Sunday, November 8, 2020

New finds: End Game, Fists Of Fury, Lower Heaven, Incentive, Link By Link, xUntold Sufferingx

While I am an avid record collector and prefer physical formats over digital, I do visit Bandcamp (fuck Spotify) all the time to check out bands... As far as digital platforms go, it is the only one as far as I'm concerned, also (and probably most importantly) in terms of how much they give back to the bands. So... I am thinking of doing semi-regular posts of new releases on Bandcamp that caught my attention. Some of these releases also have physical counterparts, but I might stick to digital-only for this section from here on. We shall see how it goes!

Let me know in the comments what you think, and if you're in a band, definitely shoot me an email if you'd like me to check out your band.

End Game - Demo 2020
Hard-hitting straight-forward metallic hardcore from Canada with plenty of mosh parts... Would love to see them live in 2021!

Fists Of Fury - New Age Of Dread
Came across this bands 2019 demo some time ago, which offered solid crossover thrash/hardcore with gruff vocals that give them an edge... Their new full-length continues in the same vein, and will have you headbanging in no time.

Lower Heaven - Lower Heaven
Euro-inspired metalcore from Kansas City, Missouri. Seriously, this band could have been from Belgium or Italy in the late 90s. Good shit!

Incentive - Forged Through Passion
It should come as no surprise that anything that takes cues from 90s hardcore should interest me... Crushing intense straight edge hardcore from Arizona that makes me want to X up... They manage to mix more modern thrash-y influences with typical 90s half-spoken vocals to create something that's both traditional sounding but also stands out from the pack.

Link By Link - Absolution
More 90s inspired straight edge hardcore, but this time from Texas. They keep things fairly old-school 90s sounding, think Strife and Outspoken, and I absolutely love it. They need to add more gang vocals tho, seriously!

XUntold SufferingX - Demo
Vegan straight edgemetal from the UK. You should know what to expect, and this band delivers the goods!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tripface - (Guidance) demo

So it's been literally over 2 years since I last posted a 90s hardcore rip... Well, I happened to be back in the Netherlands recently and with access to my old setup. So I decided to rip a demo for you guys. Hopefully I can do this on a semi-regular basis but don't get your hopes up please...

Anyways, back to business! Tripface was an up-tempo 90s semi-melodic hardcore band from Long Island, NY between 1993 and 1997, and they rocked. They did a couple of demo's & shows as both Tripface and Offsides, including a live split demo with another local band called Grid. After that they settled on the name Tripface and released the 'This Foundation' 7" and the 'Some Part Sorrow' CD, both on Exit Records in/around 1996. Great stuff, they both come highly recommended. The band didn't play typical 90s hardcore and always maintained a bit of an old NYHC edge while also not shying away from trying out things here and there. Definitely an underrated band in my opinion.

A few years ago, Motherbox Records, who also released their 7", released a discography CD called 'Some Part Hope'. While it contains the '(Guidance)' demo which I ripped here, I figured it would be a nice post anyways. I don't know whether the demo recordings were remastered for the CD or not, as I don't have the discography CD. Overall tho, I am not a huge fan of the demo, for me it's more an interesting part of Tripface's history, before the band truly started to shine. The band would re-record several of these songs for their 'Some Part Sorrow' CD, including their anthemic song 'Brotherhood', which sounds quite different on the demo due to the lack of gang vocals compared to the later version. These demo songs are much rawer tho, and it's cool to compare them to the later versions. So give them a try if you haven't heard them yet!

Tripface - (Guidance) demo

Friday, August 28, 2020

Review: Reserving Dirtnaps - Another Disaster

Memphis, TN band Reserving Dirtnaps has already made two appearances on this blog, back in 2014 and in 2016, with 2 self-released EP's of heavy-as-hell metallic hardcore. Add to that a collaboration with local rapper Tom Skeemask on the 'Look At Us Wrong...' EP in 2018 and it was only a matter of time before they signed with a label. Enter Andrew Kline of Strife fame and his label War Records. The result is the 4-song 'Another Disaster' 7". And while 2020 is indeed a crazy year of disaster upon disaster, this EP is anything but a disaster...

In my previous posts I focused more on the beatdown elements in RD's style, but that really is far too simple a description for the crushing metallic heaviness that is Reserving Dirtnaps. I mean, this band CRUSHES like no other band. Following in the vein of their previous releases and the reputation they established with the previous recordings, Reserving Dirtnaps continues to be one of the hardest bands currently playing. But they sound even angrier, harder and heavier on this EP than ever before. This also due to the excellent production on this EP, which is both clear and heavy, showcasing each instrument, this EP sounds seriously awesome. Simply put, this is tough as nails metallic hardcore that hits you like a ten ton hammer, and will then stomp all over you for good measure.

Third track 'Blood On The Walls' already appeared on their EP with rapper Tom Skeemask, but this time it is Queensway's Patric Gardner who provides guest vocals, making it a different sounding track. They kept the Biohazard-esque gang-vocals in this song tho, which I love! But it's final track 'The Floods' that is the killer track here for me. Holy shit, this song will be a song of the year contender for me, it is mental. It rages like hell, then goes into slight metal overdrive before dropping a ten ton hammer on your ears.

Man, what can I say? I'm so glad Brandon contacted me all those years ago about their first EP and has kept in touch since. Reserving Dirtnaps has gone from strength to strength. Be sure to pick up this 7" and practice your pit moves for when they can play out live again... They need to hit Europe in 2021, dammit, hahaha....

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

(P)Review: Belligerence - Suicide & Sobriety

And here we have yet another Texas hardcore review, hahaha... Belligerence from Austin, TX recently posted a preview of their upcoming EP online, that you had to request access to. I had checked out their recent demo not too long ago on bandcamp, and I really enjoyed it. This new EP is essentially a re-recording of this demo with 2 new songs (of which one might not make the EP).

Belligerence's sound can be described as, paraphrasing the band's frontman Gabriel, metalcore played and performed by a sasscore band (sasscore is sort of a continuation of screamo from what I understand). The band's sound is influenced and shaped by a wide range of bands including Antagonist A.D., Disembodied, Seeyouspacecowboy and Foxy Shazam (didn't see that last one coming, did you?!). So Belligerence's sound is difficult to pinpoint due to their influences running all over the gamut, but to the band's credit, their sound isn't just copying their influences nor is it just a stream of disparate parts joined together into 'songs'.

Anyways, this is a damn solid EP. As mentioned at the start, earlier incarnations of these songs appeared on the demo the band released back in January. But these new recordings are far better and have a great and full sound. To my ears the difference is most notable in 'collapsedveins//shattereddreams', simply called 'Collapse' on the demo. It's got a much richer sound and more layered guitars on this EP, making the track sound like an absolute monster with an impactful vocal delivery.

My fave track on here however has to be 'badtrip.sxe', which crushes. There's a slight old 18 Visions feel to the guitars and song structure, which rocks. I also hear the occasional Dillinger Escape Plan influence (the opening of 'emotionalwreck'!) mixed with some nu-metal influence in some of the more trippy & squeaky guitar riffs. The latter track doesn't have vocals yet on this preview and may or may not make the final cut, so you might have to cop this preview to listen to it at all! Which you might still be able to do by sending a message to the band on their Facebook page.

The vocals are raw with a desperate emotional undertone. You can tell Gabriel has some personal stuff he wants to get off his chest, but not from a place of hatred and anger but rather an emotional release. It's a type of vocal delivery that isn't heard too often anymore with this style of music, and it's a shame as to me it's a perfect match. There are some sweet guest vocals by Sam Crocker from Antagonist A.D. on 'remorseful discourse'.

Regarding a physical release of the finished EP... Harness Records out of the UK will do a cassette release of the EP soon, with a vinyl release to follow on (if all goes well) a great US label that is backed 200% by OnexPath.

So yeah, Texas seems to continue to deliver in 2020, this time with a different sound. And I'm loving it! Even tho I'm in my late 40s, it's still exciting to me to check out new bands, and even more, to discover cool new bands. Belligerence definitely is one of them!

Update: Belligerence made a video for 'Remorseful Discourse', which you can see here: 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Review: Second Wind - Testament Of Pain

Bandcamp's feed has a useful feature that shows you how many records someone else has in common with you. I use this sometimes to browse other people's collections to find records on there I hadn't yet come across. When I did this some time ago I stumbled upon the 'Testament Of Pain' EP by Second Wind from Houston, Texas. The heavy intro drew me right in, and I listened to the EP straight through, absolutely loving it! So thank you to whoever it was whose collection I was checking out at the time for introducing me to Second Wind!

So yeah, again a band from Texas... It seems all I do these days is post about bands from Texas! Fuck it tho, Second Wind is well worth posting about... They started out in late 2018 and released a demo in early 2019. After completing their line-up with members from local deathcore band Breathing Forever, Second Wind recorded the 'Testament Of Pain' EP and wow, what a banger it is! As I mentioned above, it starts off with a heavy intro with a basic but very effective riff, the singer shouting the band name, and then the riff is played at double speed before slowing down again. Nothing that hasn't been done before, but fuck me if it isn't an effective way to start an EP! The intro seamlessly goes into first song 'Writ', which sets the tone perfectly for the rest of this EP. Heavy mid- to up-tempo metalcore with crushing slow parts and shouted vocals with occasional heavier vocals to mix things up nicely.

Guitarist and founding member Michael told me their influences include bands like Knocked Loose, Year Of The Knife and All Out War. I also hear a healthy dose of Disembodied in some of their riffs and they way they are structured, and for the Euro's among us, Belgian band xDevourx also comes to my mind quite a bit. Which is also due to the vocals, which are more shouted and hoarse than deep or grunted, occasionally bringing in a second, deeper, voice... It compliments their sound really well! The band also makes sure to switch up tempo often enough to keep things interesting, while maintaining the heaviness throughout, and adding a few breakdowns here and there to spice things up. It's also cool Second Wind understands how to keep things heavy even with fast up-tempo metalcore, for instance in 'Pitch Black' which switches tempos and riffs a lot while still sounding like a coherent song. Great stuff! My favorite track on here has to be 'Destined To Rot' tho, which has some killer riffs and a massive slow breakdown that simply crushes. But there's not a bad track to be found here.

The lyrics to final track 'Thin Blue Crime' feels awfully relevant, chilling and prescient given the recent events surrounding George Floyd, Breona Taylor and so many more before and since. The other songs seem to deal with more abstract themes, including despair and religion if I read them right.

So far 2020 has been a massively crazy year in so many fucked up ways, but at least we still have young new bands putting out great stuff! This might just end up in my best of 2020 list, even if only for the amount of times I've listened to this... Second Wind is also planning to do a split sometime later this year, so look forward to that one as well!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Review: Bayou - A Cold Day In Hell

After the previous post on Sanity Slip, here's some more beatdown hardcore from Texas for you... Bayou from Houston, Texas. Bayou formed in December 2018 and plays heavy, and I do mean HEAVY, beatdown hardcore. Unlike Sanity Slip, Bayou don't incorporate all that many death metal influences tho, this is pretty much straight-forward, mid-tempo beatdown hardcore. Bayou's 'A Cold Day In Hell' EP was released in late April/early May and if you like your hardcore heavy, this might be for you!

Nikolie from Bayou told me their influences range from Pantera to Irate. The Pantera influences can be heard in some of the riffs, but there's no denying that this band has listened to Irate's discography more than a few times! I love Irate (as any sane person would) so I am digging Bayou's sound, hard! Like Irate, Bayou's sound relies heavily on the flow between the riffs and the vocals, with the bass drum in particular complimenting everything. Bayou does the same thing and they pull it off pretty well, and they know how to write some hard-ass riffs that go with this sound... They do add additional influences, there's some slam here and there as well as some semi-squeals. As far as current bands go, Bayou remind me of a less-metal version of Enemy Mind, but with the same heaviness.

The EP starts with a massive intro before launching into what is in my humble opinion the, relatively speaking, weakest track of the EP, 'Wilted'. It has some good ideas, but it doesn't flow as well as the rest of the tracks on this EP. The standout tracks on this EP for me are the back-to-back tracks 'Beaten Into Dust' and 'Slim To None', which hit like a Killer Instinct ultra combo. Awesome! There are also guest-vocals by members of fellow Houston band Torture and Chicago powerhouse Bodybag on this EP, in case you need some more references...

After the demise of Hardside, I hadn't heard of too many heavy new bands coming out of Texas. But it looks like I was wrong, there's still plenty of heaviness left in the Lone Star state! Bayou are currently working on new material, which I am looking forward to hearing! They're off to a great start however, hopefully this EP will get them some attention, there's a lot of potential here!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: Sanity Slip - Submerged In Pain EP

Kyle from Goodjunkie Records contacted me recently about one of the bands his label is doing a release for, Sanity Slip from San Antonio, TX.

Sanity Slip play beatdown hardcore with some death metal influences. They do mix things up here and there, but their sound is definitely centered around mid-tempo beatdown hardcore together with faster death metal parts. This is the sort of stuff that over here in Europe you'd expect on a label like Filled With Hate Records. And Sanity Slip do it well! They have a very menacing down-tuned & brutal sound that delivers. 'Misery' is my fave track at the moment, but the EP overall is damn solid. While I am far from an expert, I hear Irate influences sprinkled throughout the entire EP. And of course, Irate ruled, so nothing wrong there...

I must admit that I initially didn't realize that SS's singer is female. Not that it makes a difference, just that never would have guessed going just by the vocals. They're deep and hard as hell. Definitely a good match with the music.

I don't feel Sanity Slip's sound offers anything new. But if yer into beatdown hardcore, is that really necessary? If you want to do some roundhouse kicks and crowdkill your buddies, this is as good a soundtrack as any beatdown band out there.

If you're into what you're hearing, consider picking up a highly limited lathe cut 10" directly from Goodjunkie here.