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"