Primitive Man/Hexis – Split (Review)

Primitive Man/HexisPrimitive Man are from the US and play Sludgy Doom. On this release they have teamed up with Danish Crusty Black Metallers Hexis. Each band contributes one song, each about 8 minutes in length.

This is my first time hearing Primitive Man, but I’ve heard good things about them and am not disappointed.

When Getting High Is Not Enough starts off crushingly slow and heavy with vocals so deep and dark they seem to swallow all light. After a while the bass adopts a crawling pose while the guitars transcend to an almost Post-Metal ethereality before falling back to earth with a weighty riff. This soon breaks out into an unexpected frenzy of speed and the vocals become higher and much more vicious.

The band have this ability to play slow, fast or chuggy-as-hell while still retaining their own identity and a sense of filthy, Sludge-fuelled blackness pervades everything. The song is a victory and I am left wanting to hear more from this impressive band.

Hexis are a band who I am very familiar with as they have produced some very strong material over the years, particularly their recent full length Abalam.

Their track Excrucio is a weighty beast that has their trademark Blackened guitar walls with shredding vocals seemingly buried just underneath the enormous tide of distortion. Hexis manage to write very emotive songs where the guitars are the main stars of the show and the vocals and everything else are their to support them and help to accentuate how rock solid they sound.

Hexis have struck a winning formula with their sound and Excrucio is no exception.

This is a great showcase for two talented bands that offer a lot for the discerning metal fan who wants something a bit more from their listening.

Dråp – En Naturlig Död (Review)

DråpDråp are from Sweden and play Crust/Hardcore.

The band have a thunderous sound that is heavy and belligerent.

The vocalist sounds rabid, dangerous and thoroughly pissed off. His vocals bark out over the ugly music like a bruiser looking for his next victim. A constant onslaught of abuse and bile streams forth with grim enthusiasm.

The music is muscular and without remorse. The guitars bash and smash their way through the short playing time like a determined beating that never seems to stop.

This is angry music for angry people. There is no subtlety or nuance here, just menace and barbarity. The drums beat, the guitars attack and the vocals snarl.

It’s relentless, it’s harsh, it’s not pretty, but it is good.

Hunt this down and listen to it loud.

Favourite Track: Höstmörker

Interview with Skinfather

Skinfather Logo

Skinfather have produced a powerhouse of a Swedish Death Metal album mixed with Crust and Hardcore influences with their début None Will Mourn. Attempting to find out more, questions were posed to the new pack leaders in town…

Tell us all about Skinfather and where you came from

We started playing in 2010. We’ve had some member changes since then, but I think Skinfather as it exists now is the band it was always meant to be.

What are your influences?

We built Skinfather on a foundation which takes a lot from the classic Swedish DM scene, but if you listen closely I think you’ll hear other influences. Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and early Gorefest come to mind. We also come from punk/hardcore backgrounds so that influence finds its way in there as well.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

As far as metal goes, the new Triptykon and Teitanblood LPs are insane. Also loving Stoic Violence “Chained”, The Flex LP and Forced Order’s demo and upcoming 7″.

How did you decide on the style of Death Metal that you wanted to play – what appeals about the Swedish Death Metal sound?

We collectively listen to a wide range of music but I think one place where we find a lot of common ground is that style. For me, I love the guitar tone, the emphasis on groove and the pounding d-beat influence.

In my review I note that you have a bit of a Crust/Hardcore influence to your sound as well – would you agree with this?

Definitely. That wasn’t a conscious influence on our part but its there. We have all played in punk/hardcore bands and some of us are heavily involved in that scene, so its just natural for that to come out in the music. We’re not trying to be something that we’re not.

Skinfather BandDo you have any goals for your album?

Our goal was just to release a mind numbingly heavy album, which would be something we’d like to listen to ourselves. We’re really proud of this record and I think we achieved that, so anything else that happens from here on out is just a nice bonus.

Is there anything on the album you’re not satisfied with?

Anytime you’re engaged in any kind of creative process, you’re never going to be 100% satisfied. At least that’s how I am. That said, I’ve never been as satisfied with any musical output I’ve ever been a part of as I am with None Will Mourn. We’re very pleased with the result.

Do you want to discuss any of the lyrics on the album and any themes/hidden meanings/etc. that might be there?

I’m going to let our singer Stephen handle that one:

“Most of the songs deal with storytelling that’s meant to display imagery of social issues that surround us. I like to read about history, and thus used it to create what I thought to be intriguing stories with underlying themes of oppression, adversity, corruption, etc. Ordeal by fire, Born of Despair, Hellish Grave, and Impaled are songs written in this manner. Drown in Black, Calloused, and Planes of Ruination are more personal songs that deal with psychological struggles. Dead Still is kind of a lone wolf as far as its theme goes. It’s a slightly fucked up twist off of an old English folk tale from the 12th century that I find fascinating.”

What’s your songwriting process?

Either Anthonie or myself (guitarists) or Taylor, our drummer, will have an idea for a song. If its Anthonie or myself, we’ll do a rough recording of the song at home with programmed drums and then bring it to the band. Most of None Will Mourn started off this way. We’ll usually learn this “first draft” as a band, jam it a few times and spend time making whatever changes need to be made. This might mean adding parts, fills, or rearranging the song. It has to sound like a Skinfather song, and not a Scott, Anthonie, or Taylor demo.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

I think that the process will only become more collaborative. I think that you’ll be able to hear a Skinfather record and think “This sounds like Skinfather” rather than “Wow this sounds just like _________”

What does the future hold for Skinfather?

We’re trying to play as much as our personal lives allow us to. We’ve got a couple festival appearances coming up, and will continue playing local shows. We’ll be making our way up the West Coast very shortly with Nails, Iron Lung and Bone Sickness we’ll be on the East Coast this fall.


Benchpress/Martyr’s Tongue – Split (Review)

Benchpress/Martyr's TongueA short but devastatingly heavy split between US heavyweights Benchpress and Puerto Rico’s Martyr’s Tongue.

Benchpress offer us some lean, muscular Hardcore with plenty of brawn and attitude.

Penance rips out of the gate with belligerence and is astoundingly heavy. The vocalist tears things up with a confidence and brutality that’s perfectly at home with the aggression that the rest of the band create.

The second song Pissed Away is shorter and faster but no less heavy. The solid sound ploughs through anyone foolish enough to get in the way and the band create yet another Hardcore song to be proud of. Angry stuff.

Martyr’s Tongue are a similar beast but different at the same time; faster and more frenetic with more of a Metal, even Grindcore, edge to their sound.

Their first track Deconstructive Process starts things off with a bit of sampling/noise for half of its playtime before launching into a high octane assault with brutality and blastbeats. The vocals are not quite as angry as those of Benchpress but they are more individualistic and put an interesting spin on things.

Unholy Communion is next and once again they ramp up the speed and aggression. Sounding almost unhinged on occasion the band put their all into the performance and it shows. The second half of the song gets bleaker and almost Doom/Black Metal in aura and intensity, at least for a short while before we’re back with the crushing guitars once more.

The entire split lasts only 12 minutes – surely there’s room in your collection for this?

Transient – Transient (Review)

TransientTransient are from the US and play Grindcore.

This is professionally-recorded and nicely heavy. The songs are short and the anger high. The vocalist sounds like she is possessed by demons, (yes, plural), and is a whirlwind force of nature stalking these songs and shortening their natural lifespan by her presence alone. It’s an impressive performance.

The songs are hardcore-influenced Grindcore with lots to keep the attention with. None of the tracks reach over the 2:00 minute mark but that just means that every spare second is used for something useful rather than just filling space.

I love this kind of grind; modern and brutal but still with a firm emotional core and lyrics that have meaning rather than just being a pointless gore-fest, (which can also be fun of course).

Cross a band like Nasum with the scathing feral hardcore of Converge and Transient will be the product. This is a top quality Grind album and should be on the want list of every fan of this genre.

Mind – Save Yourself From Hell (Review)

MindMind are a Crust/Hardcore/Metal band from Germany and this is their third album.

This is primitive Crust violence, played with passion and honesty.

The songs rattle and bash their way from the speakers while the singer tries to compete with the local attack dogs to see who is the most rabid.

Songs like Lost carry a real feeling of threat but also, paradoxically, of camaraderie. Best to make sure you’re on the right side, eh?

They have an Old-School sound that could probably have done with a little more beef in some of the departments, but having said that it still fits the music well and hones the authentic feeling of Hardcore being played by lifers.

The feeling in general is Old-School, reminding of Hardcore bands from the 90’s such as Merauder and especially fellow German’s Ryker’s, as well as all of the standard Crust reference points. They also cover Napalm Death, which can never be a bad thing.

This is a 25 minute trip to the wrong side of the tracks. Will you survive the journey? With this as your soundtrack you might.

Skinfather – None Will Mourn (Review)

SkinfatherThis is the début album from US Death Metal band Skinfather.

They may come from the US but their style of Death Metal is more Swedish than anything else. They are also named after a Dismember song, so you get the idea.

However, they are not just about the hero-worship, they also add some more contemporary influences into their sound – a bit of Entombed here, a bit of Crust/Hardcore there. It all adds up to a riveting listen.

That chainsaw sound is plastered all over every song and this gives proceedings a hefty amount of muscular backbone. The riffs are powerful and the band clearly passionate about their songs, which is obviously a good thing. Also; there are some seriously good riffs on here…

The vocals are halfway between the Death Metal standard and a more Crusty gurning, although when needed the growls do come out in their full bestial glory.

A very satisfying listen. Unlike a lot of bands who try this style Skinfather have managed to stamp their own mark on the Swedish Death Metal template, which is no mean feat.

Listen up – there’s a new pack leader in town.

Dead In The Dirt – The Blind Hole (Review)

Dead In The DirtDead In The Dirt play Grindcore and do it from the US.

The band throw out highly aggressive Grind with short songs and even shorter tempers.

With a solid sound that’s so sharp you could do someone an injury, the songs blast out of the speakers covered in bile and thoughts of execution.

I do so love this kind of Grind! Heavy and fast at the same time; taking the blueprint and class of a band like Nasum and mixing it with bits of Sludge, Crust, Brutal Truth and Converge.

Take any selection of songs on the album and you’ll find a fair degree of variety. Sometimes it sounds like Eyehategod mixed with Deathgrind, (Strength Through Restraint), next it sounds like Uphill Battle if they totally gave in to their Grind influences, (Idiot Bliss), and then it sounds like a Hardcore Crust Brutal Truth, (You Bury Me).

Amazingly the band manage to perfect the balancing of frenetic, ultra-intense speed with heaviness and brutality in a way that most bands fumble, but Dead In The Dirt manage to make seem easy and the most natural thing in the world.

Better Grind you won’t hear in a while.

Pyrrhon – The Mother Of Virtues (Review)

PyrrhonPyrrhon are an unusual Hardcore-influenced Technical Death Metal band from the US and this is their second album.

They kickstart proceedings with an entry track that would do Converge or Cephalic Carnage proud. The Oracle of Nassau explodes out of the speakers all frenzy and bile, and for 1:25 it proceeds to annihilate everything. In complete contrast the next song White Flag starts off slow and menacing, and lasts for a much longer 9:42.

The vocals are screamed static attacks or brutal guttural growls, depending on the mood of the singer.

The music is technical, involved and very intricate. The instruments twist and turn and play all manner of elusive riffs; the listener is submerged in a lake of discordant dissonance that somehow manages to satisfy in spite of the multiple disparate elements being unleashed.

This is the clever thing though, as each instrument by itself is exploring its own path but everything gels together for the benefit of the wider picture in ways that you wouldn’t expect. The songs manage to be exploratory and experimental while remaining coherent and delivering a completed whole.

Angular riffs, wilful bass, schizophrenic drums and daemonic vocals collide to create a challenging and ultimately involving listen. The songs owe about as much to the violent Hardcore background of bands such as Converge, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan as they do to Technical Death Metal.

Pyrrhon strike me as having a combination of sounds from bands as diverse as all of the previously mentioned ones, as well as having elements of bands like Uphill Battle, Gorguts and Today Is The Day.

If you’re looking for a new band to obsess over who are not your average band then say hello to Pyrrhon. This album is a must.