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Live Review: Holy Roar X at The Dome/Boston Music Rooms 21/5/2016

Holy Roar’s tenth birthday party took place across 2 stages at The Dome and Boston Music Rooms on the 21st of May 2016. No fewer than 18 bands played live during the day and while we would have liked to have seen all of them, there’s only so much a man can take. Regardless, this was a hugely enjoyable and celebratory event for one of the most consistent and long-lasting UK heavy music labels. So here are some thoughts on the 15 bands we managed to catch throughout the day:

HELPLESS
01helpless
What a start to the day. Helpless might only have a single EP to their name but they’re a vicious, fiery band that plays some of the tightest dark hardcore I’ve seen in years. I was instantly enthralled by Helpless and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

UP RIVER
02upriver
Next up we had some explosive and emotional young post hardcore talent in the form of Up River. There’s something very Vales and Svalbard about their music which is no bad thing as we’re treated to a passionate performance full of youthful energy. Up River are definitely a band to keep an eye on.

EULOGY
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We’ve made our love for Eulogy very apparent on the website for quite some time now and seeing them live just solidifies exactly what we like about them. This was a brash, scrappy performance by the metallic hardcore quartet and another fantastic early set from HRX.

SVALBARD
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What’s left to say about Svalbard? They just get better every time I see them. The post hardcore band is firing on all cylinders and from the moment Serena screams, “We’re fucking Svalbard from Bristol!” they have the audience eating from the palm of their hand. Svalbard are unstoppable right now and this was another flawless performance from one of the UK’s best bands.

HAAST’S EAGLED
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I don’t know if this was due to seeing them directly after one of the best sets at HRX, but Haast’s Eagled felt like a bit of a downer for me. The band make long-form, sludgy desert rock that was certainly accomplished but essentially a polar opposite to the barrage of glittery guitar melodies and blast-beats that I’d just witnessed via Svalbard. Maybe in a different environment I’d enjoy Haast’s Eagled a little better, but today was not that time.

EMPLOYED TO SERVE
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This was our first special set of the day seeing Employed to Serve perform their debut album Greyer than You Remember in its entirety. Another Scumscene favourite, Employed to Serve basically prove to everyone in attendance why they’re the most exciting mathcore band in the country. Greyer than You Remember is an incredible record and Employed to Serve perform it with all the bile and fury you could possibly want. This was one of the best sets of the day.

MEEK IS MURDER
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My God was this a surprise. Meek is Murder are a band that has been on my radar for a while now but this is the first time I’ve seen them live and it was jaw-dropping. The band deal in some vicious, angular hardcore and their performance is about as no-nonsense as you could want. The band obliterates their set-list and put on an amazing performance to boot. If hardcore is your thing then you need to check out Meek is Murder right now.

THE LONG HAUL
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Holy shit! The Long Haul are back for a one-off reunion show and it’s like they’ve never been away. The Long Haul still look like a band of fresh-faced hardcore upstarts and they power through their set-list with an unnerving ease. This was all over far too soon and it instantly reminded you why the band are so dearly missed.

APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE
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Like Haast’s Eagled set earlier, I felt like Apologies, I Have None were battling against being a band that couldn’t really match the energy of what had come before. The pop-punk act seem like a strange fit for Holy Roar and while their bouncy emo melodies are perfectly serviceable, they just didn’t push my buttons in the way I like.

GIANTS
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I don’t think Giants are for me. There’s nothing particularly wrong with their angst-ridden hardcore and there’s certainly a lot of crowd-killers in attendance that are loving this set, but the band didn’t feel like they were doing anything a thousand other hardcore bands have done better.

OHHMS
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Allow me to get hyperbolic for a second; OHHMS blew me away like no other band has done since… well, probably Rolo Tomassi to be honest. The band’s psychedelic, groovy doom is heavier than a sack of breeze blocks and the quartet put on a feral performance that sees every member of the band chewing the scenery. This was a hypnotic performance that I cannot recommend enough. Go and see OHHMS live.

VALES
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Another special set, Vales take to the stage to perform their debut EP Clarity for the last time. Vales are hinting a new direction for their next release which seems like an odd decision when you see how the audience hang onto every last word of the songs from Clarity. Vales clearly mean a lot to many and their explosive post hardcore is some of the best in the UK. Clarity might not be representative of the band members anymore, but you can’t deny it’s a record that exudes a youthful ambivalence to trends and gimmicks and their performance tonight bolsters that sentiment perfectly.

SLABDRAGGER
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My notes for Slabdragger’s set simply read, “The heaviest band” and I’m quite inclined to leave it at that, but I’m not going to because I want to tell you how incredible Slabdragger are live. Fucking incredible. The room explodes as the band unleash an onslaught of monolithic riffs. Nobody can compete with Slabdragger and this was probably my favourite set from HRX. Slabdragger; you beautiful bastards.

HANG THE BASTARD
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Speaking of bastards, it’s time for Hang the Bastard to play Hellfire Reign in its entirety and with original vocalist Chris Barling making his first appearance in four years. The sludgecore giants suffer some technical difficulties throughout their set but this doesn’t bother anyone in attendance because the room felt like it might explode with the amount of energy the band were creating. I thought Hang the Bastard’s performance tonight was a bit sloppy in places but I suppose that’s to be expected when you summon a mosh-pit as violent as this.

ROLO TOMASSI
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In the words of Holy Roar’s own Alex Fitzpatrick, “Only Rolo Tomassi could headline” and he’s not wrong. The band power through a set list that sees the band cherry-pick a few songs from each of their releases in chronological order and it never lets up. Rolo Tomassi are one of the most unique and important UK mathcore bands and even if their change in sound in more recent years has polarised you, their performance tonight can’t be denied. Rolo Tomassi are still one of the most enthralling live acts around and this is a fitting end to an incredible day of music. Happy birthday, Holy Roar. Here’s to 10 more years.

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Our Picks for Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio (01/12/2013)

We returned to co-host Catbird’s Sunday Roasting beside James Begley of Hybris on the 1st of December 2013. Below is a list of our picks for the show and links to online stores that allow you to purchase the releases they are featured on. We thoroughly recommend you scope out the bands we featured as we truly believe they are some of the best UK rock and metal artists doing the rounds:

Monolithian – Yog Sothoth (buy here and here)
Limb – Plague Doctor (buy here)
Monolithian – The Dry (see links above)
Dinosaur Pile-Up – Peninsula (buy here)
Cleavers – I Can’t Wait Around For You (buy here)
Hang the Bastard – Sweet Mother (buy here)

You can now listen to a repeat of Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio at 12pm on Wednesdays so don’t miss out!

For the next two weeks myself and James will be hosting the show as Catbird is away. Next week I will be interviewing Hybris live in the studio and on the 22nd of December Jamie Lenman will be in the studio for an interview and a live acoustic session.


Review: Desolated’s Disorder of Mind

This might be the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write because it’s amazingly frutstrating thinking of different ways to say ‘bland’, ‘generic’ and ‘boring’. If you haven’t already guessed I wasn’t too thrilled by Desolated’s Disorder of Mind and over its 5 tracks the EP did very little to make me think Desolated had any interesting ideas of their own.

Desolated make metalcore but they do it with the sort of metal-meets-hardcore swagger that bands like Hang the Bastard do so well. The difference is Desolated have hardly any melody on display and it’s because of this that the band end up churning out 5 very samey, very dull metalcore songs.

The band structure their songs like this: a constant, one-chord breakdown plays and each chord is punctuated with a bass-drum hit. Vocalist Paul Williams screams some words over everything and in between the one-chord breakdowns guitarist Rich Unsworth occasionally writes something that’s almost like a thrash metal riff. Every song on Disorder of Mind follows this pattern and the almost complete lack of melody and over-reliance on breakdowns makes it a tiresome experience.

The big issue I have with it is Unsworth proves he can write memorable guitar riffs as those small glimpses of thrash-metal are quite promising. Sadly it isn’t too long before we’re back in one chord territory. I can almost visualise the band posturing on stage and shouting at the audience to “open up this pit”. My face is thoroughly in my palms.

Desolated have worked themselves into a rut on Disorder of Mind. Because Williams relies on screaming, this EP needed some catchy riffs to give the listener something to sink their teeth into. What we get is breakdown after breakdown and it’s a repetitive and unvaried slog through music that wasn’t really made to be listened to. This is mosh music through and through and while that’s fine for the sort of audience Desolated are attracting in a live environment it doesn’t make for a compelling listen on record. If Unsworth moved away from the breakdowns and showcased exactly how good his riffs can be this EP could have been saved, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next time to see if that hope can become a reality.

3/10

Desolated’s Disorder of Mind is out now and available to buy direct from the band on 12″ vinyl and CD.


News: Holy Roar Release 2013 Compilation for Free Download

UK undergroud metal legends Holy Roar Records have put together a free 2013 sampler that features a wealth of UK talent like Kerouac, Crocus, Hang the Bastard, Throats, Bastions and Mine.

Click here to grab the collection now.

The full tracklist is below:

1. This Is Hell – The Enforcer
2. Coliseum – One Last Night
3. Bastions – Amongst Crows
4. Strife – Life or Death
5. Mine – What Kind of Bird Are You
6. Full Of Hell – Molluck
7. Calm The Fire – We’ll Be Fine
8. Hang The Bastard – King Of Adders Black
9. Kerouac – Fiends (live)
10. Cutting Pink With Knives – Rhythm 16
11. Run Walk – Blank Canvas
12. Pariso – Cold Venom
13. Desolated – Gods Eyes
14. Throats – I Love Turbulence
15. Last Witness – Saccharine
16. Maths – The Wind Swept Away (demo)
17. Katie Malco – Tearing Ventricles
18. Brontide – Coloured Tongues
19. No Fun – Guideless Ghost, Hopeless Hoax
20. We’ll Die Smiling – Feed The Need
21. Monolith – Forever Noir
22. Crocus – Left To Bruise
23. Goodtime Boys – Harrows
24. Will Haven – Object of My Affection
25. Abolition – Opiate
26. Daggers – Mohawk
27. Vales – Caves (Anxiety)


Interview: Mine

My name’s Mark Scurr and I play bass in Mine.

How did Mine come about?

Chris asked me if I fancied starting a band that was influenced by bands like Fucked Up, Anne etc. It sounded like fun so I was down! He then asked Dave and Matt if they were up for it and luckily they were. I think myself, Matt and Dave were the first choices for it as we all share a very similar outlook on music. We started jamming and it all came together very quickly.

Most of you guys come from heavier backgrounds so why the change of pace?

I think it’s just happened naturally really. I felt personally, that I’d gone as far as I could writing really heavy music and wanted a new challenge. As individuals our interests are creatively spread much further than just metal and hardcore and we all needed to embrace that. It’s been very organic.

The EP has some lavish packaging with a hand-sprayed cassette version and an etched 12″. Do you feel presentation is a big part of what is keeping physical music alive?

I do; if it looks nice someone’s going to pick it up and take a look and that’s all we want really. It’s also nice to give people our music in a package that in some way might feel special to them. Chris sprayed all those tapes himself so there’s some real love there!! The etched 12″ came out awesome as well. We spent a lot of time making sure the EP was presented correctly.

I can’t talk about the presentation with sending some love to two guys. Our logo was designed by Give Up and the photo on the cover is by Mike Jensen. Those guys have been amazing and their work definitely catches our vibe.

The cassette version has been released through Chris’ own Cult Culture label; is this simply going to be a way to release your own music or does Chris have his sights on releasing other bands’ music?

I know Chris definitely has plans to put out some bands in the near future. Some really awesome new bands.

You also released the vinyl version through Holy Roar Records who are probably the biggest force in UK heavy music right now. How did that come about?

Chris has worked with Holy Roar in the past and when we’d tracked our EP he sent it over to them. They dug it and offered to put it out! They did a really good job on the vinyl and we couldn’t really think of a better home for Mine.

Do you feel a lot of pressure putting out your first release; is there something to prove?

Personally I felt none at all. The music came together in such a natural way that for me it was actually totally the opposite. I couldn’t wait to show people what we’d done. I think we all love what we’re doing and we’re past the point of having to prove ourselves. We’re just doing our thing really.

Even though it is still early days for Mine, what’s been the most enjoyable part of being in the band so far?

Building a creative bond with some good friends has definitely been a great part for me, and the fact that some people dig it has also been very cool. Getting our copies of the vinyl was sweet as well!

Any UK bands you would like to recommend our readers?

Yeah totally. Recently I’ve been really digging Conan, Flats, Toy, No Ceremony, Purson, The History of Apple Pie and Big Deal. People should also check out Pariso, Vales and Goodtime Boys.

What shows do you have in the pipeline?

We have a cool show at the Old Blue Last on December the 16th with Birds in a Row, Vales and Bastions. It’s our first home-town show as well so we’re totally up for bringing the thunder. It’s free entry as well. We’re also playing a show on Jan 3rd in Portsmouth with a load of bands who I’ve never heard but seem to be making some good music.

Where can people stay up-to-date with all things Mine and where can they buy your music from?

We have a Facebook page; it’s facebook.com/mineculture. You can pick up our music from cultculture.co.uk and holyroarrecords.com. We also have the full EP streaming on mineculture.bandcamp.com.

Big thanks to Mark for taking the time to talk to us.


Music Video: Hang the Bastard’s Rivers Edge

Hang the Bastard have dropped their latest music video ahead of their UK tour with Sylosis and it’s an absolute beast. Check it out:

Rivers Edge is available on Hang the Bastard’s self titled 12″ which can be bought directly from the band’s BigCartel. Hang the Bastard’s tour with Sylosis hits the following venues on the following dates:

April 20th — Milton Keynes — Craufurd Arms
April 21st — Norwich — Arts Centre
April 22nd — Bristol — Fleece
April 24th — Exeter — Cavern
April 25th — Swansea — Sin City
April 26th — Plymouth — White Rabbit
April 27th — Stoke — Underground
April 28th — Edinburgh — Studio 24
April 29th — Newcastle — Academy 2
May 1st — Liverpool — Academy 2
May 2nd — Wolverhampton — Slade Rooms


News: Jim “The Father of Loud” Marshall Dies

Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification has died aged 88. Marshall amps are one of the key devices in any rock band’s arsenal and the passing of such a key figure in rock music has been felt by a huge amount of UK bands as well as bands the world over.

Here’s some comments from bands mourning the passing of Jim Marshall this morning:

Bad For Lazarus
“RIP Jim Marshall. A sad day for Richie Monroe x”

Freeze the Atlantic
“Freeze the Atlantic are sad to hear the passing of the great Jim Marshall. His amps are the backbone of this band!”

The James Cleaver Quintet
“RIP Jim Marshall. You possibly left the loudest memory, ever. Everyone must throw up the horns in respect!”

History of the Hawk
“RIP Jim Marshall. We had a walk round the Marshall factory last year and they are still to this day making awesome equipment. He had a good innings. A visionary in guitar sound.”

Hang the Bastard
“RIP Jim Marshall. Tone Master.”

TesseracT
“Sad to hear Jim Marshall has died. It’s fair to say his amps have changed all our lives. Thanks for the fun times, Jim!”