This might seem like an inevitability at this point, but as of the 5th of November 2018, UK Scumscene will be taking an extended hiatus. We apologise to any bands or PR agencies who have delivered review copies of their releases to us expecting reviews, but we can’t deliver anything at this time.
Updates to UK Scumscene have been obviously intermittent for the last 2 years and there are various factors that have influenced the slowing down of regular reviews. In the last 2 years I’ve started a new job that is emotionally draining, and having to come home day-after-day and try to muster up the energy to write a screen’s worth of thoughts about music is bizarrely challenging when you’re mentally spent. Another factor is the loss of Catbird last year – a great friend, supporter and a huge influence on me and my taste in music. Being reminded of him every time I put fingers to keyboard can be a bit of a barrier to overcome.
I don’t want to call this, “farewell”. UK Scumscene is something I’m immensely proud of and it’s put me in contact with some of the best people I could have hoped to meet. The UK heavy music scene is near and dear to me and it’s stories like being approached by a young Employed to Serve back when they were a 2-person studio project, releasing EPs through Grindcore Karaoke, and watching them evolve into a touring band with a Kerrang Album of the Year award to their name that gives me immense pride and satisfaction that UK heavy music is still important.
However, I need a break and to find that passion that will allow me to give this place the attention it deserves. I want to be able to commit to UK Scumscene and right now it’s just too much of a hurdle to give it my full attention. If you still want to hear me chatting about heavy music then Cast Iron is still going and we recently dropped a new episode over the weekend. UK Scumscene will be back, but as of right now it’s a, “see you later” from me.
It’s been 5 years since London post hardcore outfit Bloody Mammals released any new music and despite starting to record a follow-up to 2013 mini album Eventually Your House Will Burn Down in 2014, the band moved apart and it never got finished. Now in 2018, Bloody Mammals have seen fit to polish up what they were working on and release it to the world, resulting in the debut album, What Have You Done?
What Have You Done? is a bittersweet release because the band are still scattered around the country and probably won’t get to tour it. It might even be the last music the band release, but if that’s the case then this is one hell of a swansong. The band’s angular guitar work is back in full force and every song on this album is absolutely crammed with riffs and a frantic personality that makes the whole record feel immediate and crucial.
There’s a real showcase of variety here as well. The dissonant, spiky, punk rock of Behind Glass is followed by the more groovy and metallic Toothless, and then we’re treated to Death on Credit which has more of a tuneful, alternative rock flavour to it. Thankfully Bloody Mammals manage to meld all these styles successfully into their own sound and the album never sounds like a random, scattershot collection of ideas chucked at a wall.
If there’s one negative you could level against What Have You Done? it’s that the mix is a bit flat. It’s the sort of mix you’d expect from an album 20 years older – demanding that you turn your hi-fi up a little more to compensate for older production methods. This isn’t the biggest complaint and some might actually enjoy the increased dynamic range and refusal to abide by modern loudness wars, but a little more prevalent low-end would have really set off some of the angrier numbers like The Cremation Fields.
In conclusion, Bloody Mammals’ What Have You Done? is a wonderful post hardcore record by a band that shone bright for a very short time and then seemingly just went away. Getting new music from the band in 2018 was a welcome surprise and considering a lot of this music dates back 4 years, it still sounds as vital as ever. Fingers crossed this isn’t the last we hear from Bloody Mammals but even if it is, what a hell of a record to go out on.
Bloody Mammals’ What Have You Done? is out now and available to download direct from the band.