Tag Archives: mathcore

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)

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Review: Eulogy’s Eternal Worth

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Stallone have returned under a new name as Eulogy and Eternal Worth marks a distinctive stylistic shift from the band’s previous material. While previous records Cardiac Black and Mire sat more comfortably in the mathcore category bringing in comparisons to bands like Palm Reader, Eternal Worth takes a more direct approach to its song-writing that results in a more metallic hardcore sound akin to bands like Old Skin.

While this is still very much heavy music in the hardcore mould, you definitely notice Eulogy’s music spends less time noodling around with complex structures and more time beating you into submission with a massive groove. This is the clear distinction between the Eulogy of old and the Eulogy of now; the riffs are placed front and centre. While Mire would often get bogged down (no pun intended) in technical wizardry, songs like Deaf Cult clearly favour melody. That nasty, stomping riff that kicks everything off is certainly proof of that.

This shift in structure means Eulogy sound doubly pissed off as a result. The opening one-two of Doubt Shadows and Deaf Cult deal in some of the most disgustingly bile-ridden screams we’ve heard from the band and there’s some liberal use of blast-beats to make this the most metal-sounding Eulogy record to date.

What this change in song-writing also enables Eulogy to do is work with songs in a longer format that don’t outstay their welcome. Closing track Beyond the Skin is still as hate-fuelled and metallic as everything else on Eternal Worth, but now the band can explore more atmospheric lead guitar work and moments of haunting respite that create a considerably bleak vibe. There’s more to this song than your standard mosh-a-long anthem.

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.

8/10

Eulogy’s Eternal Worth is out now and available to buy on limited edition one-sided vinyl with screenprinted b-side direct from the band or from Holy Roar Records.


Review: Let’s Talk Daggers’ A Beautiful Life

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Let’s Talk Daggers deal in a special blend of heaviness we like to call weirdcore. Hopefully it’ll catch on. It’s not quite post hardcore, not quite mathcore, not quite indie rock; it’s a bit of them all. Weirdcore. It’s also ridiculously exciting to listen to and after a long 2 year gap between mini-album Fantastic Contraption back in the March of 2013, it’s still as fresh and unpredictable as ever on Let’s Talk Daggers’ debut album A Beautiful Life.

If you’re not familiar with the band’s musical stylings then allow me to explain what the structure of a single Let’s Talk Daggers song is like: there is no structure. The band throws as many riffs, hooks and melodies they can at a single song and manage to piece it together in a way that actually manages to work. Think The Blood Brothers, At the Drive-In and Battle for Paris all blended into the craziest guitar super-group you can imagine and you’ll have an idea as to the chaos contained within A Beautiful Life.

As if the music couldn’t get even more erratic, there’s even a brass element that comes into play on songs like I Love You Dad, But I’m Mental and 3D Rug that adds yet another layer of complexity to the proceedings. A Beautiful Life is an album that is unforgiving in its density and if you’re new to the band then you might find the first listen to be a bit overwhelming. However, repeated listens reveal a band at the very top of their game and the sheer amount of memorable riffs on offer is a testament to Let’s Talk Daggers excellent song-writing.

As the album progresses, the band also manages to blend their noisier more erratic moments with a more laid back, indie rock vibe. Songs like the title track and Clutchendials have a wonderful quiet/loud dynamic to them that shows yet another layer of complexity to the music but without the impervious onslaught of technicality that comes with songs like Carvery Vibes.

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.

8/10

Let’s Talk Daggers’ A Beautiful Life is out now on digital download direct from the band or limited edition yellow vinyl from Tangled Talk Records.


News: Mammoth New Pay-What-You-Want Sampler from Smithsfoodgroup Available Now

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Our friends at Smithsfoodgroup have curated an enormous 57 song sampler which you can stream and download below.

This pay-what-you-want sampler features music from Scumscene favourites Venom Prison, Svalbard, Old Skin, Ithaca, Employed to Serve, Artemis, Rolo Tomassi, Eulogy, OHHMS, Oblivionized, Yards and many, many more. This is an absolutely essential download for fans of heavy music that we cannot recommend enough. Hop to it:


Review: Down I Go’s You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You

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Alt rockers Down I Go have an interesting and surprisingly long-lasting career that has seen them break up and now reform after being offered an opportunity to record a new album in Iceland. The band have also managed to achieve this with all 3 members now residing in Toronto, Stockholm and Chicago respectively. They’re third album You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is the culmination of their time in Iceland and it sounds like a mad combination of early Biffy Clyro wrestling with Between the Buried and Me.

Before we start our analysis of this record, I’m going to let you in on a little secret; I hold music against two main points of criticism. The first is the music has to be interesting and the second is the music has to be memorable. If you nail them both then you’re onto a winner but if you only achieve one then I personally think the music falls a little flat as a result. Down I Go’s music can definitely be described as interesting but an awful lot of You’re Lucky God simply goes through the motions without any melodies that really stick with you.

Down I Go manage to meld a wonderfully progressive, almost mathcore sound with some beautiful and uplifting vocal melodies that would happily lend themselves to alternative or post rock. Not only that but Ben Standage and Pete Fraser put their trombone and saxophone experience from previous band Jesse James to good use by flourishing the music with wonderful little bursts of brass. Their sound is bizarre and unique and the band have to be commended for making something sound so different.

What’s really strange about this record is how it manages to be incredibly brash and noisy but lack a lot of that power that makes heavy music so exciting to listen to. There’s a very stripped-back sound to You’re Lucky God and that means it often feels a bit lacking. The bass doesn’t beef the band’s sound up in the way it really should and despite the razor-sharp guitar work that could have been taken from a tech metal release, the guitar tone is just a bit tinny for something so fundamentally angry.

The real disappointment is that there are no real outstanding riffs or melodies that will lodge themselves in your psyche. You’re Lucky God plays out like one extended piece of music with many movements but the angular guitar work doesn’t generate riffs and the mainly screamed vocals also lack melody. When the vocals do move into sung territory they often have a drawn-out, lazy drawl to them that also fails to generate any memorable moments.

The most memorable moment from the record comes from its introduction, Mother in the Pen which sounds like nothing else on the record with its minimalist focus on melody that feels more like a Mogwai track. It also returns for a reprise that makes the whole album into a charming cyclical experience.

You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is an ambitious album with a wonderfully unique sound that doesn’t really allow Down I Go to work with any melodies or riffs that could really set the whole experience off. This whole record made me feel somewhat hollow as it often showcases a band who have mastered their craft but their craft is unfortunately lacking in melody.

5/10

Down I Go’s You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is out now on 12″ white vinyl through Holy Roar Records.


Review: Ithaca’s Trespassers

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London-based mathcore lunatics Ithaca have returned for their long-awaited second EP Trespassers. If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s work then imagine The Bled and Botch got moshier and you’re pretty much there. This is a testing collection of songs that are screamed with utter fury and conviction.

The record begins with Otherworldly which essentially encapsulates everything the band are about in one song. Vocalist Djamila has a frightening howl that cuts through the chaos that ensues. The band plays a very beatdown-centric type of mathcore that’s big on off kilter guitar madness without straying too far from a weighty breakdown. While the breakdowns do have a tendency to take away from the melody, they never outstay their welcome and they’re often sitting next to a chorus drenched in a thick, foreboding atmosphere. This is not a happy sounding band.

The band are definitely better when they temper their mosh-urges with sections stuffed with melody. Lifelost is a considerably better song when a big, memorable riff cuts through the beatdowns. Sadly there’s some pretty atonal guitar leads piercing the noise as well and it does become a bit harsh on the ears after a while. Thankfully there’s also a beautiful, delicate moment of respite that makes the return of the band’s heaviness feel all that more impactful.

Speaking of impact, that Mastodon-esque groove at the start of Wither & Wane is certainly something to behold. It’s moments like these that showcase exactly how fantastic the group of musicians in Ithaca can really be. The title track manages to prove this the best and earns its right as the title track in the process. Trespassers is a real journey of a song that’s full of heart-on-sleeve emotion. This is an electrifying performance that shows how gripping Ithaca can be when all their elements click into place.

Ithaca’s Trespassers is a dark, crushing affair complete with technical guitar passages, devastating beatdowns and horrific, lung-tearing atmosphere courtesy of Djamila’s haunting vocal performance. The breakdowns and atonal guitar leads do detract from an otherwise impressive selection of mathcore songs but generally Ithaca manage to hit more than they miss and Trespassers has a lot to offer for fans of mathcore.

7/10

Ithaca’s Trespassers is available now on clear 7″ vinyl through COF Records and Soaked in Torment Records.


Review: Rolo Tomassi’s Grievances

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Rolo Tomassi have changed. I mean, of course they have; 3 of their original 5 members have left and the entirety of their rhythm section has been changed out. Their last album Astraea at least maintained the same drummer as their first 2 records but Grievances doesn’t even have this luxury.

So as you can expect the dynamic of the band has shifted significantly and this was also apparent on Astraea. Not only had the guitar work moved away from technical punk flourished with jazz in favour of a more traditional mathcore sound, but the song structures were considerably more rigid as a result. This has only become more apparent on the band’s 4th album Grievances.

Grievances follows a more solid foundation that doesn’t see the tempos change mid song like the Rolo Tomassi of old. This has the unfortunate effect of making the band more predictable. Some listeners may prefer this more focussed and direct Rolo Tomassi but for me part of the band’s appeal was always how utterly bat-shit insane their song-writing was. Grievances is tame in comparison.

Tame is a strong word. Rolo Tomassi are still a very aggressive and very progressive band with a huge sound. If you’re a fan of mathcore then songs like Estranged and The Embers will instantly appeal as they’re considerably well put together, it’s just they don’t sound like they come from the same band. It’s this notion that will greatly affect the appeal of the record. Rolo Tomassi fans of old will likely feel like something is missing while new fans will have a perfectly serviceable mathcore record to sink their teeth into.

If we take the album at face value then there is still plenty to enjoy. The guitar work is a wonderfully technical blend of dense riffs and noodly moments of guitar prowess. The drums hit you straight in the chest with a gloriously satisfying punch and the performances are tighter than a kitten stuck in a drain-pipe. Vocalist Eva Spence puts forward a dazzling display of throat-tearing aggression backed with some wonderfully introspective moments of haunting melodies. James Spence continues to move away from his chiptune-style keyboard effects in favour of more subtle sounds that help create some wonderful texture. The core mechanics of this album are expertly delivered and like I’ve already said, if you like mathcore then you can do no wrong than giving this album a listen.

But if you’re already a Rolo Tomassi fan then you’re bound to notice some of the magic has been lost. Grievances is not the frankly bizarre drug-trips of Hysterics and Cosmology and if you want to hear the band continue down that road of agitated punk crossed with jazz and chiptune sounds then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rolo Tomassi have changed and whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends exactly on your familiarity with the band.

7/10

Rolo Tomassi’s Grievances is out now and can be ordered from Holy Roar Records.


Year End: The Top 10 Best EPs of 2014

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10) Yards – EP2

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Yards completed their double EP release with the thrashy, hardcore punk lunacy of EP2. The record is a wonderfully visceral streak of aggression that puts together an album’s worth of riffs and rams them all into four blistering hardcore anthems. This is a great hardcore release that is only improved by playing it with its sister record.

9) Pure Graft – Casual Labour

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Newcastle’s Pure Graft make an elaborate noise that is extremely difficult to pigeon-hole. The band play melodic punk rock but their compositions are beautifully progressive. If you think Alkaline Trio by way of At the Drive-In then you’ll get a good idea as to how wonderfully bizarre this all is. Casual Labour is loaded with sing-a-long melodies and angular guitar riffs which make this release a wonderful breath of fresh air.

8) Jackals – Violence Is…

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Jackals are not the sort of band who mess around with things like nuance. The band’s latest EP Violence Is… is a hardcore punk EP that has no ulterior motive other than to bombard the listener with screaming, thunderous riffs and drumming that waits for no man. This is a frantic and unashamedly loud release from one of the purest hardcore punk bands this country has to offer.

7) Iced Out – Jukai

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What we said:

“Once again Iced Out manage to bottle pure fury and put it on record. The shift in atmosphere that is brought about by the slower-paced songs suits the oppressive nature of the band’s music perfectly and creates some absolutely crushing anthems of despair. Iced Out have proven that there’s more to this band than straight-forward hardcore and ‘Jukai’ marks a huge evolution for them. If you get a chance to see the band perform this material in a live environment then make sure to wear a neck brace because with riffs this big you might do yourself some serious damage.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

6) Employed to Serve – Change Nothing, Regret Everything

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What we said:

“Employed to Serve are on top of their game and continue to be one of the most exciting bands in the UK right now. Their sound continues to evolve into a much larger, more technical beast and the band know how to maximise on huge riffs and interesting song structures to keep their audience engaged whilst smashing their faces through their nearest wall. This is an intense and fairly progressive record that deserves a place in your record collection.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

5) Cholera – Plagiarised Hope

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What we said:

“So Cholera aren’t particularly original but so what? ‘Plagiarised Hope’ is an absolutely stunning 7” that takes all the best parts of modern hardcore and delivers an immensely satisfying slab of chaos. If you have any interest in the genre then Cholera make an excellent starting point and ‘Plagiarised Hope’ showcases a hugely accomplished sound that highlights the best parts of the scene. Cholera have never sounded so strong.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

4) Actions & Consequence – Moving On

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Moving On by Actions & Consequence had a bizarre effect on me. Growing up in the nineties lead to a punk rock discovery that only occurred late into the decade and Actions & Consequence brought back memories of all those initial discoveries with full force. If you ever cared about the early careers of bands like The Offspring, Bad Religion and AFI then Actions & Consequence might just become your new favourite band. They’ve certainly become one of mine.

3) Megalodoom – Tectonic Oblivion

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What we said:

“Megalodoom’s Tectonic Oblivion is a thunderous beast of an EP that manages to escape the potential boredom that their lack of vocals could have caused. The band have put together a hugely satisfying selection of riffs and melodies that tie together beautifully and create a behemoth of an EP that doom fans should be clawing over themselves to own.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

2) Cactus&Cardigan – Highland Bastards

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What we said:

“Cactus&Cardigan have put together an alternative rock/metal release that is never short on riffs. The songs are all enormous, groove-laden affairs that deserve to be heard outside of the band’s native Scotland. Heavy music needs bands like Cactus&Cardigan to remind us that heavy music doesn’t need to be overly technical to provide a satisfying impact and Highland Bastards is one of the best examples of this mantra we can think of.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

1) Irk – Bread and Honey

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What we said:

“The only real negative I can throw at this EP is it’s all over in 10 minutes and quite frankly I need more. Irk have whet my appetite for more rollicking, mathcore lunacy and that’s a pretty good indication as to how good Bread and Honey is. You’d be a fool not to give Irk at least 10 minutes of your time. It might be the best 10 minutes you’ve had with heavy music this year.”

Read the full review by clicking here.


Year End: The Top 5 Best Splits of 2014

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5) Teef/Minors

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A late release from Headless Guru Records, this split does not mess about. UK punk-thrashers TEEF have joined forces with American dark hardcore act Minors to deliver a 3 minute burst of pure aggression. TEEF are the sort of band that will have old school punks pogo-ing until their knees shatter and Minors conjure up memories of bands like Lavotchkin and End Reign which is nothing but a good thing. It might be short but it’s perfectly formed.

4) War Wolf/Crossburner

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What we said:

“War Wolf and Crossburner have delivered an EP that will satisfy hardcore fans the world over. This is a seriously strong collection of tunes that deserve your attention despite some small grievances with over-familiarity in War Wolf’s case and not enough time being spent driving home the strong melodies in Crossburner’s arsenal. If you’re a fan of the genre you’re still in for an absolute treat.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

3) Rolo Tomassi/Stockades

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What we said:

“Rolo Tomassi might be losing their more unpredictable and progressive elements, but songs like Adrasteia prove the band are still an engaging mathcore band even when they’re playing things a little more straight forward.

Stockades offer up a lovely little progressive screamo anthem and it beautifully flows through its various riffs and melodies with ease. It’s still early days for these boys but it would appear they’ve already nailed and extremely accomplished sound that I’ll be paying some serious attention to from here on.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

2) Oblivionized and Razoreater – This is S.O.A.N.

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What we said:

“Oblivionized and Razoreater are champions of the UK underground music scene and this recording showcases exactly what’s so great about going to a dirty club show and getting your mosh on. This release is also accompanied by a live video recording of both band’s sets which is essential viewing if you’ve ever cared about the long lost art of the concert film.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

1) Pariso/Svalbard

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What we said:

“Regardless of the fact that the amalgamation comes off more as Pariso instead of Pariso and Svalbard, this collaborative album is an incredibly special release from two very unique bands. Pariso’s heavier yet more metal-laden beginning leads into a more positive and melodic second half courtesy of Svalbard that actually feels like the album takes you on a journey through the dark and into the light. This split actually tries to break down the boundaries of the split record concept by showcasing two bands that are very much on the same page regardless of their differences in sound. This could have been a Loutallica but thankfully it’s a wholesome and focussed release that any fan of heavy music should be listening to.”

Read the full review by clicking here.


Review: Rolo Tomassi/Stockades Split

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We’re bending the rules a bit by reviewing a split record featuring Australian screamo band Stockades, but this split also features Sheffield mathcore luminaries Rolo Tomassi and it was released via UK label Tangled Talk Records so shut up; it totally counts.

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Rolo Tomassi went through a slight stylistic shift on their last album Astraea which can only be down to the change of guitarist and bassist. When Joe Nicholson and Joseph Thorpe left the band, the band also lost their jazzier elements and the multiple changes in time signature weren’t nearly as prevalent on Astraea.

This hasn’t changed on Rolo Tomassi’s Adrasteia. New guitarist Chris Cayford and bassist Nathan Fairweather still favour a more metallic mathcore sound akin to that of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the addition of new drummer Tom Pitts also leads to a more frantic and double-bass-heavy performance.

The big change is that Adrasteia features a considerably larger amount of memorable riffs and melodies which was something that was lacking on Astraea. This is a precision attack on the aural sense and despite the technicality there is an obvious improvement in song-writing.

There’s also brilliant use of the quiet/loud dynamic. The song begins with a technically proficient mathcore opening before the song takes a breather in its middle eight to lure you into a gentle yet eerie keyboard-lead section. The song is then bookended by an almighty beast of a riff that is bound to ignite some serious mosh pits.

Rolo Tomassi might be losing their more unpredictable and progressive elements, but songs like Adrasteia prove the band are still an engaging mathcore band even when they’re playing things a little more straight forward. Adrasteia is also notable for being one of the heaviest songs the band has produced so far and that’s fine by me.

8/10

STOCKADES

Melbourne’s Stockades offer a very different listening experience. The band are just as much of a fan of the quiet/loud dynamic as Rolo Tomassi but their brighter, jangly guitar tone is more reminiscent of bands like Maths.

The more delicate opening of Unfix leads the listener into a false sense of security before the song speeds up for a blistering screamo section. It’s a glorious cacophony of abrasive noise that leads to an early crescendo before the song dials it back for another shift in tone.

After an almost relaxing section of glittery guitar worship, it’s back to another mammoth chord-driven section that is bizarrely euphoric in its loudness. It’s moments like these that remind us of bands like Self Defence Family and Goodtime Boys which is no bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Stockades offer up a lovely little progressive screamo anthem and it beautifully flows through its various riffs and melodies with ease. It’s still early days for these boys but it would appear they’ve already nailed and extremely accomplished sound that I’ll be paying some serious attention to from here on.

9/10

Rolo Tomassi and Stockades’ split is available to purchase on 7″ vinyl from Tangled Talk Records now.