band on this 7" was ahead of their time, some stuff (like the opening of 'Only Human') already brings future bands like Cast Iron Hike to mind.

In any case, for some reason Stronghold never seemed to really get the attention and recognition they deserved. I also have no idea what the band members did once the band folded, if anybody knows, please leave a comment! The band would also contribute to the 'Live At The New Space' double 7" live compilation. I might post that at a later date. There's a pop in 'Only Human' that I was unable to remove, sorry about that!

Stronghold - s/t 7"
Stronghold - Ad Infinitum... 7"

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bleeding - The End?! 7"

Bleeding from Viersen in the Ruhrpott area of Germany were a short-lived band that released their only record, the 'The End?!' 7", on Dead Soil Records in 1998. Bleeding played a great mix between metalcore and deathmetal with 'evil' screeched vocals. The band shared members with other metalcore bands from Viersen at the time like Drift and Bloodstring (Dead Soil also released a split 7" of Bloodstring and Furnace). They quit sometime in 1999 I believe. Dead Soil Records was co-run by Bleeding's drummer Matthias and it mostly released stuff by bands they were playing in or were from the Viersen area, such as a split 7" between Bloodstring and Furnace.

Members of the band later went on to bands like The Ice, Born From Pain and more pure metal bands like Coronation and Battlesword.

Bleeding - The End?! 7"

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Timescape Zero

There are bands that are obscure for a reason, and then there are the obscure bands that this blog is all about. Timescape Zero is one such band that more than deserves to be heard. I remember reading about the band in old Inside Front zines, and I loved their contributions to the 'Over The Edge II' comp as well as one of the Inside Front comps. But their own records were always really hard to get over here, I don't recall ever seeing a record of theirs at a distro here until I picked up the re-release of their 1993 split 7" with Subliminal Criminal a few years ago at a recordfair.

So it was a really nice surprise when their singer, Adel 156, emailed me a few days ago to inform me the band's recordings are now on bandcamp! Awesome news that will hopefully bring this band some more attention. From Wikipedia:
Timescape Zero is an American metalcore band from Miami, Florida formed in 1991, they are seen as one of the lesser known bands which helped start the metalcore scene. The band formed after the break-up of Hangman (who released only one song on a 7" compilation on Youthbus Records), when they replaced the original lead singer with Adel Souto of Feast of Hate and Fear fanzine. Lyrical themes include social issues, religion, politics, mental illness, individualism and self-awareness. Influenced by late 80s straight edge hardcore, Sheer Terror, Killing Time, Sick of It All, Charles Manson and Anton LaVey. Though they played reunion shows in 2004 and again in 2010, they officially broke up in 1998.

While the band definitely was one of the first metalcore bands, their old school influences are also very clear in their sound (to me the fast parts together with Adel's voice somehow remind me of Face Value). And now that I finally get to hear a ton more TZ songs, I am even sadder this band never seemed to get the recognition they deserved. So fuckin' good. So... Do yourself a favor, and check out this band. They were awesome, and now you can find out for yourself as well.

Timescape Zero bandcamp

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bloodstone - Blindless Salvation 7"

Yet another random 90s 7" from my collection that I picked up at some distro table in the 2nd half of the 90s. With a cover like that, how could I not? Anyways, Bloodstone were a shortlived band from the St. Louis, Missouri area. They were formed out of the ashes of early 90s band Tolerance and aside from demo's I am pretty sure this 'Blindless Salvation' 7" was their only proper release. The 7" was recorded in late 1993 and released on Ad.Mis.Sion Records in 1994, which I believe was run by someone in the band. Bloodstone played awesome mid-tempo 90s hardcore with a slightly metallic/chugga edge, sorta like the (incredibly underrated) Billingsgate LP. Definitely prime OnexPath material! After Bloodstone folded members moved on to Fuse 12.

Some funny things in regards to the 7". The layout was done by Dan Askew of Second Nature fanzine & Sean Ingram (this was before he joined Coalesce). In fact, Sean is listed on the thankslist but also 'Jes and Breach'. Breach was the bandname of Coalesce before Sean joined them (to replace previous singer Jes). Anyways, that's all the random trivia I could dig up. Enjoy!

If anybody has any non-7" Bloodstone recordings, or Tolerance recordings (I know they did at least one demo), please share!

Bloodstone - Blindless Salvation 7"

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New blood: Life Betrays Us

UK hardcore has had strong bands since forever, but there are so many awesome bands coming out of the UK these days, it's mind-blowing... Here's yet another new band, Life Betrays Us from London. With members from bands like Crippler LBU and Bun Dem Out, it's no surprise this band doesn't play poppunk. Heavy, hard-hitting hardcore, with some occasional melodic singing thrown in to mix things up a bit. They just released a demo, and it's awesome. I hope somebody picks up these guys for an EP or something. Check them out! FFO: Lifeless, Life Or Death.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mindset - State Of Mind 7"

Here's another request, Mindset's 'State Of Mind' 7". Mindset from Queens, NYC started out under the name Downfall sometime in 1996. They quickly changed their name to Mindset, and did a first recording which ended up on a demo and a compilation. That got them on Rick Ta Life's Back Ta Basics Records, leading to the 'State Of Mind' 7" which was released in 1998. Around that time another Mindset was making waves, so another name change was in order. They finally settled on the name Sworn Enemy in 1999, which they have kept since, and they are still going strong! I've seen Sworn Enemy a number of times on their Euro tours and they're always great, definitely check them out if you haven't yet!

Anyways, the Mindset 7" is awesome, if yer familiar with the early Sworn Enemy material, you'll recognize the sound, hard and heavy beatdown-ish metallic hardcore. Some Mindset songs including 'Never' from this 7", would be re-recorded for Sworn Enemy's 'Negative Outlook' MCD. Sworn Enemy would later on add way more metal influences to their sound, this is still straight up hardcore tho. As per usual with BTB's 7"s, the covers & inserts are photocopied, and in this case, my copy doesn't even have a folded sleeve, but the front and back are separate pieces of paper, cut rather crudely into squares. DIY baby! Gotta love it, I know I do. Enjoy!

Mindset - State Of Mind 7"