Tag Archives: cassette

Review: Deus Vermin’s Monument of Decay

Deus Vermin describe themelves as, “black metal-infused death metal from Leeds” and a combination of two such extreme genres always makes me think that PR people might be overcompensating for a band just sounding a bit heavy. Surprisingly, Deus Vermin are about as unfathomably heavy as you could possibly imagine and that description is pretty much on the nose.

Their debut EP Monument to Decay is such a strong start to the band’s career that it sounds like it should be coming after a string of successful releases and not a single 2 track demo. Deus Vermin’s music is so intense and diverse that within a single song it can quickly shift between double-bass drumming, blast beats, tremolo-picked guitar and evil, down-tuned riffs and make it all sound coherent and necessary.

Deus Vermin are quite progressive in this regard and vastly ignore the need for anything like choruses (not that they would have added much in music where the vocals are entirely screamed). Tracks like Iniquity and Worms even have passages that strip back the intensity for a moment to create some really dissonant, creepy atmosphere before launching back into the blast beats. Everything Deus Vermin put forward is so well considered and their execution is so perfect that it flows surprisingly naturally for such a heavy release.

What’s also interesting is the choice of production which manages to keep enough reverb in the mix to make the music sound like it’s being performed live. Death metal in particular normally favours a very clean mix so you can fully appreciate the level of musicianship that goes into creating such technically proficient music, but Deus Vermin give their music a little more edge by choosing a nastier, raw production style.

Monument of Decay by Deus Vermin is quite frankly an incredible start to this band’s career. These 6 tracks are home to some of the most disgustingly vicious death metal and showcase a level of song-writing that clearly proves Deus Vermin are a band bursting with ideas. There doesn’t feel like there’s a single moment of wasted space in these 21 minutes and if that’s a miraculous achievement for such a new band.


Deus Vermin’s Monument of Decay is out now and available to buy on limited edition cassette from FHED Records.

News: You Should Probably Abuse Cleavers’ Summer Sale Right Now

Scottish garage punks Cleavers have put some of their records on sale and grouped them into 2 handy £5 bundles. You can get a bundle of 3 7″s or a bundle of 2 7″s and 2 tapes. That’s quite a lot of punk for £5 each.

Click the links below to be taken to each bundle:
Cleavers’ Give Up 7″, Life is Shit 7″ and Clowns’ self titled 7″
Cleavers’ Give Up 7″, Life is Shit 7″, Broken Birthday Teeth cassette and Urgent Blood Discography cassetteOnly 9 left so be quick!

Here’s a reason why you should probably care a little bit more about Cleavers:

Review: Wraiths’ Wraiths

Dark hardcore noise-makers Wraiths are a brilliantly punishing prospect. The band hail from the North East and follow bands like Lavotchkin and Prelude to the Hunt in their quest to add more doom and general bleakness to the genre. This is their self titled debut EP and it goes a long way to prove that the band can make this type of gloomy heaviness just as well as the aforementioned bands.

Wraiths trade in speed for a more thoughtful and Earth-shattering beat-down which suits the claustrophobic and grim atmosphere that the band create. Naming the first song Pyramid Head gives the listener a good idea where the band is coming from; you can really see the image of a lonely, forgotten figure wandering the foggy streets of Silent Hill.

The metallic riffs on this EP give the whole release its’ biggest pulling power. Rae Robinson’s vocals never bother to go into chorus’ or gang chant territory in favour of adding another layer to Wraiths’ foreboding sound. This allows the guitar work to shine as Dan Charlton brings a brilliant, sludgy groove to the record. Charlton’s riffs are crushing, memorable and hugely commanding and form the focal point of the entire EP.

Hell Ride marks a high point as the growling riffs trade off with some more delicate moments which once again add even more texture to the band’s sound. There really isn’t enough we can say about how accomplished Wraiths’ sound is and this is only the band’s first release.

Unfortunately, the band begin to run familiar ground by Black Vultures and the slow, pounding rhythms you’ve been receiving for 3 tracks begins to wear a bit thin. While Wraiths’ focus on making their hardcore more doomy is commendable, there just aren’t enough ideas to keep it going to the end of the EP. Perhaps Wraiths really do need a burst of speed and aggression to keep their sound interesting for the listener.

Wraiths’ self-titled EP is a solid and brilliantly textured release that shows a band successfully adding more murk to the hardcore formula. This record has more in common with metal than it does hardcore, but the band have to be appreciated for still including the bruising attitude that attracts hardcore fans to the genre. It’s just a bit of a shame that the record seems to run out of ideas and becomes a bit of a tiresome listening experience once you realise the band’s style isn’t budging.


Wraiths’ self titled EP is available to buy on cassette from Witch Hunter Records now.

Music Video: God Damn’s Heavy Money

Ladies and Gentlemen; bear witness to what is probably going to be the best UK music video produced all year. God Damn’s single Heavy Money which comes off their new EP of the same name is accompanied by one of the best acted, most charming and most interesting music videos I’ve seen in a long, long time. Just watch and you’ll see what I mean:

You can pre-order God Damn’s Heavy Money EP on limited edition cassette now from Gravy Records. A free download is also included.

Interview: Hold Your Horse Is

On the 6th of February Hold Your Horse Is played a show at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch to mark the re-release of their debut album on cassette. We sat down with the band for a chat.

Chris Rouse: Hi I’m Chris, I play drums.
Robin Pearson: Yeah, I’m Robin. I play the guitar and sing.
James Penny: I play bass.

[laughs] You don’t have a name?

JP: I’m James.

The album re-release is tonight and you’re releasing it through Feliciano. How did that come about?

CR: We’ve known Sam Smith (Feliciano) for a long time and he’d just started a semi-record label/tape club. He asked us and a load of other bands if we wanted to put something out on tape and we were totally into that.
RP: He used to promote gigs which is how I know him. He used to put us on in Kingston. He used to work in Greggs and he would show up with everything you could want from Greggs [laughs]
JP: I forgot about that!
RP: Bags and bags and bags of pastries and cakes and sandwiches. We were like “this guy’s cool!” and now he has the Feliciano record label.

I had seen the name about but I didn’t make the connection. I was just like “the guy is named after a pub; cool!”

RP: Good pub.
JP: New to me.

You need to go. There’s one in Holborn.

RP: Yeah there’s loads about. There will be one right near your workplace, I guarantee it.
JP: I thought it was pronounced “Feliciano” [laughs]
RP: Felayshia!

I want to talk about cassettes and how they’ve become popular in the last few years. Loads of bands are putting out music on cassette. Is it romantic to put out music on a dead format?

CR: Yeah totally.
JP: Tapes are a really shit format [laughs]
RP: It’s a shit format but it’s one we grew up with. I’ve got a tape tattoo on my back. I think that shit is dope.
CR: I used to spend loads of time recording stuff off the radio; sitting around listening to the radio for 4 hours just to hear a repeat of a song so I could record it.

Did you to try and cut it so you didn’t get the DJs speaking on it?

CR: Yeah exactly!
RP: I think it’s the same for a lot of bands. The first band I was ever in with my mates from school, our first recording we ever did was on a tape recorded on a shitty little Panasonic tape deck thing. We recorded a song and I remember we had this long running joke through school because on that recording that we gave to someone who was in charge of doing the carnival in our town [laughs] We gave him this tape and I don’t think we even listed to it. When he listened to it you couldn’t hear anything else when our drummer started playing the ride [laughs] and he was like “that bloody ride cymbal!” So its pretty cool we’ve got the album on tape. We haven’t heard it yet.
CR: I used to have an 8 track recorder on my desk.
RP: I had a Tascam 4 track recorder.
CR: That’s what I had! The same thing!
JP: What’s really interesting about this tape release is that its been recorded so that some tracks sound like you’re listening to them on the radio. We’ve actually simulated us pressing the record button. Some of the tracks are just recorded at gigs with a dictaphone. It’s kinda like a mish-mash of those.

I’m looking forward to the live quality of it!

RP: I like the misleading aspect of this interview [laughs]

You seem to play Old Blue Last for a lot of your release shows. Is there something about this place you like to come back to?

CR: It’s just coincidence
RP: There’s been one or two times when I’ve said to our mate, “we need to do some sort of release show, can we do it here?” That’s happened once or twice, but the other times it’s just been a coincidence.
CR: As far as small venues go it’s one of our favourite ones in London. We always get a good crowd here and it’s always a good vibe
RP: People always come to gigs here. People just come to free gigs; it’s Shoreditch, it’s trendy. They see something is on and go “yeah I’m up for that”. It’s funny how there’s so many little websites and magazines that you wouldn’t expect to rate this place really highly that do. I guess a lot of people read about it and go, “fuck it, we’re going to that”.

Favourite show you’ve played?

CR: With this band? [laughs]
RP: We’ve played hundreds of gigs.
CR: The last Westy (Aldershot) one we did on our last tour was really good. So was the London show here actually, that was really good. One of favourite gigs will be a lot later in the year but we’re not allowed to talk about it [laughs]
RP: I remember when we played the Brudenell (Leeds) with Mojo Fury being really good because the venue is awesome.
CR: Oh yeah, that was awesome! The photo from that show is on our ‘Like, Live and Stuff’ EP.
RP: That was a cool gig. Actually, while it’s not the best gig we’ve played, one of the coolest venues we’ve played is the Empire in Middlesbrough. It’s an old theatre and it’s massive. We played a club night and nobody gave it a shit, but we were like “fuck, it’s so massive!” The stage was huge and it had a varnished wooden floor.
CR: Nobody came.

Funniest show you’ve played?

RP: Oh God, you’re going talk about my birthday, aren’t you?
CR: Yeah, I am [laughs] We played on Robin’s birthday two years ago and we all had to dress as ducks.
RP: I don’t know why.
CR: It doesn’t matter why, we were all dressed as ducks.
RP: It was because I was 22 and it’s like in bingo where it’s “two ducks, twenty-two” so it was a duck party.
CR: And you got absolutely battered! He was wearing flippers and trying to change his pedals. Me and Penny weren’t drunk because we were driving and Robin was off his face. He started playing the first song at half the speed thinking, “that’s the right speed” and we got through about 4 songs before he fell over my drum-kit. I stormed off in a big huff because it was a complete waste of time and as I was walking off some guy just full-on cupped my nuts and diffused the whole situation [laughs] So that was horrible but also really funny.
RP: People wouldn’t shut up about that for a while [laughs] I was like “alright, alright”.

Where did the idea for bringing the drums into the crowd come from?

CR: Nigel Powell from Dive, Dive. He did it at one of our first gigs and they used to do it quite a lot back in the day. I thought that was fucking brilliant except when he did it he pulled all the leads out of the drum mics and got told off and had to pay a lot of money.
RP: He basically smashed up all these really nice mics and the sound guy got pissed off.
CR: So I’m like, “that’s a good idea, I’ll steal that”. I did that a few times but I don’t do it all the time, just when I get carried away.

I suppose it works better in the smaller venues.

CR: I actually did it in that massive Middlesbrough venue and everyone just kinda went, “what’s he doing?” [laughs]
RP: Oh yeah! I actually joined you on the floor and there was circle pit around me and Rouse on the floor.

That turned out alright then!

RP: But I was on the floor and some dude was on top of me while I’m trying to play guitar. It was pretty fun [laughs] Can I mention another gig that I think was cool? It was on the Mojo Fury tour as well and we were playing at The Swan in Ipswich. We could talk about that venue for hours because it’s mad. We’ve played there a few times. The stage is just a corner of the room, but the front door to the venue is right next to where you play. This whole thing was when we were exploring the whole ‘moving into the crowd’ thing and I ended up going outside the venue while still playing my guitar, but people were still hearing it in the venue. I was literally on the street.

The album is now sold out on CD; what’s the reaction been like and are you happy how things have been since the release?

RP: People seem to dig it. I think the majority of people that appreciated it are people we know from bands that we’ve played with. There’s also been a lot of people that have just bought it because they’ve seen us in the past or listened to it on Spotify and then bought it. We didn’t really have a lot of money to put into it. We literally only had enough to record it and we didn’t have a label behind us to support it, so we released it in the only way we knew how to do. We don’t know how many people bought it, liked it or whatever, but we really appreciate the one’s that did. It might have been different if someone offered to put it out for us and put some money behind it. There might have been more people into it, but that’s how it goes.

Is being signed a goal for the future?

CR: It was but there’s no money in it any more.
RP: You could try. You could spend all your fucking time trying to get everyone in the world to hear your band, but in the end what is it that you actually want to do it for? If that’s what you want then sick, go for it. We don’t want to spend all our time doing that, we just want to write music that we want to play and if people like it then that’s great.
CR: I think at one point we did want that, but I think we burnt ourselves out in real life.
RP: Yeah, but really we just want a massive sound and to play songs that we think are sick and hope people dig it. We don’t have any dreams to take over the world.
JP: We just want to destroy popular music. “What’s your goal in life?” To destroy popular music [laughs]

You guys have had the same line-up for your entire career thus far and it seems like that’s a rarity in modern rock.

RP: Yeah we’ve been together 5 years this May.
CR: We need a birthday!
JP: That’s half a decade.
RP: That’s fucked. It doesn’t feel that long.

Is that important to maintain because it’s a part of your image?

CR: I don’t think it’s important.
RP: I don’t think it’s an image thing, it’s more that we just work well together.
CR: This sounds really gushy, but when you find someone you work well with you want to keep that going. I’ve played with loads of other bands and not necessarily clicked with anyone in it, but I think us three have a good “chemistry” which sounds so lame.
RP: I’ll tell you what it is; we’re efficient. We’re really efficient. We used to turn up to practice and for a long time we used to practice in Chris’ parents’ old house. We had a 2 hour slot which we were allowed to practice in because of the neighbours and we’d show up, set up, play the set that we were going to play for the next gig, then work on something new, have a break, play the set again and then pack up and go home every week without fail. That’s just how we’ve always done it. We’ve always been quite efficient even at gigs. We’ve always loaded in and sound checked which takes like 10 minutes. Some bands fuck around for hours and we’re like, “no, just no.”
CR: Now we have to pay to practice because my parents don’t live at that house any more. We’ll get to the practice room and they’re like, “right, you’ve got 3 hours” and we still only take 2 hours and that’s it [laughs] Then we go home and everyone at the practice room is like, “where you going?” and we’re like, “we’re done!” [laughs]
RP: I’ve played in other bands where we practice all day and it drives me mad. I’m like, “urgh! Get on with it!” [laughs]

You guys have quite a lot of music videos considering you’re only touring your first album. Who’s the brain-child behind the videos?

RP: Chris Rouse comes up with a lot of ideas. For every video we’ve done he has like 10 other ideas. Chris Rouse comes up with ideas for other bands and they’ve nicked them and made videos that are his ideas.
CR: I stick to the idea that if you’re going to make a video then I don’t want to see a performance video. The music video is another extension of what you’re doing as a band. Nobody wants to watch a performance video because people with camera phones can do that. It’s artwork; you’re adding another element to the music and a video has to work with that. But generally I sit there in bed at night and go, “haha! That would be a good idea!” and then I’ll make a note of it and text Robin in the morning [laughs] This whole band is based on knowing friends with skills that we can borrow. My friend John shot a few of our videos, we shot a couple, Gordon helps up record; they’re just mates who are happy to help us out. The idea was we’d eventually repay them but unfortunately we don’t make any money [laughs]
RP: Videos are so fun. Music videos are what you’ll look back on in a few years think, “fuck yeah, that was sick”. It’s like photos, they’re so good to have to look back on after a tour. Oh, one other thing; Penny doesn’t like acting. He won’t act. Every time we’ve had an idea for a video we’re like, “right, so there’s going to be a very simple story throughout the video” and Penny’s like, “nah. I’m not doing it.”
CR: But, we made him act in the video to Title Track.
RP: Oh yeah, Title Track we made him run along.
JP: It’s easy to act when you’re wearing a massive Lego head [laughs] no facial expressions.

Big thanks to Hold Your Horse Is for taking the time to talk to us.

Review: Esoteric Youth/Prelude to the Hunt Split


Metallic hardcore mob Esoteric Youth are back with the follow up to their self-titled demo. This split with Prelude to the Hunt sees them unleash a blackened slab of crusty hardcore in the form of the song Instinct. The song shows Esoteric Youth at their most ferocious and rips its’ way through your head in just over a minute. There’s a surprising amount of depth in such a short song with a real highlight being the tremolo picking which creates a wonderfully bleak atmosphere.

The 2nd song on Esoteric Youth’s side of this split is a rather amazing cover of Deftones’ Minerva. While the original song is reminiscent for being a spacey, rock opera, Esoteric Youth’s take on the song turns it into a massive slab of post metal that sits somewhere nicely between Cult of Luna and Converge. This is a really impressive showing from these Mancunian mentals.

Also worthy of note is the increase in quality regarding the production and mix from Esoteric Youth’s demo. This is huge sounding stuff that makes the band sound beastly. This is exactly the sort of push Esoteric Youth needed to make their music give the sheer impact it deserves.

This is a really impressive taster of what Esoteric Youth have brewing for their next release. The band have come a long way since their debut and with metal as good as this they deserve to go all the way.



Doomy hardcore nutters Prelude to the Hunt return after a long gap between their debut EP First Rites. Tomb World sees the band on top form as usual and shows how brilliantly they can cross hardcore with doom metal. The song starts with a crushing sludge riff before exploding into a hardcore punk beat and picking up some serious pace. A lot of bands are making this kind of music but not many of them sound as downright vicious as Prelude to the Hunt.

Prelude to the Hunt’s 2nd track takes the form of a cover of Reparations by Cursed. Unlike Esoteric Youth’s cover, Prelude to the Hunt play the song with almost no changes outside vocal delivery and guitar tone. The cover is still admirably played and comes with all the dirt and crust you’d expect from a Prelude to the Hunt song, but it’s a shame the band didn’t try to cover a song they could really stamp with their style.

Overall Prelude to the Hunt still manage to impress with their punky doom. Their music is angry, crushing and most importantly vital which makes for an incredibly visceral listening experience. Prelude to the Hunt have mastered their art and are bound to impress us again with whatever they’re cooking up for their next release.


The limited edition cassette release of this from Church of Fuck is sadly sold out. However, you can still download the thing from Church of Fuck’s Bandcamp. Make sure you do.

Review: Hammers’ Vardøgr

Hammers are a Manchester trio making the most relentless metallic hardcore this country has to offer. Vardøgr is a mini-album of sorts as even though it’s a traditional 10 tracks in length, it’s all over and done with in 19 minutes. As you can imagine, that means Hammers don’t mess about and all their songs get to their point in an average of 2 minutes.

Originally released on 10” vinyl with some fantastic packaging that includes a mirror and a massive, screenprinted booklet, Vardøgr has been given a 2nd pressing with new artwork on cassette by the wonderful people at Church of Fuck. If you’ve missed an opportunity to own this record then now is a better time than any.

Hammers real strength is their style which is ungoverned by tempo and time signature. Their music is beautifully loose and wild and calls to mind My War-era Black Flag but with all the intensity and vigour you would expect from a modern hardcore record. If there was ever a true representation of chaos as music then Hammers have managed to encapsulate it with finesse.

The driving force behind the entire record is the unruly guitar work which twists and turns from hardcore riffing to mathy, technical flare. It almost sounds like the drums, bass and vocals are working against the guitar to contain it from bursting into its’ own tangent. It’s also pretty remarkable how such intense and complex guitar-work can also be so memorable.

The only real negative we can throw at Vardøgr is that the production can be a bit inconsistent. Certain songs sound muddier than others and can break the flow of the record to a degree. Fortunately for Hammers this is the only real negative we can find.

Vardøgr is a rather spectacular example of madness being bottled and distributed as music. Hammers sound absolutely volatile but manage to maintain a sound that is entirely their own. Not many bands can lay claim to such a unique style and Hammers should be immensely proud of Vardøgr for showcasing that so brilliantly. Where this band go from here only Satan knows.


Order the Church of Fuck re-print of Hammers’ Vardøgr on cassette now. You can also download the record from Hammers’ official Bandcamp.

Music Video: Esoteric Youth’s Instinct

Esoteric Youth are back and they’ve gone all black metal on us to deliver you the music video to Instinct from their forthcoming split with Prelude to the Hunt. Get something bleak in your system:

Pre-orders for the Esoteric Youth/Prelude to the Hunt split go live at Church of Fuck next Monday the 14th of January. Bookmark that shit.

News: Hold Your Horse Is Re-Release Debut Album on Cassette

The alt-rock beast that is Hold Your Horse Is are giving their fans another opportunity to own their debut album Frimley on a physical format. We voted Frimley our third best British album of 2012 if you remember correctly.

This time around they’ve enlisted the help of Feliciano to do a limited run of 50 cassettes which you can buy now from this link: CLICK HERE

Need a reason why this would be a good purchase? Download the free Feliciano mixtape now which includes Mumbler and songs from 8 other bands including Part Dinosaur and Our Lost Infantry:

Hold Your Horse Is play a free launch show for the cassette at the Old Blue Last in London on the 6th of February.

Review: Employed to Serve’s Long Time Dead

Let me get one thing clear before we start this review; you want Employed to Serve in your life. Employed to Serve are a two piece metallic, technical hardcore band from London who feature Sammy Urwin on guitar/backing vocals and Justine Siân Jones on lead vocals. Their biography lists their drummer as “TBA” so we’re assuming the band used a drum machine for this EP (but we can’t really tell). Regardless, they won’t be drummerless for very long after hearing how accomplished Long Time Dead is.

There is an awful lot going on here. The song stucture is not your traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus shtick; this is progressive, angry metal. Jones’ vocals are ferocious throughout and sound like a woman who has nothing else other than this band. These songs sound urgent and vital and are doing their absolute best to hold your attention. They achieve this by never sitting still for too long and the guitar work is always fresh and interesting to listen to.

Unlike the mathy leanings of bands like Crocus and Kerouac, Employed to Serve’s songs are generally quite mid-paced affairs. Yes, they are heavy and screamy but they don’t belt along at a ridiculous pace and give you a chance to take in what the band are doing.

The big draw comes half-way through the EP when Urwin brings his vocals to the mix. After 3 tracks of flat-out, nasty metal, The World Keeps Turning and I Keep Dying unleashes a huge, memorable sung section from Urwin. It takes you completely by surprise and gives the song greater atmosphere. It’s a stark, haunting melody and another string on Employed to Serve’s musical bow.

This is still early days for Employed to Serve. The band have released a two track demo and one other song so Long Time Dead has no right to sound so good so early in this band’s career. The production on this EP makes the band sound huge. The best example of this comes in the final song Fragments which progresses into a massive sung section that is just epic in scale. The mix is also brilliantly done and every element of Employed to Serve’s sound is clear as day while also maintaining a dirty, crusty guitar tone.

It is incredibly difficult to find things to criticise when it comes to Employed to Serve’s Long Time Dead. Their lack of bassist means they lack a driving rhythm that could make them sound even bigger but this EP is proving that it isn’t really necessary. Long Time Dead is 12 minutes of the most exciting metal you’ll hear and we cannot wait to hear what Employed to Serve have in store for the future.


Employed to Serve’s Long Time Dead is available as a free download from Grindcore Karaoke and a limited edition cassette from the band.