Tag Archives: limb

Review: Slabdragger’s Rise of the Dawncrusher

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It’s been a long time coming, but Slabdragger are back in action with their sophomore album Rise of the Dawncrusher; a massive, sludgy, behemoth of a concept album that improves on their debut in every conceivable way. Got your attention?

Slabdragger were already a force to be reckoned with and their debut album Regress showcased their ultra-dense grooves and long-form song structures in a fantastic way, but with Rise of the Dawncrusher, everything is now even heavier without sacrificing melody and it’s just glorious. Genuinely glorious. I felt like I was having a metal epiphany listening to this record. I imagine if Hendrix was into Black Sabbath, this is the sort of thing he’d make.

Opening with the 11 minute beast that is Mercenary Blues, Slabdragger put their quite brilliant guitar work front and centre and it makes for a seriously punishing yet hugely memorable experience that will keep fans of all things slow and groovy extremely satisfied. The amount of amazing riffs in this song should be illegal and they all deserve to be included in ‘Top 10 Riffs of All Time’ articles.

It doesn’t end there. This record is an absolute monster from start to finish. Slabdragger follow up the opening track with the unashamedly ripping Evacuate!; one of the most disgustingly noisy things Slabdragger have ever concocted. Then it’s back to the groove with the monstrous Shrine of Debauchery; a song with a title so metal it’s probably chrome-plated.

Look, I realise this review is big on the hyperbole, but it’s not often I’m given a record so delicious and as utterly mouth-watering as Rise of the Dawncrusher. It’s everything I want from a sludge record and more and it’s honestly quite difficult to believe it actually exists.

The UK is spoilt for great sludge as Slabdragger are competing with other brilliant acts like Limb, Gurt, Monolithian and Opium Lord, but Rise of the Dawncrusher sets a new standard for UK sludge metal. Slabragger have written a follow-up so utterly devastating that it demands your attention. Slabdragger, man; what a band.

10/10

Slabdragger’s Rise of the Dawncrusher is out now and available to buy on CD and vinyl from Holy Roar Records.

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Year End: The 10 Best Albums of 2015

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10) Let’s Talk Daggers – A Beautiful Life

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“Regardless, Let’s Talk Daggers have made one of the most electric rock albums of the year. If you can appreciate guitar music that doesn’t sacrifice technicality for song-writing then Let’s Talk Daggers have delivered a record that does just that and even more. A Beautiful Life is an absolute tidal wave of riffs, tempo changes and yelping and despite the madness of its contents, Let’s Talk Daggers have brought it all together into one cohesive yet exhausting piece.”

Click here to read the full review.

9) Limb – Terminal

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“Terminal is the natural continuation from Limb’s self-titled debut and it’s an infinitely more enjoyable and masterfully crafted slab of hard rock. The band haven’t rested on their laurels and continue to get better on every record they release. The pressure is certainly on for the next release, lads!”

Click here to read the full review.

8) Torpor – From Nothing Comes Everything

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London doom behemoth Torpor wiped the floor with the rest of the doom offerings this year. The long-form nature of Torpor’s songs is beautifully tempered by the bands wonderful song-writing which ebbs and flows in a wonderfully natural way that means that 11 minute monsters like From This Time never outstay their welcome. Every riff on From Nothing Comes Everything is a crushing beast of a thing that demands some serious head-banging. This record is a real masterclass of doom song-writing.

Full review coming soon.

7) Svalbard – One Day All This Will End

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“By the end of the closing moments of Lily, Svalbard have taken you on a post hardcore journey like no other. One Day All This Will End is one of the best punk releases birthed in the UK and Svalbard have mastered an amazingly eclectic sound that’s equal parts angry, beautiful and forlorn. One Day All This Will End is essential listening to fans of post hardcore and a welcoming introduction to anyone looking to explore the more progressive side of hardcore.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Employed to Serve – Greyer Than You Remember

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“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.”

Click here to read the full review.

5) xRepentancex – The Sickness of Eden

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“xRepentancex have delivered a debut album that’s so furious it feels like it could tear apart at the seams. The Sickness of Eden is a hardcore record every fan of the genre should own and it’s almost beautiful in its sheer relentlessness. God knows how you follow an album this consistent. Good luck guys.”

Click here to read the full review.

4) Press to Meco – Good Intent

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“Press to Meco have delivered an album that showcases exactly what the trio are capable of. It’s a glorious, exciting monster of a record that is stuffed with technical wizardry and choruses so big that they deserve to be blasted across festival audiences all summer long.”

Click here to read the full review.

3) Old Skin – Beneath the Trees

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Old Skin’s debut album was the most bittersweet release of the year because while it is one of the best metallic hardcore albums this country has ever produced, its release also marked the demise of the band. Given away as a pay-what-you-want download to mark the final chapter of Old Skin’s career, this is an apocalyptic hardcore onslaught that never lets up. Old Skin might be gone but they’ve left behind one of the most disgustingly heavy records this country has ever produced and it deserves to be heard by everyone.

Full review coming soon.

2) Oblivionized – Life is a Struggle, Give Up

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“Life is a Struggle, Give Up is Oblivionized firing on all cylinders. This is an unforgiving attack of tech-metal, grind and deathcore that is sculpted with finite detail and it’s not afraid to hit you over the head with a monolithic riff for good measure. This might be an exhausting ordeal on your first listen, but give it the time it deserves and it will slowly unveil a metal record for the ages.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) Caïna – Setter of Unseen Snares

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“Setter of Unseen Snares is an album of unbridled fury, bleak atmosphere and eventually, shimmering post metal beauty. This is one of the most diverse and brilliantly executed black metal albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to and it deserves to be heard by more than just fans of the genre.”

Click here to read the full review.

Notable Mentions
Monolithian – The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. (click here to read the full review)


Review: Limb’s Terminal

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Desert rockers Limb are not messing around with their sophomore album Terminal. The band only released their debut album last year and despite a change in drummers, they’ve powered into this new record and produced something really special.

What’s instantly recognisable about the Limb’s music is how much their song-writing has improved in such a short space of time. While elements of their self-titled debut could sometimes feel under-produced, Terminal sounds utterly monolithic in comparison.

After the short introduction of Three Snake Leaves we are treated to one of the best songs Limb have ever written in the form of Ghost Dance. Ghost Dance is the groovy riff-beast you expect all Limb songs to be, but this time there’s more melody in vocalist Rob Hoey’s voice and there’s a greater urgency to the music. Limb are done with messing around on this record and each song often starts with some of the best riffs hard rock has to offer.

This continues with the absolute barnstormer that is Micromegas. Bolstered by a chunky, Motorhead-like riff, this is an astoundingly massive sounding rock song that deserves to be heard by as many fans of heavy music as possible. The band’s dancey, sludgy grooves grab you by the throat, force you to head-bang before giving you a moment to gather yourself and then it’s back to the fun.

Fun is something we’ve spoken about a lot when referring to Limb as this is something all too rare in the sort of down-tuned, often po-faced sludge that the band deal in, but Terminal is still stuffed full of enjoyable, overblown silliness in the form of songs like Down By The Banks. Limb revel in their almost classic rock leanings and it’s a gleeful thing to be involved in.

Terminal is the natural continuation from Limb’s self-titled debut and it’s an infinitely more enjoyable and masterfully crafted slab of hard rock. The band haven’t rested on their laurels and continue to get better on every record they release. The pressure is certainly on for the next release, lads!

9/10

Limb’s Terminal is out now and available to purchase from Cargo Records.


Review: Mage’s Last Orders

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When I noticed that Mage’s latest album Last Orders was only 7 tracks long I began to worry that the groove-metallers might have rushed an album out that wouldn’t make it to the half hour mark. What I was not prepared for was how much the band have grown as song-writers since Black Sands. Mage have evolved into a doom-ridden, sludgy beast of a band. The groove is still there but the band have seen fit to take elements from various down-tempo heavy music like desert rock and fuse it with their signature sound to create a thunderous slab of quality metal that’s immensely satisfying to listen to.

The band have also decided to indulge their proggier leanings by generally writing far longer songs than the band have created previously. Melodies are often not revisited once they shift into a new riff and there are some impressive bursts of speed in tracks like Dark Matter and Old Bones. These thrashier moments are beautiful little additions that help break up the slower pace of the album which is a genius move as the down-tempo nature of the band’s music could’ve become a bit tiresome.

Special mention has to be given to guitarists Woody and Ben who deliver massive riff after massive riff. There are plenty of thick, chunky chords to bite into throughout the album and they’re decorated with some impressive solos like the one on The Fallen. A good solo should always favour melody over technicality and Mage are fully aware of this which is why each solo on Last Orders is a really momentous occasion.

Rounding out this rather meaty package is the wonderful production job by Chris Fielding who keeps the guitar and bass tones as murky and filth-ridden as you’d expect them to be on a sludge metal record. Fielding has seen fit to give the bass prominence in this mix and it suits the huge, spacey vibe of songs like Lux Mentis and Beyond to a tee.

The only real negative we can sling at Mage is that they are an excellent sludge band in a sea of excellent sludge bands. Mage inhabit the same space as bands like Limb, Gurt, Black Moth and Trippy Wicked and they’re often a very similar experience. If more groovy, desert sludge is what you want then Mage have you covered but if you’re after something with an identity of its own then you might be out of luck.

Regardless, Mage have put together a stunning sophomore album that improves on every element of the band’s sound and marks a massive leap forward from their debut album Black Sands. Last Orders is an enormous, neck-bothering monster of an album that sludge fans will be stupid to miss.

8/10

Mage’s Last Orders is out now and available to order on CD via Witch Hunter Records.


Review: Limb’s Limb

We’ve finally arrived at Limb’s first long player and it’s been a hell of ride. The desert sludgesters have delivered a demo (confusingly under the same name as this album), a 7” EP and a magnificent split with fellow sludgemeisters Gurt and now the band are putting their statement of intent out there with this their début self-titled album.

Limb stick pretty close to their tried and tested formula of crushing grooves, slow tempos and throaty roaring. Only two of the tracks appearing on this record have reared their head in the past with ‘Daemoness’ featuring on their first release in a much dirtier guise and ‘Gift of the Sun’ also getting a re-recording after it’s appearance on the 7” of the same name. Both songs sound as enormous as ever with ‘Daemoness’ sounding absolutely gigantic thanks to the brilliant production values that weren’t a privilege back when Limb started doing their thing.

As per usual, Limb’s axeman Pat Pask and bassist Sam Cooper absolutely steal the show thanks to their undeniable talent for writing a ball-busting riff. Every song that appears on Limb’s self-titled LP boasts a groove that’ll have you stomping around the house like a Viking stalking his next meal.

It’s also great to hear vocalist Rob Hoey move away from his lower-pitched yell to a full-on scream in songs like ‘Eternal Psalm Pt II’. It seems odd that we should be praising a man for simply screaming in a slightly different fashion, but when you hear the song kick into gear with Hoey’s vocals it sounds absolutely electric.

However, the real brilliance of Limb’s song-writing is the progressive nature of the music. Sludge metal doesn’t really sit well with progressive song structures but Limb rarely revisit a melody in any of their songs which keeps you gripped throughout the entire record. This is an extremely clever approach on Limb’s part because the consistent use of slow tempos means that the record could have become extremely tiresome if it wasn’t for the smart song-writing.

The only drawback comes in the form of drummer Jodie Wyatt. There’s nothing wrong with Wyatt’s simplistic yet hard-hitting style, but what is going on with that ride cymbal? I know this is a petty little niggle but I couldn’t help but notice that Wyatt favours the ride over a crash which brings an almost muted cymbal hit into the mix and she’s uses it a lot. Again, I realise this is an almost pathetic complaint but I can’t help but wonder what this record would’ve sounded like if Wyatt favoured the crash and gave the songs some satisfying impact.

Regardless of this small complaint, Limb’s self-titled début album is a beast of record that’s stuffed with Earth-moving riffs and enough groove to bring a legion of followers to the band’s cause. Limb have delivered the record they were always threatening to and it’s a welcome addition to any sludge fan’s collection.

8/10

Limb’s self-titled début album is out now through New Heavy Sounds and available to buy on CD and vinyl from Cargo Records.


Year End: The 5 Best Split Records of 2013

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Before we start our list of the best split records of 2013, please remember that this list was decided by one person and therefore represents the opinions of one person. This will likely not reflect your own opinion but that’s okay; there’s room for more than one opinion in this crazy world of ours and your’s is just as valid. As per the theme of UK Scumscene, this list also contains releases by UK bands ONLY. Okay then, let’s get this show on the road:

5) War Wolf/Sob Story

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A double dose of crusty, sludgy hardcore from Brighton’s War Wolf and Sob Story. This split cassette contains some seriously abrasive stuff, but like a lot of the best UK hardcore it’s smart and bizarrely memorable for something so raucous. Both bands absolutely knock it out of the park but special mention has to be given to War Wolf who have put out a mini-album, this split and a proper long-player in this year alone.

4) Razoreater/Iced Out

What we said:

“Both bands put forward some of the best music they’ve recorded so far and do it in such a vicious way that they sound like they’ve put everything they had into these recordings. Razoreater and Iced Out have our attention and they’ll soon be coming for yours.”

Read the full review here.

3) Let it Die/Monolithian – Because the World is Perfidious, I Am Going Into Mourning

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What we said:

“Let It Die and Monolithian’s split seven-inch is a savage showcase of two of the best UK underground metal bands and they’re on brilliant form. With songs like this, both bands won’t be playing the toilet circuit for much longer so you better get on board before you miss your opportunity. This is an essential addition to any metal fan’s collection.”

Read the full review here.

2) Let it Die/Pariso/Svalbard/MINE – Cover Buzz

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What we said:

“‘Cover Buzz’ is a wonderfully ambitious and overblown release. Fans of hardcore punk will find a lot to love as four of the UK’s brightest hopes play classic hardcore with all the piss and vinegar you’d expect from one of their own releases. It’s also brilliant to see five record labels stump up a bit of support for such an elaborate release. Records like this manage to showcase some of the most interesting ideas in UK heavy music and it’s a release we can’t recommend enough.”

Read the full review here.

1) Gurt/Limb – Split Roast

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This split was enormous amounts of fun and heavier than my balls after a year of abstinence. There hasn’t been any other split that’s been as thoroughly enjoyable all year. The pairing of both Gurt and Limb was a match made in heaven with both bands giving it their all.

What we said:

“Gurt and Limb’s ‘Split Roast’ is a wonderful release that is equal parts punishing and fun. How many doom records can you name that you would regard fun? This is the real pulling factor on ‘Split Roast’ and you can hear that both bands had an absolute blast making it. Is party doom a thing yet because I think both bands may have just invented it.”


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: Gurt and Limb’s Split Roast

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Witch Hunter Records return with a split of epic proportions. London-based sludge-metallers Gurt and Limb join forces for ‘Split Roast’. The release features three tracks from both bands; one original song, one cover and one cover of a song from each other’s band.

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Gurt kick things off with the bombastic, grinding groove of ‘Sophisticate’ which rocks a killer riff that will satisfy the headbanger in all of us. Gurt decide to stick with a more mid-paced groove for the entire song instead of their usual switch between doom and thrash-punk which usually defines songs like ‘Soapfeast’. The change is definitely a positive one as the song allows you to take in that excellent groove and really appreciate it. A solid start from the sludgemeisters.

Next up is a hugely enjoyable cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ which has no place sounding so good as a sludge metal song. Gurt have done a brilliant job fuzzing up the Talking Heads classic and when vocalist Gareth Kelly belts out that famous “ooo-ooo-ohhhhh!” you’ll have a hard time not raising those claws. The song only stumbles when Kelly attempts the “fa fa fa fas” which don’t really lend themselves too well to the front-man’s growl, but otherwise this is a massively entertaining take on the new wave classic.

Finally Gurt have a go at rearranging Limb’s ‘Gift of the Sun’ from their recent 7” of the same name. Gurt definitely deliver in making the song sound like themselves which is a commendable achievement for any band making a cover. The main differences to the original come with Kelly’s choice of vocal style which is more of a scream compared to Rob Hoey’s more melodic bark. The only other change comes in simply slowing the track down slightly and making it rely more heavily on its more simplistic groove. Once again Gurt nail another satisfying slab of doom.

8/10

LIMB

Limb return with ‘Plague Doctor’ which proves this band are still on an upwards trajectory. Limb are a punishing desert rock outfit with massive hooks, simple yet enjoyable grooves and Rob Hoey’s raw yet melodious vocals which are a little bit more recognisable than Gurt’s. Limb have added another cracking song to their discography which is getting us incredibly hyped for their upcoming debut album.

Unfortunately for Gurt, Limb really steal the show when it comes to covers. The band give the stoner makeover to Queen’s ‘Son and Daughter’ which works almost too well. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how well the song works with its central hook slowed down enough to give it more of an impact. This is hugely impressive stuff from Limb and not many bands can boast that they can make Queen sound like anybody else other than Queen.

Limb continue their cover onslaught with Gurt’s ‘Soapfeast’ which is made considerably more enjoyable simply by making Gareth Kelly’s vocals more understandable. The brilliantly over-the-top swear-a-thon contains the wonderfully daft line “I don’t really give a cunting fuck”. This is made even more enjoyable by repeating it over and over for the song’s refrain. Who would’ve thought swearing could be so fun?

9/10

Gurt and Limb’s ‘Split Roast’ is a wonderful release that is equal parts punishing and fun. How many doom records can you name that you would regard fun? This is the real pulling factor on ‘Split Roast’ and you can hear that both bands had an absolute blast making it. Is party doom a thing yet because I think both bands may have just invented it.

‘Split Roast’ by Gurt and Limb is out now and available to order from Witch Hunter Records.


Our Picks for Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio (10/11/2013)

We returned to co-host Catbird’s Sunday Roasting beside James Begley of Hybris on the 10th of November 2013. It was good to be back on the show after such a long break and despite not getting to play as much of our own choices as we did last time, we thoroughly enjoyed chatting rock and metal with Catbird and James.

Below is 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:

Carcass – Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System (buy here)
Jamie Lenman – Fizzy Blood & Pretty Please (buy here)
Limb – Son and Daughter (buy here)
Corrupt Moral Altar – Whiskey Sierra (buy here)


Review: Limb’s Gift of the Sun

When we reviewed Limb’s self-titled demo we said the band were “great song writers with commanding vocals and huge riffs that will make for some great mosh pits. Unfortunately for them this is being masked with some flat production and shoddy mixing that could make this band sound immense.” Now we’ve arrived at Limb’s second EP titled Gift of the Sun, so have the band given their winning formula of groovy sludge the power that it desperately needed? Fuck yes they have.

Limb’s massive blend of huge grooves, down-tuned riffs and booming vocals are back in full force and they sound as big as ever. The EP’s title track showcases how brilliant this band can truly sound thanks to the beautiful production which compliments Limb’s enormous, lurching sludge metal magnificently. There’s also a cracking breakdown which sees the band get nice and doomy giving the song a tremendous amount of depth.

The EP continues in an equally impressive fashion. Quiet Earth speeds things up slightly with a bouncy, punk riff that’s absolutely furious with all the added fuzz and crash that make up Limb’s signature sound. Mark my words; there will be circle pits to this song and they will be massive.

Gift of the Sun brings the entire record to a fitting close with Dead Voice; a song that fuses elements of both the previous tracks. It starts once again with Pat Pask’s almost hardcore punk riffing and develops into the biggest, doom groove it could possibly conjure. Heads will bang.

We had a feeling Limb were going places but my word did they arrive with a bang. Gift of the Sun is 3 of the most engaging, dirty, fuzzed-up sludge metal songs put to record and it makes for gripping listening. Limb’s music has a fantastic bounce to it that is going to fuel some of the most rowdy mosh pits London has to offer. Miss this EP at your own peril; Limb are coming to town and they’re taking no prisoners.

9/10

Limb’s Gift of the Sun is released on February 25th 2013. Pre-orders go live soon at New Heavy Sounds.