Friday, May 18, 2018

Slaine drops video Source of Power Teddy Roxpin beat

This is not just a new video from Slaine - backed by Teddy Roxpin - but a cut off of the LEEDZ Ent comp, Eastern Standard

Slaine has had many killer verses. And as quickly as you can point to bragadacious bars that will silence any MC; or Slaine's vividly descriptive tales of crime, drugs and guns - all while hammering multi-syllabic bars relentlessly; he is stunning when he turns his words towards the world of politics.
SLaine continuously expresses honest vulnerability and exposes regrets; turning his hard road into parables of experience. But going back to his verses on "Man Made Ways" from DC The MIDI-Alien's Avenger Airwaves compilation, East Coast Avengers "Lady Liberty", or on Virtuoso's "Fahrenheit 911", Slaine rips through the bullshit and pierces the veil of American social civility.

Diamond Media 360 offers Slaine's explanation of this joint. "We seem to have this human condition where we seek power and validation from outside sources when really we have the ultimate power in and around us at all times,” states Slaine. But do mistake Slaine for some generic motivation meme. As Roxpin's drums pound toward a finish line, Slaine spits,

“Is it fear that we suffer from or lack of it?/ Where do we go now? Who do we turn to?
 When does it slow down? Who do we learn through?/
Through a history of imperious acts/ I still move with my spirit intact.”

This messaging reflects back to Slaine's verse on "Lady Liberty" in fact. He deconstructs and demolishes both left and right, media, and America's egregious hypocrisies. But he ends with:

Who do we trust now when we can't even trust us?
There's no peace we can find, there' ain't no justice
Just a war going on against each of us
We need to reach down deep and start speaking up
Cause everybody's illing when the buildings blow up
But what's gonna happen when our children grow up?

But back to "Source of Power" - examining personal motivation of the beaten and disenfranchised and the greed of the wealthy and privileged  the hook boasts: "hunger, vision, fury, discipline - survival, resilience, shine to a brilliance"

Slaine paints pictures - "ice in my veins, Hell in my eyes" - with mesmerizing imagery; playing with words like Mozart did notes. Slaine's lyrics bounce and punch as Roxpin uses echoed/big drums, played nice and loose. A high register note dances within its spectrum to add contrast while staying rough and raw.

Director, Ben Proulx, for Project 2 Studios, illuminates the conflict inherent with confrontational visuals. Disturbing and challenging images extrapolate the words of Slaine in a necessary exposition.

In addition to Slaine, the compilation features a sick 1-2 punch with Blacastan and Marvalyss on "Mechanical Movement" on a hypnotic tonal gem. Check Chris Rivers and Rite Hook on a raging track, "The Motions".  Natti and Deacon The Villain (both of CunninLynguists), Rite Hook and B Dolan combining that MA/RI connection - with a Hammond heavy, harmonica and piano popping bluesy joint - Soulful!!! Chris Orrick on a nostalgic trip as he often does over a captivating beat, and Granite State showing up again. Spose kills it with a dope beat and a hilarious but down to earth track about the struggles of underground rapper. STL GLD, Mega Ran, and many others validate this 21 track, 75 minute compilation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Felipe Pupo Orishas review

Felipe Pupo
U Don't Deserve This Beautiful Art / A-Ha! Records
April 27, 2018

Felipe Pupo is the moniker donned by Philadelphia, visual artist, E. Grizzly. Under his name, E Grizzly had a record in Oct 2016, titled, Felipe Pupo. That LP was credited as “produced, recorded and mixed by E. Grizzly and collaborator Scott Labenski and the ghost of Jason Pupo”. That LP drips with rap, trip-hop, the blues and rock orgies spewing magic and mysticism. E. Grizzly also has hip-hop and industrial albums going back to 2010. Now, Felipe Pupo returns with Scott Labenski in the same role.

Grizzly notes: “The last album was dedicated to Jason Pupo. He was a good friend of mine who passed away. It inspired me to write about ghosts and being haunted by memories. We wanted to keep the spirit theme going with this new EP. Orishas are spirits in the Yoruba and Santeria religions. It’s a part of my family’s history and it’s something I wanted to explore.”

Yoruba are a people from Nigeria now populating the UK, USA, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Ghana. Santeria is an Afro-Cuban religion mixing Catholic practices and customs of the Yoruba. Ultimately, what is perfectly clear is that Grizzly has combined his hip hop with live instruments (mostly) to exemplify Afro-Punk mixed with all the inherent influences, boom bap, jazz, funk, calypso and rock.

No denying the Philly saturation here. The streets are sweating ardent love for Chuck Treece and The Goats and all the splintered fractures which disseminate from those connections and auras. Sounds of this Philly ilk burst from Oshiras while taking the material far into their own direction. Felipe Pupo bring frustration and rage with guitars, some funky bass, and an arsenal of rhythms provided by live drums and a drum machine. Sometimes the song formula is apparent; quiet verse with bass and drums lead into a loud punky guitar chorus with spazzing energy; repeat three times. But, that is how System Of A Down and 9,000 Nu-Metal bands sold millions and touched angsty suburbanites. So, I see no issue here utilizing that formula when your words and conviction is realer than 8,999 of those bands of that era. Plus, it is Afro-“PUNK”. Punk has four decades of adhering to quick formulaic repetition. The lyrics and execution is what matters. Felipe Pupo deliver intellectual savagery.
The DIY is strong here. This is true homemade, frantic punk. “Identity Crisis” (which exhibits solid musicianship, especially the guitars). The lyrics expose Grizzly’s corrosive introspection; depleting his sanity as he searches for form and identity; historically, racially, and geographically. Just like the prior track, the killer, “No Days Off” captivates. Among the racial and social pressure, some still have to go to work and deal with a universal laborious struggle. “Capt. Pupo” has a simmering intro, with a swaying RATM feel with expected explosions; but the synth play in the second half of the track grips tension equally with dark drum machine rhythms. While “Honeymoon Phase” has a acoustic guitar strum under frenzied snare and a sung bridge until the Bad Brains type thrash commands the track. That soothing section is alluring and returns one minute into the track. Grizzly actually sings here adding to the seduction before again an unfettered release. The lead guitar in the break has a Spanish flavor, echoing the poly-rhythmic approach.

The lead single, "NOGAF", also has a video. E. Grizzly’s visual art here is stunning; replacing the facebook façade with any egotistical need of having a camera follow him bounce around a stage; which of course is a statement in itself. The sonic ebbs and flows of RATM are there; complimented by (again) fluid Spanish/Carribean guitar wails. Pictures of Carlton and other commodified (and appropriated) images fall like cylinders in a vault lock between Grizzly’s lyrics being typed on screen. “Oh the Hypocrisy” is the refrain.

Felipe Pupo explore the placement of culture in this current American society. Knowledge of one’s history paired with contemporary context splinters into schizophrenic urges. And as each generation combines swirling genetic imprints, each generation is its own nascent definition. The fury of this exploration is done under the fetters of an Anglo-defined system. E Grizzly and Labenski provide the soundtrack. And it fucking kills.
RIYL: White Mandingos, Full Scale Riot, Fireburn, Street Sweeper Social Club, McRad, Black Landlord, Downset, Reef The Lost Cauze, Schooly D, Dalek, Wesley Willis Fiasco, The Krays Sangre

Record release parties will be April 27 at Lava Space and April 28th at The Pharmacy in Philadelphia.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Andrew Kline Berthold City Q and A

In 2017 I heard Berthold City, seeing a flyer when I ordered from WAR Records, Miracle Drug 12". I had not realized it was Andrew Kline of Strife on Vocals. Stripped down Hardcore as opposed to the metallic inclination of Strife. Kline gathered some OGs of LAHC for this (Allegiance, Internal Affairs, One X Choice, Final Fight) . A full on nod to Gang Starr with the title and sample. Love this sound. They are coming next week with Kill Your Idols and Fireburn to NYC, Boston, and Philly. Andrew was super cool to talk with and was hyped on this. For good reason. It's killer. Pick up the 6 track EP here.

How long have you guys been a band? How did it all begin?

I started the band in late 2016. I’m always writing songs… I had a handful of songs that were more Youth Crew inspired, and a bit of a different style than either of my other bands. I got together with Adam (our drummer) and we spent a day in the studio working on the songs and tracking the drums for the demo. I played bass and all the guitars on the recording, and then went back a few months later started tracking the vocals.

Once the songs were finished I started putting the lineup together for the band. I have known Dennis McDonald for years since he played with one of my best friends, Corey Williams, in Internal Affairs. I have always been a fan of his energy and stage presence, and he was the first person I had in mind to join the band. Dennis knew John from his old band Allegiance and brought him into the mix… John brought in Devin.

Memorable shows?

Our first show was at Programme in Fullerton with Decline, Drug Control, and Dare… Programme has done so much for the Southern California hardcore scene in the last few years, so I feel like it was a perfect place to play our first show. I am singing for the first time with Berthold City, so it was a pretty unique experience.

We did a short run with Terror and Regulate at the end of December and that was a great run as well. We play San Francisco this weekend with Judge, and I am really looking forward to that.

Plans for 2018?

Our debut 7” comes out in April on WAR Records.  We are playing United Blood fest in Richmond, and we are doing a short East Coast run with Kill Your Idols and Fireburn to support the release. We have already started recording some new material, so hopefully we will have another release out by the end of the year. Aside from that, we just want to play as much as we can.

I see 3/6 songs are from the demo. Were they re-recorded for this EP?

We recorded all 6 songs from the EP in the same recording session. We wanted to release a demo before we did a record, and we really wanted to let the word of mouth about the band spread organically. We sold a few hundred cassettes, and the demo is the top seller in a few categories on Bandcamp including “Straight Edge” and “Youth Crew.” The response has been amazing, and I thank everyone for their support.

Side A will feature the three songs from the demo and side B will feature 3 new songs!

Recording: Producer? Duration? Process?

We recorded with my friend Aaron Jamili (Alpha Omega) at Wormhole Studio in Santa Clarita. He is a really good friend of mine and he was easy to work with and made the recording process painless.

We had the record mastered by the legendary Don Fury as his studio in upstate New York.

I always wanted to record with Don Fury as he is responsible for recording some of the most classic hardcore records of all time. I knew that he was doing a lot of mastering, so I reached out to him.  He did a great job, and added that extra little bit of energy into the tracks. We could have mastered the record elsewhere, but I really wanted to work with Don Fury as a little nod to some of the classic bands that inspired us.

New songs are killer. 

How does the vinyl look? WAR always does a sensational job. Plans of colors?

The record looks awesome! Our good friend, Jeremy Dean, who happens to be one of my favorite graphic designers, did the layout and design. He designed our logo and our first shirts, and I jokingly told him he was our Raymond Pettibon. I really want to keep the aesthetic of the band uniform, so I am really glad to be working with him again.

The first pressing will be on clear and translucent blue with a very limited hand stamped version available for preorders.

Rock Mecca Ironworld Review

Rock Mecca
Soulspazm Records
Review by hutch

This spring, Rock Mecca has released his second album, Ironworld, both being on Soulspazm Records. His flow is laid back but rough, like Lord Finesse or EPMD. But, entrenched in the slow flow is deep knowledge and desire to spread hope and encouragement. Layered production from Jake Polumbo of SPACELab paints gorgeous and musical tapestries. Polumbo has crafted beats for Rock and Pawz One on their recent killer LPs; mixed and mastered Shabaam Sahdeeq’s Keepers of the Lost Art along with credits on work for Sean Price, Royce Da 5'9", Roc Marciano, Ras Kass, Tony Touch, Smif-N-Wessun, Sadat X, Masta Ace, El Da Sensei, and The Beatnuts.

After an intro, we get into “King of Kings” which contemplates a Dead Prez/PE approach to the system’s mind control tactics. While I find the music underwhelming for an opening cut, the precision and sharp delivery of the lyrics is the prize here. While I think of Jimmy Cliff’s “King of Kings”, the opening sample lays the mindset as it hears from street level graffiti kings to those preparing for Jesus and Mohammed. Out the gates, Mecca spits “Make your idols your rivals, challenge ‘em for my first title/ I enter the ring prepared for battle/ I triumph with my science, bring your Bibles and your rifles”. Afterwards, mecca states a sweet flip Cube’s classic “Steady Mobbin’” prelude into a list of positivity with “Rodney King, Martin Luther King, and all the kings in Africa”. That’s powerful. Very impressive. Mecca kills it with wordplay and vengeance intertwined with one phrase, “we’re back for back pay and payback”. God damn. Flipping words in the second verse continues the mind massage:

What if some of these MCs were government agents
Their record labels program us through entertainment
The CEO was the CIA and the A&R (A n R) was the N.R.A
Give them guns so they can flash ‘em on their ads in print
Make it rain but gotta bring it back to US Mint
On the back of the album you see the FBI logo
Against piracy because they working for the Po-Po”

The title of that joint does set the tone for the peppered Jamaican/Rocksteady/Reggae references and musicality which will follow; which I appreciate deeply. Never mind having Jamaican born Canibus on the penultimate joint.

Next up is “One Man Gang”. Rock Mecca touts “OMG – One Man Gang – Oh My God – On My Grind”. A dope chop with choral vocals and hi-hats while Mecca reflects upon fighting his entire life. Mecca consistently punches lyrical allusions to the concept of a fighter throughout Ironworld. ‘Life is a constant struggle’ is a salient theme with the many wrestling bars and Mike Tyson ‘90s quotes plus check the song titles: “Survivor Series”, “One Man Gang”, “Stone Cold”, “Gladiator Schools”, “Prizefights” and “Coliseum”, which nods to not only George ‘The Animal Steele’ or the line “Haile Selassie meets Freddie Blassie” (“Stanley Cups”). The end of “One Man Gang” also uses the glorious The Education of Sonny Carson clip: “sucka think he good. sucka think he can whoop me. I know he can’t whoop me… hey boy (his) whole style chump”. So good.

The third track, “W.A.S.C. (Rebel Anthem)”, belies my description of Rock Mecca’s laid back approach. It’s no coincidence he references Willie D and Bushwick Bill in the first verse. This is an explosive track; exhilarating energy bursting from the speakers. Mecca matches the energy of the first GB album here. Triumphant horns blare while scratches build the excitement which is exponentially amplified when accompanied by the track’s samples. Joseph Simmons’ iconic “Run, Run…” and Chuck D’s “the rebel, the rebel”, and Busta’s emphatic “Powerful impact – BOOM! from the cannon” comprise the hook. The third verse even has Rock Mecca borrow from Uncle L’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Clearly made for older heads that will appreciate (and get pumped) from these classics. Rock’s words invigorate.

After some words from Iron Mike, sultry saxophone and strings are placed over rough drums for “Stone Cold”. This loop is dope. The main hook is a quote slowed the f down, “in the belly of the beast – will I survive to tell the tale.” Again some Rocksteady nods with “Tougher than Tough” (Derrick Morgan) and “Rough Rider” (Prince Buster) are embedded in his lyrics. This track is a chilling perspective, with tone set by Tyson’s callous evaluation, on how to maintain. Mecca ends with:

“This awkward, odd beautiful struggle/ On my job like a single mom tryna juggle
Walking on thin ice while situations get thick/ Play the corners if you wanna
Can’t afford another abysmal dismal year/ Playing the rear
Stay all cried out without ever shedding a tear / Live on a prayer”

Mecca finally gets to uses hi lyrics in story mode for a dark, unforgiving world, “Tunnel Visions”. Maybe the title is an allusion to dudes leaving NYC after the clubs, hitting the Tunnels to go back home; while doubling as a metaphor for the myopic vision of what fame offers discarding the outer reality. The harsh visual proposed by Mecca illuminates:

“Before the sun rises / Before the one night stands, the after-parties
Before the flyers litter the floor / Before the bottles on chill
Become glass shards and liquor spilled / Before breathalyzers, broken rubbers, discarded pills
Before the velvet rope turns to yellow tape / A few hours before the drunk girl awakes to holler rape
Before he pops the trunk, stumbling drunk / Parking lots become a Western
And groupies head to the Westin”

Next, “Gladiator Schools” takes its opportunity to give some knowledge from someone who has seen the struggle. Mecca implores to any lost in the system, while they are in the “school of hard knocks, take rocks and make jewels – show and prove even if you born to lose … in the gladiator schools”. Never accepting excuses, Rock imparts that supposed victims don’t let their negative circumstances define a negative life. Born into a shitty life doesn’t mean you have live a shitty existence. “Gladiator Schools”, in fact, is the single of Ironworld (powered by a dope Kool Keith rally cry for the hook), its cover shows a pair of black hands extended through prison bars reading a book, a stunning image. There are not many situations that make you start from the bottom more severely than coming out of jail; marred with a record and rebuilding after being dehumanized. A felon’s existence, having been forged to react with the basest of human instincts, does not translate into ‘normal’ society. But, it is a reality for many.

Here, Roc Marc does his thing. Bomb as always. Mecca spits deadly with lyrical maneuvering dope shit, getting deep in the mental. Some life advice with a cool hook about hard times. Production is layered and smoky anchored by a trumpet line that goes beyond 4 bars; weaving in and out. We hear punching snares and a repeating swelling of lower horns and some other high pitched noises in there. Cool sample at the end to talk of pursuits.

“Prizefights” is another banger, with somber flutes contrasted by boom-bap snares and other instruments. Mecca’s flow speeds up dropping many jewels while Ratigan spits fire dancehall toasting for the hook. Sirens and screeching sneakers are woven in the music bed as we exit the track with an APB call. The somber track ends with a downer.

“Coliseums” returns to that slow delivery, almost chopped and screwed, lol. Nah, but it is a slower BPM - I feel - than the lyrical fury deserves. A minor note. The horns are killer. A spazzing drum track builds tension as it pulsates under the slower instruments. It opens with a verse from the Queens legend, Tragedy Khadafi; a dope track that will having you thinking while energizing you. I mean, I am reviewing this sober. No doubt that as slow as this beat is, as is the later track, “Killa”, the faxed organ (or melodica) riding low and is dope as fuck when you’re lit. The vibes and reverb and spacey tones panning, the sound is, well, killer. In between is Ron G “Stanley Cups”. I like the chosen music elements; sick long over-lapping guitars and horns.

Rock carries this album practically solo, the first half is all him with Ironworld on his solitary back. He then laces side B with guest appearances; but practically one per track; highlighting the tracks guest spot with exactly delivery. And actually, one appearance is that Ratigan joint, who is solely on the reggae hook and one is DJ Ron G. This aids in allowing the listener to embrace the quality of guests; Roc Marc, Tragedy, and Canibus; and Kool Keith with Vast Aire. Guests only occupy a verse on 4/12 tracks. That’s bold these days where every track is jammed with other MCs. Again “Killa” boasts Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox), Kool Keith, and Mach Hommy. It utilizes that Celph Titled (well, Buckwild) sample of Peter Tosh decrying the “Bumbaklatts” and “the fuckery out there” invading radio speakers with knowledge and rebellion instead of “darling, I bloodclot love you” and “shaking their booty”. Definitely for smokers; the wandering guitar lines while the drums are plodding among lots of echo and reverb. Fun as hell.

Ironworld is a captivating release. Rock Mecca and Polumbo have some slower beats and some upper-tempo ones, not simply relying on boom-bap aesthetics. But the maturity and perspective of the lyrics are solidified as wiser. Rock Mecca came hard for his second full length. Mecca approaches his audience as a hardened warrior ready to fight some more. And willing to persevere until the bell rings.

RIYL: Saigon, Ruste Juxx, Q-Unique, U-God, Masta Killa, Dead Prez

Monday, March 26, 2018

Fucked And Bound Suffrage Review

Fucked And Bound
Atomic Action! Records
Review by hutch
Released 3/2/18

Just a warning, because you will need to buy this record. When you google “fucked and bound”... even with adding the descriptor, “hardcore”; the action will not render the band’s material. Quite different of a result will be yielded. Maybe pictures and websites which are already in your cache. Not my business. But when the inevitable fervent search for Fucked And Bound’s music is imminent, be sure to include the term “band”. Members of He Whose Ox Is Gored of Seattle have formed this treacherous, confrontational hardcore punk band, Fucked And Bound. The name echoes the lyrics and screams to shock and retain your attention. They are not just a heavy hardcore punk band. Suffrage, their first release, embodies politics and declarations regarding today’s female perspective in this society and scene.

Suffrage’s song unabashedly incorporate a rock swing and groove feel while still being rough and coarse. (early) Coliseum and Trap Them all come to mind. FAB may venture into d-beat but that is too limiting a term. The swing of Despise You is paired with the brash impact of Fucking Invincible, Heresy and Dropdead. Suffrage has amazing production, heavy on the low end. The rumble in the bass and drums rides dirty and low. Suffrage was tracked and mixed by Robert Cheek at Electric Wall Studios and ExEx Audio and mastered by Blake Bickel at Dynamic Sound Services. Cheek and Bickel took this quartet’s sporadic spasms and eclectic amassing of influences and molded quite a finished product. Some of these songs take grander, pulsating moments with angular indulgences (the third track, “Dead Bop”, is the first to tease this; “My Love” again visits this.). Some slower sludge parts peperred throughout give the album the variation and refuses to be repetitive. Twelve songs range from 30 seconds to 2 minute; ending with a four minute joint as the thirteenth track.

Lisa Mungo has a combative pair of lungs and a scratchy throat. Her commanding vocals charge forward above the thrashing riffs and blistering drums. And while feminist issues are presented, do not brush Suffrage’s lyrics with a single stroke. The band’s approach to feminism expounds into every citizen’s duty to question the established paradigms of Western culture. Extrapolation is a tool. Fucked and Bound – beyond its jarring sexual connotation – is a perfect name for the band, because it encapsulates their cynical viewpoint of the average person’s condition. The nihilistic response may be bleak but fuck me if it doesn’t give us a killer record.

LISTEN AND BUY on bandcamp

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wake Misery Rites Review

Misery Rites
Translation Loss
Out Feb 23 2018
Review by hutch

Wake has been lingering in the background of larger bands for a while, continually astonishing grind fiends. Coming from Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2010, Wake has released something each year (save 2015); including three LPs, one EP, and three split EPs. From the first release, the 2010 LP, Leeches, I was hooked. Almost all have been on separate labels, including respected mainstays such as Sentient Ruin and Give Praise. Here on Misery Rites, Translation Loss (on an amazing streak) presents a blistering example of how grandiose yet compact and succinct grindcore can be. Wake deliver atmospheric haze over the tightly produced material. Wake decimates with speed but also taut precision; adding chaotic elements that all synergize to a punishing product.

Guitarist, Rob LeChance, spearheads the writing and Wake’s direction. When handing Misery Rites to production, the band decided to streamline by having the album recorded, mixed, and mastered with Dave Otero at Flatline Audio (Khemmis, Primitive Man, Cobalt). This process, and a larger vision, has added to this band’s impactful canon. While Wake has proven repeatedly that they can crank out the relentless hammering of grind/death with stunning results. On Misery Rites, however, Wake grasps at more. The opener, touting lyrics, “the cycle starts”, prepares the listener and Misery Rites maintains a ravaging atmosphere until the seven minute closer. Having played the album on repeat in succession many times, I can vouch for the intended cycle of pacing. In between, Wake plants a treacherous mid-section of slightly longer tracks (“Paradigm Lost” at 3:38; “Exiled”, 2:49p); as they plod and stew and fester. Even the shorter blast-driven tracks writhe in a much heavier, stagnating, burdensome and miserable miasma. This salient vibe lends to Misery Rite’s cohesion.

Song titles definitely follow (or implement) a chronological flow to the album. Adding to the lyrics mentioned, referencing the “Cycle”; the death related journey ushers the listener with: Exhumation, Misery Rites, Embers, Rot, Paradigm Lost, Exiled, Rumination, Bitter Winter, Burial Ground. “Burial Ground” lays Misery Rites to rest in two parts. First, Wake gives us a black metal scorcher that speeds through with tragic implications. Then, a climactic proclamation stands, with slow rhythms, for the final four minutes. Ball’s declarations of regret, “I never change” echoes and repeats. The audience is dragged down, descending into filth, blackened loathing and madness. Josh Bueckert’s dynamic control on his drums is impressive here.
The grandiose appeal of the production, the low tuning, and the apocalyptic mastery all add to aiming higher in songwriting and fucking nailing it. In about 26 minutes. 7/9 tracks are 1:30 to 2:30. Blastbeats and thunderous fills from Bueckert on drums carry this monstrous album to victorious heights. “Embers” has a cool 10 second reprieve with a looming angular guitar string twitching in the middle, but mostly the track bangs away. Penultimate track, “Bitter Winter”, which leads to the meandering, foggy final, ends its duration with a minute of mid-paced pounding. But let me not relay a slower Wake. This album rips and tears with hammering riffs from Arjun Gill and LaChance under Kyle Ball’s commanding vocals.

Playing in headphones for over a month, Misery Rites has not grown weary. The one-two punch of the title track and “Embers” tantalize each play. Even after two hours of consecutive plays. It is impossible to not think of recent Napalm Death with music, production, and vocal delivery, but that is some reverent praise! This brutal gauntlet of riffs and beatings, Misery Rites should move Wake across the States and Canada (they tour 3.10.18 to 4.11.18) to pulverize welcoming eardrums.

RIYL: Napalm Death (especially last 4), Rotten Sound, Nasum, Lock Up, Kill The Client, Implore

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Jan 2018 Splits Reissues Compilations EPs


Holy Terror Total Terror Box Set Dissonance Productions
Holy Terror Terror and Submission Back On Black BOBV512LP
Out Now
Holy Terror was a Los Angeles band that savagely represented thrash. Their two first albums are legendary. Submission (1987) and Mind Wars (1988) are heralded in the cannon of US thrash, although mostly to the passionate fans that dare to dig beyond the common names. But, that hunt just became easier. Dissonance Productions presents Total Terror which will be available to North American headbangers on February 9th, 2018. Holy Terror’s entire catalog is on 5 CDs. Terror And Submission (1987), Mind Wars (1988), El Revengo (2006), live album Live Terror-Live In Dendermonde, plus a rare DVD featuring multiple live shows and videos. called the band, "faster than Slayer, heavier than Exodus, and more melodic than Megadeth." Terror Submission comes on vinyl in white and red splatter.

The Ocean Precambrian Pelagic Records
Late Feb 2018
The Ocean's Precambrian was released in November 2007. An impressive post-metal trek, a la Neurosis, Converge, Gojira, and ISIS, The Ocean presented a challenging album packed with tense riffs, looming heaviness and angular guitars played concise and sharp. The schizophrenic dynamics of this milestone mock any attempt at classification beyond ‘metal’. Strapped with vocal conviction over chunky bass lines, Precambrian relies on intellect as much as grit. Seven albums deep, tours with peers like Mastodon, BTBAM, Opeth, and Kylesa show The Ocrean’s growth and impact. The Ocean refer to themselves as a “collective” leaning on a constant rotation of contributors and artists.
Precambrian cherishes the metal tech wizardry as much as raw emotion and delivery of hardcore.  Precambrian itself embodies variety with guest appearances by Caleb Scofield (Cave In, Old Man Gloom), Nate Newton (Converge), Tomas Hallbom (Breach), Eric Kalsbeek (ex-Textures), and musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. This tenth anniversary edition of Precambrian (released on March 16th, 2018) relishes in a re-recording of ten-minute "Rhyacian"; played by the current lineup of guitarist Robin Staps, vocalist Loic Rossetti, drummer Paul Seidel and bassist Mattias Hägerstrand.
To celebrate, The Ocean will play the entire Precambrian with a headlining set at Doom Over Leipzig Festival on April 21st, 2018.
Each of the three packages is limited to 250
LP1: ultraclear w/black and orange smoke; LP2: beer w/ dark red smoke; LP3: transparent orange w/ black and dark red smoke.
LP1: silver and clear, A-Side / B-Side w/ black splatter; LP2: brass & beer, A-Side / B-Side w/ black and red splatter; LP3: gold and clear orange, A-Side / B-Side w/ black & red splatter
LP1: beer in ultraclear; LP2: transparent orange in ultraclear; LP3: transparent red in ultraclear

Unearth The Oncoming Storm Metal Blade
Jan 26, 2018
Metal Blade Records will re-issue The Oncoming Storm. This was the album that propelled Unearth into the forefront of the resurgence of American metal. As the band’s (and the scene’s) writing was growing beyond the formulaic (but still loved!) metalcore. This went beyond beatdown riffs to start a pit in a local venue. Metal was shedding its dirty word status and embracing the dynamic song structures, melodies, solos, and musicianship of the records the hardcore kids had back home. Massachusetts sure spat a few out of note. Unearth have always kept it humble and honest. On The Oncoming Storm fans can revisit the classic sound that saw them transition into the revered beast of later days.
VINYL: 180g black; orange-brown marbled, 300; "flame" splattered, 200; pumpkin orange marbled, 300; root beer marbled vinyl; 300; gold / black split, 700.

ALESTORM Captain Morgan`s Revenge – 10th Anniversary Edition Napalm Records
January 26, 2018
In 2008, Alestorm secured a large fan base with their mixing of storytelling and catchy metal. Sharp guitars and clean production and rowdy lyrics ensured waves of attention. Here, Captain Morgan`s Revenge is resurrected with “a fresh remix and remastering by original producer Lasse Lammert at his LSD studios plus rejuvenated artwork.” The Live At Summer Breeze bonus disc is included as well. Alestorm combine meaty riffs and raging rhythms with folktale aesthetics and symphonic metal grandiosity. Their tales are alluring when paired with punctuated production and mesmerizing guitar leads revisit the beginning of Alestorm!

Let it Burn
Jan 26, 2018
400 on yellow transparent w/ multicolor splatter; also, black vinyl/ Digipak CD/ Digital

To The Center
Feb 16, 2018
400 on red transparent w/ multicolor splatter; also, black vinyl/ Digipak CD/ Digital

Dos EPs
Mar 02, 2018
400 on transparent w/ multicolor splatter; also, black vinyl/ Digipak CD/ Digital

In 1997, Nebula was spawned in Los Angeles when guitarist, Eddie Glass, and drummer, Ruben Romano, left Fu Manchu. Arguably, their final sound would not be much of a departure. But, in fact, audiences can hear the rise of the musicianship above just riffs. Romano and Glass revel in a freedom and exuberance that, whether roiling or simmering, allow each to mark their artistic territory. Capturing the essence of psych/stoner rock, this power trio (after recruiting bassist, Mark Abshire) encapsulate the volume and songwriting of Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and Hendrix; but also cite The MC5, The Stooges (check the cool strut of “I Need Somebody” on To the Center) and bands like TAD, Skin Yard, and Mudhoney. The unfettered expressionism resort in variety, such as laying back for seven minutes (“Fly On” on Dos EPs) as well as the reserved Hammond on “Smokin Woman” (Dos EPs). Nebula lead you through expanding your third eye (“Fields of Psilocybin” on To the Center) or trudging heavy riffs on “Dragon Eye” and “Devil’s Liquid” (both scorchers on Let It Burn). Nebula’s three releases here utilize the silky leads and fuzzy bass and raucous drums of stoner rock; plus instruments like the sitar, piano, and organ. They expand the impact of their songs with the usual psychedelic filtered effects; soaking in flange, delay, panning, reverb and wah-wah to lead an audience’s mental and aural attention. Each reissue presents the full album Dos EPs being the split and on gatefold (or 6 panel digipak on CD) plus two unreleased tracks. This is a gorgeous way to celebrate twenty years of Nebula.

Windhand/Satans Satyrs split 12” Relapse Records
Feb 16, 2018
Richmond, VA present two of their macabre darlings. Windhand resurface after the glorious 2015 LP, Grief’s Infernal Flower. Clayton Burgess’ brainchild, Satan’s Satyrs, have not released anything since 2015 either. This 12” positions its balance on Satan’s Satyrs’ raw riffs and gusto with Windhand’s musicality and challenging of paradigms. The five tracks demand a 12” format. Windhand, always prolonging their heavy psych-doom, open with “Old Evil” at six minutes. Afterwards, the extensive, 14 minute (ain’t nothing new for them) “Three Sisters” is unleashed. Dorthia Cottrell’s vocals are pushed more forward than usual, above the swirling dense tones; drenched in emotionally draining hooks, hammered slowly. The heavy droning riffs are coupled with a haunting organ, riding slow waves of plodding drums.
If lulled by Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs side is a jolting slap. While still sinister and ominous, Satan’s Satyrs uses rambunctious rhythms and raucous ‘70s riffs. This is big volume contained under four minutes. The closer, “Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby”, is a stripped down rocker, echoing the opener “Alucard AD 2018”, with its glam-inspired strut, The mid jam, “Succubus”, is darker depending on atmosphere and a gritty tension.
VINYL: 2500 on black; 400, metallic gold; 300, baby pink with mustard; 300, bone white and purple splatter; 100, black and metallic gold merge with white and gold splatter.

Endorphins Lost / Osk split 7" Rotten To The Core Records/ Delusions Of Terror Records/ Agromosh Records/ You All Die Records/ New Age Pyrate Punks Records
Feb 1, 2018
Seattle’s Endorphins Lost captivated fans with their punishing grindcore just over a year ago, in November 2016. A caustic debut, Choose Your Way, on Six Weeks Records, portrayed Endorphins Lost’s version of old school crusty powerviolence. Done with bombastic, crisp production, this fevered punk is served again with four new tracks on this split 7” EP. Spanning from 12 to 90 seconds, Endorphins Lost kill tracks in the vein of Napalm Death, Spazz, Despise You, and Phobia. “Mercy for One” is a beast and its fits of rage into a slowed down thick groove breakdown is explosive. This is grind or powerviolence whatever to perfection. The sound and unrelenting power is one of the best of recent years.
Canadian grind/hardcore band, OSK, add three crushing tracks. The vocals are more abrasive. OSK fly through minute and a half long spurts with some contagious fervor. “Let’s Play A House Show” adds a slight groove to its crunch. All three songs are handled with a pummeling low end, emphasized by big punches from the bass drum. Tough as nails stuff here.

Fistula Splits with –(16)- + Come To Grief Patac Records
Out now
Fistula / Come To Grief split: Ooof. Come To Grief’s “Take Me in My Sleep” is six minutes of bludgeoning, low-tuned, sluggish despair. Jon Hebert’s raspy growls relay the song title’s desperation. This is not a frantic, sweaty desperation, but one profusely embedded in hopelessness and defeat. “Take Me in My Sleep” is a brutally miserable onslaught of loathsome attrition; chiseling at faith in restitution. Fistula follows CTG’s pace with their track, dragging in at six minutes as well. “There is no hope, there is no reason why – we should go on – we should not die” are the lyrics sung by frontman, Dan Harrington. Fistula distinguish their imprint by sectioning their duration. At two minutes, the riff changes slightly in tone and tempo but not pace. The growls still spew vitriol at “fakes and liars, hypocrites”. Then at 3:25, a distinct crisp groove enters the picture; with a –(16)- or even Helmet or Fudge Tunnel (Creep Diets) type stomp. Heavy as hell and twisted and misanthropic. Bad ass song of fetid fury.
150 copies of silver metallic cassette; 100, Clear Vinyl; 150, Transparent Red/Black Smoke Vinyl (PATAC exclusive); 250, Black Vinyl

-(16)- / Fistula split: Here –(16)- grabs a classic Killing Joke track from their debut LP and extracts the spirits but churns the track with its own imprint. –(16)- utilizes their sludge stamp but highlights the melodic guitar line for contrast against the driving, fuzzy bass “Complication” becomes darker and more sinister than its parent song. Fistula hone in on Devo’s punk pith for their cover of “Mongoloid” and nail it. “Mongoloid” fits Fistula’s oeuvre all too well. And they conjure the inner spite while eschewing any pop or electronic elements. Heavy reverb bass and down tuned riffs, strengthened by Harrington’s screams shape the ugliest beauty. “Mongoloid” becomes a tarnished, twisted track of rocking punk. 
100x Clear Vinyl; 150x Aqua Vinyl (PATAC exclusive); 250x Black Vinyl
Fistula will unveil four more splits with Hemdale, Bloodsick, Fister, and one final band to be announced at a later date. Additionally, the band will issue a vinyl version of 2016’s Longing For Infection with a bonus etched seven-inch from the recording session.

Iron Reagan / Gatecreeper split LP Relapse Records
March 2 2018
Stomping into 2018, Relapse Records give the world two raging bands on one slab of wax. Iron Reagan’s scalding crossover and Gatecreeper’s punishing death metal have impressed fans globally. Relapse Records cemented classic status by having the two bands attend the same studio, the lauded GodCity with Kurt Ballou producing. Both bands are hitting the road with one off shows and fests immediately in January 2018. Relapse posted a track from each on YouTube: Iron Reagan’s two minute “Paper Shredder” is one of their five tracks on side A; Gatecreeper’s “War Has Begun” is one of their three which pummels eardrums for four minutes. Unique shirts with both bands logo and the artwork are available in black or white. Available on CD and vinyl: 100 on bone white and blood red merge with black splatter; 300 on bone white with blood red + black splatter; also, black vinyl. 
Flytraps Outro Records
Out Now
The Flytraps have been a quartet of all female, with a surfier, reverb sound. Now, with three ladies and a dude, the band is darker and faster and more straight-up garage punk. Whatever the formula and combination, this new 7” captures their snarling swagger with three punchy tracks. The L.A. quartet gives us “All Talk”; “He's Been Around” - a fast-paced, jangly lo-fi classic- and “Doin' It Right”. The Flytraps play dense garage punk rock with slithering female vocals and attitude that flaunts meandering bass, tight guitar licks, and rugged drums. 100 on red vinyl; rest on black.

Hell Bent Demo EP (Cassette) Self-release
Jan 12, 2018
Rhode Island’s Hell Bent spews three-ish minute tracks that combine searing elements of thrash, d-beat, crossover, and hardcore – if you need a label beyond “whoah”. Hell Bent boasts the menacing vocals of long time screamer, Aaron Badger, of Straight To Hell, Ulcer, and Paindriver. Other members have spent time in Dropdead and Neon Bitches. This demo was released last year on a very limited cassette version aside from digitally. Kicking off the New Year proper, they are repressing with a more expanded run on cassette.
Hell Bent execute furious, dark metal. Six tracks here exhibit speed-driven riffs with catchy time changes and powerful bass. The brash guitars and pounding drums push and push behind the experienced lungs of Badger. “Yeast” is a blistering opener. These are hardcore thrash songs with taut riffs and more dynamic parts in the songwriting; blazing tracks anchored by breakdowns for the pit. “Bastard Curse of Abraham” starts with a slower, trudging pace which gains momentum, then ebbs into the mid-tempo, building the anticipation. After 90 seconds the final minute, spazzes forward again with tight thrash riffs. Rest of the demo has infectious, energizing tracks that move into dark, down-tuned thrash. See these dudes live if you get the chance. Killer honest metal/hardcore with a voracious hunger. And the bite to match
Silver print on black cassette, deluxe edition comes with an embroidered patch and sticker.

Pissed Regardless Feed the Birds Creator Destructor Records *(Earsplit PR)
February 16th, 2018
San Diego-based thrash purveyors, Pissed Regardless, are releasing their dark, negative take on hardcore based crossover. Feed The Birds is thick and powerful. The condemning ferocity of the vocals match the brutal music. Incensed vocals and frenzied drum patterns switch on dimes to bring pulsating respits and breakdowns (bordering on grind at times). Heavy riffs accompany slick chops and relentless double bass drums bellowing disdain for a rotten world. Pissed Regardless call to influences like 90’s Earache and 80’s NYHC to currents like SSS, Ramming Speed, and This Is Hell. Again, heavy.

Gnaw Bone Scorched Earth Auris Apothecary
January 15th, 2018
Indiana’s malevolent trio create treachery and devastation with a new four track EP. Their names and duties are recorded simply as B, Rhythm & Voice; R, Thunder & Voice; S, Noise & Voice; the mysterious aspect adding to the chaotic atmosphere of their blackened doom sludge. Enmity and sadism are instruments as much as any guitar. Four to six minutes each, tracks like “The End” (which begins the EP) revel in noise and sonic abstraction. Thick and pounding, the EP conjures spiteful snarling and disdainful cynicism. Limited edition vinyl is on ultra-heavy 180 gram vinyl, on crystal clear transparent vinyl, a double-sided insert, and a heavyweight 24pt jacket. Deluxe edition includes crushed bones pressed into the wax. *Includes digital download

Americas Hardcore Vol 4 Triple B Records
Ships Jan 26, 2018
Continuing its beloved series, Triple B – who had a spectacular 2017 – deliver Volume 4. This installment visits us with upstarts, Brother (New Bedford, MA) – Negative Approach-style female fronted hardcore with new bassist, George Radford (She Rides, F.I., Dropdead); Krimewatch, old school, abrasive, punky hardcore with a mix of NYC and Japanese members and lyrics (3/4 female as well); Line Of Sight, DC SXE revival with mosh friendly two step rhythms and ferocious guitars; Glory, infectious Boston Youth Crew Hardcore; Pure Disgust, punishing DC thrash; the metallic frenzy of Primal Rite (LP coming on Revelation 2018); Free, new track after their stellar 2017 7” of eclectic influences; and big wigs like hardcore super group NYHC style, World Be Free and Baltimore’s titans, Trapped Under Ice. 
“Each band also designed and submitted their own pages for a 20-page, 12" x 12" insert booklet included with each record. LP includes digital download. These will ship in January. All copies come with a free immediate download.”

Aqua Blue, 700; Purple with White Swirl, 500; Red White Blue Tri-Stripe, 300.