Tag Archives: sludge

Year End: The 10 Best Albums of 2016

2016albums

10) Raging Speedhorn

ragingspeedhornlostritualcd

Raging Speedhorn released a new album in 2016! Holy shit! And it sounds like a direct continuation of the sound on How the Great Have Fallen! And Frank is back in the band! Raging Speedhorn’s return with their 5th long-player Lost Ritual certainly quashed any worries that their previous album Before the Sea Was Built might have instilled and it’s absolutely fantastic to have them back on top form. The kings of sludgecore have finally returned.

9) Aliases – Derangeable

Digipack Layout

“Derangeable is a welcome addition to Aliases very limited library and it’s pretty safe to say that if you were a fan of the band before, then this was certainly a record worth waiting for. However, if you’re well versed in tech metal then you’ll certainly notice the similarities to SikTh and while you’ll probably never ask yourself, “why am I not just listening to SikTh?” you’ll certainly wonder if there wasn’t more the band could have done to differentiate themselves a bit.”

Click here for the full review.

8) Rash Decision – Headstrung

record cover

“Regardless, Rash Decision have managed to churn out 17 minutes of hardcore punk perfection on Headstrung and if the new material doesn’t quench your hardcore thirst then there’s another 19 minutes of songs for you to indulge in, thanks to Seaside Resort to Violence being on the B side. Rash Decision are an immensely enjoyable hardcore punk act that don’t have too many strings on their bow, but thankfully the ones that are there do the job perfectly.”

Click here for the full review.

7) Karybdis – Samsara

karybdis

“Karybdis have put together a smorgasbord of metal subgenres and masterfully fused them into a sound that is exclusive to the band. Samsara is a metal album that heavy music fans will be championing for years to come and it establishes Karybdis as one of the UK’s best metal acts.”

Click here for the full review.

6) Iron Witch – A Harrowed Dawn

13645302_1128910937168736_5735790256873360803_n

“Iron Witch have certainly spent a long time getting to this record and at only 6 tracks long it is a bit slight for a long-player, but those years of writing and touring have turned them into a well-oiled, doom-making machine and A Harrowed Dawn is the realisation of all their achievements so far. This is easily the best and biggest sounding Iron Witch release to date and an essential purchase for any doom fan.”

Click here for the full review.

5) Let It Die – The Liar & the Saint

Let It Die - The Liar & The Saint - cover.png

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Let it Die to put their efforts into a long-player and with The Liar & the Saint the band have finally delivered. In typical Let it Die fashion it’s as heavy as a tonne of bricks to the skull and faster than a cat belting it across the room after having its tail stepped on. The Liar & the Saint is a relentless assault of hardcore punk and grind that demands you’re moshing for its entirety. Let it Die certainly didn’t disappoint on their debut album, but was there really any doubt?

4) The Infernal Sea – The Great Mortality

00 - Cover

“The Infernal Sea’s The Great Mortality is an album that you simply must own if you like metal. The Inferal Sea have absolutely mastered their craft and turned in one of the most satisfying black metal releases you could possibly want. It’s heavy, it’s memorable and it’s pretty much essential if you enjoy metal.”

Click here for the full review.

3) Sunwølf – Eve

sunwolf-eve-cover-art

“Eve is another monstrous achievement for Sunwølf. It’s an album of uplifting highs and crushing lows and despite the simplicity in the song-writing and how long the songs can be, everything is crafted with atmosphere in mind. Sunwølf songs will only linger if the atmosphere requires it to and thanks to the simplicity of the song-writing, the band also put focus on their melodies. You wouldn’t think an album like this would be so memorable but thanks to the focus on melody and atmosphere, it’s very easy to find yourself playing Eve repeatedly without even noticing it. Eve is a beautiful album that makes you appreciate good song-writing and if you’re a fan of post rock then it’s an essential purchase.”

Click here for the full review.

2) Wode – Wode

cover

“Wode’s debut self-titled album is a fantastic achievement. Every element of the band’s song-writing has been so carefully crafted and sculpted to maximise the impact of their music and it makes this album one of the most approachable black metal releases I’ve ever come across. If you’re a fan of heavy music in general then Wode’s self-titled album is something that has a much broader appeal than most underground black metal and it’s a release I’d thoroughly recommend.”

Click here for the full review.

1) Slabdragger – Rise of the Dawncrusher

a1678417040_10

“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.”

Click here for the full review.


Year End: The 5 Best Splits of 2016

2016splits

5) Temple Steps/Wreck

a1855466737_10

A massive, lurching doom behemoth from Lincoln’s Temple Steps and Germany’s Wreck, this split highlights two young talents who are making a captivating low-tempo racket. While Temple Steps prefer the long form, almost funeral doom approach to song structures, Wreck have a real sludgy guitar tone and some really creative riffs that make their tracks a little more interesting. The production is a little rough round the edges, but it’ll be fascinating to watch both bands grow on their next releases.

4) God Mother/Artemis

13177417_10156858065740582_6155328840348632593_n

Sweden’s God Mother teamed up with Basingstoke’s Artemis for their final release (another great band taken by the onslaught of 2016) and it’s a bittersweet effort as Artemis put forward 2 of their best songs. Both bands fit into the same metallic hardcore mold with extremely progressive song structures that focus on speed and aggression. Fans of hardcore are serviced well by this 7”.

3) Szyslak/Misgivings

cover

This double-dose of pop punk from the two fresh faces of Brighton’s Szyslak and Portsmouth’s Misgivings offers up 4 tracks of no-nonsense, hooky punk-rock for fans of Gnarwolves. It’s great to hear more pop punk cropping up with a little more bite than the usual sugary, hyper-polished efforts by a lot of the big name bands like Blink-182 and Green Day so if you enjoy massive sing-a-long choruses but like your punk with a bit of dirt then you can do no wrong with this split.

2) Harrowed/Art of Burning Water

a4097661134_10

“Harrowed are still an exciting hardcore band and these tracks are by no means bad, they’re just not up to the band’s usual standard. Fingers crossed Harrowed have another belter of a long-player in the works because it’s about time we saw something more substantial from the band. It’s weird to think that Into Inferno is around 3 years old now.”

“Thankfully, despite all these elements coming into play, they manage to fuse in a way that makes Art of Burning Water’s music sound utterly ferocious. Let Me Let You Finish is the perfect example of all these musical styles coming together harmoniously and it’s a terrifying and scattershot explosion of disgusting metal that demands your attention. Please start paying attention to what Art of Burning Water are doing because a band like this shouldn’t be so criminally overlooked.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) Gurt/Trippy Wicked – Guppy

a0272326525_10

Seeing as how Gurt and Trippy Wicked now share a drummer, it made perfect sense for the sludge metallers to team up for a split and the result is nothing short of excellent. Gurt are on form once again with their special blend of sludge and hardcore that makes for a suitably unpredictable yet surprisingly memorable couple of songs, but it’s Trippy Wicked that really shine. Their first new material in 3 years, this is easily the best the band has sounded. There’s real depth to their bluesy sound now and the production finally makes them sound as massive as they do live. Let’s not forget the wonderfully daft cover of T. Rex’s Children of the Revolution which sees members from both bands team up to create a truly “revolting” version of the rock classic.


Live Review: Pariso’s Farewell Show Feat. Employed to Serve, Daggers & Svalbard 4/9/2015

Employed to Serve

employedtoserve

Employed to Serve have turned into a well-oiled, mosh machine since I last saw them. The band has now turned out one of the most intense metallic hardcore records and their live performance is just as visceral. What’s instantly striking about the band is despite their possessed display of on-stage antics, they’re a seriously tight and well-rehearsed act. The band does a magnificent job of stirring the crowd into an early frenzy and put on one of the best shows that UK hardcore has to offer. This is an excellent beginning to an excellent evening.

Daggers

daggers

Daggers were a bit of an odd choice for this bill and the crowd definitely reciprocated this feeling. The band plays an almost free-form type of doomy hardcore that often dips into sombre moments of respite before beating you over the head with a nasty, sludge-ridden riff. Sadly, the band’s quiet/loud dynamic moved back-and-forth too frequently to allow them to gain any momentum and this became a pretty underwhelming performance, especially considering how well Employed to Serve had ignited a lot of energy for tonight’s proceedings.

Svalbard

svalbard

My word, have Svalbard have become something special or what. The band plays a wonderfully euphoric yet punky form of post hardcore that’s big on fast-paced drumming and beautiful, glittery, guitar leads. There’s a gorgeous atmosphere about Svalbard’s music which is very rare in heavy music and despite the band clearly pouring their heart and soul into a very loud performance, the whole thing just feels very uplifting. Svalbard are an outstandingly unique band and tonight’s performance has me super-excited for their upcoming debut album.

Pariso

pariso

So this is it, the final Pariso show. Pariso always felt like the UK hardcore act that would last and while they’ve certainly had a bloody good innings, tonight’s performance makes it instantly apparent how much people are going to miss them. The room is absolutely packed and the moment the band start playing the crowd ignites. Pariso’s special blend of down-tuned metallic hardcore is still one of the most unique sounds to come out of UK hardcore and the band is firing on all cylinders. Vocalist Mazz incites some of the most furious mosh-pits I’ve seen at the Camden Unicorn and he does it with a wonderful humility and appreciation for the audience. An all-star cast of the band’s friends make it on stage with Sammy and Justine from Employed to Serve doing a fantastic job of keeping the moshers satisfied and there’s even a surprise appearance from Kerouac’s Thom Denson who looks absolutely dangerous on stage. Despite some mic problems which were bound to happen with the sheer number of people screaming into them, Pariso’s farewell is a visceral, sweaty celebration of one of UK hardcore’s most beloved acts and despite the sadness of seeing them go, they give their fans one of their defining performances.


Review: Trudger’s Dormiveglia

trudger

It’s been 2 years since Trudger’s debut 3-track EP Motionless in Dirt and those 2 years have been put to good use. The Barnsley sludge metallers have gone from down-tuned, relentless doom to a more atmospheric and blackened sound that still draws on elements from sludge and doom metal but these are now just smaller parts in a much more accomplished sound.

Trudger have returned with a 45 minute debut album called Dormiveglia (which is the state of being half-sleep, half-awake for those interested) and it’s an extremely dense and challenging listen that’s incredibly rewarding once you scratch the surface.

The band’s move away from slower, sludgier grooves has resulted in tracks like opener Into the Abysmal Future which is over 7 minutes but cracks along at a decent pace considering the running time. The track also relies heavier on melody than past Trudger material and it’s drenched in a thick, foreboding atmosphere that leaves an uneasy feeling in your stomach.

This tactic is employed for all of the albums 6 main songs. Despite the vocal delivery still drawing from sludge and death metal with Chris Parkinson favouring a lower-pitched grunt, Trudger have found a new comfort zone in making their music a far more textured affair. The progressive nature of the band’s music suits it incredibly well and riffs are rarely revisited. This means a frequently changing track like Become Joyless can contain around 10 great riffs.

Trudger also employ a couple of short instrumental interludes which are helpful little breaks from the band’s musical onslaught. What they really excel at is the way they manage to keep the music on Dormiveglia flowing, almost to the point where the album ends up sounding like one cohesive piece of music with many movements. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trudger originally wrote the record with this intention. It’s this structure that makes repeated listens of the album so rewarding as you uncover more melodies and riffs that stick with you long after the album has finished.

Special mention has to be given to guitarists Richard Matheson and Jack Kavanagh who carry all of the band’s melody and are extremely creative guitarists in their own right. The sheer number of riffs and leads these two men create is a staggering achievement but the fact they’re so expressive and memorable is a true testament to their skill. We’ve also got to mention the amazing guitar solo in Thickening Fog which adds another layer of complexity and intrigue to the band’s music and wonderfully compliments the crescendo the song builds to.

Trudger’s Dormiveglia is a thick, multi-layered experience that gets better every time you listen to it. The band has grown tremendously since their debut EP and the song writing on Dormiveglia is absolutely top tier. This might be a challenging listen for heavy music fans and the band’s raucous fusion of sludge, doom, death and black metal might make for a bleak experience, but it’s one of the best bleak experiences you’re going to have for a while. Buy this record, light some candles and get moody.

8/10

Trudger’s Dormiveglia is out now on 12″ blue vinyl through Church of Fuck.


Year End: The 5 Best Split Records of 2013

bestsplits

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

warwolfsobstory

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

letitdiemonolithian

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

4way_split

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

cover

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.”


Review: Gurt and Limb’s Split Roast

cover

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.

GURT

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.


Review: Wraiths’ Wraiths

Dark hardcore noise-makers Wraiths are a brilliantly punishing prospect. The band hail from the North East and follow bands like Lavotchkin and Prelude to the Hunt in their quest to add more doom and general bleakness to the genre. This is their self titled debut EP and it goes a long way to prove that the band can make this type of gloomy heaviness just as well as the aforementioned bands.

Wraiths trade in speed for a more thoughtful and Earth-shattering beat-down which suits the claustrophobic and grim atmosphere that the band create. Naming the first song Pyramid Head gives the listener a good idea where the band is coming from; you can really see the image of a lonely, forgotten figure wandering the foggy streets of Silent Hill.

The metallic riffs on this EP give the whole release its’ biggest pulling power. Rae Robinson’s vocals never bother to go into chorus’ or gang chant territory in favour of adding another layer to Wraiths’ foreboding sound. This allows the guitar work to shine as Dan Charlton brings a brilliant, sludgy groove to the record. Charlton’s riffs are crushing, memorable and hugely commanding and form the focal point of the entire EP.

Hell Ride marks a high point as the growling riffs trade off with some more delicate moments which once again add even more texture to the band’s sound. There really isn’t enough we can say about how accomplished Wraiths’ sound is and this is only the band’s first release.

Unfortunately, the band begin to run familiar ground by Black Vultures and the slow, pounding rhythms you’ve been receiving for 3 tracks begins to wear a bit thin. While Wraiths’ focus on making their hardcore more doomy is commendable, there just aren’t enough ideas to keep it going to the end of the EP. Perhaps Wraiths really do need a burst of speed and aggression to keep their sound interesting for the listener.

Wraiths’ self-titled EP is a solid and brilliantly textured release that shows a band successfully adding more murk to the hardcore formula. This record has more in common with metal than it does hardcore, but the band have to be appreciated for still including the bruising attitude that attracts hardcore fans to the genre. It’s just a bit of a shame that the record seems to run out of ideas and becomes a bit of a tiresome listening experience once you realise the band’s style isn’t budging.

7/10

Wraiths’ self titled EP is available to buy on cassette from Witch Hunter Records now.


Review: Victorian Whore Dogs’ Fetch

Victorian Whore Dogs are 4 dudes from Guildford who have a penchant for dirty grooves and sludge. Their 2nd EP Fetch introduces new vocalist Danny Page into the fold and his strained, high-pitched screaming is a perfect match for the band’s “Iron Monkey on speed” sound.

Chin of Gnoll kicks things into gear with a massive, driving rhythm and enough filth-ridden riffs to fill multiple Charger records. The band do a fantastic job of creating an overbearing and bleak atmosphere through the constant barrage of sludgy metal and raspy, throat-tearing vocals.

The band continue to develop their stark and oppressive atmosphere on the more tense Deep Ones which begins with a clean lead before exploding out the gates with another massive riff. The lead continues to come back throughout the song and creates an almost beautiful yet immensely heavy and dark tone that perfectly sums up the band to a tee.

Finally, the whole thing wraps up with the magnificently tongue-in-cheek Michael Bay’s Transformers are the Best Transformers which also features original vocalist Barnaby Whattingham. The duel vocals add another layer to Victorian Whore Dogs already accomplished sound and hopefully the band will continue to explore this on later releases. Transformers also includes a wonderfully sparse breakdown which sees Page repeat the line “we are the 99” and once again the band manage to pull another surprise out of their bag and add another brilliant atmospheric element to their uncompromising metal.

The only real negatives I can throw at Fetch is that the production is a little flat and doesn’t give the drums any justice. Steve More’s drumming is superb throughout but it’s a shame that it gets relegated to this muddy drudge when it could have had so much more impact. The other issue is a simple matter of length. At 3 songs long Fetch is all over far too soon.

Victorian Whore Dogs have a lot to offer and are one of the most intriguing new metal bands in the UK right now. Fetch is a brilliantly oppressive and down-right nasty EP with plenty of groove and once its’ 3 songs come to an end you’ll be gagging for more. With a little more focus on the production, this EP would have sounded enormous but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the Dogs present us with next before we can fully realise that dream.

8/10

Victorian Whore Dogs’ Fetch is available to download at a pay-what-you-want price from the band’s Bandcamp now.


Review: Swinelord’s Life is Empty/I Feel Fucked

Church of Fuck luminaries Swinelord are back with a deluxe release of their debut EP I Feel Fucked which is now backed with Life is Empty; a new 5 track collection of crusty grindcore that isn’t afraid to get its’ sludgy groove on.

In juxtaposition to I Feel Fucked, the new tracks are considerably shorter and get to the point much faster. The real brilliance of Swinelord’s sound is the duel vocal attack of Chris and Will who scream in different ranges to achieve maximum evilness. It really is quite astounding how the simple marriage of higher-pitched screaming and low, guttural growls creates a desolate, bleak atmosphere that is hugely oppressive. Life is Empty is an immediate blast of filthy, muck-ridden grindcore that repeatedly beats seven shades of shit out of you until Swinelord’s message of “we are angry and we hate everything” has been driven home.

The only downside is that pairing the new tracks with the I Feel Fucked EP spoils it to a degree. Once I Feel Fucked rolls around you are treated to considerably better production values which give Swinelord’s murky, high-octane sludge a much needed layer of clarity which allows you to appreciate the musicianship on display.

The production on Life is Empty is unfortunately bass-heavy and far too muddy. The riffs are buried under the massive, grunty, low-end bass-lines and constant barrage of blast-beats. If the guitar was given more presence in the final mix and maybe not tuned as low, you could really enjoy Swinelord’s special blend of vomit and concrete on the same level as I Feel Fucked which does a much better job of conveying what the band are capable of.

Life is Empty still offers the seasoned metal fan a masterful slab of grind to get their head round, but with some more attention given to the final mix it could have really stood out as a truly brilliant offering of crust punk and grindcore and not just a passable release.

7/10

Swinelord’s Life is Empty/I Feel Fucked is available to pre-order from Church of Fuck on 10″ vinyl now.


Touring: Victorian Whore Dogs

The scuzzy metal beast that is Victorian Whore Dogs are touring the hell out of their new EP Fetch. You can download it at a pay-what-you-want price via the band’s BandCamp and stream it via the widget at the bottom of this post.

Here’s the full list of confirmed Victorian Whore Dogs dates for this year:

MAY
16 – Fighting Cocks, Kingston
18 – Boileroom, Guildford
23 – Pure Lounge Bar, Basingstoke

JUNE
27 – Nambucca, London

JULY
19 – Facebar, Reading

SEPTEMBER
19 – The Cave, Addlestone