Posts Tagged ‘Grindcore’

Following their recent exclusive on Pure Grain Audio, York-based hardcore punk four-piece, Seep Away, have their released new single ‘Matchstick Man’. The new single is taken from the band’s forthcoming EP, The Blackened Carnival Of Societal Ineptitude, due in the Autumn.

Taking influence from thrash legends Municipal Waste, alongside hardcore standouts Expire and Incendiary, the track is a vitriolic stab at those individuals we all know who drain the life out of those around them.

Vocalist Jay Sillence comments, “This song is quite personal to me – we all know that special type of asshole who sucks the life out of people with their actions – they just want to fight, and fucK, and they have nothing else in their life of any value, so they have to take from others. This song is a dedication to that special person in my life, and I hope other people can relate to the venom that I feel.”

Listen to ‘Matchstick Man’ here:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/4xOmiqM5XTLZgGAh6SfG7Q

The band’s new EP, ‘The Blackened Carnival Of Societal Ineptitude’ will be released in Autumn.

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Catch the band live at the following dates…

AUGUST

18 – Percy’s, Whitchurch (with Saltwater Injection)

SEPTEMBER

7 – Fibbers, York (with SHINING)

OCTOBER

2 – The Station, Ashton-Under-Lyne (with 2 Sick Monkeys)

21 – Hoersfest at Fulford Arms, York (with Petrol Hoers)

NOVEMBER

4 – MNDA Fundraiser at Fulford Arms, York (with Segregates)

DECEMBER

16 – BGB Christmas Piss-Up – Fulford Arms, York (with The Restarts)

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Christopher Nosnibor

It’s an interesting demographic spread in the Fulford Arms tonight, almost evenly split between middle-agers and young alt types. This will make perfect sense to anyone who’s already heard Hands Off Gretel: founded and fronted by 19-year old Lauren Tate, they’re the sound of youthful angst, raw and brimming with rage and entirely relatable to their peers. Their sound also bears more than a passing resemblance to early Hole, and in Lauren, there’s the wild energy of late 80s / early 90s Courtney Love that’s instantly recognisable to those who remember that far back. I’m conflicted: downcast at being reminded so starkly that I’m now in the middle-age camp, elated that I was there the first time around and also that there are young bands with this much passion and this much gut making music that’s real and fearless.

Humble Scoundrel kick things off and while they’re also young, they’re also seriously good. They’re fronted by a guy who looks kinda nerdy in his specs, but said front man is renowned Leeds band poster / flyer / t-shirt etc. artist Tommings, and they’re no flappy weaklings: the plaid-shirted power trio kick out a decent brand of rocking indie with some strong harmonies and some elastic 90s alt/rock basslines whacked through a BigMuff and cranked up to gut-churning levels to give them something special. The lead vocals are poppy, but countered by some crunching guitars. Somewhere around the mid-point, they drop a ‘quiet track. It’s built around a gothy Celtic guitar line over some thumping martial drumming, and it brings some well-placed variation in a strong set, and the between-song banter is genuinely amusing.

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Humble Scoundrel

It’s been just shy of a year since I last saw Seep Away play, and they’ve come on no end in the intervening months. Tighter, louder, more in-yer-face, it’s their increased confidence that really makes the difference, and this – and a triangle – is what drives their full-throttle bass-driven grindpunkthrash racket. Jay Sillence raves and lurches around like a man possessed, while the musical proponents of the band – Max Watt (guitar, backing growls), Dani Barge (bass) and Dom Smith (drums) – give it their all. I’m always drawn to bands who pour in every last ounce of energy into a performance, largely because it’s indicative of their passion and commitment, and to see a band who sound great but are clearly coasting just doesn’t provide the same excitement. That Dom’s on the brink of exhaustion by the last track, but powers through at a hundred miles an hour tells pretty much all you need to know about the frenetic force of their live assault. Carnage of the best kind.

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Seep Away

There’s a crush for the front at the little low-staged venue for Hands Off Gretel, and it’sno surprise: while their aural assault is quite something, they’re a live band you need to see as well as hear. Lauren – dressed in hot-pants and ripped tights, a tiara nestled in her long dreadlocks and ‘BURN’ scrawled onto her chest in makeup – is high-kicking and hollering hard from the start as they tear through a set which showcases the majority of their incendiary Burn the Beauty Queen album.

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Hands Off Gretel

Every track is a highlight (although I’m personally pleased to hear ‘Bad Egg’), and while Lauren is obviously the focal point and an immense presence on stage – not to mention a singer of immense power, with a terrifying, full-throated holler, and to describer her as a compelling performer would be an understatement – it wouldn’t work if they didn’t operate as such a cohesive unit. Hands Off Gretel are a band, an a strong one, who really work the quiet/loud dynamic, and when they break out into the chorus riffs, they really give it.

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Hands Off Gretel

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Hands Off Gretel

By the end of the set, the stage is awash with beer – on account of numerous spillages and the fact Lauren has a tendency to cool herself by pouring it over herself – and perspiration. Lauren’s makeup is smeared, and after a racketous rendition of ‘Oh Shit’, they don’t bother to leave the stage before encoring with a killer one-two of ‘Eating Simon’ and ‘My Size’. When it comes to blistering intensity, Hands Off Gretel have got it nailed, and judging by tonight’s turnout, there’s a real thirst for their brand of angst-laden rage.

Karlrecords – KR025 – 23rd September 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

If you though that free jazz couldn’t be brutal and punishingly aggressive, you clearly haven’t heard Painkiller. A three-way collaboration between three legends in their own rights – namely Bill Laswell, John Zorn and Napalm Death’s Mick Harris, the three albums they released in the early 90s represent the work of a true supergroup: not just a coming together of names, but creative powers combining convergent forces to forge something exceptional. Guts of a Virgin and Buried Secrets, both released on Earache Records, melded grindcore and free jazz to devastating effect, but it was their final album, the double-CD sign-off that was Execution Ground (1994) that saw them take things to another towering level.

That 1994 is now 22 years ago is hard to digest: not only are there kids listening to Nirvana who weren’t born when Kurt Cobain ended it, but adults too. Nevertheless, it’s 22 years since Execution Ground was released, and only now is it receiving a vinyl pressing, in a limited run of 500 (with the obligatory download code). And yes, an album of such sonic depth more than warrants a vinyl edition, and Karlrecords have done themselves proud, with the 180g double vinyl mastered and cut by Rashad Becker in Berlin. There’s a slight change to the original running order here, with ‘Pashupatinath’ being cut from the vinyl and tacked on at the end of the download, but nevertheless it works, and the key point to note is that this doesn’t sound like an album from 22 years ago. But then, it doesn’t sound like an album from any time.

Zorn’s alto sax playing in the opening minutes is beyond wild, and it’s underpinned by a thudding, gut-rumbling bass. Everything about the album is immense: ‘Parish of Tama (Ossuary Dub)’ works the full sonic spectrum and distils the most potent elements of grindcore and jazz, while bringing down the pace to a glacial grind. Simultaneously frantic and pulverizing, it pulls the listener in two different directions, and possesses a dark turbulence powerful enough to tear you in half.

‘Morning of Balachaturdasi’ begins with a slow, heavy drum beat, joined next by a dolorous chime of a repeated bass chord. Half Swans, half Shellac… and then the sax. Fuck, the sax! Its shrill, it has attack, and while the rhythm sections gradually dissolves into a sea of echo, quintessentially jazzy grooves rise up and the playing really wigs out. Over the course of its quarter-hour running time, it builds to punishing crescendos, drops back down to almost nothing, with extended semi-ambient passages which in turn yield to shrieking sonic assaults with the brutal rhythm section producing some deep, dark dub vibes.

The ‘ambient’ versions are darkly menacing, and swampy echoes drift and swirl, offering little by way of comfort. In the distance, sax honks parp and bray like a wild beast begging for mercy from within the belly of a whale. Drum breaks erupt and vanish into think, murky air, while tortured voices howl in agony from the depths. The bass is so low and edgy it’s positively stealthy and almost subliminal in its attack. But attack it does, as it nags away, strumming and thrumming and skipping and dipping. Thirteen minutes into ‘Parish of Tama (Ambient)’, a crescendo of crashing drums and satanic thrashing and gnashing offer a view into the black heart of purgatory.

It’s certainly not ‘ambient’ in any conventional sense, and nor do these epic sonic expanses conform strictly to the tropes of ‘dark ambient’, instead making for something altogether dense, more oppressive and more sinister.

It’s a brain-frying and utterly monumental work of epic scope, depth and dimensionality. However far genes cross, you’d be hard-pressed to find a work which pushes forward across seemingly incompatible genres, and even more hard-pressed to find one which succeeds like Execution Ground.

 

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Southern Lord – 1st July 2016

James Wells

Christ. Everything louder and faster and more gnarly than everything else. The drums are so fast the individual beats blur to form a sound that resembles the whupping of a helicopter’s rotors. The guitars, a frenetic blizzard of movement, form a blanket of sound, but there are actual notes in there – lots of notes, tumbling over one another at such speed as to be almost inaudible individually to the human ear. Screaming solos rear up from the thunderous tempest, brief but shrill and completely wild.

It’s everything you’d expect from an album released on Southern Lord, and from a band who’ve tagged the album on Bandcamp with the terms ‘anarchist metal black metal blackened crust death metal metal punk victoria bc grindcore Victoria’. The lyrics are as unintelligible as the band’s logo, but the sentiment is clear.

It’s seriously black and it’s seriously crusty, and a gloriously angry and relentlessly bleak, venom-spewing example of dingy, dark metal. The title might refer nihilistically to the ruins of civilisation or of humanity, but could equally be a pointer to the ruins of your eardrums and psyche after hearing this savage album.

 

ISKRA - Ruins

Christopher Nosnibor

Given the vast array of microgenres and the broad spread of metal itself, curating a metal festival must be quite a challenge. A number of friends of mine have, in recent years, complained of events leaning too much towards a certain part of the metal spectrum, with an overemphasis on doom or sludge. A lot of credit is therefore due to the organisers of the first Hearth Life event, hosted in one of Leeds’ hottest new underground venues, Chunk. To describe it as intimate would be an understatement. A rehearsal room for arts and music which doubles as a two-room venue, it’s smaller than some living rooms. And yet they’ve managed to host 14 bands representing a huge cross-section of noise from the more extreme end of the scale. And there isn’t a dud act on the bill.

Using the two ‘stages’ to optimum effect, and keeping sets to half an hour or less means the bands are on back-to-back with no more than a few minutes in between, for eight hours straight. But by alternating the faster and slower bands, it’s neither a non-stop frenzy nor a marathon slog through hours of droning doom. That they’d not only got in a decent range of beers, but taken the time to mark up on the price list the vegetarian / vegan friendly beverages, not to mention having food courtesy of local ‘real junk food’ nosh merchants Armley Junk-tion on a pay-what-you-feel basis, all showed an attention to detail and general thoughtfulness you simply don’t find in larger commercial ventures. And most miraculously, the bands ran to time on what was an insanely tight schedule.

I’d seen around a third of the bands on the bill previously, so my expectations were set, at least to an extent. That said, the lineup’s diversity is the key, and discovering Human Certainty more than justified getting down early. Combining heavily chorused / flanged goth guitars with grindcore vocals buried in a fuck-ton of reverb and delay, while the singer battles invisible demons as he charges maniacally to and fro, they’re a unique proposition and a compelling live act.

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Human Certainty

A whole lot less heavy were Beige Palace, and despite not being very metal, it as pleasing to see the young band, making their debut live appearance, receive a warm reception. Not for the last time during the event, I was reminded what an accommodating and thoroughly decent bunch of people attend the events with the most extreme bands. With shades of Young Marble Giants, Beige Palace make sparse-sounding music that’s jarring, dissonant and hints at a clash between early Pram and No Wave angularity.

While the space given to manic full-throttle thrashing was extremely welcome given the current vogue for doom, stoner and sludge, the grindcore acts on the bill felt a bit throwaway in their delivery here: Ona Snap announced themselves as being ‘fucking idiots’ before launching into 20 minutes of frenetic mayhem made up of short violent jolts of noise. They were tight, and went down well, but felt a bit too much like a party band to really pack a punch. Similarly, Famine – who I think are ace, and have seen evolve considerably over the last couple of years or so – seemed more about getting the crowd whipped into a frenzy, and consequent, their set felt more like an excuse to go mental than a serious assault on society. That said, having bemoaned the too-cool-for-school audiences at bigger gigs, they played hard and insanely fast, and it’s good to see this crowd going bonkers with some wild moshing and even crowd surfing in an extremely confined space. A tidal wave of bodies almost threatens to upend the makeshift bar during Horsebastard’s set. There is carnage. It’s good-natured, but carnage nonetheless.

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Famine

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Horsebastard

Ghold, touting new long player PYR are a band on the rise. Having expanded to a three-piece since I last saw them 11 months ago, they’re sounding denser and more layered than before. The drumming is explosive, and there’s a perverse sense of performance, as Oliver Martin plays and sings with his back to the audience, and Aleks Wilson, while forward-facing, hides behind his hair and is hardly conversational. But cultivating this distance between audience and band work well, and adds to the intrigue of a band who trade in pulverizing heavy sludge riffs while also incorporating elements of psychedelia and offering radical changes of tone and pace. Epic sludge workouts are contrasted with fast-paced attacks, although thy always keep the ‘heavy’ cranked up to the max. One-dimensional they aren’t, and in the space of their half-hour set they demonstrate more diversity than some band manage over a whole career. They’ve got some chops, alright, and I’m not talking about Wilson’s monster ‘burns.

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Ghold

The heavy trucker metal of Nottingham monster mofos Moloch bring the noise and a different kind of density. Dark, sludgy and burning with anguish, they embody pained nihilism, they’re unphased when the mic completely cuts out – that or front man Chris is simply too immersed in the thunderous wall of brutal rage he and his cohorts are churning out to make a deal of it. Either way, the sound guy is quick with a replacement and they power on through triumphant.

Palehorse, playing their last Leeds show and penultimate gig in a sixteen-year career, are given an extended, 45-minute slot, which is the day’s punishing highlight. Although not the last band to play (that slot is given to The Afternoon Gentlemen), they’re effectively the headliners. I took no notes during their set, too engrossed in the immense, brutal sound, and too crushed by the clamouring front rows to even consider anything beyond the immediate experience. The event page describes them as ‘noise shitting bass bastards’ (they’ve got two basses, but no guitars), while their bandcamp page heads them as being ‘London Powerviolence’. Call their music what you like, it’s as heavy as fuck. The vast bottom-end is enough to rearrange internal organs, and contrasts with Nikolai Grune’s sharp, seething vocals. But it’s music that’s textured, articulate and powerful beyond mere brute force.

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Palehorse

It’s hard to stumble out of an event like this feeling anything other than elated. Live music is all about escape, release, and the more brutal and cathartic the music, the greater the release, and seeing so many incredible, intense bands in such close proximity is exactly the way it should be. It’s personal, intimate to the point of exclusive, interior. There may have been a few crazies in the crowd, but there were no out-and-out cunts: the vibe was one of camaraderie and companionship, the event a coming together of outsiders and misfits in a celebration of all things outsider and beyond the grasp and cognisance of the mass media and general populace. Let’s hope this is the first of a long run for Hearth Life.

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Shrykull