Cowards – Still (Review)

CowardsCowards are a blackened hardcore band from France and this is their latest EP.

I do so very much enjoy the work of Cowards. Their last album, 2015’s Rise to Infamy, was a tight ball of violent blackened extremity filled with hardcore’s passion and sludge’s ugly heaviness. Still continues this theme, boasting three new tracks and two covers. This is 19 minutes of music guaranteed to stop you in your tracks and then hit you around the head. Continue reading

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Nuisible – Inter Feces et Urinam Nascimur (Review)

NuisibleNuisible are a blackened hardcore band from France. This is their debut album.

Inter Feces et Urinam Nascimur sort of sounds like what would happen if Darkthrone embraced a love of Scandinavian d-beat and produced one massively pissed off record. Add in some elements of crusty death metal and grindcore and you have 23 minutes of red-hot anger. Continue reading

Vermin Womb – Decline (Review)

Vermin WombVermin Womb are a blackened sludge/grind band form the US. This is their debut album.

Due to my love of their first EP Permanence, as well as all things Primitive Man and Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, (who they share members with), this release has been highly anticipated by yours truly.

On Permanence Vermin Womb channelled the destructive essence Continue reading

Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows (Review)

Plebeian GrandstandPlebeian Grandstand are a Black Metal/blackened Hardcore band from France and this is their third album.

If you haven’t encountered Plebeian Grandstand before, then strap yourself in and prepare for violence. The band are a veritable explosion of grim aggression and antagonistic intensity.

Twisted riffs and dark melodies are encased in a solid black approach that merges the band’s Hardcore nature with a blackened corruption that seems to seep into every part of the guitars. The blasting drums are intent on nothing but causing harm and the bass is a malevolent rumble that underpins everything else.

The singer’s deranged screams form an integral part of the blasting mayhem and his is an intense performance.

The songs combine Black Metal and Hardcore into a dissonant, maniacal amalgamation that is pure viciousness embodied. As time goes on it seems that Plebeian Grandstand are embracing their Black Metal side more and more, to the point now on this album, (as well as their previous one), where it’s actually quite hard to describe them as a Hardcore band as has been done in the past.

Either way, this is another top-drawer release from a band that just keeps getting better and better with every release.

Lambs – Betrayed from Birth (Review)

LambsLambs are an Italian blackened Hardcore band and this is their début EP.

You gotta love Blackened Hardcore. A sub-genre that takes the best of the violence and darkness from Hardcore and Black Metal? Yes please! This style is getting more and more popular and has already resulted in a plethora of good bands such as Hexis, Plebeian Grandstand, Dark Circles, Ancst, Cowards, Funerals, Protestant and Flesh Born, to name just a few. Some bands go slightly more one way or the other, while others, like Lambs, meet both genres in the middle. That, and a bit of Post-Hardcore thrown in for good measure.

This is a quality little release that showcases what Lambs are capable of, and it seems that they should have big things ahead of them if they can keep this level of quality control and intensity up for a full album. Well, big things for a small sub-genre at any rate.

The aforementioned intensity doesn’t mean it’s a Blackened blast fest, (although they can blast when they need to); Lambs have a darkly emotive and fanged assault that never lets up regardless of the speed they play at. In this way they can be compared to any number of modern violent Hardcore bands, as they keep on pushing and pushing with the relentless riffs, to make sure their point is rammed home; be this by straight forward assaults, dirge-fuelled slower sections or angular, atypical melodies. Lambs cover all of the bases.

There’s only three songs here but contained within them is a lot of dark intent and malevolent ambition. As calling cards go this is up there with the best of the style and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Play at full volume.

Dark Circles – MMXIV (Review)

Dark CirclesDark Circles are from Canada and play Hardcore. This is their latest release.

This is dark, violent Hardcore with a D-Beat element.

There’s a tendency at the moment for dark Hardcore bands to have a Blackened influence, (like Flesh Born and Protestant, for example), which I’m all for as it sounds great, and although Dark Circles fit in well with this style, they’re also different; they have a very obvious Punk background that mixes with the Blackened influences to sound warped, disturbed and evil in their own charismatic way.

The best word to describe Dark Circles is hostile. Really, really hostile.

The guitar sound is utterly abrasive and seems sharp and rough enough to do some real damage. On top of this the acid vocals spew all kinds of hatred and venom, so much so that you begin to wonder if the singer is in fact human at all. It’s a visceral display of hostility, (yes, there’s that word again).

There’s a boat-load of aggression here for sure, but it’s not a wild, killing rage; this is focused and tight, and all the more lethal for it.

These songs channel what must be a never-ending rage into coherent and dangerous-sounding songs that have more to them than initially meets the eye. The Blackened, harsh melodies and the angular, piercing riffs don’t just exist to assault the listener; there is method and intent to these tracks, the key to which is the quality songwriting.

Energy, enthusiasm and dynamics are displayed in abundance, and the band know how to pace themselves. They never let up the intensity though, as even in the rarer moments of reflection and almost Post-Metal darkness that they occasionally slip into for short moments, there’s still the rage and hatred, briefly and barely tethered whilst the band collectively get ready to resume their terror strikes once more.

This is almost 26 minutes of state-of-the-art Blackened Hardcore horror. Yes, it’s an essential listen for anyone who likes this kind of thing.

Turn the volume up, turn the lights out and let your anger take over. Dark Circles are here to guide you.

Ancst – In Turmoil (Review)

AncstAncst are from Germany and this is a compilation of their earlier work between 2012 and 2014.

The band play a combination of Black Metal and Crust that’s endearing and violent without sacrificing emotional depth.

As a collection of tracks In Turmoil is remarkably consistent with sound and style, although the first two songs are easily the longest and after this their output becomes shorter in length and more condensed.

The music is emotive and heavy, with moments of bleak beauty and violent Hardcore clashing in ways reminiscent of bands such as Hexis, Fleshborn and Protestant who share a similar stylistic space of Blackened Hardcore/Crust.

Intense shouting and blasting drums are the order of the day. Blackened riffs and menacing guitars lay a foundation of darkened melodies over which the drums blaze and the singer roars his diatribes.

It’s not all blasting and hyper-violence however, as not only do the band understand dynamics and the importance of taking the foot off the accelerator now and again, but they even have a few forays into softer territory in between the blast beats.

This is a worthy addition to the ever expanding sub-genre of Blackened Hardcore/Crust. Colour me impressed.