Tag Archives: review

Review: Boss Keloid’s Melted on the Inch

Boss Keloid’s previous offering, Herb Your Enthusiasm, was an album that was obviously pretty comfortable with just being another stoner metal offering and sometimes if you enjoy a genre enough then you’re happy to riff on established tropes and not explore much else to set you apart. With their follow-up, Melted on the Inch, Boss Keloid make a conceited effort to not be just another stoner band and put forward one of the most difficult to define and progressive records ever.

Melted on the Inch is such a drastic step-up in musicianship that it’s bizarre to think this is the same band. We’ve had some tweaks to the band’s line-up since the last record with original bassist Liam Pendlebury-Green returning, but the most significant change is the addition of Matthew Milne on keyboards. Milne adds extra atmospherics and depth to Boss Keloid’s music, with his dreamy melodies adding a spacy, floaty quality to the soundscape.

Speaking of soundscape, tracks like Peykruve really do help conjure up images of vast, barren landscapes. Boss Keloid’s music has a wonderful lilting quality to it as it gently sways between dreamy space-rock passages accompanied with Alex Hurst’s bluesy vocals and groovy, thunderous riffs. It’s the sort of music you can’t help but move to.

The song-writing really does deserve a special mention here because Boss Keloid constantly ask you to commit to 7 minute epics, but thanks to the sheer amount of grooves, technicality and constantly evolving melodies on display it never feels like padding. There might be only 6 songs on this album but those 6 songs contain so many ideas and creativity that they’re actually disguising the music contained within.

With Melted on the Inch, Boss Keloid have evolved from, “just another stoner band” to, “prog-sludge behemoths”. Melted on the Inch is such a confident and experimental release that anyone who is a fan of the slower, groovier side of metal will be doing their record collection a massive disservice if they don’t pick up this album.

9/10

Boss Keloid’s Melted on the Inch is out now and available to buy through Holy Roar Records.

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Review: Deus Vermin’s Monument of Decay

Deus Vermin describe themelves as, “black metal-infused death metal from Leeds” and a combination of two such extreme genres always makes me think that PR people might be overcompensating for a band just sounding a bit heavy. Surprisingly, Deus Vermin are about as unfathomably heavy as you could possibly imagine and that description is pretty much on the nose.

Their debut EP Monument to Decay is such a strong start to the band’s career that it sounds like it should be coming after a string of successful releases and not a single 2 track demo. Deus Vermin’s music is so intense and diverse that within a single song it can quickly shift between double-bass drumming, blast beats, tremolo-picked guitar and evil, down-tuned riffs and make it all sound coherent and necessary.

Deus Vermin are quite progressive in this regard and vastly ignore the need for anything like choruses (not that they would have added much in music where the vocals are entirely screamed). Tracks like Iniquity and Worms even have passages that strip back the intensity for a moment to create some really dissonant, creepy atmosphere before launching back into the blast beats. Everything Deus Vermin put forward is so well considered and their execution is so perfect that it flows surprisingly naturally for such a heavy release.

What’s also interesting is the choice of production which manages to keep enough reverb in the mix to make the music sound like it’s being performed live. Death metal in particular normally favours a very clean mix so you can fully appreciate the level of musicianship that goes into creating such technically proficient music, but Deus Vermin give their music a little more edge by choosing a nastier, raw production style.

Monument of Decay by Deus Vermin is quite frankly an incredible start to this band’s career. These 6 tracks are home to some of the most disgustingly vicious death metal and showcase a level of song-writing that clearly proves Deus Vermin are a band bursting with ideas. There doesn’t feel like there’s a single moment of wasted space in these 21 minutes and if that’s a miraculous achievement for such a new band.

10/10

Deus Vermin’s Monument of Decay is out now and available to buy on limited edition cassette from FHED Records.


Review: Unease’s Society’s Possessed

Newly formed Brighton hardcore outfit Unease have burst out the gates with Society’s Possessed – a 6 track EP spread over 10 minutes that melds hardcore with nasty, crunchy, black metal production. It’s an extremely confrontational style that allows them to put together songs that contain the pure speed of hardcore but with the added oppressive atmosphere that comes with the darkest black metal.

Society’s Possessed may be over and done with fairly quickly, but there’s a hell of a lot going on in those 10 minutes that’s worthy of your attention. Musically Unease structure their songs in a typical hardcore fashion. There’s no blast beats or tremolo-picking to be heard here – it’s all fast-paced drums, big riffs and tortuous, reverb-laden screaming with songs never outstaying their welcome. The longest track is the self-titled opener which clocks in at 2 minutes and 21 seconds.

However, it’s the production choice that really sets this EP apart. Everything sounds super-compressed with the mix favouring the high-end sounds. This is most noticeable in the guitar work which now takes on the buzz-saw tone of an Entombed record, but somehow even more distorted. It’s extremely reminiscent to the low-fi nature of black metal production, but thankfully none of the low-end heft of the bass and drumming is lost in the mix – a common occurrence in black metal.

If anything, the mix is probably going to be the thing that splits people’s opinions on this EP. Some might find it too harsh on the ears, while others might enjoy the added aggression it gives the music. We certainly fall into the latter camp, but it might prove to be a barrier for some.

Unease’s Society Possessed puts forward a no-nonsense hardcore assault on the ears that stands out from the crowd thanks to its black metal leanings. This is an extremely fast and confrontational affair that will leave you begging for more. Fingers crossed that Unease can produce a satisfying follow-up fast because we absolutely need it.

8/10

Unease’s Society’s Possessed is out now and available to download direct from the band.


Review: Bloody Mammals’ What Have You Done?

It’s been 5 years since London post hardcore outfit Bloody Mammals released any new music and despite starting to record a follow-up to 2013 mini album Eventually Your House Will Burn Down in 2014, the band moved apart and it never got finished. Now in 2018, Bloody Mammals have seen fit to polish up what they were working on and release it to the world, resulting in the debut album, What Have You Done?

What Have You Done? is a bittersweet release because the band are still scattered around the country and probably won’t get to tour it. It might even be the last music the band release, but if that’s the case then this is one hell of a swansong. The band’s angular guitar work is back in full force and every song on this album is absolutely crammed with riffs and a frantic personality that makes the whole record feel immediate and crucial.

There’s a real showcase of variety here as well. The dissonant, spiky, punk rock of Behind Glass is followed by the more groovy and metallic Toothless, and then we’re treated to Death on Credit which has more of a tuneful, alternative rock flavour to it. Thankfully Bloody Mammals manage to meld all these styles successfully into their own sound and the album never sounds like a random, scattershot collection of ideas chucked at a wall.

If there’s one negative you could level against What Have You Done? it’s that the mix is a bit flat. It’s the sort of mix you’d expect from an album 20 years older – demanding that you turn your hi-fi up a little more to compensate for older production methods. This isn’t the biggest complaint and some might actually enjoy the increased dynamic range and refusal to abide by modern loudness wars, but a little more prevalent low-end would have really set off some of the angrier numbers like The Cremation Fields.

In conclusion, Bloody Mammals’ What Have You Done? is a wonderful post hardcore record by a band that shone bright for a very short time and then seemingly just went away. Getting new music from the band in 2018 was a welcome surprise and considering a lot of this music dates back 4 years, it still sounds as vital as ever. Fingers crossed this isn’t the last we hear from Bloody Mammals but even if it is, what a hell of a record to go out on.

8/10

Bloody Mammals’ What Have You Done? is out now and available to download direct from the band.


Review: Rash Decision’s Karoshi

It never fails to amuse me that one of the most intense hardcore punk bands in the country comes from the sunny seaside town of Falmouth in Cornwall, but that’s absolutely the case with Rash Decision. They are also becoming one of the most consistently enjoyable punk acts with every release and their latest long-player, Karoshi, is no exception (I’m not sure 20 minutes can really be regarded a long-player, but there are 14 songs here so maybe we’ll make an exception).

Now Rash Decision aren’t going to be winning any awards for originality with Karoshi. This is another short, sharp shock of a record with songs averaging about a minute and a half. The band play at breakneck speed and scream a lot, but their simplicity works in their favour. Once again the guitar work is an absolute highlight. Riffs are fast and furious and will earworm their way into your psyche without you even realising it. The music is equal parts catchy punk rock and thrash metal and it’s expertly executed and complimented by a lovely, clean mix that showcases how tight Rash Decision’s performance is.

But what really sticks with you is just how fun everything is. Despite razor-sharp performances from everyone, there’s a certain tongue-in-cheek nature to the song writing that will always put a smile on your face. If it isn’t the bands non-stop use of profanity or bouncy bass-lines, it’s their snotty vocal delivery and use of overly confrontational quotes and samples. It’s not exactly clever, but it is nice hearing a band with a sense of humour and it always comes across as amusing instead of offensive.

Karoshi isn’t doing anything the band haven’t already done before, but Rash Decision have absolutely nailed their sound down so well that a divergence in style at this point in their careers would feel unnatural and forced. Rash Decision are a hardcore punk band who like to play loud and fast and have a good time doing it and in this political climate, that’s an absolute Godsend. We need bands like Rash Decision because everyone needs a place to vent and have a bloody good time doing so. Thanks lads – I needed this.

8/10

Rash Decision’s Karoshi is out now and available to buy on limited edition vinyl direct from the band.


Review: Allfather’s And All Will Be Desolation

It’s the return of Kent sludgecore outfit, Allfather! Their return heralds their sophomore long-player, And All Will Be Desolation – an album about fighting back against injustice and oppression that leans heavier into sludge metal than ever before.

While Allfather’s beginnings are rooted in the hardcore scene, And All Will Be Desolation has a noticeably more metal sound to it that brings to mind luminaries like EyeHateGod. That isn’t to say that the hardcore influence on Allfather’s music has been completely lost, but it’s used to greater effect. There are shorter songs like Citadels which definitely go ‘full hardcore’ with great, Raging Speedhorn-like effect, but tracks like opener Black Triangle begin with a faster, thrashier riff and then break down into a sludge metal passage to equally satisfying effect. Regardless of genre-crossover, you can always bet on every song being chockful of groove. It’s the sort of music you’ll absolutely want to be moving to.

Speaking of a shift towards a more metal sound, Allfather show a lot of love for a good guitar solo. This is an album that always puts a guitar solo in the most opportune moments. Solos are never over-used, but when a song needs a little extra something to help it build to a crescendo, you can always bet there’s a damn fine solo waiting for you.

Complimenting all of the album’s disgusting riffs and grunty vocals is a suitably dirty production job by the ever-reliable Jason Frye at Century Audio. Frye’s work makes the music sound like a live performance and it captures the intensity of Allfather’s sound perfectly. A sharper, cleaner sound just wouldn’t have been as satisfying.

Allfather’s And All Will Be Desolation is an incredible follow-up to their 2016 effort, Bless the Earth With Fire. It’s a more confident album that stays interesting even when the running time of the songs looks a little daunting. 7 minute tracks? They go by in a flash and you’ll be banging your head the whole time.

9/10

Allfather’s And All Will Be Desolation releases on September 7th 2018 via Rotting Throne Records. Click here to pre-order the album on CD.


Review: Corrupt Moral Altar’s Eunoia

It’s been 3 years since Corrupt Moral Altar’s debut album Mechanical Tides; an album that creaks under the sheer weight of influences it crams into its confines. With the band’s sophomore effort Eunoia, the band have seen fit to distil their song-writing into its raw components and what we get is a grindcore album that manages to constantly push the boundaries of what it means to be heavy and it’s scarily consistent for its entire run-time.

Despite generally dealing in the sort of metal that likes to make a racket and get the job done very quickly, Corrupt Moral Altar do a fantastic job of writing tons of memorable riffs and barely revisit them over the course of a single song. Their music is fast and punishing; riffs come and go with complete abandon, and just when you’ve got your head banging to a tasty groove, the band have jumped into a sequence of blast-beats or a disgustingly heavy section of double-bass drumming.

What really helps Corrupt Moral Altar from losing all semblance of melody and musicianship is they’ve clearly got a taste for a nice bit of death metal. Songs like Night Chant and Survivor’s Guilt benefit from the sort of structure that death metal brings and it allows the band to push those riffs forward before beating you about the head with another lightning-fast grindcore segment. This results in Eunoia becoming an uncompromising 43 minutes that never puts a foot wrong and never finds itself delivering a song that is merely there to pad out the run-time.

The sheer amount of riffs on Eunoia shouldn’t be possible. The songs are all fairly progressive and always pushing forward at an incredible pace, so it’s nothing short of a miracle that the album manages to maintain its intensity for the entirety of its run-time. It can be quite an exhausting listen, but if you’ve been looking for a grindcore album that never lets up then you’ve absolutely found it with Eunoia.

Corrupt Moral Altar are one of the most consistent and extremely exciting bands in heavy music and Eunoia has cemented their position at the forefront of UK grindcore. The band have so many great riffs to share that they end up making a record that sounds like a grindcore compilation but somehow only made by one band. Despite almost exclusively playing as fast as possible, the band manage to sprinkle their music with interesting little moments like the hardcore punk introduction to Burning Bridges and Burning Homes or the enormous, swinging, mosh-pit groove in Rat King. Eunoia is an album that’s almost euphoric in its consistent delivery of grindcore classics for a new generation.

9/10

Corrupt Moral Altar’s Eunoia is out now and available to download direct from the band.


Review: Atragon’s I, Necromancer

Atragon’s debut EP Volume I is one of the earliest reviews I wrote for UK Scumscene, so it’s bizarre to see the band’s name crop up again almost five years later for their debut album I, Necromancer. My lasting memory of Volume I is that one of the tracks was pretty good and the other one was a bit dull. Well as it turns out, the good track (Jesus Wept) has been re-recorded for I, Necromancer alongside six new songs. My cynical side instantly thought, “So it’s taken Atragon five years to write six songs?” but that’s just me being a condescending prick because those five years have clearly seen Atragon improve dramatically.

Now Atragon’s Sabbath worship is certainly nothing new among doom bands, but what they do they do bloody well. Atragon’s songs usually kick off with an absolutely gargantuan riff that builds and builds over the course of the track. More elements are thrown into the mix including Jan Gardner’s bellowing vocals and some beautifully indulgent guitar solos that always punctuate the closing moments of the song in a wonderfully heroic way. Album opener Matriarch certainly follows this pattern and it’s repeated on the title track and Wallowing Wizard to great effect. There’s something euphoric about the way Atragon build to their crescendos.

Even though the song-writing on I, Necromancer is often quite simplistic, Atragon have seen fit to shorten the songs since Volume 1 and they now average around 6 minutes. This means that even though most songs are carried by one riff, it never gets to outstay its welcome. Plus, everything sounds absolutely massive now thanks to the fantastic production job done by Graeme Young at Chamber Studio. Doom metal lives and dies on its production and Atragon certainly chose well for this record.

The only time the song structure changes on I, Necromancer is for the eerie album closer Guilt Returns. This track chooses to dump almost all of the percussion and instead lets a moody bass line and guitar melody create some really unnerving atmosphere that’s accentuated by Gardner’s vocals. It’s a suitably expansive ending to an album that’s spent its entire time sounding enormous.

It may have taken a long time getting here but Atragon’s I, Necromancer is a gleefully gargantuan doom record that revels in its simplicity. Atragon aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, but if big riffs and even bigger crescendos are something that you get your rocks off to then Atragon certainly have you covered.

8/10

Atragon’s I, Necromancer is out now and available to download direct from the band.


Review: Helpless’ Debt

If you’ve yet to discover Helpless then you’ll be pleased to know that they feature ex-Brotherhood of the Lake guitarist Russell Cleave (but this time around he’s on drum duty) and they’re about the closest thing to the depraved, metallic hardcore madness of that band that you can find in 2017. With their debut album Debt we are treated to a metallic hardcore record that takes elements from grindcore and black metal to create something akin to Throats, but with a frequent marriage of atonal, high-pitched guitar work and low-end, crunchy riffs.

Debt clocks in at 22 minutes and sounds like the sort of thing you’d expect to soundtrack a serious psychotic breakdown. This is not a subtle record and it frequently assaults you with fast-paced, abrasive tracks full of blast beats and tremolo-picking and then slightly slower, crushing moments of doomy hardcore. Add a vocal performance that sounds like the agonised screams from hell and you’ve basically explained everything you can expect to hear on this record. This is not music for the faint of heart.

Thank God Helpless have seen fit to make this a short record because if it was any longer it would probably be a serious threat to your health. Tracks like opener Worth, Grief Vultures and Sertaline are uncompromising attacks of relentless speed, crusty riffs and devastatingly thrashy drums. When the tempo changes to something not so punishingly fast, Helpless up the oppressive and gloomy atmosphere of their music by using the aforementioned atonal, higher-pitched guitar work. This manifests itself on tracks like Out of Commission, Moral Bankruptcy and Manufactured Consent and they often pair these atonal guitar passages with monolithic, low-end riffs to make their impact that little bit more powerful, and my God does it work.

Helpless’ Debt is an extremely dense and unrelenting record that makes no apologies for being ridiculously heavy. Helpless use some extremely creative guitar work to create a dark and isolated atmosphere to make an absolute racket in. It may not be the most nuanced long-player you’ll hear, but it certainly delivers one of the most powerful and devastating heavy music experiences of 2017. Lord knows Helpless have a serious task ahead of them if they want to best this record with their next release.

9/10

Helpless’ Debt is out now and available to buy on vinyl and CD from Holy Roar Records.


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.