Album of the Month... February 2015

Eternal Misery by No Zodiac

27 Dec 2011

Minority Unit: 'C.M.F.'

Minority Unit are a band from Los Angeles, made up of members from Rotting Out, Sleepwalkers and Soul Search. There are eleven members in total (I think anyway, I have completely lost count). C.M.F. (Clear Minded Fury) is the brand new 6 track EP which is the follow up from their 2010 Demo. Just like their previous release, Minority Unit play rapid, aggressive straight edge hardcore which could not sound any better! By having so many vocalists, the delivery of the lyrics is amazing and sounds like a total explosion of emotion and energy. After listening to this EP a few times I guarantee you’ll be shouting along too!
C.M.F. is an essential modern hardcore EP to own and will have a dominating effect on you after listening to it. The songs still remain short, but this works to their advantage as I feel their bold statements come across more effectively. From the first track So be it to the last track Shattered Youth the fast paced guitar riffs do not stop, along with the catchy drum parts – this is a definite memorable record. On the track Unsure you can hear just about all of the vocalists getting involved and there is a short vocal part towards the end of the song sounding very ‘old punk’ style, which I thought fitted in well. This is closely followed by the track The Few which clocks in at an amazing 39 seconds and contains just as much aggression as any other track does.
My favourite track has to be MYB (Mind Your Business) which packs a huge punch of aggression, emotion and passion. Fast paced guitar riffs and rapid drum beats kick this track off which eventually results in a small break with loud and bold vocals. An overall entertaining and enjoyable record, just like their older Demo. Minority Unit deliver exactly what you expect from them and produce a flawless EP.
If you like fast, catchy hardcore then this is exactly the band you should be listening to. This is just what I was expecting this band to produce and it’s just as awesome as I thought it was going to be! I can’t wait for Minority Unit to come over to Europe so that I can see them as their sets look so fun and energetic. If you loved their demo then make sure you get this record here.

16 Dec 2011

Etnies: 'We're Waiting On You, Dude'

Check out Etnies tour that took place during the summer period which follows Albert Nyberg, Jose Rojo, Nick Garcia, Sean Malto, Julian Furones and Devine Calloway. Travelling through Scandinavian Europe the Etnies crew deliver some awesome tricks and all I can say that Albert Nyberg was my favourite, especially his mad tricks down stair sets. Hope you enjoy!

Holy Roar Christmas Party Tonight

If you're in London this evening then get yourself down to The Old Blue Last  in East London. Holy Roar Records are putting on a Christmas Party show which is completely free. This is a great opportunity to see Maths as they haven't played many shows this year and there are some great support bands including Crossbreaker who have recently released their latest EP Lows, Pariso, Veils and also Desolated. Should be a fun filled evening so make sure you don't miss out!

10 Dec 2011

Unfold: 'Cosmogon'

Recently I was contacted by Domino Media Agency marketing and communication company for metal/hardcore bands. I was pleased to find out that they had sent me the new Unfold record Cosmogon and have now returned after a seven year hiatus. This album was released a few weeks ago on Division Records. Unfold are a six piece Metal/Hardcore band from Switzerland and formed in 1996, and after releasing a new album are still going strong after their absence.

After listening to both of their previous releases, Pure and Aeon-Aony, both containing a fierce mix of sludge, metal and hardcore, I didn't think these albums could be topped, however Cosmogon proved me wrong, and it’s as prime as their previous efforts. This record contains 6 brand new tracks of heavy style sludge/hardcore which are not to go unmissed. Throughout the whole album there is a great anger that is evident through the tremoring vocals. This band has put out all the stops resulting in their best and heaviest release yet.

If you’re into bands such as Cult of Luna, Callisto and Amenra then you’re definitely going to like Cosmogon without a doubt. They mix a promising amount of hardcore with just enough metal to pull of their a strong sound. Listening to the first track Erebe you gain an instant feel to their style which pans out the image for the rest of the album. What I really like about this band is that they have enigmatic lyrics that stretch your imagination and leave you to make your own decisions on the complete meaning of each song. There is a consistent array of colossal drum beats combined with bulky, sludgy sounding guitar riffs which can especially be heard in the songs Hystrion and Eschaton.

This record is a more diverse approach to their sound including using some pleasant piano tunes in the introduction track, shorter and harder hitting songs and also the use of cleaner vocals. They combine all these newer elements with their older individual sound to pull out an excellent sounding album. This is an album that will get stuck in your head and will have you listening to it over and over. I am glad that they have returned with such a brilliant album which you should check out for yourselves.

6 Dec 2011

Coins as Portraits: 'Form and Structure. Storm and Fracture.'

The second band released on Romania’s Fading Halo Records, Coins as Portraits play an exciting experimental mix of mathcore music. Although mathcore isn’t as exclusive as it once was, I still find that listening to new bands who the sound quite appealing. Coins as Portraits debut record Form and Structure, Storm and Fracture is far from regimented as the title suggests and is one to be listened to.

Playing a crazy mix of extreme guitar riffs and bursts of drum beats, left, right and centre, this will make your head want to explode! The EP kicks off straight into some intense guitar musicianship with heavy sounding chugging riffs, mixed with steady rhythm parts and technical melodic lead tunes. The first track Great Numbers pulls no punches and jumps straight in with a frenzy of instrumentals flying around everywhere, combined with some deep throaty growls and high pitched screaming. The idea of song structures goes completely out the window and everything is executed perfectly. The Curator’s Bush and The Plot also contain a substantial amount of fiddly lead guitar parts and blasting drum beats which definitely suits their style of music. There is a steady amount of stop/start riffs which leaves a split half a second gap to realise what’s coming next!

It takes very talented musicians to create this style of music which is has a notable flow and rhythm, plus with strong lyrical content. The themes that Coins as Portraits have incorporated are the philosophy and knowledge of people’s roles in life, giving references to their personal impact on society. This band certainly aims to play provocative music, and the vocalist screams his lungs out on every track over the scrambled instrumentals bellowing every statement they want to get across.

One concern I have is that the record is hard to navigate through as each track seems to jump straight into another, and after listening to the record a few times it leaves you somewhat disorientated, often felt with the mathcore genre as a whole. A lot of attention has to be paid when trying to piece together favourite parts from each song, as it will fly past without you even realising. This is definitely a record for mathcore fans out there, plus people with perhaps short attention spans, as this record never slows down and maintains the rapid speed throughout. A captivating record, which I would recommend for you to check out.

3 Dec 2011

12 Bar Tonight

If you're around London tonight then do not miss out on the monthly Rucktion Records hardcore night at the 12 Bar Club. This is Ninebar's long awaited record release titled '999.' With some awesome support bands as well you really don't want to miss this!

28 Nov 2011

Anchor Interview

On the 6th October I went to see Trial, Anchor and Run With the Hunted at The Borderline in London. I got speaking to Anchor during the show and they happily agreed to participate in an interview for this blog. Anchor are a Straight Edge Hardcore band from Sweden and have recently released their full length Recovery which has had some great responses so far. I hope you all enjoy the following interview.

Hello, would you please introduce yourselves and what your roles in the band are.

Hi, I'm Ulf and I play guitar in Anchor. Mattias also plays guitar, Fredrik plays the bass, we got Calle on drums and Claes on vocals.

How did you guys meet and how did Anchor form through your friendship?

We've all met each other through shows/touring with other bands. Claes and Mattias were two of the founding members of Anchor and Claes played together with Fredrik in a previous band, so that's where they found him. My old band Balance did our first tour with Anchor in 2008 and since then those guys have been good friend of mine, and before joining the band I filled in a couple of times when someone couldn't make it, so me becoming a member of Anchor came pretty naturally, I think. I wasn't in the band when Calle joined, but I think he just knew they were looking for a drummer and said he'd be down to do it. All of us come from different backgrounds and it's quite amazing how we all ended up in this band together. I'm thankful and happy we did, though.

I know you live a Vegan and Straight Edge lifestyle, so why did you make this choice in life and how does this affect the music that you love to write?

I became vegetarian about 10 years ago, and going vegan was just an extension of that for me. There are plenty of reasons for being vegan or vegetarian, but for me it just comes down to that I think that the meat and dairy industry, and the abuse of animals that comes with it, is a selfish, evil and unsustainable tradition that I just can't support. I found out about Straight Edge at age 13, and I've never been drunk, never did any drugs or anything. It just never appealed to me, and it still doesn't. Our outlook on Straight Edge and veganism finds it's way into our songwriting one way or another. From obvious things like songs about sobriety and the meat industry, to indirect things, such as spending the weekend in a rehearsal room playing music 14 hours a day, still thinking there's nothing you'd rather do, even when all your friends spend their weekends at parties or in bars and clubs. Straight Edge and veganism are strong personal values for us, so it probably influences everything we do, more than it doesn't.

There are strong messages through your songs that reflect on animal rights, do any of you participate in any activities regarding this issue outside your band?

For me personally, Anchor is the most I do when it comes to activism, aside from occasional protests and such. I think that goes for most of us, but I'm not completely sure. Some activism is probably best kept a secret.

What is the hardcore scene like in the areas that you come from and how has it differed from the places you have visited?

I think the hardcore scene in Sweden is very similar to most places in western Europe. I think the quality of bands is really, really good right now. Kids don't realize how lucky they are to be able to see great bands any given weekend, even if it's “just a local band”. On the tour we did with Trial and Run with the Hunted, we played in some eastern european countries that not a lot of bands go to, like Macedonia and Romania, and those places were amazing. Kids were so appreciative, and there were actually quite a lot of people that weren't actually involved in the hardcore scene, but just fans of hard music, that came to the shows as well, so it was a nice mix of crowds in all ages.

Are there any bands that have been a great influence for you as people and also on your music?

There are a bunch of bands that has meant a lot to us personally. For me, a local band called Outlast, as well as Gorilla Biscuits shaped me a lot when I was just getting into hardcore. For the others in the band, I'm sure that some other bands were important. For Anchor, bands like Judge, Quicksand, Unbroken, Strife has been important when shaping our sound.

Are any of you involved with any other bands currently?

Mattias has a band called Painted Wolves. Claes is jamming occasinally with some elderly men in Stockholm. I think Fredrik started something in Oslo with Oscar who played drums in Anchor before. Other than that, we have some projects every now and then, but nothing serious.

You have accomplished a huge amount over the years; do you have any more achievements to gain in the future?

We want to see new places. South America and Australia are two continents we hope to visit within a pretty near future, if all goes well. Of course we want to push ourselves further as songwriters and musicians as well. I'm quite curious to see what's going to come next musically for Anchor.

I am a huge fan of your new album Recovery, what feedback have you received from people so far?

We've had nothing but good reviews, actually. Some have been amazing, even. The record seems to be going well, and I'm happy it is, cause we worked hard on it and I'm very proud of how it turned out. Robert at Refuse Records allowed us to really go all in when it came to the layout and packaging, so the vinyl looks absolutely amazing.

The hardcore scene is always changing; it has always has its ups and downs, what are your own views on hardcore and what does it mean to you personally?

This is a question that I think becomes both harder and easier to answer with time. Over the years, I've come to realize in how many ways hardcore has influenced me, and how much it still plays a huge role in my life. So my “relationship” with hardcore becomes more complex over time, but at the same time it becomes clear how much it means to me. Simply put, everything I do in my life right now, that has made me into the person I am, has some kind of connection to hardcore. I play in a touring band, I do a fanzine, almost all my friends are people I've met through hardcore, I study graphic design – which I got into because I started doing fanzine, the list goes on. I have no idea who I'd be or what I'd do if it wasn't for hardcore.

Thank you so much for taking the time outside your busy schedules for doing this interview, is there anything else you would like to mention or any shout outs you would like to make?

Thank your for the interview! Look out for the Unveil LP coming in 2012. Be good to yourself.

12 Nov 2011

I Stared into the Forest: 'Society Discontinued'

Recently I was contacted by a DIY record label in Romania called Fading Halo Records. They asked me to promote and review a couple of their first releases. The first is a band called I Stared into the Forest, who play a pummelling style of metal, hardcore and experimental music that I thought was most definitely worth writing about. Society Discontinued contains around 15 minutes of thrashy guitar riffs, high pitched raw screaming vocals and drilling drum beats. This is definitely an EP that you need to crank the volume up on.

The lengths of the songs seem perfect for their musical style and the song structures work really well throughout. The song that stood out for me was the first track Watching the World Collapse, which contains some heavy instrumental parts that blast away through the whole track. There is a decent mix of different pitched vocals, the majority of which are raw screaming giving an instant impression as to what the band are all about. The track Sloth Machine starts with a blast of heavy guitar riffs complemented with steady smashing drum beats. There are some calmer lead parts in this song and towards the end there are some light group vocals, which I thought was a nice touch. This record goes from harsh and shrill tunes in Clean up the Snow, aggressive throaty screams in Sore Monday, to peaceful, calmer melodies in Locked In (Part 1 and 2).

I have to admit, this record did really grow on me after a couple of listens and is for an acquired taste. You either like this style of musicianship or don’t, there is no middle ground. There is a lot of passion in the music and this comes out through the constant push of vocals throughout each song. You can feel the emotion portrayed through the lyrics that come straight from the heart. Alongside this, the music has been carefully written and I Stared into the Forest hold this style down well. Overall, a really good listen and I am hoping other people will say the same. I am sure they will do well in the future and progress from these early days. Check them out here.

28 Oct 2011

Anchor: 'Recovery'

Anchor is a straight edge hardcore band from Sweden and to me is definitely up at the top of the list for European hardcore. They have played a tremendous amount of shows and have been on an endless number of tours and I finally got the pleasure of seeing them play with Trial in London a couple of weeks ago. Recovery is definitely one of their most powerful records, which has recently been released through Let it Burn Records and is a great follow up to their previous releases Relations of Violence, The Quiet Dance and Captivity Songs.

This album contains 11 tracks of good quality hardcore music which takes all the solid parts from old school hardcore and incorporates it into a newer catchy, melodic sound with a much more modern feel. Straight away after putting this record on, you can sense the passion and devotion that each of the band members have put into this, and soon enough you will find yourself screaming along to the lyrics. The sound and style of this album is not as original as I hoped, however the messages and points of view put across in the songs is incredible and compelling.

This is most definitely a record that you will want to listen to over and over again. The strong guitar chords combined with the pounding drum rhythms produce an overall heavy feeling which is a little different from their previous material. The vocals are much deeper too which adds a raw edge to this album. The instrumental sounds are very skilful and enjoyable to the ear and the crisp passionate vocals alongside this fits perfectly with song structures. I love the heavy moshing sound that is present in the track Hemingway and on Recovering which also contains some gang vocals. The songs Lake Elsinore, Sleeping World and Echoes contain some melodic guitar work, which is more traditional of Anchor, and a constant array of metallic riffs just keep popping up and drilling into your head.

Overall, this album is intense. The more metallic sound gives Recovery a meaner and aggressive sound, which I think complements the lyrics and themes. I think this album shows Anchor at their true form, creating great songs that come honest and straight from the heart. One of Sweden’s finest! Pick it up here.

12 Oct 2011

Free Show Tomorrow at The Unicorn

If you are free tomorrow evening and are around London, then make sure you get to The Unicorn pub as there is a free show going on. It's an offer you cannot refuse. Things kick off at 8pm, don't sleep on this.

11 Oct 2011

Set Apart: '2011 EP'

Set Apart, from Hertfordshire, UK, are a hardcore hand that have been together since 2009. I saw Set Apart play an all dayer in March this year, at one of their early shows. I was impressed with what I heard and saw considering how new they were at the time and there was a positive reaction from the crowd too, which was promising. I listened to their old demo (a rough recording), and recently Kyle from Set Apart sent me a copy of their new EP released this year. The new mixes of songs are much better quality, this band have improved and come far in a short space of time. They have dropped some of their melodic sound and adapted a hardcore sound very prevalent in the UK scene currently.

First impressions of the newest recordings are that the sound is a lot heavier than their older material. Although there are a lot bands that have taken this heavy hardcore style in their stride, for example Breaking Point and Broken Teeth, I am sure that Set Apart will do well in the future and will stand out with their powerfully written tracks. Set Apart deliver moshing hardcore with a slight melodic twist, which works really well together. I love the energy and hard riffs alongside the steady rhythmic drum beats, even if it is at times a little predictable. Although they do not separate themselves from the current UK hardcore sound at the moment, they still play heavy, enjoyable and entertaining music.

The EP kicks off with groovy, catchy instrumental that makes you want to bang your head.  Instant  heavy guitar riffs and drum beats merge with overlapping  sharp guitar sounds and followed out nicely with a low melody. I particularly like the track Breaking Free, reminiscent of Dirty Money, with the memorable tunes and shrill vocals. There’s a nicely placed build up incorporating harsh gruff vocals, blasting into a small breakdown. Another track that I like is Hopeless which includes fast paced guitaring and a medley of varied vocal parts, eventually breaking out into a stomping section.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent EP and if you’re into the current UK hardcore sound, in the vein of Bays and Deal With It, then this band will be for you. Set Apart has worked hard at this and definitely deserves as much support as they can get. UK hardcore is still on the up rise so make sure you buy this EP here and catch them at a show soon if you can! 

I will also have an interview coming soon with the band, so stay tuned...

5 Oct 2011

Expire: 'Suffer the Cycle'

I am a huge fan of Expire’s Demo and their EP Grim Rhythm but the new record Suffer the Cycle is the best material from this band so far. Containing 4 new tracks this EP contains incredibly audacious instrumentals and furious vocals. This is exactly what I was expecting from Expire, I love the sound and the energy that the music gives off, this resulting in being one of the best records this year so far.

Their overall sound is not necessarily original but this has not stopped them from gaining a massive fan base in the hardcore scene. The record contains traditional style hardcore sounds mixed with modern pounding, stomping parts that has a certain metallic edge. Compared to the previous recordings Suffer the Cycle has a much cleaner sound that has especially rubbed off on the vocals. Grim Rhythm, which was released last year, consisted of rougher, raspier sounding vocals. This has slightly changed on the latest release as they are now higher pitched on the screaming. Do not worry though, this does not mean that they have lost their aggressive edge.

Just like the rest of their material the tracks are kept to an average of a minute and a half long which I was disappointed when noticed there were only 4 songs. I wanted more and I still do. I am much looking forward to more material from Expire, hopefully up for release in the not too distant future. Each track is solid, mixing heavy riffs, powerful drum rhythms and punchy bass lines. Although tracks come to abrupt endings, the next in turn kicks in with more punchy tunes leaving the listener far from bored.

Sleep Lost and Grip were my favourites but I am sure some of you will disagree. There were a lot of mixed feelings on this release but mine are all positive. At first I was unsure about it but after a few listens this new EP really grew on me. I recommend listening to it a few times before judging and I am sure if they keep this up the future material will be simply awesome!

Pick up the record here.

1 Oct 2011

Knuckledust 15th Anniversary Show

If you are in London tonight then get to this show at 12 bar club (just off Tottenham Court Road). Celebrating 15 years of Knuckledust, this lineup is not to be missed. This kicks off at 7 so get down and cause some chaos!

25 Sep 2011

Toy Machine Woodward West Shootout

Toy Machine is a company that I forgot about recently but watching this short clip brought it all back and I realised what I was missing out on. Some tricks landed to perfection in this video, if you haven't checked this out then do it now!

12 Sep 2011

Wolf Down: 'Demo'

Recently I received an email from Sven, a member of a new German band Wolf Down, asking if I would like to review their new demo. After giving it a thorough listen I feel it is most definitely worth mentioning and I hope everybody gets into it straight away just like I have.

This EP starts off with some good solid hardcore riffs. It may sound slightly predictable but boy does it sound hard. This immediately brings to mind some mid-90’s sounding hardcore/metalcore only with a distinct modern twist. There is a perfect mix of hard hitting riffs, fast tempo drum beats, breakdowns and decent instrumental time sequences, all mixed with some raw and angry vocals. It’s not only about the music that makes this EP what it is but the underlying messages within each song. Taking some of the main fundamentals of hardcore of which being veganism, straight edge and the corruptness of the world, Wolf Down certainly pack a punch with this 4 track EP. 

Wolf Down know how to play quality hardcore and also keep it interesting through all 4 tracks. From start to finish the instrumental parts are great. The songs are well pieced together and the screaming vocals do the justice and make the point about each song. There is a fantastic amount of energy and a great drive to the EP that makes you want to stand up and shout along with it! The song structures are mainly filled with fast catchy parts however there is a skilful balance which has space for the slower break parts which I’m sure in a live performance will have people moshing side to side.

Tracks Hide and Seek and Rot both start off with some fast paced riffs which instantly gets the listener intrigued on what’s next to come. There is a lot of variation in each song and towards the end of Rot there is a heavy breakdown. Lyric wise, the concepts aren’t anything original and is most definitely something that hardcore fans are used to but dealing with these topics Wolf Down get straight to the point with what they believe in. There is a lot of impact in what they say regarding being sick of the world and the human race being responsible for destroying mother earth and standing against corporate 9-5 jobs. Faithless and Rat Race  are equally as catchy and pleasing and towards the final part of both songs there are awesome breaks leading into steady rhythms which made me want to move around.

This is a record I can really relate to and I cannot wait to hear more material from this band. If you’re into solid sounding sounds that deliver in your face hardcore then get this as soon as you can!

Brutality Will Prevail: 'Sleep Paralysis'

UK hardcore is still running strong and we have now seen the release of another record from Brutality Will Prevail. Containing some extremely down-tempo, sludgy sounding hardcore Sleep Paralysis is a 3 track EP of dark heavy hardcore that’s not to be missed. Yet again this EP is so very different to the old Beatdown style genre that this band had and is still continuing with their dark sound which is also evident in The Root of All Evil and Forgotten Soul. This style of hardcore isn’t necessarily my favourite and can get slightly repetitive after a while but Sleep Paralysis makes an exception in this category.

From listening to this EP there is no doubt this is a record from Brutality Will Prevail. Over the past few years they have changed their sound to a more atmospheric and sludgy one and the instruments have been down tuned leaving a much more chugging down-tempo sound, which is now part of this bands image. Combined with the dark instrumentals there are the gruff, throaty vocals providing a very recognisable sound. Between the chugging riffs and harsh drum beats there are some very long melodic interlude parts which adds light to the dark. Each track has well structured songs and I feel BWP have accomplished a very well put together sound, from every heavy guitar riffs, chugging bass lines and constantly tempo changing drum beats this EP fits like a puzzle. These songs are tight and although the darker style hardcore may not have always suited these boys but they have still maintained their aggression which is a positive note for their fanbase.

Out of their newest material, I think this is by far some of the best music they have written. I love the way the melodic guitars bring a more pleasant sound to the music which is shown in Heavy Eyes but still maintaining the down-tuned sound. Although the lyrics and vocals add importance to the EP, I do feel these 3 tracks are more musically appealing than anything else. Perhaps they could have shortened the songs or broke these up into others as 5 minutes and 8 minutes are a long time to listen to one track for. I am not a huge fan of long songs as I personally feel they can drag.

You should definitely get a hold of this record if you can as it’s not to be missed out on. If you like the darkest of dark hardcore then this EP will rock your world, even though it’s only 3 tracks it makes up for this with some fantastic musicianship.

27 Aug 2011

Don't Give a Fuck Interview

Image courtesy of Clifford Douglas

Last month, I was contacted by Don't Give a Fuck the two-piece hardcore band, to do an interview and here is what they said...

Hello there, could you introduce yourselves and tell me what you do in the band.
Matt: Hey Ben. Thanks for the interview. I'm Matt. I play drums and sing in the band.
James: My name is James.  I play guitar and also do vocals.

Did either of you play in any other bands before creating Don’t Give a Fuck?
Matt: I've played in a bunch. I was in two bands with James prior to Don't Give A Fuck, though. A Bane style hardcore band named Envision, and this posi With Honor kind of band named That Within. You can find them if you look real hard on the interwebz. 
James: I played bass for How Artists Die, kind of melodic metalcore stuff before doing That Within and Envision with Matt.  

What made you both decide that being in a two piece band works better?
Matt: Well for me, I just hate most people. I've noticed over the years that a lot of people just want to write music to sound exactly like other bands, or to get laid, and I didn't want any of that. This kind of thinking has held me back in previous bands, to the extent of me being told not to play certain beats on the drums in order to stay within our desired genre. I think that is stupid. In this band I just wanted to let loose, go crazy, and do as much as I could possibly do, without having to worry about what we come off as.
James: I just got sick of working with people that didn't play on my level of musicianship and having to limit what I created to accommodate them.  We had a bassist that did our demo with us that was able to do it but then he moved to Indiana anyway.   

What sort of aspirations and ideas do you have to write your lyrics?
Matt: This is the first time I will ever admit it, but my half of the lyrics on the EP were based on times I have felt completely helpless and alone because of my decision to be Straight Edge. I've had to go through some fucked up things I don't think I would have had to if I only chose to have an occasional beer, and that pissed me the fuck off. It says a lot about the society we live in, and I tried my best to expose a small part of what I feel to be mainstream ignorance on the EP. I've been writing lyrics for the new stuff recently, about some fucked up things I have had to go through because of Christianity, since the last EP. 
James: I just want to be non cliche and honest as possible.  Hardcore in the last few years has been about doing what some bands from the 80s have already done.  Most newer bands' singers from day one go into writing with a bag full of phrases and ideas that came from someone else and spit the same shit out without putting any of themselves in there.  

Do you have any plans for releasing a full length?
Matt/James: Not anytime soon, but we are aiming to release another EP, hopefully by the end of this year. There are a lot of questions we left unanswered in the first EP, setting it up for a followup album. 

You’ve played some shows with some impressive bands. Are there any tours you will be planning to go on in the future?
 Matt: It's hard to say who we will tour with in future. All I know is that we will tour. I'd love to do something again with Shai Hulud. 
James: I would love to go on tour with anyone that brings people open to us, whether it's metalcore, hardcore, sludge, etc.  Rosetta or Adai would be sweet though.

What are you opinions on the hardcore scene in your area and how do they differ to other places you have been?
Matt: James may disagree here because he is a promoter, but I think our scene sucks. It's been nicer almost everywhere else we have played. 
James: There are a lot of newer bands and our scene is growing really fast.  For whatever reason though, no newer NYC bands really seem to get attention outside of the city, which is probably the biggest difference, as most other scenes have those bands that are known.  

What is your take on Straight Edge and do you both adhere to this lifestyle?
Matt: I am proud to be Straight Edge, but I am generally embarrassed by most Edge kids I meet. It seems to me like most of them are just a carbon copy of one another. It is very rarely that I find someone doing their own thing with it, that isn't concerned with whether or not they are following in Ian MacKaye's footsteps, unless of course, they are one of those people that claim edge that have no idea who Ian MacKaye even is. My point is this: The idea that being Straight Edge somehow gives you an advantage over a drinker or a drug user, is absurdly paradoxical. Awareness, and ignorance can both be found in all walks of life. My advice to everyone is to do what is best for you, without hurting other people in the process. 
James: I'm not straight edge.  It doesn't really matter to me what someone else chooses to do.  

What sort of music do you both like listening to and what influences your band musically?
Matt: I appreciate anything that is well-thought out, or anything with good drumming. 
James: I really like the early 00s hardcore/metalcore bands such as Another Breath, Killing the Dream, etc., as well as the new wave of screamo bands like Pianos Become the Teeth.  Those are probably the biggest influences on the riffs that I write.  

Are there any long term goals you wish to achieve with this band?
Matt: I achieved everything I set out to on the first EP. My current goal is to expose ignorant christians on the next one, and to finally show my background in jazz drumming. No beat I did on the first EP will be on the second. And you know, eventually get signed so we can afford to do more. I'd love to tour the world. 
James: I want to push myself to the limit as a musician, and just keep doing things that haven't been done before.  

Thank you so much for your time and patience, are there any last comments you would like to make?
Matt: Thanks for the interview man, and thanks for reviewing our stuff. Keep doing what you do, because it makes a huge difference in the scene. My message for everyone else- Think for yourself. 
James: Thanks for the interview! 

20 Aug 2011

Ben McCormick: 'You Are Only Dreaming'

This short skateboard film is filmed and edited by Ben McCormick and features a few Australian skateboarders including Sean Fenning, Philip Marshall, James Ahern and Quayde Baker. There are some really nice looking tricks in these clips and is edited smoothly together with a relaxing music track. Definitely worth a watch!

29 Jul 2011

Don't Give a Fuck: 'A Girl Burning and Dying'

It’s great to see that there are a lot of new hardcore bands who keep popping up and keeping the hardcore scene going. I recently had Matt Dillon send me the debut EP of his new band called Don’t Give a Fuck titled A Girl Burning and Dying. I was quite hesitant at first about listening to this band as there are only two members. Sometimes the quality and style of two member bands can be a little dodgy but Don’t Give a Fuck have pulled this off very well. Hailing from New York the band consists of James Adam Gaskill who plays guitar and does half of the vocals, and Matt Dillon who also does vocals and plays drums. They play a nice mix of emotional and melodic style hardcore and the two different vocal sounds work great together. As can be said for a lot of music, this probably won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed the record.

Don’t Give a Fuck know how to combine the mix of melodic instrumental parts with faster paced drum beats, which then lead into a medley of various riffs and chaos. Some of the vocals included sound a little more screamer than what would be expected of a normal melodic band, which is what I liked. The lyrics (of what I can make out) are very emotive and contain some very underlining messages throughout each song. The different time sequences in the guitar riffs and drum beats in all 5 songs created a frantic sound and feel to the record, which made a positive impact on me. The songs The Disease That is You, Farewell Mistake and Ashes Forever have a great mix of some harsh throaty screams with a perfect mix of cleaner screams. Having two vocalists in a band can be temperamental at times but in this situation it suits the music perfectly. The vocals are very strong and almost sound as they echo on the recording. The guitar work sounds very clean however on the first couple of songs the quality of the sound recording decreases slightly in areas but of course, that cannot be helped.

Don’t Give a Fuck appear to be doing quite well for themselves and have already shared the stage with bands such as Outbreak and Hour of the Wolf. They also have some upcoming shows so go see them if you can. This band has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them in the future. With a sound that goes perfectly with their name, they certainly are a band not to be missed. Check out their material here.