Review: Mongol Horde’s Mongol Horde

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Frank Turner returning to heavy music is a dream come true for a lot of us who were raised on Million Dead, the post hardcore band Turner fronted before he decided to go solo and make folk pop. Turner has been messing around under the Mongol Horde name with fellow Million Dead stalwart Ben Dawson and Sleeping Souls member Matt Nasir for 2 years now and while a few songs have been drip-fed to the public nobody was expecting an album materialise out of thin air. For the unsuspecting public it really felt the way when their debut self-titled album was announced a week before release and the no bullshit approach to announcing the record really suits the music it contains.

Despite being a heavy record, this is a very different beast to Million Dead. Mongol Horde make hardcore punk infused with groove metal and each song is built around a massive down-tuned riff, frantic punk drumming from Dawson and an absolutely furious roar from Turner. This is the sort of album Refused and earthtone9 might make if they ran really fast into each other.

What’s really interesting about the band’s formula is that no real effort has been made to beef up their rather bare-bones sound. Nasir makes up for the lack of bass guitar by tuning his guitar low and running it through the dirtiest fuzzbox he has available. This gives the band a satisfying quiet/loud dynamic that means the verses generally lack bass before it drops into the mix for a massive chorus. It’s simple but amazingly powerful stuff.

Turner has also approached the vocals in a very different fashion. The man almost exclusively uses screams and spoken vocals and there’s more than a touch of humour to Turner’s lyrics. Tapeworm Uprising chronicles the journey of Natalie Portman’s tapeworm as it escapes her body to found a new republic for tapeworms. Blistering Blue Barnacles discusses the career advice Turner was given that lead him to captain his own ship just to satisfy his inferiority. Winkyface: The Mark of a Moron discusses the modern phenomena known as using emoticons instead of actual words to express yourself. It’s beautifully bizarre stuff and despite the almost constant screaming, Turner is incredibly clear and expressive which really engages you in the bonkers scenarios he creates.

The album is superbly consistent with every track being built around a traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure that puts emphasis on Nasir’s enormous riffs and Turner’s aggressive choruses. It’s all tied together by an absolutely relentless display of drumming from Dawson who sounds like he probably got through about ten pairs of sticks per song.

The only real let-down comes in the lack of bass. On occasion the songs feel somewhat lacking without a dedicated bass-line and the furious openings to Casual Threats from Weekend Hardmen and Your Problem are great examples. It’s only a minor complaint as the bass often strikes at the most opportune moments, but you can’t help but imagine how utterly devastating the band would sound if the riffs were bolstered by that extra bit of bass.

Regardless, this is an explosive debut by one of the weirdest bands in heavy music right now. Mongol Horde’s self-titled debut album is equal parts punk and groove and it’s presented as a series of surrealist stories told by Turner that give the band an identity of their own. Welcome back Frank; we’ve missed your unhinged side.

8/10

Mongol Horde’s debut self-titled album is out now and available to buy direct from Xtra Mile Recordings.


Review: Goodtime Boys’ Rain

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Goodtime Boys have come a long way since 2010. When the band started out they were a far more aggressive and no-frills, hardcore punk band but fast forward four years and they’ve grown exponentially as songwriters.

While it’s clear the band’s music is still rooted in punk, Goodtime Boys have taken cues from post hardcore for their debut album Rain and the resulting sound is far more song-driven. This means the band’s music is ever so slightly less progressive. Also, hooks and melodies are often drawn out longer than on previous records.

The obvious improvement comes with the band’s song structures. The music on Rain has a far more natural flow that means melodies often build and build over the course of a song. Starting from a stripped back, vocal-lead introduction, more elements are introduced before things are really set off with some beautiful, glassy lead guitar like on Doubt.

Melody has also started to infect vocalist Alex Pennie. Pennie’s vocals are still predominantly screamed in his wonderful, heartfelt bark, but as opener Washout and Newspaper Sky prove, the man can add some eerie atmosphere to the band’s music through his voice alone.

In fact, the only time Goodtime Boys return to their balls-to-the-wall past is on Moral Decay which spends the first half of the song beating you round the head with thrashy drumming and a relentless punk riff that will ignite some serious pits. But even this track can’t escape the band’s fine-tuned musicianship because the second half manages to dial things back before an uplifting crescendo full of tremolo picking. This really is superb stuff.

The album also benefits from having Scumscene favourite Lewis Johns at the mixing desk (which would be obvious considering he’s actually a member of Goodtime Boys). The reason why we love Johns so much is because his production never compromises a live sound in favour of precision. Johns also manages to keep all the energy and grit that comes with an aggressive performance but makes every element of the sound super clear.

Goodtime Boys have really hit their stride on Rain and it’s an album every post hardcore fan should consider owning. The music is still aggressive but it now flourishes into gorgeous melodies drenched in haunting atmosphere. 2014 has been a stunning year for post hardcore records with Vales delivering an equally excellent album and it’s about time we recognise Goodtime Boys in a similar light. Rain is an astonishing debut album that deserves your attention.

9/10

Goodtime Boys’ Rain is out now and available to buy from Bridge Nine and direct from the band.


Review: All the Best Tapes’ All the Best Tapes

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Weirdness! I like a touch of the odd when it comes to music because bands who are more willing to be a bit strange often stumble across the most interesting ideas and All the Best Tapes are no exception. It should be obvious that any band who names themselves after a David Firth quote are going be a bit on the weird side, but nothing can prepare you for the mathcore/screamo lunacy that is All the Best Tapes’ self-titled debut album.

Coming across like a punch-up between Battle for Paris and Press to Meco, All the Best Tapes’ music is loaded with melody and soaring vocals but the song structures are hugely technical and progressive. No riff is revisited and no tempo is left unconquered. This is extremely challenging stuff but thankfully it’s loaded with enough memorable moments to make it engaging.

It’s also worth mentioning the tone of the record; All the Best Tapes have a knack for writing rather positive and uplifting music despite their balls-out approach and one particularly morbid song title (I’ve Been Bored Since 9/11). The band also veers into pop punk territory on occasion and the opening of Life of Gold certainly fits this mould. Enough can’t be said about how wonderfully diverse this record is.

Diversity is definitely the name of the game when it comes to All the Best Tapes. Album opener I Want to Believe has a brilliant breakdown which slows shifts into slower tempos before ramping it up for one last hurrah before the song ends. I’ve Been Bored Since 9/11 begins with some lovely reverb-heavy yet jangly guitar before stepping it up a notch and Conservatoria in Threes is full of lovely little laser-like effects that continue to add to this quite mental, space-rock odyssey.

If it isn’t apparent yet, there’s an awful lot going on here but All the Best Tapes’ real mastery lies in how well they tie it all together. The band’s sound is always consistent and each song always showcases three distinct elements; delicate yet uplifting vocal melodies, jangly space-rock passages and thunderous yet mathy riffs. It might sound like complete chaos but you soon realise that there’s method to this madness.

All the Best Tapes have put together an extremely diverse and challenging record that cleverly drenches all the music’s elements in a huge helping of melody. Albums like this are proper once-in-a-lifetime experiences and nothing can prepare you for how utterly bonkers it all sounds while still sounding like a cohesive record. Well done All the Best Tapes and thanks for being so mind-bogglingly weird.

9/10

All the Best Tapes’ self-titled debut album is out now and available to buy through FXD Records.


Review: Bad For Lazarus’ Life’s a Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang!

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So here it is; Bad for Lazarus’ debut album has finally arrived. Formed by Rich Fownes back in 2009, the band have made their name by being a frantically hypnotic live act and after a series of singles and the odd EP they’ve seen fit to make the jump to full length record. It’s been an odd journey to get to this point as the album seemed like it was due for release a long time ago and even current singles like Burnt! didn’t make the final track list. Regardless, Bad for Lazarus have decided that Life’s a Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang! in this form is the best example of their achievements to date and it’s difficult to argue with them.

If you’ve yet to experience the grungy rock ‘n’ roll glory that is Bad For Lazarus then try to imagine the sort of thing that Little Richard would make if he resurrected Kurt Cobain and joined The Hives. This is big, bluesy, poppy rock ‘n’ roll written with nasty guitar tones and a huge helping of fun.

What becomes apparent very early on in your first play of Life’s a Carnival is that the record is absolutely crammed with singles. This makes complete sense when you think about the five singles that preceded it, but Bad for Lazarus are scarily good at making a catchy little number or twelve. Caught in the Twist is a funky affair that puts the gnarly guitar tones front and centre, My Muddle’s keyboard riff is pure earworm glory and Bad Stallion is superlative in its raw, post punk madness. There is no shortage of infectious melodies on this record.

Thankfully Bad for Lazarus’ rather unruly style makes the album wonderfully exciting and it constantly throws surprises at you. Disco Biscuits (For Breakfast) puts a soulful little vocal melody in the mix and it really sets the song off. A change of vocalists ensues for 7 Minute Itch which allows guest vocalist Liela Moss to take centre stage. What’s so excellent about this track in particular is that despite the change to female vocals, the song is clearly Bad for Lazarus which is a true testament to how beautifully original the band sound.

Continuing with vocals, an interesting change has occurred with Fownes himself as the frontman has completely dropped his lower, gruntier vocal style in favour of a higher, cleaner range that has a retro rock ‘n’ roll vibe. It generally suits the music on Life’s a Carnival much better than Fownes’ lower range did on some of the band’s older material with one exception; Old Rats on a New Ship. Old Rats is the band’s first song and after five years of hearing it with Fownes’ lower vocal range, it simply sounds wrong without it. It’s still a brilliant song with its massive hip hop beat still taking the driver’s seat, but something’s lost without Fownes’ deeper, bluesier vocals.

Regardless, this is a minor complaint on a near flawless album. Bad for Lazarus’ debut album may have been a long time coming but the five years the band have spent writing, recording and touring has changed them into a well-oiled yet raucous, blues rock machine. Life’s a Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang! is loaded with infectious songs and there isn’t a minute of it that’s not worthy of your attention. Buy this album and tell your friends; Bad For Lazarus are coming to town.

9/10

Bad For Lazarus’ Life’s a Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang! is out now and available to buy through 1-2-3-4 Records.


Review: Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind

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Whilst listening to Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind EP I wondered if people are happy with digesting pop punk band after pop punk band who are happy to just regurgitate each other’s material. How many You Me at Sixs, Kids in Glass Houses’, Paramores and Lower than Atlantis’ do we really need and what’s defining them outside of having different sounding vocalists? I can’t help but think that pop punk has plateaued and bringing something new to the genre is near impossible at this point.

So, Nathan Detroit then; they’re a pop punk band. They sound like the aforementioned bands. You’ve got radio friendly, pop song structures, sugary vocals and upbeat melodies. There’s no aggression on show here; Nathan Detroit want you to stick your arm round a friend and pogo your floppy fringes off and for the most part it’s difficult to criticise a band that sound like such a lovely bunch of happy lads. Your Mum would certainly approve of their poster on your wall.

Now let’s talk music; Peace of Mind kicks into action with The Way Down which is a glittery, jangly anthem with big, soaring choruses that see the shiny guitar tones opt for a bit of overdrive to give things a satisfying punch. Some songs tend to favour the overdrive pedal a little more than others like the explosive Never Enough which bursts out the gates and keeps up the pace for the entirety of the song. It’s all very well written and absolutely crammed with earworm choruses that will help the band appeal to a huge audience.

So why does the whole EP leave a massive emptiness in my ears? Nathan Detroit’s music is so devoid of creativity that it simply becomes an occurrence instead of an event. The pop punk formula is so established now that Nathan Detroit could simply change their name to Me Vs Hero and nobody would notice. There is nothing identifying about the band’s music and it’s a bit sad listening to a band that offer nothing unique.

The real shame is that there is nothing particularly wrong with the band’s music. The choruses are memorable, the riffs are decent, the song writing is great and it’s incredibly well produced, but listening to it is like being shown two different shades of Dulux white paint and being asked if you can see a difference. But who am I to complain? A legion of kids will happily lap this up and hail them the new kings of pop punk simply because they adhere to the standard and pull it off well.

Nathan Detroit are a pop punk band. If these words are enough to interest you then you’ll probably like them. Peace of Mind is a solid, well written EP that will satisfy fans of the genre, but its biggest problem is exactly that. Are you happy to welcome another pop punk clone into your life or do you want something that offers some originality? I am firmly in the latter camp and this EP has done nothing to convince me that Nathan Detroit have anything unique that’s worth my time.

5/10

Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind EP is out now and available to buy from Saint November Records.


Review: DeadAudioSaints’ The Purge EP

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DeadAudioSaints are a 4 piece hard rock band from Yorkshire who are big on riffs. Their music is also punctuated with an industrial flair giving them a sound which sits somewhere between Rob Zombie and Deathstars but with a much cleaner set of vocals courtesy of vocalist and keyboardist Danny Jones. The Purge EP is their first release and it’s a surprisingly accomplished slab of hard rock that pulls no punches.

It appears that DeadAudioSaints wrote The Purge EP as a studio project as they lacked a drummer at the time of recording. Despite this, the drums by Tyla-Joe Connett are well produced and feature all the power and impact you’d want from a record of this calibre. Bass duties have also been shared between Connett and Corey Jones who also plays guitar on the record and also shares synth duties with Jones. Now that’s a confusing combination but thankfully it all works on record.

The title track is a thunderous opener that is full of massive arena-bothering riffs and a chorus that will push a crowd into a frenzy. This is also complimented by the following track Tear Apart which has a glorious Marilyn Manson-esque stomp that would sound absolutely massive coming from a big stage.

The band’s music structure is mirrored across most of the EP but DeadAudioSaints change their style slightly to make the songs sound more unique. For example the title track has elements of industrial in it, Don’t Like You has an almost pop punk vibe going on and Taking Control has an opening riff that’s more metal than anything else on the EP. It’s wonderfully diverse stuff that all works well together.

Keeping everything cohesive is Jones who consistently delivers catchy chorus after chorus. He’s also no stranger to a satisfying scream especially during the band’s middle-eights. Jones sounds like he’s enjoying every second of the band’s music and his performance is full of gusto.

The band is a considerably better outfit when their music is full of energy which is made more apparent when things slow down for The Game. While the track still contains a huge riff, the slower nature of the song doesn’t create the same explosiveness as the band’s higher tempo tracks. Jones’ sugary vocals also make the song feel more like a ballad which doesn’t excite in nearly the same way the proceeding songs do.

Regardless, DeadAudioSaints have burst out the gates with a rocking EP that is full of massive riffs and choruses. The Purge EP is the beginnings of an exciting band who sound hungry for big things and with music this well written they deserve to reach those heights.

7/10

DeadAudioSaints’ The Purge EP is out now and available to buy digitally from iTunes.


Review: By Definition’s The Concerns of Mortal Man

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So who likes Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society? By Definition do. After 2 EPs, By Definition have unleashed their debut album The Concerns of Mortal Man and it’s a big, lurching, groove metal affair with a touch of the American south to it.

By Definition wear their influences with pride and it’s not surprising to discover they’ve even supported both Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society live. They certainly have an accomplished sound that lends itself well to the big stage.

Unfortunately the band suffers from a lack of creativity. The band riff too heavily on their aforementioned influences and it makes for a record that is devoid of any unique character of its own. This is a very tiresome album to listen to.

By the time you’ve finished listening to opener Lie you’ve heard everything that By Definition are going to do for the next 40 minutes. All the songs are structured thusly: 1) mid-paced southern groove 2) Si Stechler barks all over it 3) a guitar solo is added to every song. You can’t fault By Definition for sticking to a formula that works but after 3 songs of it you’re already beginning to grow weary.

The tempo even manages to get slower on Old Regrets and it does not help with the fatigue that sets in pretty quickly. The song is a crawling dirge that simply doesn’t excite which is something very concerning when you’re supposed to be making heavy metal.

By Definition haven’t been able to give their songs enough defining features of their own. This results in every song on The Concerns of Mortal Man sounding the same as the last. This could’ve been easily avoided if Stechler moved out of his comfort zone but the man never extends his range and his insistence on using a rather guttural, monotone voice is a bit dull to listen to. Also can we not have lyrics that contain the phrase “suck my dick” in 2014 please? This isn’t nu metal.

You can’t fault By Definition for sounding massive though. The production on The Concerns of Mortal Man is often excellent and the drums have a natural chunkiness to them that lets the crashes ring loud and proud. The bass is also satisfyingly thick which helps accentuate By Definition’s quite stellar grooves. It’s just a shame the production can’t fix the band’s unimaginative song writing.

By Definition is a band that have decided they like a very specific form of metal and that they want to make it to. They haven’t thought about what else they can bring to the table and as a result they’ve made a record that is overly familiar and a bit weak as a result. By Definition need to be more dynamic; the tempo needs to change, Stechler needs to be more daring with his vocals and more needs to be done to give each song something unique.

5/10

By Definition’s The Concerns of Mortal Man is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


Review: Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate

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Modern metal is a bit tiring isn’t it? I don’t mean to be a grumpy bastard but Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold all sound incredibly similar yet modern metal bands are obsessed with sounding like them. Can’t these bands try and add something different into their mix to help them stand out a little better? A different vocalist isn’t really that defining a feature.

Well according to Chasing Dragons having a female vocalist is the answer, except it isn’t. Chasing Dragons sound like Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold and they bring nothing to the table that hasn’t already been done. The band make the sort of fist-pumping, stadium metal that all these bands have been peddling for years and while they have a knack for writing a catchy melody, you’ve simply heard it all before.

The problem with Chasing Dragons’ new EP Checkmate is that despite all the similarities it has to other bands, it’s difficult to dislike. Chasing Dragons are clearly decent song writers as they turn out catchy pop metal anthem after another and some of the guitar solos like the ones on That’s Not Love and For the Sake of Murder are absolutely brilliant.

So why are the band using this talent to make such completely unimaginative and uncreative pop metal for the masses and where are the elements that make the band sound like them? They’re missing and this is Chasing Dragons biggest problem. If you told me these songs were made by Halestorm or In This Moment I’d have a hard time telling you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like two of the biggest bands in pop metal right now but if that’s all that you’ve got going for you then why should I listen to your band specifically?

Regardless if you like this type of music then Chasing Dragons certainly deliver 5 songs of mindless air guitar metal for you to sing into a mirror. Guitarist Mitch has some brilliant old school heavy metal riffs in his arsenal and the guitar work on Broken Jaws makes it a real rocker. Drummer Kate is also a beast behind the kit and the pace of Checkmate is always frantic outside the ill-advised ballad The Last Defence. Vocalist Tank also has a decent set of lungs on her and her powerful yet raspy vocals deliver some seriously hook-laden choruses.

The band are clearly aiming big because the production is nice and bright which means the drumming pops and the bass is satisfyingly chunky. All the elements are here to bring Chasing Dragons in line with the biggest bands in modern metal, but for those of us looking for something more than another Avenged Sevenfold clone, Chasing Dragons just can’t deliver.

Checkmate is a competent pop metal EP with big riffs, catchy choruses and some great solos. I’m sure it probably has a pretty large appeal to fans of the genre but quite frankly the genre has outstayed its welcome and bands like Chasing Dragons are just going to be swallowed up in the festering cess-pit of pop metal. I’d be intrigued to hear what the band do next because if they can add some elements that make them sound a little more unique then they’d be a force to be reckoned with. ‘Til next time, Chasing Dragons.

6/10

Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


Review: Trudger’s Dormiveglia

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It’s been 2 years since Trudger’s debut 3-track EP Motionless in Dirt and those 2 years have been put to good use. The Barnsley sludge metallers have gone from down-tuned, relentless doom to a more atmospheric and blackened sound that still draws on elements from sludge and doom metal but these are now just smaller parts in a much more accomplished sound.

Trudger have returned with a 45 minute debut album called Dormiveglia (which is the state of being half-sleep, half-awake for those interested) and it’s an extremely dense and challenging listen that’s incredibly rewarding once you scratch the surface.

The band’s move away from slower, sludgier grooves has resulted in tracks like opener Into the Abysmal Future which is over 7 minutes but cracks along at a decent pace considering the running time. The track also relies heavier on melody than past Trudger material and it’s drenched in a thick, foreboding atmosphere that leaves an uneasy feeling in your stomach.

This tactic is employed for all of the albums 6 main songs. Despite the vocal delivery still drawing from sludge and death metal with Chris Parkinson favouring a lower-pitched grunt, Trudger have found a new comfort zone in making their music a far more textured affair. The progressive nature of the band’s music suits it incredibly well and riffs are rarely revisited. This means a frequently changing track like Become Joyless can contain around 10 great riffs.

Trudger also employ a couple of short instrumental interludes which are helpful little breaks from the band’s musical onslaught. What they really excel at is the way they manage to keep the music on Dormiveglia flowing, almost to the point where the album ends up sounding like one cohesive piece of music with many movements. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trudger originally wrote the record with this intention. It’s this structure that makes repeated listens of the album so rewarding as you uncover more melodies and riffs that stick with you long after the album has finished.

Special mention has to be given to guitarists Richard Matheson and Jack Kavanagh who carry all of the band’s melody and are extremely creative guitarists in their own right. The sheer number of riffs and leads these two men create is a staggering achievement but the fact they’re so expressive and memorable is a true testament to their skill. We’ve also got to mention the amazing guitar solo in Thickening Fog which adds another layer of complexity and intrigue to the band’s music and wonderfully compliments the crescendo the song builds to.

Trudger’s Dormiveglia is a thick, multi-layered experience that gets better every time you listen to it. The band has grown tremendously since their debut EP and the song writing on Dormiveglia is absolutely top tier. This might be a challenging listen for heavy music fans and the band’s raucous fusion of sludge, doom, death and black metal might make for a bleak experience, but it’s one of the best bleak experiences you’re going to have for a while. Buy this record, light some candles and get moody.

8/10

Trudger’s Dormiveglia is out now on 12″ blue vinyl through Church of Fuck.


Review: Pariso and Svalbard’s Self-Titled Split Album

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Pariso and Svalbard return for a release that is truly unique among hardcore splits; this is a collaborative album with both bands contributing a set of songs as well as joining forces for 2 very unique tracks that showcase a beautiful cacophony of styles that draw from the best parts of both band’s sounds.

Pariso lead the proceedings on this split and the band have decided to play in a lower tuning than usual to make their sound even more difficult to pigeonhole. Pariso make a form of progressive hardcore that brings in elements of groove metal that result in crushing breakdowns like the one featured in Underground Notes. If you can imagine Hatebreed by way of Korn and Every Time I Die you’d be in the sort of area you’d need to be in to appreciate Pariso’s incredibly unique sound.

I’ve joked in the past that Pariso are the founders of nu-grind but thanks to the band’s lower tuning this is becoming less of a joke and actually the only genre I can think that suits them perfectly, especially in regards to these recordings. The opening of Delirium also abides to this rule by featuring a relentless grindcore-esque blast-beat that only gives up to deal another punishing groove.

What Pariso are becoming very good at is interspersing their noise with some brilliant leads that actually help deliver a lot of melody. This was brought into the fold during the writing of their previous album Consanguinity and it’s great to see it used prominently in songs like Helios, The Great Demise.

Now onto Svalbard who despite having a sound rooted in hardcore are somewhat different to Pariso. Svalbard’s sound draws from punk far more heavily than Pariso’s and the no-nonsense opening of Ripped Apart delivers an awesome punk beat that soon expands into a post hardcore sound that is far more melodic in nature.

Svalbard’s music is wonderfully textured and features some absolutely soaring leads that add a sense of euphoria and positivity that’s at juxtaposition with the band’s aggressive nature. The band reminds us of gone-but-not-forgotten post rockers Rinoa but with the hardcore punk leanings of a band like Vales. It’s quite a beautiful racket.

Like Pariso before them Svalbard are another underground UK band who have absolutely nailed a sound of their own and despite their longer songs the band also manage to sound like they’re giving it their all for the entirety of their music. Grayscale is mind-bogglingly intense but it still manages to fit some glittery leads into its near 5 minute hardcore punk attack and it’s an exhausting yet brilliant post hardcore anthem.

Finally it’s important we discuss the collaborative tracks on this split. While the two songs (Floating Anchors and Faceless) clearly draw on elements from both bands’ music, it’s Pariso who seem to be making the decisions in regards to the songs’ structure. Both tracks are shorter 2 minute bursts of extremely progressive metallic hardcore with the only discernible Svalbard elements being the melodic guitar leads and the inclusion of Serena on vocals as well as Mazz.

Regardless of the fact that the amalgamation comes off more as Pariso instead of Pariso and Svalbard, this collaborative album is an incredibly special release from two very unique bands. Pariso’s heavier yet more metal-laden beginning leads into a more positive and melodic second half courtesy of Svalbard that actually feels like the album takes you on a journey through the dark and into the light. This split actually tries to break down the boundaries of the split record concept by showcasing two bands that are very much on the same page regardless of their differences in sound. This could have been a Loutallica but thankfully it’s a wholesome and focussed release that any fan of heavy music should be listening to.

8/10

Pariso and Svalbard’s split self-titled album is out now on 12″ vinyl through Tangled Talk Records.


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