River Black – River Black (Review)

River BlackThis is the debut album from River Black, a metal/hardcore band from the US.

Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Municipal Waste, Burnt by the Sun, and Revocation, River Black already have a wealth of experience in them. Additionally, with the multiple members Continue reading

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Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)

Brain TentaclesBrain Tentacles are an experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal band from the US. This is their debut album.

Experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal is a bit of a mouthful, and in all honesty doesn’t even properly do justice to the sounds that this album contains at any rate.

In addition to the usual drums and bass you’ll also find synth, piano and horns on this release. But no guitars. Continue reading

Ultramantis Black – Ultramantis Black (Review)

Ultramantis BlackFrom the US, Ultramantis Black play Hardcore Metal.

The first thing to take in is the album cover, which is very striking. There’s something about it which appeals to me greatly.

Ultramantis Black is a wrestler in his day job, so to speak, and it seems he’s decided to have a stab at some angular, angry Hardcore. I’m glad he has as this is 13 minutes of testosterone and fury.

Reference points? Luddite Clone, Deadguy, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Burnt by the Sun, Association Area – abrasive, inventive, atypical and full of rage.

Vocally he has a thin, piercing semi-shriek that’s buried low in the mix and sounds Punk as fuck. It’s different to what I was expecting and a welcome surprise. The best way I can think to describe it is a snarl, pure and simple.

The vocals being lower in the mix allows the music to take centre stage, and it’s strong enough to do this. For a man who is probably used to being the centre of attention it’s a brave and confident move, but the band of assorted miscreants he has assembled to spread his message know their stuff so it’s an understandable one.

The songs twist and turn, rage and subdue, burn and fade and then it’s over. 13 minutes is not a long time. Alternatively, 13 minutes is a very long time in a choke hold, which this is the aural equivalent of.

Repeated spins show this release to be an ungentle grower, as the guitar riffs become more familiar and the unexpected song directions become easier to navigate.

I have a long-running soft spot for this kind of music stemming from a period years and years ago when I was absolutely obsessed with it. I still love it now and it’s always great to hear it done so well.

You can see why a label as prestigious as Relapse snapped this up – this is right up their street and is of the highest quality, especially for a début release.

Give this a whirl and prepare to be floored.

Favourite Track: Sentience. The mid-paced highly emotive main riff brings me out in goosebumps.