Reproacher – Nothing to Save (Review)

ReproacherReproacher are a Metallic Hardcore band from the US. Having enjoyed Reproacher’s previous releases I was looking forward to checking this one out.

I was not disappointed. This is intense, brutal and heavier than a really heavy thing. Reproacher’s assault is one of pressure and deadly intent.

Coming from the Converge-style of Hardcore this is scathing and vitriol-fuelled extremity. Powered by an undercurrent of Sludge and Crust, these tracks seethe violence from every sweaty pore.

Reproacher are no one-trick band though and they add in variety to their bruising onslaught with some interesting and inventive sections and ideas. The predatory crawl of Ballast contrasts nicely with the grinding charge of The Champion is Fucked, for example.

The album rips along through up-tempo and low-tempo tracks, all the while displaying a feel for thick guitar-based atmosphere and a good variety of songwriting.

This is for all worshippers of heaviness. Bring Reproacher into your world.

American Standards – The Death Of Rhythm And Blues (Review)

American StandardsAmerican Standards come from the US and play a fierce brand of inventive Hardcore.

This is a fresh take on the genre with a sound that actually recalls some of Raging Speedhorn’s later work. This is angular, aggressive and in your face.

The energy of these songs cannot be denied and these 5 tracks are a perfect example of heavy music that is modern and relevant, without losing integrity or worth.

Managing to take the best parts of chaos and restraint, they take the Drowningman blueprint and ramp up the aggression until they have torn it to shreds. I can also hear shades of the magnificent Norma Jean in the playful way they effortlessly produce enviable, inspired songs.

At only a brief 14 minutes this EP is a shockingly good listen and should appeal to anyone who likes non-standard, innovative modern Metal. Apparently they have released an album prior to this EP, so it’s time for me to go and hunt that down now…

Squash Bowels – Grindcoholism (Review)

Squash BowelsPolish Grindcore band Squash Bowels have released their sixth album upon an unsuspecting world.

Every time I hear Squash Bowels they sound a little different. Tnyribal was different to The Mass Rotting – The Mass Sickening, which is again different to this. Of their albums in the middle of these releases I can’t judge as I haven’t heard them. Grindcoholism though is a very groovy brand of Grindcore, albeit still with plenty of blast to give Grind fans a good beating.

I really liked Tnyribal, and was disappointed with the more primitive incarnation on The Mass Sickening – The Mass Rotting. On Grindcoholism they have changed again; now sounding more muscular, direct and immediate.

This is enjoyable grind with relatively varied vocals and a good, solid sound; the drums in particular seeming to destroy anything they batter, while the thick Regurgitate-esque guitars swamp and cover everything in entrails.

As an aside; Squash Bowels remains one of my favourite band names ever. Just had to mention that.

Grindcore infused with a hardcore-groove while still steeped in the blood of countless victims. As extreme music goes it’s well worth a blast from the speakers, and a pleasant surprise for me to see how they’ve developed over the years since I last heard them.

Miserable Failure – Hope (Review)

Miserable FailureThis is the brand new 4 track, 4 minute EP from Miserable Failure.

This is scathing Grind designed to attack and maim quickly and efficiently, with no wasted movements.

Short and to the point; each track goes for the throat with vigour and a rusty bite. It’s not all blast though as the band inject a bit of groove and hardcore-esque guitar into the tracks for a bit of added dynamics.

The vocals are mainly demented, high pitched vocal chord-scrapings that probably leaves the singer sucking throat sweets for hours after making the noises he makes. The deeper vocals are merely for added flavour.

Surely you can spend four minutes of your time to check out these worthy Grinders?

Cripple Bastards – Nero In Metastasi (Review)

Cripple BastardsItalian veteran Grinders Cripple Bastards darken our doors once more with their new album – 18 tracks in 36 minutes.

Playing a pissed off Hardcore-tinged version of Grind; Cripple Bastards may have been around for many a year now but they are not falling short on the ideas or integrity fronts.

Riffs fly around all over the place like splinters and the drums pound like bowling balls being dropped. Effortlessly combining Hardcore, Punk, Grind and Death Metal into short songs with all being presented in their inimical savage style. There is a even a 9 minute epic Splendore E Tenebra which is as unexpected as it is welcome.

The vocals are a thing of rabid beauty; running the gamut from deep, guttural Death Metal vocals to higher rasps, the one thing that never changes is the intensity of them.

Favourite Track: Lapide Rimossa. The Old-School and the New merged flawlessly to create an excellent song. A microcosm for the album as a whole.

When Grindcore is played this well it’s easy to remember what you love about the genre. The energy and passion in these songs is infectious.

This is a Grind masterclass performed by people who are at the top of their game. This album easily differentiates itself from so many Grind-wannabes by the character and individuality of the band, let alone the quality of the songs. A must for any fan of Grindcore.

Haymaker – Let Them Rot (Review)

HaymakerUS Hardcore band Haymaker release a short, sharp, shock of an EP.

With 4 tracks and lasting only 4 minutes it wastes no time in making an impact. High octane Hardcore that is hot enough to leave scorch marks.

The first song Let Them Rot may only be 1 and a half minutes long but it has a good riff, good pacing and character. Each song rumbles along like a bastard hybrid of Converge and primitive Grindcore with the singer reminding me of a harsher version of the guy from Most Precious Blood.

A short release destined for the world of 7″ Vinyl, this is a good old-fashioned rip-through of anger and hostility. I like.

Interview with Barishi

Barishi BandBarishi have recently released their self-titled début album, the review of which you can see here. A harsh, angular, progressive Metal treasure trove; this is an album with a lot to give to those who crave experimentation and music that forges its own path. Their guitarist was nice enough to answer some questions I threw at him…

Hi! For people who are unfamiliar with your band please introduce yourself!

Hi, I am Graham Brooks, I play guitar in Barishi. We are from a town called Jamaica, Vermont. We have been playing together in various forms since high school, about four years ago.

What are your main influences?

My favorite metal band is Iron Maiden, I am also a Beatles nut. We are all big Mastodon and Meshuggah fans. Jon (our bassist) and I are both really influenced by bands like The Cure and MBV. Our singer Sascha is a huge funk fan and also is a Queen and Led Zeppelin fanatic. We draw from a lot of those bands and a lot more that I can’t think of right now.

What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?

I have been listening to “So” by Peter Gabriel. I think it is incredible. I am sure a lot of full-metalists wouldn’t be into it but I think it is a great album. I have been digging on this band called “Anciients” who kill it and a band from chicago called “Yakuza.” I highly recommend both if you are looking for some metal that comes out of left field.

You have an unusual sound that fuses Progressive Metal with more 70’s-style Proggy vibes, all wrapped up in with elements of more modern avant-garde bands such as Ephel Duath, (at least to my ears anyway!), how did you go about deciding on the sound that you wanted as a band?

Barishi BandCool! Honestly we never really talked about what type of sound we wanted to go for. I think we sound the way we do because we never had one of those talks. Some of the songs that we like playing the most came about because someone in the band wrote something that made us say “I don’t know if that would work in a heavy band” and then we would try it and it would sound cool. I think the freedom to do that had a big impact on how we sound.

I love the angular guitar work on this release. How do you write your songs? What’s the process involved?

One of us usually has a riff or something that they will come into practice with and then we will just try to expand on it. We don’t really have any method or go about writing in an organized fashion. Sometimes it can be a shit show because we will be writing 3 different songs that we think sound cool and we will end up abandoning all of them because we get overwhelmed with all the little parts that are floating around.

After seeing the album art and band pictures, your album surprised me slightly as it contains more harsh and more abrasive moments than I was expecting. Was it a conscious decision to embrace the heavier aspects of music just as much as the more mellow/melodic aspects?

I think we just naturally got heavier. We play with a ton of bands who are way heavier than we are and I think some of it rubbed off on us.

With an eclectic and diverse album like this I can imagine possibly having parts of it that were potentially divisive when creating it – where there many discussions in the band about which parts to keep/throw out/change/etc.?

We wrote a lot of stuff that did not end up on the record. Usually when we did not end up using something it was because we just were not digging it that hard. We try to keep the songwriting process as democratic as possible. If someone really does not like a part or song we usually will end up changing or discarding it. Fortunately everyone in the band understands and it doesn’t require a long talk most of the time.

Barishi BandAre you happy with the finished album? Is there anything you would change next time?

I am. We had a lot of fun recording together and I think the album represents what we were doing for the past year. Brian Westbrook who produced the album is an amazing musician and producer. Thanks to Brian the album sounds way better than we ever thought it would. In terms of things I would like to change, I would really like to record an album down-tuned. It adds a really guttural element that I love.

As I said in the review; my favourite track is Through Mountains, Through Plains. It’s brilliant. This is less of a question more of a comment really! This is also the longest song on the album – do you see yourself going for more of the longer, epic-style tracks in the future?

Thanks so much for the kind words. I love writing long songs. I am sure that we will have some longer songs in the future.

What does the future hold for Barishi?

Hopefully a lot of touring. We love playing shows, it is our favorite thing to do. I think all we want is to play as much as possible and keep on recording. Hopefully at some point we will find a label that is a good match.

Thanks for your time Graham!

Barishi – Barishi (Review)

BarishiBarishi play off-centre Progressive Metal that goes down a storm and comes back up a real treat.

This is a rather great album. Unusual but memorable melodies and guitar parts are all over the place, with a meshing of off-kilter tunes and 70’s prog vibes sharing the same space sometimes at the same time. And even some Saxophone.

Barishi are obviously not afraid to experiment or explore and it pays off handsomely. Overall this album has a harsher sound than I was expecting; combined with the eclectic sound that they have it has quite a unique style that is a refreshing change from the norm.

For the most part we get shouted, almost hardcore-style vocals alongside the more occasional cleans that work well together to build atmosphere over the tangential music.

Favourite track: Through Mountains, Through Plains. Just brilliant.

This is the music of a mathematical nightmare come to burn synapses and wreck memories. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes abrasive, never ordinary.

Skinwalkers – Fateless (Review)

skinwalkersA bit lighter than most of the bands featured on this site, but Skinwalkers provide a nice distraction from the norm with some good melodies and a line on post-hardcore aggression.

Be warned, they may come across as slightly too poppy for most hardened Metal fans. Having said that this is music that does have some bite as they aren’t purely about the harmonies and tunes, they also show their more hardcore influences. It sometimes reminds me of Cave In in their less heavy moments, only without the proggy influences.

Even though they are a band that you can sing along with, they have a rawness and honesty to them that is pleasing.

If you have the urge to occasionally dip into the realms of the more accessible, yet still want something that has a rough edge then give Skinwalkers a try, you may be pleased with what you find.