Tag Archives: vales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: Goodtime Boys’ Rain

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Goodtime Boys have come a long way since 2010. When the band started out they were a far more aggressive and no-frills, hardcore punk band but fast forward four years and they’ve grown exponentially as songwriters.

While it’s clear the band’s music is still rooted in punk, Goodtime Boys have taken cues from post hardcore for their debut album Rain and the resulting sound is far more song-driven. This means the band’s music is ever so slightly less progressive. Also, hooks and melodies are often drawn out longer than on previous records.

The obvious improvement comes with the band’s song structures. The music on Rain has a far more natural flow that means melodies often build and build over the course of a song. Starting from a stripped back, vocal-lead introduction, more elements are introduced before things are really set off with some beautiful, glassy lead guitar like on Doubt.

Melody has also started to infect vocalist Alex Pennie. Pennie’s vocals are still predominantly screamed in his wonderful, heartfelt bark, but as opener Washout and Newspaper Sky prove, the man can add some eerie atmosphere to the band’s music through his voice alone.

In fact, the only time Goodtime Boys return to their balls-to-the-wall past is on Moral Decay which spends the first half of the song beating you round the head with thrashy drumming and a relentless punk riff that will ignite some serious pits. But even this track can’t escape the band’s fine-tuned musicianship because the second half manages to dial things back before an uplifting crescendo full of tremolo picking. This really is superb stuff.

The album also benefits from having Scumscene favourite Lewis Johns at the mixing desk (which would be obvious considering he’s actually a member of Goodtime Boys). The reason why we love Johns so much is because his production never compromises a live sound in favour of precision. Johns also manages to keep all the energy and grit that comes with an aggressive performance but makes every element of the sound super clear.

Goodtime Boys have really hit their stride on Rain and it’s an album every post hardcore fan should consider owning. The music is still aggressive but it now flourishes into gorgeous melodies drenched in haunting atmosphere. 2014 has been a stunning year for post hardcore records with Vales delivering an equally excellent album and it’s about time we recognise Goodtime Boys in a similar light. Rain is an astonishing debut album that deserves your attention.

9/10

Goodtime Boys’ Rain is out now and available to buy from Bridge Nine and direct from the band.


Review: Pariso and Svalbard’s Self-Titled Split Album

parisosvalbard

Pariso and Svalbard return for a release that is truly unique among hardcore splits; this is a collaborative album with both bands contributing a set of songs as well as joining forces for 2 very unique tracks that showcase a beautiful cacophony of styles that draw from the best parts of both band’s sounds.

Pariso lead the proceedings on this split and the band have decided to play in a lower tuning than usual to make their sound even more difficult to pigeonhole. Pariso make a form of progressive hardcore that brings in elements of groove metal that result in crushing breakdowns like the one featured in Underground Notes. If you can imagine Hatebreed by way of Korn and Every Time I Die you’d be in the sort of area you’d need to be in to appreciate Pariso’s incredibly unique sound.

I’ve joked in the past that Pariso are the founders of nu-grind but thanks to the band’s lower tuning this is becoming less of a joke and actually the only genre I can think that suits them perfectly, especially in regards to these recordings. The opening of Delirium also abides to this rule by featuring a relentless grindcore-esque blast-beat that only gives up to deal another punishing groove.

What Pariso are becoming very good at is interspersing their noise with some brilliant leads that actually help deliver a lot of melody. This was brought into the fold during the writing of their previous album Consanguinity and it’s great to see it used prominently in songs like Helios, The Great Demise.

Now onto Svalbard who despite having a sound rooted in hardcore are somewhat different to Pariso. Svalbard’s sound draws from punk far more heavily than Pariso’s and the no-nonsense opening of Ripped Apart delivers an awesome punk beat that soon expands into a post hardcore sound that is far more melodic in nature.

Svalbard’s music is wonderfully textured and features some absolutely soaring leads that add a sense of euphoria and positivity that’s at juxtaposition with the band’s aggressive nature. The band reminds us of gone-but-not-forgotten post rockers Rinoa but with the hardcore punk leanings of a band like Vales. It’s quite a beautiful racket.

Like Pariso before them Svalbard are another underground UK band who have absolutely nailed a sound of their own and despite their longer songs the band also manage to sound like they’re giving it their all for the entirety of their music. Grayscale is mind-bogglingly intense but it still manages to fit some glittery leads into its near 5 minute hardcore punk attack and it’s an exhausting yet brilliant post hardcore anthem.

Finally it’s important we discuss the collaborative tracks on this split. While the two songs (Floating Anchors and Faceless) clearly draw on elements from both bands’ music, it’s Pariso who seem to be making the decisions in regards to the songs’ structure. Both tracks are shorter 2 minute bursts of extremely progressive metallic hardcore with the only discernible Svalbard elements being the melodic guitar leads and the inclusion of Serena on vocals as well as Mazz.

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.

8/10

Pariso and Svalbard’s split self-titled album is out now on 12″ vinyl through Tangled Talk Records.


Review: Vales’ Wilt & Rise

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Vales have had a peculiar run of things since their inception. Originally known as Veils, the band seemed like they were about to explode into post hardcore super stardom with the release of the 2012 EP Clarity and then the band were threatened with a lawsuit if they didn’t change their name (this was delivered by another band of the same moniker). For the rest of the year and all of 2013 it seemed like the band had vanished off the face of the Earth. The announcement of a record deal with 6131 Records gave us hope that an album would surface soon but it wasn’t until earlier this year that the record finally revealed itself and my God was it worth the wait.

So here we are with Vales’ debut album Wilt & Rise; a 28 minute surge of emotion that grabs you by the collar and shakes you violently for its entirety. It was always apparent that Vales had great song-writing ability but Wilt & Rise takes it to places that Clarity could have only dreamed of. The thing you notice straight off the bat is that there is far more urgency to Wilt & Rise and songs like Scripted and Survival absolutely steamroller you with riffs and heart-on-sleeve screaming.

Vales’ music is deceptively progressive despite its melodic, riff-laden approach and melodies are often never revisited over the course of a song. Thankfully the riffs are hugely memorable in their own right so it’s not necessary for Vales to rely on choruses to keep their audience engaged. This is also important because vocalist Chlo Edwards is a screamer. Without this concerted effort to bring as much melody as possible to the music Vales might’ve suffered from Edwards’ insistence on harsh vocals.

Let’s talk about Edwards because her vocals are an interesting one. Edwards is one of the few blisteringly aggressive vocalists that manages to be incredibly clear and understandable despite sounding like she’s going to empty the contents of her lungs onto the audience. Edwards’ lyrics are a huge draw on Wilt & Rise and they’re often dark, forlorn and poetic which is at a wonderful juxtaposition with her raw and exhausting delivery.

Like every great post hardcore band who’s listened to Refused, Vales also employ the quiet/loud dynamic to allow for gentle disassembly in their middle-eights before smashing you around the head with another great riff. Songs like Waterfalls and Survival pull this off with devastating effect and it would be hard not to join Edwards in screaming along until your throat gives out.

It’s a great relief that Vales didn’t disappear into obscurity because with Wilt & Rise finally released on an unsuspecting audience they’ve delivered an amazing post hardcore record that truly showcases their magnificent song writing. This really feels like a new beginning for the band and long may their reign continue.

8/10

Vales’ Wilt & Rise is available now via 6131 Records and FITA Records.


Review: Svalbard’s Flightless Birds

Cover

We generally shy away from reviewing singles at UK Scumscene because in the time it takes you to read the review you could’ve simply listened to the thing. However, we’re making an exception for Svalbard’s ‘Flightless Birds’ because coupled with its b-side ‘For What It’s Worth’ the whole thing clocks in at an impressive nine and a half minutes and what an impressive journey it is.

The title track gives you a brilliant representation of what the band are about with a beautifully layered and dramatic sounding piece of post rock meets post hardcore (yes, there’s going to be a lot of ‘posts’ used in this review). The band are a rather stunning amalgamation of bands like Vales, MINE and Rinoa and deliver intense post hardcore smothered in stark, atmospheric lead-guitar which is then given a moment to shine as the song hits its middle-eight. During the middle-eight the song takes a moment to breathe and delivers a gentle and restrained section which builds and builds before the song is ready to explode once again. This really is spectacular stuff.

The second track ‘For What It’s Worth’ explores some different avenues and is slightly more progressive than ‘Flightless Birds’. The song features the only instance of sung vocals and gives the song a powerful and almost cinematic quality that fits wonderfully into the band’s already varied arsenal. ‘For What It’s Worth’ also decides to use its more fragile section to finish the song and as it carefully comes to a close the whole release feels like it has proper closure which is bizarre for something like a single.

Svalbard have crafted these two songs with exquisite precision and I wouldn’t normally be inclined to call a release like this a single. This release was made to be listened in its entirety and as good as both songs are, they really shine when they’re played together. Svalbard’s ‘Flightless Birds’ is a stunning release and the band themselves are one of the UK’s brightest hopes. Now excuse me while I attempt to purchase everything else the band has produced so far.

9/10

Svalbard’s Flightless Birds is released on 7″ vinyl through Tangled Talk Records on October 7th.


News: Holy Roar Release 2013 Compilation for Free Download

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

Click here to grab the collection now.

The full tracklist is below:

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


Music Video: Vales’ Caves (Anxiety)

Screamo noise-freaks Vales have just unleashed their new video for Caves (Anxiety). The video is to celebrate the US re-release of their EP Clarity through 6131 Records:

Vales will also release an album in the Summer of 2013 through 6131 Records. Clarity is currently available in the UK through Tangled Talk Records.

[Source: Punk News]