Review: Limb’s Terminal


Desert rockers Limb are not messing around with their sophomore album Terminal. The band only released their debut album last year and despite a change in drummers, they’ve powered into this new record and produced something really special.

What’s instantly recognisable about the Limb’s music is how much their song-writing has improved in such a short space of time. While elements of their self-titled debut could sometimes feel under-produced, Terminal sounds utterly monolithic in comparison.

After the short introduction of Three Snake Leaves we are treated to one of the best songs Limb have ever written in the form of Ghost Dance. Ghost Dance is the groovy riff-beast you expect all Limb songs to be, but this time there’s more melody in vocalist Rob Hoey’s voice and there’s a greater urgency to the music. Limb are done with messing around on this record and each song often starts with some of the best riffs hard rock has to offer.

This continues with the absolute barnstormer that is Micromegas. Bolstered by a chunky, Motorhead-like riff, this is an astoundingly massive sounding rock song that deserves to be heard by as many fans of heavy music as possible. The band’s dancey, sludgy grooves grab you by the throat, force you to head-bang before giving you a moment to gather yourself and then it’s back to the fun.

Fun is something we’ve spoken about a lot when referring to Limb as this is something all too rare in the sort of down-tuned, often po-faced sludge that the band deal in, but Terminal is still stuffed full of enjoyable, overblown silliness in the form of songs like Down By The Banks. Limb revel in their almost classic rock leanings and it’s a gleeful thing to be involved in.

Terminal is the natural continuation from Limb’s self-titled debut and it’s an infinitely more enjoyable and masterfully crafted slab of hard rock. The band haven’t rested on their laurels and continue to get better on every record they release. The pressure is certainly on for the next release, lads!


Limb’s Terminal is out now and available to purchase from Cargo Records.

Review: Svalbard’s One Day All This Will End


Post hardcore stalwarts Svalbard have finally seen fit to write and record their debut album after three years of EPs, splits and singles and their tried and tested formula of glittery post punk mixed with hardcore is still as beautiful and engaging as ever. The only difference is now the band have the room to really let loose and One Day All This Will End takes the listener on one of the most emotional journeys heavy music has to offer.

Opener Perspective really does exactly what it says on the tin by giving the listener an introduction to what the band is all about. This is a wonderfully progressive journey that ebbs and flows between gorgeous melody and heart on sleeve aggression. Vocalist and guitarist duo Serena Cherry and Liam Phelan deliver an almost entirely screamed vocal performance throughout but compliment the lack of vocal melodies by showcasing their talents via their fantastic guitar work which straddles the fence between beautiful, sparkling guitar leads and devastating, stompy riffs.

Svalbard are a band with a sound that is surprisingly approachable and anyone looking to get into hardcore punk will have a fantastic jump-on point with this record. For every burst of vicious aggression there is a beautiful melody to wrap your ears around and that’s the real masterstroke of Svalbard’s sound.

Despite the heavy focus on soaring guitar melodies, some of Svalbard’s heaviest work is also featured on One Day All This Will End. Songs like Disparity and Expect Equal Respect are the closest things to no-nonsense punk that Svalbard have ever concocted and having them sandwiched in between these gorgeous moments of emo-esque respite makes their impact even greater. Enough can’t be said about the way this albums moves in such a wonderfully natural way.

By the end of the closing moments of Lily, Svalbard have taken you on a post hardcore journey like no other. One Day All This Will End is one of the best punk releases birthed in the UK and Svalbard have mastered an amazingly eclectic sound that’s equal parts angry, beautiful and forlorn. One Day All This Will End is essential listening to fans of post hardcore and a welcoming introduction to anyone looking to explore the more progressive side of hardcore.


Svalbard’s One Day All This Will End is out now and available to purchase through Holy Roar Records.

Review: Fightstar’s Behind the Devil’s Back


Fightstar have finally returned with their first new album in six years and while it’s a horrible cliché to say a band have returned to their roots, the orchestral/stadium rock sound of Be Human hasn’t been explored further on their comeback album Behind the Devil’s Back.

If the artwork didn’t indicate a return to the band’s heavier sound with its inclusion of the band’s original logo, fans of the band’s earlier material will be happy to know this album feels like more of a continuation of the sound on 2007’s One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours. This means the album similarly blends two sounds in a similar way to One Day Son; there’s a heavier, Deftones-esque, alternative metal sound which is punctuated with a more tuneful, emo/post hardcore sound that will remind listeners of InMe. This is instantly obvious from the get-go as opener Sharp Tongue explodes out of the gates with a vicious riff that will ignite mosh pits the world over. This returns throughout the song but once the chorus rolls around, you’re treated to a dreamy vocal melody that is instantly recognisable as Fightstar.

The album then continues in a similar fashion but does a considerably better job of melding the two styles. While Sharp Tongue can feel a bit stop/start with its constant switch between metal and emo, songs like Murder All Over and Animal move in a much more natural way that sees the band flourish their anthemic melodies with moments of heaviness. Fightstar feel like they’ve finally nailed a signature sound instead exploring a different one like they did with Be Human.

Speaking of Be Human, fans of Fightstar at their catchiest will still be satisfied with a lot of Behind the Devil’s Back. For every Deftones-worshipping blast of aggression like the album’s title track, there’s a hugely memorable, stadium –sized banger to get your ears around. The real highlight comes in the form of Overdrive which is scarily infectious and the daft 80s synth in the middle eight is ludicrously fun. If the band don’t release Overdrive as a single they’re doing this album cycle a disservice.

Behind the Devil’s Back is the Fightstar album their fanbase have wanted for ages. This is a laser-precise slab of alternative metal blended harmoniously with some of the most memorable post hardcore the band has ever produced. People are very quick to write off this band as having a member of Busted in their midst doesn’t do them any favours with the heavy music elite, but ignoring their band members’ additional activities will reward you with one of the finest heavy rock albums of the year.


Fightstar’s Behind the Devil’s Back is out now and available from all good music stores.

Review: Down I Go’s You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You


Alt rockers Down I Go have an interesting and surprisingly long-lasting career that has seen them break up and now reform after being offered an opportunity to record a new album in Iceland. The band have also managed to achieve this with all 3 members now residing in Toronto, Stockholm and Chicago respectively. They’re third album You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is the culmination of their time in Iceland and it sounds like a mad combination of early Biffy Clyro wrestling with Between the Buried and Me.

Before we start our analysis of this record, I’m going to let you in on a little secret; I hold music against two main points of criticism. The first is the music has to be interesting and the second is the music has to be memorable. If you nail them both then you’re onto a winner but if you only achieve one then I personally think the music falls a little flat as a result. Down I Go’s music can definitely be described as interesting but an awful lot of You’re Lucky God simply goes through the motions without any melodies that really stick with you.

Down I Go manage to meld a wonderfully progressive, almost mathcore sound with some beautiful and uplifting vocal melodies that would happily lend themselves to alternative or post rock. Not only that but Ben Standage and Pete Fraser put their trombone and saxophone experience from previous band Jesse James to good use by flourishing the music with wonderful little bursts of brass. Their sound is bizarre and unique and the band have to be commended for making something sound so different.

What’s really strange about this record is how it manages to be incredibly brash and noisy but lack a lot of that power that makes heavy music so exciting to listen to. There’s a very stripped-back sound to You’re Lucky God and that means it often feels a bit lacking. The bass doesn’t beef the band’s sound up in the way it really should and despite the razor-sharp guitar work that could have been taken from a tech metal release, the guitar tone is just a bit tinny for something so fundamentally angry.

The real disappointment is that there are no real outstanding riffs or melodies that will lodge themselves in your psyche. You’re Lucky God plays out like one extended piece of music with many movements but the angular guitar work doesn’t generate riffs and the mainly screamed vocals also lack melody. When the vocals do move into sung territory they often have a drawn-out, lazy drawl to them that also fails to generate any memorable moments.

The most memorable moment from the record comes from its introduction, Mother in the Pen which sounds like nothing else on the record with its minimalist focus on melody that feels more like a Mogwai track. It also returns for a reprise that makes the whole album into a charming cyclical experience.

You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is an ambitious album with a wonderfully unique sound that doesn’t really allow Down I Go to work with any melodies or riffs that could really set the whole experience off. This whole record made me feel somewhat hollow as it often showcases a band who have mastered their craft but their craft is unfortunately lacking in melody.


Down I Go’s You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is out now on 12″ white vinyl through Holy Roar Records.

Review: The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s Not Your Typical Victorians


The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing are an absolute tour-de-force in a live setting. The steampunk band (emphasis on the word ‘punk’) are a gleefully theatrical band that sound like Dropkick Murphys and Rancid got conceptual and decided to write about Victorian London. It all sounds utterly ludicrous on paper but when you see the band live, their theming and imagery meld together perfectly with their high energy punk rock for an absolute electric evening’s entertainment.

Unfortunately the band have a harder time transferring this energy onto record and while their third album Not Your Typical Victorians has a fair few moments where it all snaps together with a satisfying click, the band get a bit self-indulgent and turn out a few songs that don’t feel like they have enough ideas to warrant their inclusion.

To begin, let’s approach the band at their best. Furious punk rock sing-a-longs like the title track, Viva La Difference Engine and Inheritor’s Powder are joyous, rip-roaring blasts of fun that will whip any audience into a frenzy. The band sprinkles their sound with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and even manages to poke fun at their own gimmick on the title track when they declare they’re “not even that fond of steam”. The band also manages to make their more careful and considered moments work surprisingly well when their concept is at its strongest. This House is Not Haunted is sold as an ‘atheist ghost story’ and it’s hauntingly desperate lyricism is one of the record’s real highlights.

Unfortunately, there’s quite a few times when the band’s concept isn’t strong enough to carry the music. Songs like Turned out Nice Again and The Worst Sideshow Ever spend far too long beating a single riff into submission and vocalist Andy Heintz has to try and save this repetitive snore-fest with his vocals alone. Heintz clearly struggles on these tracks and his vocals get quite sparse and result in cringe-worthy lines like, “as if my life ain’t bad enough, fucking London town” which simply lack any impact.

The repetition is what really makes Not Your Typical Victorians sag. Even songs with strong melodies like Miner and Third Class Coffin suffer from repeated refrains that seem to go on and on with nothing strong to say other than things like “I’m a third class citizen, even when I’m dead”. Also, are we still doing songs that celebrate alcoholism (see Rum by Alestorm and Vodka by Korplikaani)? I understand it’s a decent bit of fun but heavy music seems to be inundated with songs like The Gin Song and the concept alone is just a bit tiresome at this point.

Despite never really finding a strong theme to glue the record together in a more wholesome fashion, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have delivered a handful of really entertaining and enjoyable punk rock stompers that will keep their fans happy, but for everyone else the lack of consistency on Not Your Typical Victorians means it’s difficult to recommend as an album you should listen to front-to-back. The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have all the right elements to create a really striking and memorable record but at the moment it’s their live show that delivers this the best.


The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s Not Your Typical Victorians is released on October 16th and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

Review: Press to Meco’s Good Intent


We like Press to Meco. Their 2013 EP Affinity was our pick of the year and the tech-emo trio from Croydon really felt like they were destined for big things. Well, they were definitely destined for at least one big thing and it comes in the form of their absolutely anthemic debut album Good Intent.

Press to Meco have continued to get weirder and heavier and more tuneful for their debut album and it couldn’t be more welcome. The band are like a bizarre mash-up of Reuben and Periphery with all members of the band sharing vocal duties to create some wonderful, interweaving melodies that come together to force a massive hook right into your lugholes.

Musically, the band shift between chunky, groove-ridden tech metal and soaring post hardcore choruses with gleeful abandon. The band has inadvertently created some of the most approachable tech metal around and it’s thanks to their wonderful approach to song-writing. This means that even though a lot is happening in a single track, it ebbs and flows with a natural progression that is easy to follow without being bombarded with stylistic shifts and tempo changes.

The real jewel on Press to Meco’s crown is always their fantastic vocal melodies. Despite how heavy the music can get, the vocals hold everything together. The sugary vocal harmonies are fantastically dynamic and memorable and if you were given this record during your formative days with heavy music, songs like Family Ties, Means to an End and Manipulate would become defining songs of your youth. This is not to say that Press to Meco sound dated, just that if you were to introduce the younger generation to heavy music via this record then its approachable nature would start a new generation of heavy music fans for all the right reasons.

Another real draw on Good Intent is how it pops and fizzes with the sort of energy you’d get from a live recording. Unlike a lot of tech metal releases that favour hyper-defined, almost robot-like drum sounds, Good Intent is a thrashy, powerful record that lets the band’s performances shine. The guitar tones are full of grunt and the drums sound like they’re taking a monstrous beating. For a record loaded with uplifting emotion, it’s fantastic to hear a mix that doesn’t sound as sterile as some tech metal releases.

Press to Meco have delivered an album that showcases exactly what the trio are capable of. It’s a glorious, exciting monster of a record that is stuffed with technical wizardry and choruses so big that they deserve to be blasted across festival audiences all summer long.


Press to Meco’s Good Intent is released on the 16th of October through Best Before Records and can be pre-ordered via Pledge Music.

Cast Iron: Bullet for My Valentine’s The Poison (Episode 4)


Some of you might not be aware that I (Lewis) also take part in a metal podcast called Cast Iron with a good friend (Alan). In each episode we take a retrospective look at a metal album and pick it apart, learning about our personal music tastes and how well it holds up in the process. We’ve managed to feature 3 British metal albums in our journey so far. Those include Iron Maiden, SikTh and with our latest episode we’ve now added Bullet for My Valentine to the list.

We’d really appreciate the support and you can now listen to the Bullet for My Valentine episode on The Poison by clicking here. You can also subscribe to podcast updates via iTunes, like us on Facebook and follow us on both Twitter and Tumblr.

A lot of time and love goes into this so if you enjoy it then please tell your mates and pop a review on our iTunes entry as it helps get us more exposure and to be quite frank, the state of heavy music podcasts on iTunes at the moment is a bit dire. Let’s make it better.

Live Review: Crowhurst feat. Caïna, Conjurer and Warren Schoenbright at The Unicorn, Camden 19/9/2015

Power electronics (or noise music) is a daunting and very strange genre of music to get involved in. Pushing heaviness to its absolute extreme, it favours atmosphere and texture over melody. A lot of people are very quick to dismiss it because without melody, is it really music? As tonight’s evening’s entertainment manages to prove, noise music needs a certain level of context to enjoy and if you’ve not been to see live noise show then it’s something we’d highly recommend.

Warren Schoenbright

The evening’s proceedings begin with Warren Schoenbright, a two piece noise act that instantly set the tone. Drowning the room in darkness except for a single, dangling lightbulb from Daniel McClennan’s drum-kit, Warren Schoenbright created a beautifully minimalist atmosphere through their use of delicate electronics that were punctuated with bursts of fury. The heavier moments of the band’s music were delivered by a blistering performance from McClennan and an abrasive explosion of sharp, white noise from Matthew Pastkewicz. It was masterfully structured as well. The band’s performance played out as a single piece of music with many movements and the addition of McClennan’s drumming abilities as opposed to simply having Pastkewicz use synthetic drums added an engaging performance element to the band’s music. This was an eerie yet vicious performance that cleverly managed to build cautious tension before letting loose. This was a really fantastic start.


Sadly what followed was an odd booking that didn’t sit well with the rest of the evening’s acts. Conjurer are a death metal band that frequently drop into moments of down-tempo doom and the onslaught of guitar-derived heaviness killed the atmosphere that Warren Schoenbright had worked so well to create. Conjurer are by no means a bad band and they are clearly a very talented group of musicians, it’s just they needed to be on the bill of a death or black metal show to really work. Conjurer felt like a fish out of water and while there was plenty to enjoy thanks to their carefully structured and somewhat bleak sound, they simply killed the atmospherics that had previously bathed the venue in such a carefully crafted way.


Luckily when Caïna took to the stage, we were back in familiar territory. If you’re not familiar with Caïna as a two-piece then you might be confused as to why the black metal act were making harsh noise via a laptop and microphone. When the band tour as just Andy Curtis-Brignell and Laurence Taylor, they become a nightmarish noise act that drag their audience into the hell they create. Taylor stalks the audience with a hugely engaging yet exhausting performance that sees the man spasm and convulse around the room while screaming and howling into people’s faces. It’s a stark, vicious and haunting performance that perfectly complimented the dense wall of electronic noise and beats that were being generated by Curtis-Brignell. When you’re standing in a room being utterly drowned in atmosphere like this, noise music just makes sense. This was easily some of the best performance art we’ve witnessed.


Finally it was time for Crowhurst to take the stage. The one-man noise act from Los Angeles easily had the most oppressive sound of the evening. Crowhurst creates a hugely dense wall of sound that rattles its way into your very core. Crowhurst’s music is something you can genuinely feel and it’s this bizarre feedback-loop that keeps you connected to the music. Sadly Crowhurst suffers from not having a stronger performance element as he cannot leave his laptop to engage with his audience in the same way Caïna can. It’s also a shame that Crowhurst’s set is considerably shorter than the others as it would have been nice to spend more time in the crushing atmosphere he was creating.

Despite a booking that didn’t work in the context of the other acts performing tonight, Warren Schoenbright, Caïna and Crowhurst all delivered performances that deserve to be experienced. If you’re still on the fence about power electronics then make sure you experience it live because the dense, haunting atmosphere it creates is like nothing else in extreme music.

Review: Ithaca’s Trespassers


London-based mathcore lunatics Ithaca have returned for their long-awaited second EP Trespassers. If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s work then imagine The Bled and Botch got moshier and you’re pretty much there. This is a testing collection of songs that are screamed with utter fury and conviction.

The record begins with Otherworldly which essentially encapsulates everything the band are about in one song. Vocalist Djamila has a frightening howl that cuts through the chaos that ensues. The band plays a very beatdown-centric type of mathcore that’s big on off kilter guitar madness without straying too far from a weighty breakdown. While the breakdowns do have a tendency to take away from the melody, they never outstay their welcome and they’re often sitting next to a chorus drenched in a thick, foreboding atmosphere. This is not a happy sounding band.

The band are definitely better when they temper their mosh-urges with sections stuffed with melody. Lifelost is a considerably better song when a big, memorable riff cuts through the beatdowns. Sadly there’s some pretty atonal guitar leads piercing the noise as well and it does become a bit harsh on the ears after a while. Thankfully there’s also a beautiful, delicate moment of respite that makes the return of the band’s heaviness feel all that more impactful.

Speaking of impact, that Mastodon-esque groove at the start of Wither & Wane is certainly something to behold. It’s moments like these that showcase exactly how fantastic the group of musicians in Ithaca can really be. The title track manages to prove this the best and earns its right as the title track in the process. Trespassers is a real journey of a song that’s full of heart-on-sleeve emotion. This is an electrifying performance that shows how gripping Ithaca can be when all their elements click into place.

Ithaca’s Trespassers is a dark, crushing affair complete with technical guitar passages, devastating beatdowns and horrific, lung-tearing atmosphere courtesy of Djamila’s haunting vocal performance. The breakdowns and atonal guitar leads do detract from an otherwise impressive selection of mathcore songs but generally Ithaca manage to hit more than they miss and Trespassers has a lot to offer for fans of mathcore.


Ithaca’s Trespassers is available now on clear 7″ vinyl through COF Records and Soaked in Torment Records.

Review: Monolithian’s The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came.


Blackened doom two-piece Monolithian have finally seen fit to drop an album that accurately showcases the band at their finest. Monolithian are a weird prospect in that their melody is entirely achieved through a bass guitar and while they sound absolutely beastly in a live setting, their recorded output tends to be a hit and miss affair in regards to capturing the size and weight of their sound. Thankfully, debut album The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. captures this perfectly and it becomes Monolithian’s best work in the process.

For a band with only two members, Monolithian have a surprisingly large amount of ideas to showcase on this record. The band constantly switches from down-tempo, lurching sludge metal like on opener The Finest Day… to fast-paced blackened nastiness like Black Flame Candle. It’s a thrilling display of heaviness that keeps you on your toes throughout and occasionally both styles manage to blend resulting in some of the best material the band have ever written. Great examples of this come in the form of Second of the Istari and Treebeard which trudges along at a steady pace for the majority of its run-time before taking a turn for the dangerous and throwing in some filthy black metal riffs.

Then there’s album closer Thought Out of Existence. Clocking in at just under 13 minutes, this is a behemoth of a doom track that also features input from noise act Knifedoutofexistence. It turns out this collaboration is something of a revelation as not only does it showcase exactly what Monolithian are about, it also includes some wonderful atmosphere and tension that makes the experience feel wholly desperate and depraved. It’s one of the finest pieces of music the band have achieved and you owe it to yourself to hear it.

The binding element that really helps showcase the band’s music in the best light is the fantastic production and mix. Every aspect of the band’s sound is razor sharp yet all the dirt and grime that comes with something as disgusting as blackened doom metal is there for all to enjoy. This sounds like Monolithian playing live and it’s a frightening, crushing prospect that’s absolutely essential for fans of sludgy, bass-heavy metal.

Monolithian are quite a special little band. This guy and gal have managed to master their craft so well that the limitations of a two-piece are blown apart to create a sound that is… well, monolithic. The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. is the album the band have always threatened to make and I welcome its arrival with open arms.


Monolithian’s The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. is out now on limited edition 12″ vinyl through the band, Atomsmasher Records, Animal Defence Records and Skin & Bones Records.


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