Posts Tagged ‘Harsh’

New Heavy Sounds is stoked to announce their first release of 2023, and what a beast it is. The self-titled debut album by Death Pill, an all-female hardcore punk power trio of considerable muscle, combining metalcore, punk rock and (like labelmates ‘Shooting Daggers’) oodles of ‘Riot Grrl’ vibe.

It’s significant how many female punk bands are using the stance and attitude of the ‘Riot Grrl’ movement as a touchstone for what they are about, but it doesn’t end there. From the classic punk of Black Flag, The Distillers and Circle Jerks, to modern outfits like Axe Rash and the thrash metal of Nervosa and Exodus, there’s a nod to all of this in Death Pill’s visceral sound. Full on and fully formed.

That aside, what makes this release even more pertinent for us, and the fact that it is happening at all, is that Mariana, Anastasiya and Nataliya are from the Ukraine, who’s troubles are well known to all of course, but naturally enough have hit the band very hard.

Singer/guitarist Mariana tells the story so far.

Just imagine: You are a 20-year-old girl. Society constantly puts pressure on you: you should find a nice husband, have children and at the same time build a successful career. But no one asks what do you really want? What are exactly your interests and ambitions?

Because maybe you want to be a punk rock star?

Yes, I do and even against it all. I can create a female non-commercial band, play heavy high-quality music, and ignite the crowd. After all, rock is not only about brutal men with curly long hair, right?

Nafa (Anastasiya), the drummer, also got sick of this idea. Together we created an all-female punk rock band Death Pill (2017), just like we wanted to! Before COVID started we played a lot of gigs at the main underground festivals in Ukraine (“Back to Youth”, “Burn the Scene for Fun”). We also released EP (2018). We had a lot of success in front of our audience, which led to the creation of more female bands.

We did have trouble with bass players. They changed one after another and we were looking for someone who would be “on the same vibe” with us …

There is a strong and super friendly community of people in Ukraine. It’s a big family of true music lovers, people who live by creating the Ukrainian underground scene. This is also how we met Nataliia. After our first practice with her, we realized that this is a real perfect match, and the problem was solved. We started recording our first full album, filming music clips etc.

Until the war comes… In February fucking Russia started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It really changed our plans, dreams, and attitude. So now we are spread out, Mariana stays in Kyiv, Nafa is in Spain, Nataliia is in Australia. We try to stay in touch online, we keep working on the album and support our defenders. Like all in our Ukrainian scene.

Some do it with weapons in their hands, some volunteer and help in any way they can to bring our victory closer. Hard times, but right now we have a real chance to change lives for the better.

Victory will be ours; we are sure of it.

P.S. It is soon, and we have already decided to make the most hot, amazing and gig ever!

Watch out.

Watch ‘Расцарапаю Ебало’ here:

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Death Pill

7th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been introduced to GLDN this summer via the gritty industrial gore-flecked First Blood EP, the vehicle of Nicholas Golden continues at juggernaut pace, having prefaced the full-length Haemophilia with lead single ‘Suicide Machine’.

While some are particularly sensitive about anything pertaining to suicide, its disturbing prevalence means it’s a topic that needs to be out there and under discussion. While rates among the young are conspicuously high, here in the UK, rates are now highest for men in the 45-49 bracket (my own demographic), while globally, it’s rocketed among those beyond retirement age. And, traumatic as it may be for some directly affected, it shouldn’t be considered taboo or require a trigger warning – otherwise, pretty much all industrial and metal would need to carry warnings before every song.

Point is, that suicide, death, and, indeed, the fixational theme of plasma and platelets that dominates the work of GLDN are as much tropes, themes as much metaphorical as literal – and that’s ok. To confront one’s darker thoughts is healthy, and is a world apart from acting upon those thoughts. More often than not, those who produce the most dark and grotesque art, in any medium, prove to be the most balanced and the least dangerous, as they’ve found a healthy outlet for whatever it is that’s chewing at them.

On the evidence of Hemophilia, there’s a lot chewing at Nicholas G, and he channels every last ounce of that angst into his art. The result is an album that’s tense, taunt, relentless. And yes, of course it’s harsh. Not to a power electronics level of extremity, but this is an album that’s edges are serrated with industrial abrasion every inch of the way. Oh, and there’s blood and guts all over – just look at the cover. It sounds how it looks: by turns incendiary with rage and ominous and sinister with disconsolate darkness, Hemophilia has sonic and emotional range, but at the sae time, it’s bleak, bleak, bleak, as song tiles like ‘Self-Mutilation as a Form of Compliance’ indicate.

It opens with the lo-fi punky metal thrashabout of ‘Animal’, which is as up-front as it is unexpected, with GLDN roaring raggedly against a gritty, grimy guitar blast. But ‘New Face, Same Lies’ is bleakly electronic, dingy, subterranean, whispered and tense and is everything you would expect. The contrast of these two tracks alone tells you pretty much everything you need about GLDN and Hemophilia – namely it’s every inch the gritty, dark industrial album you’d expect, but it’s got twists – lots of twists. ‘#1 Crush is just one of them – a chugging metal reworking of the flipside to Garbage’s second single ‘Vow’, it clearly recognises the song’s lyrical darkness, then plunges is into an abyss and culminates in screaming angst. Despite being familiar with the song – it’s something of a personal favourite from the Garbage catalogue – it didn’t land as immediately recognisable, and that’s a positive, and a measure of just how much GLDN have twisted and mangled the tune – or put their own twist on it, if you’re talking more commercially. It’s a bold move, and one that proves successful. In contrast again, ‘Half-Life’ is sparse, stark electronics and as gritty, grimy and gnarly as hell.

At times it’s pure NIN: often it’s much more, not least of all in that it does its own thing within the industrial framework and at times pushes beyond, making for an exciting and dynamic album, and one that is, naturally, brimming with anguish and existential angst. And relentless, pounding beats, too. ‘Suicide Machine’ stands as a highlight, with parallels to ‘Happiness in Slavery’ from Nine Inch Nails’ Wish, which is clearly one of Nicholas Golden’s touchstones – and it’s a solid choice, as a release that really took harsh noise to a massive audience.

Hemophilia is dark, dense, and intense, the sonic equivalent of bloodletting. And the production is tight. It’s clearly a studied work, and the execution is magnificent – not just the performance, but the production, too, which presents the songs in their best light, tugging out the details and the dynamics to yield maximum impact.

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9th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Brooklyn-based blood and gore and dark-fixated industrial metal act GLDN keep on mixing things up with their singular and innovative take on industrial / metal / electronica, and the first single released ahead of the upcoming album Hemophilia, released early October, is another genre-smashing blast of excitement.

At the start of the video, front man Nicholas Golden is wearing a minidress on a mock-up of a slightly fuzzy-looking VHS clip, and while in itself it’s not edgy, it’s both resourceful (can’t afford actors for your promo? Do it yourself) and parodic in setting a dystopian tone n a retro setting. The trouble with retro dystopias is that, as we’ve come to find the hard way, is that the projected future which is now the present is actually worse. 1984 no longer reads like fiction, but reportage. What do you actually do with that knowledge? How do you live with that grim realisation? You too could be the owner of an obelisk…

The lyrics pick at social media and Instagram perfection, and on reading the lyrics, I remember with a slow sinking feeling how I read on a daily basis in the tabloid media how professionals – nurses, teachers, name it – are taking to OnlyFans to make ends meet and in no time they’re quitting their stressful, shittily-paid dayjobs in favour of coining it in to pay off their mortgages:

Got no flaws, no imperfections

The unachievable is my new obsession

Can’t get enough, I’m never satisfied

I’ve got to whore myself out just to feel alive

‘I’d rather be dead than be irrelevant’, Golden concludes, and it’s a stark yet fair reflection: people crave the attention as much as the money, and the bottom line is that the system is fucked and society and culture is fucked.

Coming on like an electro-infused black metal cross between Placebo and Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, ‘Suicide Machine’ finds GLDN in darkly abrasive form, peaking with a blistering climactic finale that’s utterly punishing. Bring the album.

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Art of Fact Records – 15th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

The second single lifted from the forthcoming album Null, due for release in September, is basalt slabs of rock-solid riffery of the kind KEN Mode are worshipped for by their fanbase – and deservedly so.

It crashes in hard, grinding low-end dominating, before the guitar splinters treble over the grumbling bass that drives the verse. Jesse Matthewson’s hard, shouted vocal style is savage, and the vocals sit fairly low in the mix; the splinters that do cut through are cutting ‘I’ve got / nothing more to say / You’ve got no reason to listen’. As the band put it, it’s ‘an existential crisis, set to music’, and ‘in Matthewson’s words, the song illustrates a turning point where one’s disappointment transforms into resignation.’ It all adds to the overall nihilistic force of this beast of a tune.

If both the production and the accompanying promo video serve to convey a sense of the band’s energy and sheer power live, then the UNSANE T-shirt Jesse’s wearing provides a fair reference point for this slice of sonic savagery. That said, it does signify a shift from predecessor, Loved (which still has one of the most memorable album covers of recent years). It’s a little less frenetic, less manic than, say, ‘He Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Ought To’, and the sound is geared towards being denser, heavier rather than harsher. And it packs a mean punch alright.

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KEN mode will hit the road in September for a string of Canadian shows, followed by a headlining slot at No Coast Fest in Denton, TX, alongside Metz, Young Widows, and more. Stand by for news of more touring.

Sept 23 – Winnipeg, MB, CA @ The Good Will Social Club – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 24 – Saskatoon, SK, CA @ Amigos Cantina – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 25 – Calgary, AB, CA @ Palomino Smokehouse – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 26 – Edmonton, AB, CA @ Starlite Room Temple – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Oct 30 – Denton, TX @ No Coast Fest – w/ Metz, Young Widows

Industrial band Panic Lift continues the unraveling of its themed EP release cycle with the band’s first release of 2022 titled Stitched.

This four song EP features two new songs titled ‘Every Broken Piece’ and ‘Bitter Cold’ with remixes from Mechanical Vein and Tragic Impulse.

Lyrically, “Every Broken Piece” and “Bitter Cold” continue with the familiar themes of stress, coping, and concerns of self-image. Hardcore Panic Lift fans may remember “Every Broken Piece” from Panic Lift’s lockdown shows in 2020 that were broadcast online during the height of the COVID19 Pandemic.

For Stitched, Panic Lift explores a harsh ebm sound more stylistically similar to their landmark debut record , Witness To Our Collapse. James Francis explains “I’ve always tried to find a happy medium between what I’m doing now, and where I started” he continues “but now that I’m doing smaller releases, I have the ability to experiment with different styles without having to worry much about how they fit with the rest of my catalog.”

Watch ‘Every Broken Piece’  here:

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Dret Skivor – 1st April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Another month, another Dret release, and this one, their fifteenth, is from Dormir, a sound artist who lives on the island of Bornholm, near the Stavehøl Vandfald. It’s no April fool.

‘Under isen’ translates as ‘Under the ice’, and consists of two side-long tracks: ‘under isen ligger noget, du ikke kan lide’ (‘under the ice is something you do not like’, apparently) and ‘min indblanding er din afhængighed’ (‘my interference is your addiction’, according to Google translate. It sounds a little clunky, and is perhaps left in its native form,

‘under isen ligger noget’ is a suitably dark, dense blast sound that arrives on an arctic gust, scouring and scourging the bleakness of a whiteout landscape with a roar that strips away the senses with an elongated scrape of treble and a low, resonant booming like a ship’s horn, the sound lost adrift in a blizzard of impenetrable static. It’s disorientating, bewildering. You do, truly, feel surrounded, encased in sound, and if anything has ever recreated the harrowing experience of the time I was caught in a blizzard on top of a mountain in the Lake District and unable to gain any sense of my location in order to navigate down, it’s this. It was one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences of my life, so suffice it to say, listening to this is something of a challenge on a personal level. It never ends, and you fear there is absolutely no way out. The tone and pitch has barely any variation over the duration; just additional elements thrown into the blistering vortex. It’s not strictly Harsh Noise Wall, but it is a wall of harsh noise that leaves you feeling buffeted, pulverised, punished.

If you’re hoping for something more gentle on the flipside, ‘min indblanding er din afhængighed’ is likely to disappoint: it’s more noise, only this time louder and denser and dirtier, not so much the sound of a blizzard but a washing machine on a spin cycle as it slowly breaks down, as recorded using a microphone thrown into the drum. It grinds and churns, thrums and throbs and swirls, it clatters, clanks and gurgles and swashes along, everything overloaded and distorted. In contrast to side one, it’s a more overtly rhythmic piece that positively pulsates, a dark heart pulsing beneath the eye-wavering curtain of static that crackles and fizzes. But there’s nothing soothing about this rythmicality, and you sure as hell can’t dance to it: it’s like having a wire connected to a battery prod your temple twice a second for almost twenty minutes; it leaves you feeling absolutely fucking fried. But it’s worth it.

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Cool Thing – 18th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Hot on the heels of their explosive return with ‘Drama Drama Drama Drama’, BAIT continue the assault with the delivery of ‘My Tribe’, off their eagerly-anticipated long-player, Sea Change.

Pitched as ‘the voice of pandemic anxiety’, Michael Webster explains that “’My Tribe’ was written at the very beginning of the pandemic when none of us knew what the fuck was going on. It got me thinking about survival and protecting my family from the unknown. There’s reference to primal activities in contrast to the mundane activities taken up to pass time during isolation.”

This encapsulates the contradictions of the early days of the pandemic: the confusion, the fear, the panic, the sheer bewilderment and sense of ‘what the fuck?’ as the guidance changed daily and we were told to work from home and batten down the hatches: the number of times we heard and read the word ‘unprecedented’ was unprecedented’ – far more so than the pandemic itself. No-one knew how to react, because no-one really knew what they were even reacting to, really.

Clocking in at almost four minutes, it’s one of BAIT’s longer efforts, and it’s driven – as has rapidly become established as their style – but a thick, snarling, repetitive riff in the vein of Killing Joke, and the comparisons don’t end there, given their sociopolitical leanings. In short, it continues the trajectory of their eponymous mini-album debut, and cements everything harder, denser than before, and then veers off into hard technoindustrial that’s more the domain of KMFDM and the like for the final minute.

Tackling isolation and the internal conflicts so many of us suffered, it’s angry, but in no specific direction – because who do you direct that anger at? Some of it goes inwardly, of course, wrestling with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, while some of it goes outwards and into the air because fuck shit, life just isn’t fair. Why here? Why now? Just why? That sense of helplessness and frustration pervades every moment of anger and anguish, and it’s almost as if BAIT were a band ready-made for the pandemic.

But while it may feel like ‘Merry Easter, Covid’s Over’ may be a tune for the coming months, it’s readily apparent that the psychological repercussions of the last two years will be long-lasting for many. The social divisions that became raw gaping wounds through Brexit have only become more pronounced, as people have become more entrenched and seemingly harbour more violent feelings towards others, and on-line aggressions have begun to manifest in an upsurge in the ugliest behaviours since people have been allowed to get back out there. Something is awry, and the world is dark and more fucked-up than ever. This, seemingly, was the plan all along: divide and conquer. This is not some conspiracy theory, it’s not about some ‘plandemic’; it’s an opportunistic power-grab by governments following a neat-global shift to the right. They want people to be scared, and, as it happens, people have reason to be scared – jut not necessarily the reason it seems on the face of it.

‘Keep them occupied / lock them up inside’ is a neat summary of how things have been managed. They slide in the line ‘Under his eye’, and while they may have been bingeing on Netflix, the totalitarian regime of The Handmaid’s Tale seems a lot closer to home now: we are living in the midst of almost every dystopia ever penned made real.

BAIT have got the soundtrack down, they’re both the reassurance that you’re not alone in feeling what you feel, as well as the articulation of the painful truth. And they’re kicking ass all the way.

 

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Forged in the fires of the East Coast underground music scene in the 90s, experimental Hip Hop pioneers, Union City, NJ-based duo Dälek has spent decades carving out a unique niche fusing hardcore Hip Hop, noise and a radical approach to sound. Their brutal sonic temperament pushes rap music’s capacity for noise and protest to some exhilarating conclusions.

Following in the footsteps of their predecessors Public Enemy while drawing from influences as varied as My Bloody Valentine and German experimentalists Faust, Dälek have succeeded in adding completely new textural and structural dimensions to rap music.

A visceral and powerful live act, Dälek spent over a decade touring and bringing their raucous and blistering performances to audiences around the world. During this time they toured with and supported a wide range of acts in the Hip Hop, Rock, Metal, and Experimental genres including Flying Lotus, De La Soul, TOOL, The Melvins, Grandmaster Flash, Pharcyde, Fantomas, KRS One and The Bug.

For their latest and eighth album, Precipice, Dälek unleashes a work that is practically bristling with fury and power. Arriving on April 29th via Ipecac Recordings. Predominantly the work of the core duo, Will Brooks, aka MC Dälek and Mike Manteca (Mike Mare), Precipice features a guest appearance of Adam Jones of Tool on one of the album’s tracks. The band has enlisted Paul Romano (Mastodon) for the striking cover art, and the packaging features the art of Mikel Elam.

Today Dälek are sharing a video for the brickyard boom-bap track ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’ which was directed by Brooks and can be viewed here:

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Initiated before the outbreak of COVID-19, the group briefly put Precipice on hold before returning to inject a newer, more dynamic energy into the album’s songs. The result is a timely work, that is teaming with immediacy.

Precipice was a completely different record pre-pandemic.” MC Dälek explains. “We had been working on the sketch of what the album was going to be at the end of 2019. I think me and (Mike) Manteca had narrowed it down to 17 joints out of the 46 or so that we had started with. Me and Joshua Booth had taken the 17 and really fleshed out the joints. The idea was to bounce them back to Mike and then arrange and write lyrics. 2020 obviously had different plans for everybody. We basically put everything on hold. I ended up doing the MEDITATIONS series that year on my own. I think the catharsis of that project, its rawness, the pandemic, all the death, the social upheaval, everything that went down… when I went back and listened to what we had down… it just wasn’t right anymore, it wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t heavy enough, it wasn’t angry enough. It just didn’t say what I needed it to say.

With Precipice, Dälek have once again tapped into the heartbeat of the day and used that energy to create a vital statement about the world we live in. Continuing in the long tradition of revolutionary Hip Hop, Precipice builds new cadences born out of tumultuous times.

After decades of challenging and expanding the sonic fabric of Hip Hop itself, giving way to new approaches and possibilities, Dälek is set to take their rightful place as one of the culture’s true innovators.

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Photo Credit: MICHAEL PATRAS

Blighttown Records – 31 December 2021

Christopher Nosnobor

Australian metal act Hadal Maw emerge from lockdown with an EP that threatens ‘four tracks of uncompromising and confronting aural violence whilst also introducing new members Liam Weedall (Dyssidia) and Jarrod Sorbian (Départe)’, adding that ‘Musically the four track EP delves further in to the more visceral aspect of their sound and composition while maintaining the technical wizardry that the band established on previous releases’.

Metal comes in so many different shades, and while the more commercial end of metal is alright for banging heads to, it’s kinda tame, espousing nice production values. Hadal Maw, however, exist at the more raw and gritty end of the spectrum, and plough a dark furrow and plough it deep with some furiously gnarly abrasion.

They come blasting out of the traps with a magnificent amalgamation of discord and groove on the snarling blast that is ‘Fetishize Consumption’, and if firing nihilistic fury at the capitalist machine may be an obvious choice, it’s something that simply can’t be done too much, because excessive consumption isn’t simply the dominant culture, it’s the culture. And if you’re not against it, you’re part of the problem. Clearly, this is a simplistic reduction, which leaves little room for the fact it’s hard to escape the problem without going off-grid and living on roots and shoots. Living within the parameters of this contradiction – whereby digital technology and the use of social media is a necessary evil when it comes to disseminating any kind of message or output – isn’t easy, but channelling rage and(self)-loathing through catharsis can help, and Oblique Order demonstrates thar Hadal Maw are kings of catharsis.

The title track, which features ‘guest vocals from three of Australia’s most accomplished vocalists; Karina Utomo (High Tension), Luke Frizon (Growth) and Antony Oliver (Descent)’ gets darker, dirtier, with strangulated rasping vocals grate and grind over a low, slow, booming bass, which contrasts with the messy scribbly scratching guitar work. It’s turbulent and traumatic, in the most powerful, visceral way. It’s a low-end growl and chug that drives ‘Future Eaters’, a soundtrack to the darkest of all dystopias, and featuring a magnificently textured and detailed guitar break in the mid-section before everything comes crashing down hard.

The last track, ‘Vile Veneration’ could well be the soundtrack to this year’s honours list here in England. After a slower, quite intricate and evocative introduction, the drums power in and it’s a descent into the inferno from thereon in, with everything firing on all cylinders to truly punishing effect. It’s as heavy as hell and full of fury. The slowed-down, vaguely proggy midsection still packs weight as the band trudge, lumberingly through the final assault.

Oblique Order is a triumph not only because it’s relentlessly heavy, but because it’s clearly crafted and is remarkably varied in terms of tempo and tone. The band pack a lot into its duration, making for an EP that’s massively dense and hits like an asteroid on collision course.

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