Tag Archives: ep

Review: Stinky Wizzleteat’s Quit Drugs!

All hail the return of the Teat! There’s been a five year gap between releases and a lengthy hiatus for the Birmingham sludge-metallers, but Stinky Wizzleteat are back and with a new EP entitled Quit Drugs! and it’s probably the most expansive-sounding thing they’ve ever done.

Stinky Wizzleteat’s last outing was with 2012 EP Butterscotch Crucifixxx which saw the band a man down and contained no bass or vocals. It was certainly a valiant attempt at maintaining what the band is about, but it was clearly lacking. There is no such problem on Quit Drugs! and considering this is an independent release, it’s the biggest sounding record the band has put out to date.

We kick things off we Snack Heavy, a savage, bass-heavy stomper of an opener that encapsulates the unpredictable and progressive nature of the band perfectly. Stinky Wizzleteat have often sounded a little messy and unfocussed on previous releases, but here we have a band firing on all cylinders. This is tight, interesting and unashamedly heavy.

The next track Omar explores this mantra further with some really creative guitar work that generates some wonderfully bizarre riffs. We also get a reappearance of Asymmetrical Bashing from Butterscotch Crucifixxx, but this time it’s completely fleshed out with bass and vocals and sounds better than it ever has before.

In the closing two tracks Bingo Mandingo and DP, we see Stinky Wizzleteat slow things down and create some absolutely monolithic music in the process. Bingo Mandingo is a crushing little tune that moves into doom territory in its closing moments and DP sees the band explore a more psychedelic, desert rock style that doesn’t sound out of place at all. Considering how weird Stinky Wizzleteat can be, it’s fantastic to see how well these tracks have come together for this EP.

Stinky Wizzleteat’s Quit Drugs! is quite easily the best thing the band have produced to date. This is a really accomplished showcase of progressive, unpredictable sludge metal that manages to rein in the band’s eccentricities just enough to make a cohesive and absolutely punishing record. It would be great to see if the band have an equally effective long-player in them, but only time will tell. Welcome back, guys.

9/10

Stinky Wizzleteat’s Quit Drugs! is out now and available to download now direct from the band.

Advertisements

Review: A Cunning Man’s Practical Applications of Theurgy

practical-application-of-theurgy-cover

A Cunning Man is the one-man metal project of Ged Cartwright who previously fronted Scumscene post hardcore favourites Teenage China. This new project is extremely high concept stuff; a progressive and symphonic metal project that simply shouldn’t be coming out of the mind of one man.

Practical Applications of Theurgy is such a dense EP that it inspired me to do some background reading on a lot of the references in the song titles. Each track contains a name that appears in The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, which is a 1760 text that was made to be read during mass. Whether or not this is actually the influence on Cartwright’s lyricism remains to be seen, but the fact that I was even intrigued enough to find some meaning in this monumentally enormous sounding EP is a true testament to how interesting A Cunning Man’s music really is.

From the first track Honorius & the Choral Forecast, the listener is assaulted with a symphonic metal attack that’s heavy on blast beats and ethereal strings. Think of a melding of Dimmu Borgir, Between the Buried and Me and Periphery and you’ve got a good idea as to how wild this all sounds. Cartwright’s virtuosic vocals are placed front and centre and rightly so; the man’s singing is nothing short of staggering with its beautiful, lilting melodies permeating every song. It’s a huge amount to take in for a first track and if there’s one criticism to be levelled at this track then it might be a case of over-egging the pudding.

The next two tracks actually reign in A Cunning Man’s tendency to throw every influence under their belt into the mix. A more considered introduction leads the listener along carefully before the instrumentation picks up and when it does it never gets overindulgent. Closer Juratus & the Sulfur Psalm also follow a similar structure and it allows the impact of A Cunning Man’s crescendos to really shine. There’s more of a post rock influence on these tracks that remind you of prog bands like TesseracT, as they show less outright visceral metal like on the first track.

Practical Applications of Theurgy is an extremely unique and almost overbearing symphonic metal release from one of the most gifted Scottish musicians I can think of. This is an extremely accomplished first offering from A Cunning Man and while it sometimes veers dangerously close to being a little too dense for its own good, the song-writing shines brighter and makes for a record that’s more than the sum of its parts. A Cunning Man have an awful lot to offer over these 3 tracks and I’m very excited to see where the project goes in the future.

8/10

A Cunning Man’s Practical Applications of Theurgy is out now and available to download direct from the band’s official Bandcamp page.


Review: So-Crates’ v1

a1797400806_10

So-Crates are a new project featuring members of Hold Your Horse Is and Reuben and if that doesn’t get your post hardcore senses tingling then you might need to see a doctor. v1 is the band’s first offering; a pay-what-you-want, 7 track mini album that is bursting with ideas.

The music on v1 is a pretty angular and progressive affair, but always fast and driving. Imagine At the Drive-In wrestling with Billy Talent and you’ll have a good grasp as to what So-Crates are aiming for. Despite the manic, almost nervous energy of the record, So-Crates are surprisingly tuneful with Robin Pearson’s half sung/half spoken vocals still being incredibly striking and unique.

What really adds some wonderful texture is the glittery lead guitar work by Toby Jackson. Despite the songs often being consumed by chunky bass-lines and furious punk rock drumming, the presence of Jackson’s leads means there’s always an earworm melody on display and it makes songs like Paused on a Crossfade really stand out. So-Crates are always mixing a wild and dangerous sound with extremely tuneful and welcoming melodies and it makes v1 a very unique record to listen to.

There is one obvious negative though; music of this energy could do with sounding weightier. The production work on v1 makes it sound more like a jangly indie rock record which seems at odds with how bat-shit crazy the songs are. So-Crates could really benefit from having their drums hit that little bit harder and their riffs need to carry a little more bass. It’s an adjustment that could have really set this record on fire, but it’s something we’ll have to hope the band addresses in future releases.

Overall, v1 is an accomplished and intense debut from an extremely exciting new band. If you’re a fan of post hardcore and math rock then you’ll find a lot to love here and despite some niggles regarding the production, the song-writing really does shine bright and offer a record that is greater than the sum of its parts.

8/10

So-Crates’ v1 is out now and available to download by clicking here.


Review: Cold Summer’s Fight to Survive

FRONT

It’s been a fair old while since we’ve heard from our friends in Cold Summer. Their 2013 self-titled mini-album left us feeling like the band were rushing their material out of the door, but no such criticism can be laid against their new EP Fight to Survive.

The band are still churning out angular, post hardcore anthems, but there’s a confidence on Fight to Survive that really steps things up a notch. From opener Bear Eats Wolf, you can instantly hear how significantly tighter Cold Summer are as a unit and the band don’t drop a note throughout the entirety of the track. We’ve got a seriously powerful performance on the drums, a beautifully constructed series of guitar melodies that burst into sharp, jagged riffs for the choruses and some fantastically memorable and saccharine vocals to top it all off.

Now I know I’ve previously given Cold Summer some grief over relying on songs they’ve had in their repertoire for quite some time, but even though Car Crash (In Progress) and Waiting appear again on this EP, they finally appear in the way they were always meant to. As we’ve previously mentioned, Cold Summer sound so much more confident and accomplished on this EP and that shows clearest on these re-workings. There have been some subtle changes to the structure of these tracks and they’re much more dynamic and infectious as a result. This really is Cold Summer firing on all cylinders.

There’s also been a considerable amount of effort put into this EP’s production. The music sounds considerably brighter than previous releases and it suits the band’s earworm melodies so much better than before. If there’s one complaint to be made about the production, it’s the way the guitar chords often sound like they’re being cut off in certain passages, almost like the guitarist is using a kill-switch. This is extremely obvious on EP closer Something, Nothing, No-one and it’s a peculiar decision that dates the EP, making it sound like an early 2000s nu-metal release in places.

Regardless, Cold Summer have finally hit their groove on Fight to Survive. This is an extremely bold and fearless record that sees all the pieces of the Cold Summer jigsaw puzzle fit together comfortably. If fist-pumping, anthemic post hardcore music is what you crave in life, then Fight to Survive is an EP you can rely on.

8/10

Cold Summer’s Fight to Survive is out now and available to purchase direct from the band.


Review: Terrible Love’s Change Nothing

cover

I think people are going to be very quick to establish Terrible Love as a “super-group” as the band is made up of members of Goodtime Boys, Bastions, Funeral for a Friend, Crocus and Grappler. That’s some incredible pedigree and basically a who’s-who of some of our favourite bands, but sadly they’ve all split up or gone on hiatus making Terrible Love a very natural progression that echoes the way a lot of bands start life. No established band is ever anyone’s first band and the experience that each member brings to the table makes Terrible Love’s debut EP Change Nothing an incredibly accomplished first drop.

What’s immediately noticeable is that Terrible Love actually sound like a band made up of its component parts. It’s strange but expectations that come from such well known and recognisable bands immediately put ideas as to what they should sound like in your head, but most projects of this calibre don’t realise themselves in the way you expect. Terrible Love are the exception to the rule. This is heart-on-sleeve, emotive yet aggressive post hardcore that is equal parts memorable, interesting, biting and beautifully constructed.

The title track perfectly encapsulates what the band are about and it’s difficult to not want to instantly bang your head to the wonderfully bouncy, twangy guitar riffs. The vocal delivery is an intriguing spoken word approach that’s yelled in a similar fashion to Goodtime Boys themselves. It’s by no means free-form and definitely matches the beats of the songs but it makes Terrible Love sound vitriolic and heartfelt which is perfect for this type of post hardcore.

Change Nothing is a strikingly well-structured EP that ebbs and flows between fast-paced, punk-rock bangers like Mt. Misery and more delicate, glittery numbers like They Need You. It moves in such a natural and satisfying way that it’s incredibly difficult to find fault with the song-writing, and when it all comes together on songs like Stone in Me then it’s absolutely electrifying.

Terrible Love’s Change Nothing is an incredible debut from a band that comes with a lot of expectation and they absolutely deliver. This is a remarkably accomplished start to a band’s career that I hope lasts for a very long time.

8/10

Terrible Love’s Change Nothing is out now and available on 12″ vinyl through Big Scary Monsters.


Year End: The 10 Best EPs of 2015

yearendeps

10) Geist – Faith Healing

faithhealing

Faith Healing ends with a monologue about the futility of worshipping a God who hasn’t done anything to prove that he actually, “loves you”. It’s a stark, bleak ending to an EP loaded with some of the most unforgiving hardcore the UK has to offer and a timely reminder that we need bands like Geist to provide a visceral release from the shitstorm that is real life.

Click here to read the full review.

9) Boxkite – Self Titled

boxkite

“Boxkite have burst out the gates with a hardcore debut that doesn’t mess about. This is 6 tracks of solid, bouncy yet strangely forlorn punk that leaves a serious mark. Anyone looking for the next great UK hardcore band might want to seriously consider grabbing Boxkite’s debut EP while it’s hot; you won’t regret it.”

Click here to read the full review.

8) Eulogy – Eternal Worth

eulogy

“Eulogy have hit their stride on Eternal Worth. This is a record that doesn’t mess about and gets straight to the point. This is a laser-focussed metallic hardcore assault that is big on groove and if the name change wasn’t a big enough indicator, it marks an important step up for Eulogy as a band.”

Click here to read the full review.

7) Simmer – Yellow Streak

simmer

“Simmer’s Yellow Streak is a rare gem of a record. The EP is full of soaring melodies and satisfying riffs that are punctuated with a beautifully reflective vocal performance. Even though this is only the band’s second EP, it feels like they’ve already mastered their craft and Yellow Streak might be a defining moment in their career.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters – Earth Hog

earthhog

“Earth Hog is an easy recommendation to make. If you’ve ever enjoyed a riff that might result in whiplash then Chubby have delivered an absolute haven of guitar wizardry. Earth Hog is loaded with some of the best grooves stoner rock has to offer and it’s one of the most satisfying debuts of any band.”

Click here to read the full review.

5) I, The Lion – Run

Run EP Cover - FINAL

“I, The Lion’s Run is a wonderful celebration of riff rock. It’s a gargantuan-sounding EP loaded with some of alt-rock’s most thunderous melodies and it constantly evolves and welcomes new ideas into it’s already accomplished sound. A lacklustre opening hides one of rock’s most enjoyable EPs and I, The Lion need to be a band you start paying immediate attention to.”

Click here to read the full review.

4) Iced Out – Man’s Ruin

icedout

“Iced Out have finally found their comfort zone. Man’s Ruin is an enormous, towering beast of an EP that sees the band embrace slower tempos and tunings so low you might soil yourself. Now it’s time for Iced Out to take their sludgecore leanings and finally deliver the sort of devastating album that Man’s Ruin is threatening to. Good luck, boys; we’re looking forward to it.”

Click here to read the full review.

3) Maths – The Fires Courting the Sea

maths

“Maths’ The Fires Courting the Sea is a phenomenal melodic punk record which manages to cram some of the most beautiful yet utterly pissed off music it can into its 10 minutes. Maths are still one of the UK underground’s most treasured acts and it would be sacrilege for any punk fan to skip on this record. You know what to do.”

Click here to read the full review.

2) SikTh – Opacities

opactities

“Opacities is a fantastic comeback by one of the most dearly missed UK metal acts. SikTh are just as exciting and vital as they’ve ever been and despite the 9 year gap between Opacities and Death of a Dead Day, it genuinely feels like the band have never been away. Opacities has a wonderfully natural progression to it and it sounds exactly like the follow-up to Death of a Dead Day that we all dreamed of. It feels wonderful to finally say this but welcome back SikTh. We’ve really missed you.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) TEEF – Admit Defeat

admitdefeat

“TEEF have put together one of punk’s brightest moments. Admit Defeat is a non-stop powerhouse of grotty violence that’s amazingly memorable despite its aggression. No band in the UK has managed to meld fury with song-writing this catchy nearly as well as TEEF have managed to here and it’s a massive shame that the band won’t be making anymore music. Admit Defeat might be the last TEEF record but as swan-songs go, this couldn’t be any better.”

Click here to read the full review.


Review: Boxkite’s Boxkite

boxkite

Plymouth-based hardcore act Boxkite harken back to the short-lived #UKSwell scene that encompassed bands like Bastions, Crocus, Pariso and Kerouac and like said bands, they have a wonderfully emotive approach to hardcore punk that ebbs and flows through passages of flat-out aggression and more introspective moments of respite.

In true punk fashion, Boxkite’s debut self-titled EP is over and done in 6 minutes which means that Boxkite deal in a dense yet visceral type of hardcore that grabs you by the throat and shakes you until you pass out. Opener Struggles begins with a devastating blast-beat that quickly establishes the no-nonsense approach to music that the band deals in.

Boxkite aren’t exactly breaking the mould on this record but fans of hardcore punk will still be treated to one of the most perfectly crafted punk EPs this year. What Boxkite do so well is temper their nasty, crushing riffs and snotty yelling with passages where they let the bass guitar ring out. Cycles and Red Skies are great examples of this; the bass is often used to drench the song in a nice bit of gloomy atmosphere before the band unleashes another ball-busting riff. It’s a simple trick that keeps the record diverse and makes the aggression even more impactful.

What really impresses is the wonderful clarity. No single element of the sound is lost in this mix; the guitar sound is more like traditional punk rather than the HM-2 hardcore that’s become so popular nowadays. The bass cuts through the action with a wonderfully dirty twang, the drums smack you straight in the chest with each snare and bass drum hit and despite the lairy, yelled nature of the vocals, you can actually understand the lyrics.

Boxkite have burst out the gates with a hardcore debut that doesn’t mess about. This is 6 tracks of solid, bouncy yet strangely forlorn punk that leaves a serious mark. Anyone looking for the next great UK hardcore band might want to seriously consider grabbing Boxkite’s debut EP while it’s hot; you won’t regret it.

8/10

Boxkite’s debut self-titled EP is out now and available to download direct for the band or buy on red or black vinyl through Tangled Talk Records or Boslevan Records.


Review: Allfather’s No Gods. No Masters.

allfather

Allfather describe themselves as a sludge, doom and hardcore crossover act and while there’s elements of these genres in their sound I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they deal in the sort of groove metal and hardcore genre hybrid that the mighty Raging Speedhorn and Cancer Bats deal in.

Their debut EP No Gods. No Masters. is a thunderous display of chunky riffs and gruff, bellowed vocals. Opener The Great Destroyer lays down the foundations with a massive groove that will ignite some dangerous mosh pits. The riff is also accompanied with a meaty rhythm courtesy of drummer Kieron and it’s this satisfying combination that makes Allfather’s music so instantly enjoyable. Stick this on in a rock club and the high-kickers will go on a rampage.

No Gods. No Masters. continues to be a wonderfully no nonsense EP that’s big on fun. While the start of the EP leans more on mid-paced sludge metal stylings, the latter half is considerably punkier as a result. Post Austerity Blues and The Worms Won’t Have Us are short, sharp bursts of aggression that once again put forward a huge riff and some pounding drums to devastating effect. Allfather have managed to boil down their sound to its core elements and focus on beating you around the head with them and it’s nothing less than fantastic.

The only thing that really disappoints is how quick it’s all over with. With only 4 songs clocking in at just under 11 minutes, Allfather manage to whet our appetites for more chunky grooves and hardcore punk drumming but the EP ends rather abruptly. This is a real shame because by the end of the last song it feels like the EP should have a lot more to offer.

However this is a minor grievance in what is a seriously intense and satisfying combination of hardcore and groove metal. Allfather have stumbled onto a hugely entertaining sound that will satisfy both fans of metal and punk and I cannot personally wait to see where the band goes from here. No Gods. No Masters. is a debut that any band would be proud of.

8/10

Allfather’s No Gods. No Masters. is out now and available to download direct from the band.


Review: Patrons’ The Momentary Effects of Sunlight

patrons

Patrons are a 4 piece alt rock band from Plymouth who are clearly influenced by luminaries like Biffy Clyro and In Case of Fire. Their second EP The Momentary Effects of Sunlight sees the band’s sound expand exponentially, creating a truly satisfying slab of emotional rock music.

Patrons manage to prove that over these 4 songs that they have an unnerving talent for writing music that ebbs and flows with wonderful fluidity. Songs like Circus kick off with a brilliantly off-kilter twangy riff that opens up into a soaring chorus before driving the whole thing home with a massive riff that could shake a house to its foundations. The movement of Patrons’ music is so natural that it makes for bizarrely easy listening considering the sheer amount of action contained within.

The band also make use of some famous post hardcore tricks like the quiet/loud dynamic. This becomes one of the most satisfying elements of Patrons’ sound as they often follow up their more subtle and understated moments with an enormous explosion of guitar euphoria.

We haven’t even spoken about the vocals which are exemplary throughout. Melodies are incredibly memorable, heart-on-sleeve affairs and when the music steps up a notch then the vocals follow suit. There’s some satisfying screams in here that really help deliver the notion that these boys really do sing it like they mean it.

Patrons have a seriously accomplished sound for a band this early in their career. The Momentary Effects of Sunlight is an EP loaded with fantastic song writing and the emphatic choruses are coupled with a lovely melding of delicate yet abrasive guitar work. If you’ve been looking for your new favourite rock band then look no further because Patrons might just be the one.

8/10

Patrons’ The Momentary Effects of Sunlight is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.


Review: Red Seas Fire’s Resolution

redseasfire

Technical metalcore mob Red Seas Fire return with Resolution, a 4 track EP stuffed with the sort of tech metal that bands like Periphery and SikTh deal in. If constantly evolving prog metal stuffed with a thousand riffs, screamed vocals and soaring melodies sounds like something that’ll whet your appetite, then Red Seas Fire certainly deliver.

Red Seas Fire are actually a far more approachable prospect than a lot of tech metal bands as their heavier moments generally take on the sort of shape that metalcore often deals with. This means lot of double-bass drumming and the sort of single-chord beatdowns that I often don’t get on too well with. However, Red Seas Fire actually use these moments a lot more sparingly which means they never outstay their welcome before they segue into a beautiful melody like the one nearer the end of Blood Bank. There’s still no denying that this sort of heaviness is still a lazy excuse to have an obvious passage for people to mosh to, but at least Red Seas Fire understand how to temper these moments with some genuinely fantastic riffs and vocal melodies.

Sadly the band do get a bit bogged down in this territory for the 9 minute behemoth that is The Mistakes We Make; an apt song title for a song that spends too long worshipping down-tuned beatdowns and not doing enough to warrant it’s enormous length. This is a real shame because the band manage to prove elsewhere (and in the latter half of the song) that they’re genuinely talented songwriters who understand nuance and not just bludgeoning their listeners over the head with heaviness.

Resolution is a solid tech metal EP that’s at its best when the songs trade off their moshier moments with huge, anthemic melodies that will be stirring crowds into massive sing-a-longs. Red Seas Fire clearly have the ability to write great metal but their over-reliance on beatdowns means they undersell their abilities. Thankfully the better moments on Resolution shine brighter than the duller, chuggy, one-chord riffs that the band often deal in and the whole EP pops with a satisfying chunky mix that will get your head banging in no time.

7/10

Red Seas Fire’s Resolution is out now and available to download for free via the band’s website.