Tag Archives: dark hardcore

Review: Harrowed and Art of Burning Water’s Split 7″

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HARROWED

Harrowed’s take on dark, metallic hardcore is one of the best in the UK and their debut album Into Inferno is a vicious and dangerous sounding record that takes all the best bits from the genre and plays them really well. However, on the two tracks they offer on this split, the elements are all still there but Harrowed don’t sound as volatile. This is Harrowed doing what Harrowed do and that’s fine because Harrowed make great hardcore, but they’re missing the edge that made Into Inferno so utterly sumptuous.

This is mainly due to the production style which is a little rawer than the band’s debut. Into Inferno certainly wasn’t a bright, shiny album when it came to production, but the guitar sounded deadly. It had a real bite that’s sadly missing on these tracks and it just means that they’re missing a special something that would make them stand out better, especially now that dark hardcore is such an overpopulated genre.

Harrowed are still an exciting hardcore band and these tracks are by no means bad, they’re just not up to the band’s usual standard. Fingers crossed Harrowed have another belter of a long-player in the works because it’s about time we saw something more substantial from the band. It’s weird to think that Into Inferno is around 3 years old now.

7/10

ART OF BURNING WATER

Art of Burning Water are one of those bands that have been slogging their way through the toilet circuit for what feels like forever and never really been given their dues. Their music is very difficult to categorise as it draws in so many different influences from the heavy music spectrum, but it’s mainly a form hardcore punk that’s sprinkled with elements of black metal and grindcore. Vocals are always high-pitched and raspy giving their music that nasty, brooding vibe that black metal does so well and the loose, short bursts of almost free-form song-writing definitely lend themselves heavily to hardcore and grind.

Thankfully, despite all these elements coming into play, they manage to fuse in a way that makes Art of Burning Water’s music sound utterly ferocious. Let Me Let You Finish is the perfect example of all these musical styles coming together harmoniously and it’s a terrifying and scattershot explosion of disgusting metal that demands your attention. Please start paying attention to what Art of Burning Water are doing because a band like this shouldn’t be so criminally overlooked.

8/10

Harrowed and Art of Burning Water’s split 7″ is out now and available to buy from Secret Law Records.


Review: Employed to Serve’s Greyer than You Remember

Employed-To-Serve

Employed to Serve have fucking arrived. Going from a 2 piece studio project to full blown metallic hardcore band has been a long journey and while the band’s previous EP Change Nothing, Regret Everything hinted at greatness, nothing could have prepared us for Greyer than You Remember.

Greyer Than You Remember marks Employed to Serve’s first foray into the world of long players and the moment Live Without bursts out the gate you’re instantly bludgeoned with some of the most devastatingly dense hardcore this side of a Converge record. Employed to Serve are clearly cut from the same sort of cloth as metallic hardcore’s finest like the aforementioned Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Coalesce but this is a band born and bred in the UK’s hardcore scene and you can hear shades of Throats and Pariso running through their veins.

So let’s talk about the music because my God there’s a lot to dissect. Employed to Serve have given up on singing entirely in favour of sounding like a tornado is ripping through your home. Justine Jones’ vocal performance is nothing short of terrifying and she’s managed to evolve into one of the leading female screamers this country has to offer. Sammy Urwin continues to floor the opposition with as many riffs as he can produce and if anyone’s familiar with his work in either Oblivionized or Regurgitate Life you’ll know exactly what madness this man can achieve.

These two elements are bolstered by additional guitar work by James Jackson and bassist James Venning who give the record that devastating thickness. Tying everything together is a drum performance by Robbie Black who should probably be having a hard time keeping up with his band-mates but there are no such worries here. The drums have that wonderfully enormous live quality to them that producer Lewis Johns is so magnificent in capturing. Employed to Serve sound like a fucking rampage.

The band does manage to muster a few moments of melody like on the Vales-esque Bones to Break. These moments act as a temporary reprieve from the onslaught contained in the rest of the record and they show a wonderfully introspective side to the band that manages to add some real texture to the record.

It’s impossible to justify any criticism towards this record. Employed to Serve have absolutely mastered their craft and if dense, bastard-heavy hardcore is your thing than Greyer than You Remember is filled wall-to-wall with some of the genre’s finest moments. The album barely gives you a moment to breath in favour of demanding you mosh harder and it’s almost euphoric in its density.

9/10

Employed to Serve’s Greyer than You Remember is out now and available to order from Holy Roar Records.


News: Grab Old Skin’s :consume: EP Before It’s Gone Forever

consume

Old Skin are currently supporting the release of :consume:; a two track EP that is available directly from the band for one week only and then it’s gone forever.

The limited edition CD version is unfortunately sold out but you can still download the release for any amount of money (yes, even no money if you’re that much of a cheapskate). Make sure you grab it via the widget below because at midnight on the 1st of June the band will be taking it down and you’ll have to source it by “other” means (which the band are openly encouraging by the way).

Check it out because you won’t regret it. You’ll have a hard time finding a more interesting/punishing slab of metallic hardcore today:


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.

7/10

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