Friday, June 1, 2018

Purgatory Cold Side of Reality Review

Cold Side of Reality 
Unbeaten Records
June 1 2018

Purgatory come out of Nebraska, pounding a dismal and brutal brand of hardcore. They do not linger in limbo, but have dedicated themselves to a caustic delivery of savage hardcore. Purgatory have one mission: the salvation of the breakdown. Resurrecting the 90s metallic ethos, Purgatory nods to those bands’ legacies. This band goes all out in one direction. Purgatory’s Cold Side of Reality is eight tracks of menacing beatdown hardcore.

The full-length debut, on Buddy Armstrong’s (Stigmata) Unbeaten Records (who has given us Left Behind and No Victory), is racing with catchy riffs and hard as nails drumming. The nodding rhythms, often riding a double bass, found an alliance with bitter, scathing lyrics. Only having released an EP in 2015, Gospel of War, Purgatory have gained notoriety on their furious live shows; which have seen them open for Cruel Hand, Harm’s Way, Twitching Tongues, Ringworm, Terror, All Out War, Blood For Blood, Stigmata, Leeway, Merauder and Knocked Loose; plus an April tour with Since The Flood and Absolute Suffering.

“You’ve never felt real fear – you’ve never known true pain
Face to face with the .45 – Do what it takes to survive”

The title track opens the album. Maybe it is because I have been rewatching The Wire. The slow riffs drip like molasses, with trickling bounce from double bass rhythms and tings of cymbals with accents from the guitars high strings. The mood is bleak and callous. The lyrics drive this atmosphere home with tangible tales of the gutter. Speaking on the new album vocalist and co-songwriter Matt Anderson said “a lot of emotion went into these songs, it’s violent and angry but wrapped in feelings of anxiety and personal pain. The songs reflect the problems and the truth of a society that most people ignore or are just ignorant of.”

Anderson and tenured guitarist, Josh Mata, have found rejuvenation with new members: Jake Henry on guitar, Adam Easterling on drums (also of Orthodox) and Brian Pilla on bass (also in No Victory). The new energy and focus profusely emanates from these new tracks; pissed and unapologetic. “Violence as My Vice” pounds incessantly and offers no penance for offenders; with a guest spot from Bob Riley. By third track, I am ready for a little burst in the tempo. Purgatory deliver that with a faster track, “Sincerely Yours”. Picking up the pace for a soundtrack of picking up change is well served. The next track does the same. The production stands out as Easterling’s drumming is varied and pronounced; serving up layers of punctuation. Guitar leads, in quick measures, spurt forward adding nuance to the chugging riffs.

Side B steps up the intensity in songwriting and is heightened by a guest spot from Mike Score. This might be my favorite track. The remaining three tracks continue to pulverize. Purgatory push and push; laying down hard ass tracks with nuanced guitar work and stellar production (“Pray for Death” has great bass line which is highlighted in a breakdown and some killer dive-bombs!). They tracks are blistering testaments to enmity. The roiling rage is palpable (“Forced Failure”) never shying from aggression and confrontation. Picking up the speed and not solely relying on repeated breakdown makes the breakdowns appreciated.

Unbeaten presents The Cold Side of Reality on Clear w/ Black Smoke Vinyl and CD.

RIYL: Cold As Life, Merauder, All Out War, Stigmata, God’s Hate, Xibalba, Harm’s Way
July Tour (More TBA)
July 13 Kent Ohio @ The Outpost (with All Out War, Sworn Enemy and Dissent)
July 14 Detroit MI @ “Motor City Fest” The Sanctuary
July 15 Johnson City, NY @ Avenue DIY (with All Out War, Sworn Enemy and Dissent)

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 fa├žade 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