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.
It’s been a long time coming but the debut long-player from Yards is finally here. Excitation Thresholds is a 33 minute metallic hardcore assault that noticeably benefits from the amount of time Yards have had to perfect their craft. Everything on this album is here for a reason and it never outstays its welcome.
Despite being a shouty, aggressive hardcore act, Yards have a lot of strings to their bow. During the first half of the album we see the band getting straight to the point and absolutely blasting our faces off with massive riffs, terrifying vocals and one of the thrashiest, loudest drumming performances put to record. The drums in particular are always front and centre in the mix and they really heighten the ferocity of the music on Excitation Thresholds.
But then Yards start to do something different. The tempo slows down a notch and favours a more mid-paced, stompy approach to heaviness that’s just as effective as when the band are going full steam. The album likes to jump between the two styles and it keeps the record fresh and exciting with every song. For example, the no-nonsense hardcore attack of War Tourist is followed by the mid-paced, chunky assault of Everything You Love Reduced to Rubble. This happens again with The Attic, which despite being 4 minutes long and crammed full of ideas, manages to go flat out for its entire run time. Then we get BL-755 which is an extremely bleak and oppressive track that deals more in atmosphere than savagery.
Yards manage to showcase some extremely diverse song-writing for a band that are this unashamedly aggressive. By the time we get to album closer The Shadow Stealer, we get to experience a song that encapsulates all the ideas that came before it in one mammoth 7 and a half minute beast. It’s fast, it’s dark, it’s atmospheric, it’s punishing. It’s everything Yards stand for and a career highlight for one of the most exciting bands in hardcore right now.
Yards’ Excitation Thresholds is an instant recommendation. If you want to hear a passionate, exciting hardcore band putting all their cards on the table and never putting a foot wrong then this is the album for you. Sure, it’s over pretty quickly, but any more time spent with music this visceral would be exhausting. It’s the perfect length for one of the most diverse and relentlessly savage debut albums in recent memory.
Yards’ Excitation Thresholds is out now and available to buy on vinyl from Truthseeker Music.
Glittery emo quintet Simmer have returned with their debut album entitled Paper Prisms. Simmer previously impressed us with their 2015 EP Yellow Streak; a beautiful and delicate yet sharp and biting rock record that showcased an extremely accomplished sound for such a young band. Personal anticipation was high for this record, so do Simmer deliver the goods when they move onto their first long-player?
Sort of. This is clearly the same band that wowed us last year, but there’s something about Paper Prisms that feels like a band trying to spread their ideas too thin. The setup is identical to Yellow Streak; we get beautiful, sweeping guitar melodies complimented with sombre, lilting vocals and it’s all accompanied with a punchy performance on the drums. The one/two opener of Faze and Control is a perfect beginning to the record and it showcases all these elements beautifully.
However, what becomes apparent very early on is just how much time is spent on overindulgent moments of guitar feedback. Every song seems to start with a big wailing burst of feedback and in the case of some songs like Antwerp, they even linger to a limp conclusion using even more feedback. Simmer are clearly trying to create atmosphere on Paper Prisms and the guitar feedback is never abrasive or obnoxious in anyway, it just feels like it takes away from the immediacy of the song-writing. Songs like Calendar don’t kick in until half the track’s run time has gone by and it’s a bit annoying that so much time is spent holding a guitar to an amp.
It’s also a shame that the vocals often get lost in the mix. The vocals on Paper Prisms are often treated more like an instrument and they’ve been hidden away in the composition to the point that you can’t really make out what’s being said. It’s not the biggest problem because thankfully the gorgeous melodies are still audible; it just would have been nicer to have heard the vocals front and centre.
Simmer’s Paper Prisms is by no means a bad record by any stretch of the imagination. This is still a wonderfully light and dreamy emo record and as a debut album it certainly sets the band up with a great foundation to build on. Sadly it’s let down by a lot unnecessarily drawn-out moments of guitar feedback that have a tendency to kill the pacing. It Simmer can tighten up their song-writing and think of ways to meld the extra texture into the songs themselves, then their next release should be something really special.
Simmer’s Paper Prisms is out now and available to buy from Dog Knights Productions.